June 22, 2011, 03:33 AM By Bill Silverfarb Daily Journal staff
Social networking is all the rage on the Internet but some folks have taken to ditching their computers to actually make new friends in face-to-face interactions all while sampling fine cuisine.
Last night, a group of about 50 people cruised downtown San Mateo to partake in some of the area’s best food and drink all while getting to know each other.
The event, called Dishcrawl, has livened up downtowns throughout the Bay Area in recent months including Mountain View, San Jose, Livermore and Palo Alto.
Founder Tracy Lee calls Dishcrawl a way to blend good food with good company.
For $26, Dishcrawl participants get to walk around a downtown and eat some of the best food at three to four different restaurants all while mingling and sharing drinks with mostly perfect strangers, although participants have to buy their own beverages.
There is also an element of secrecy to the event, since most participants have no idea what restaurants they will be visiting before arriving at a common meeting place.
Lee held a Dishcrawl in downtown San Mateo back in May that Councilman David Lim and his wife participated in.
Lim’s group visited Rave Burger, Fletch’s, Kingfish, Astaria and finally Beard Papa’s for dessert.
Lim was told by others to pace himself that night but he packed in the food and drinks and said he made a lot of new friends.
“I was excited to see such an exciting, vibrant and tasty experience come to downtown San Mateo,” Lim said.
Lee decided to do a Dishcrawl in San Mateo because the city needs some “new movement.”
“It is a chance to meet your neighbors but also meet the people behind the food,” Lee said.
Chefs will engage the group, put on cooking demonstrations and offer up their best dishes, she said.
“There’s a real synergy in all of this,” Lee said.
Last night, a group of new strangers met at the Versailles Condominiums at Crystal Springs Road and El Camino Real for a private chef cooking before strolling out into downtown to sample more food at the next secret location which happened to be a gourmet food truck called Hiyaaa!
Marlon Evangelista, who lives in San Bruno, attended last night’s Dishcrawl in San Mateo for a second time.
He has taken to bringing his camera to the event, like many others, to document the experience.
He especially enjoys sharing his opinions with others about the food being sampled.
“I also like the exploration aspect of it,” Evangelista said.
San Mateo Parks and Recreation Director Sheila Canzian also attended last night’s event.
“I never heard of it until a few days ago,” she said.
She and the rest of the group enjoyed some Angus burgers at Versailles and some other specialty appetizers along with some champagne before heading outdoors to sample from the gourmet food truck.
Hiyaaa! served Vietnamese-inspired hot fusion sandwiches with a Korean twist that were gobbled up quickly despite participants already being filled up at Versailles.
After that, the group headed down to B Street to sample the menu at Las Americas, a Peruvian-themed restaurant that serves empanadas, anticuchos, sopa al la Criolla and many other dishes.
The spot for dessert was kept a secret until the end of the night.
Lee has actually started to conduct Dishcrawls in Canada, with one scheduled in Montreal July 6.
To learn more about Dishcrawl check out: www.dishcrawl.com.