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Slow Food Nation: Slow on the Go


El Huarache Loco, just one of the many vendors
at Slow Food Nation's Slow on the Go.

Slow Food Nation is only 11 days away—have you bought your tickets yet? If not, hop on over to the site now and take your pick—taste pavilions, day trips and special dinners await. But today we want to tell you a part of the Nation that requires no special admission—Slow on the Go.

In my mind, I’ve been thinking of Slow on the Go as the world’s greatest food court, an alfresco one where all of the best vendors gather, cooking up the best food, for scarcely more scratch than a 6-in. sub at Subway. Curated by Sylvan Brackett (formerly Alice Waters’ assistant) and restaurateur Larry Bains (Acme Chophouse, Let’s be Frank hot dog carts), this court promises to be like no other. I caught up with Brackett last week and he gave me the (hot) dish.

Tell me about the highlights of Slow on the Go.
Well, [Berkeley based] Vik’s Chaat House will be making chicken biryani in these giant copper vessels—traditional it’s something that is made outside of temples in India. They layer the rice and meat, cover it and steam gently for something like two days. He’ll be serving it with raita—he makes the yogurt himself.

What’s this I hear about country ham?
Yes! Benton’s Smoky Mountain country ham from Madisonville, Tennessee. The ham is going to be served on biscuits, which will be made by [Atlanta-based chef] Scott Peacock. He’s hoping to use Fatted Calf rendered lard for the biscuits, and he’s trying to figure out a way to bake them on-site, so they’ll be warm. And there is talk of gravy and preserves too—most likely blackberry preserves. That’s a real Southern thing.

What about some local representation?
El Huarache Loco will be there. They’re making Mexico City-style huaraches—a beef variety with cheese, salsa and beans.

Anything else we shouldn’t miss?
Mario Batali’s dad Armandino will be there making muffaletta sandwiches, and Blue Bottle coffee will be serving their chicory iced coffee, so we’re going to have a little New Orleans thing going on.  We’re asking the vendors to use as little packaging as possible, to limit the amount of trash Slow on the Go produces. Oh, and nothing will be over $8. Everything will be between three and eight dollars.

Did I mention the hand-pulled noodles that the Imperial Tea Court will be making? The owner [of the Imperial Tea Court] learned the recipe from her father. Their family was relocated to Xi’an during the cultural revolution, and one of the recipes he learned in the new city was the recipe for hand-pulled noodles with greens and chili sauce. Good stuff.