Celebration Weekend

We had a weekend of good food, fun concerts and hanging out with friends. It was a great way to celebrate Michele’s birthday. This entry talks about such things as seeing three shows (MC Hammer, Lily Storm at The Bowls and The Sweet Revenge) in one day and having a great food adventure on the other.

Saturday was my wife’s birthday. We ended up with a huge pile of events that all happened to coincide. So we ended up doing a bunch of them. We had planned to go to the San Francisco Street Food Festival for lunch, but due to exhaustion from a busy work week and the fact that we were really hungry, we decided to skip the festival and just have a good lunch instead. We ended up splitting a small ham and cheese sandwich at Little Lucca in Burlingame before beginning a three concert adventure.

We started out taking BART to Oakland and the 10th Annual Art and Soul Music Festival. We walked around a bit and met up with the Berenstain Bears and spun a wheel for a prize sponsored by Lucky grocery stores. We ended up with activity books that we left on a shelf somewhere at one of the booths.

We eventually made it over to the Plaza Stage in front of Oakland’s City Hall and watched the end of Kev Choice’s set. His ensemble band was better than he was and a lot of the crowd left, which opened up seats in the fourth row center, which we quickly scooped up. The producer tried to get them to end their set on time but Kev Choice ignored her and ran over. He was not a very good performer. After his set, while breaking down the stage, a cool MC named Don Reed came on to introduce the next act and did a cool imitation of Johnny Cash covering Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean. He was going to do a Johnny Cash version of Hey Ya by Outkast but Mo’ Rockin, the next act up was ready to go.

Mo’ Rockin had some Middle Eastern flair, some jazz style and a horn section that at one point consisted of five horns with accompaniment by the Black Oaks Brass Band for their closing number.

MC Hammer was next and the reason we were at the festival. Hammer put on a good show for his hometown crowd but didn’t hurt ’em. He did a few hits and a few songs that weren’t so big, taking time to pay tribute to Oakland, Tupac Shakur and Luther Vandross during his sixty minute set. It was very cool to see him and we lucked out having such great seats.

After Hammer’s show ended with a giant crowd on stage for U Can’t Touch This, we headed to BART and back into San Francisco for a mystery concert at The Bowls. We ate a quick bite to eat at the New Gourmet Greek place at the Metreon which wasn’t that good and headed over for the show, which actually was an almost over set by Dan Cantrell and Lily Storm with a guy named Gary guesting with them.

We left The Bowls a bit disappointed that the “special surprise guest” at 8:00 wasn’t actually anything at all, but still enjoyed our brief visit. We headed home and uploaded some stuff from the earlier part of the day before heading back into the city once more to see The Sweet Revenge play.

The Sweet Revenge didn’t go on until 12:30AM, so we walked up Mission from the El Rio bar and ate at El Zocalo. I had a sampler of Salvadorean cuisine. My wife had a tamale and a pupusa. We brought about half of it home. The pupusas were very dry but otherwise a pleasant meal.

The Sweet Revenge closed out our night with a hard-hitting punk show at El Rio. They filled their 30 minute set with a sonic blast of music with no breaks between songs and the addition of a trumpet in their closing number “Creatures of Routine,” also the title track of their album. They ended up getting a one song encore as well before we finally retreated home to our nice comfortable bed.

Sunday we planned to have a relaxing and lazy day at home. I played some video games and one of our friends wrote to us and asked what we were doing for the day.

We ended up going to the Hayward Zucchini Festival, which was pretty underwhelming. We parked on a basketball court behind an adult school and wandered a bit to find the festival entrance. They had fried zucchini, zucchini bread and… lots of normal festival food like funnel cakes and corn dogs. It was disappointing when compared to a great themed festival like the Gilroy Garlic Festival, but worth the $5 price of admission either way. We had fried zucchini and a chicken teriyaki bowl for lunch. We had two varieties of funnel cake for dessert and we caught a show by Georgia and Joya, an old woman and her son, with sound mixed by Elvis, or at least an Elvis impersonator.

My wife ended up getting a bubble shooting raygun toy from one of the booths and I brought home a zucchini bread.

We went to Fry’s in Fremont and then drove around a bit to find somewhere to eat dinner, even though we weren’t yet hungry. We ended up finding a place called Market Broiler which was jammed full of people and had signs indicating it was newly opened. We decided we’d eat there a little later and walked around Wal-Mart for a while before heading back to dinner.

Market Broiler was a great dinner experience. If I were to rate it like a food critic, I would give it five burps out of five. I split a “duo” dish of roasted chicken (1/4 dark meat consisting of a leg and thigh) and a shrimp skewer that had sixteen small mesquite grilled shrimp on it. It came with two sides, with us selecting the cheesy mashed potatoes and the chef’s vegetables which were broccoli, carrots and red onions. The meal was very good. One of the best meals I’ve ever had. For dessert, I had the rocky brownie which had caramelized pecans and ice cream with hot fudge and caramel drizzle. It was exceptionally good as well. Dinner for two would probably be around $40-$50 and we’ll probably go there again for a special occasion or something in the future because it was very good. It turns out Market Broiler has been around for around 20 years but we just never knew about it. Their new location has only been open two weeks or so.

After our great dinner, we came home and I played some more video games before writing this entry. Now time for bed and another week of work.

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