A La Carte & Art Captures Bay Area Food Culture

Mountain View Festival Showcases Global Classics & California Creativity

festival favorite barbecued turkey drumsticks

Just as Silicon Valley is a melting pot of ethnicities and cultures, Mountain View’s A La Carte & Art is a colorful fusion of international cuisines. Secret family recipes, regional classics, and contemporary culinary twists will be on the menu at the festival, taking place May 2-3, from 10a.m. to 6p.m., along Castro Street.

Anybody who knows a little Spanish knows that me gusta means “I like,” and this year’s new Mexican food vendor, Me Gusta Gourmet Tamales, is sure to live up to its name. Hand-made tamales are filled with a choice of chicken, beef, pork, ancho chiles and cheese, veggies, sweet corn, or pineapple. Refreshing aguas frescas are offered in lemon, strawberry-lemon and orange, and of course there’s the traditional cinnamon-y sweet rice drink, horchata.

Stop by Gaspachos USA and get a taste of Mexican history. According to legend passed down in the Michoacán city of Morelia, when the Spaniards conquered the Aztec Empire they craved the cool chunky tomato soup—gazpacho—of their homeland. Unable to find tomatoes, they improvised with tropical fruit, and thus was born the traditional Mexican gaspacho (with an “s”). But history tells us either Columbus or the conquistador Cortés brought tomatoes to Europe from the West, so was it the Aztecs who influenced the Spaniards?! You’ll have the chance to experience this traditional Mexican gaspacho made with mango, pineapple, jicama, orange juice and chile powder. Or try the mangonada (mango with sweet-and-sour chamoy sauce and chile powder) mango-on-a-stick (made zippy with lime and chile powder), smoothies and fruit cups with strawberries from their family farm in Watsonville.

“Farm food for humans” is the tag line of Chicken and the Farm, where farm-fresh chicken—wings and boneless “chicky bites”— comes with a choice of 22 sauces, such as sweet wasabi, lemon pepper, honey walnut and ginger-sesame. The loaded fries have six variations, with everything from smoked meats to blue cheese and green onion. Vegetarians will enjoy food from the farm as well, with fried cauliflower bites topped by any of the sauce options.

Teriyaki is the sauce that has made Stick-N-Grill a popular festival destination. The sizzling skewers come with the option of rice or noodles, or in a wrap with crunchy vegetables. Hawaii BBQ offers a Pacific islands version of teriyaki, with kebabs of chicken or pork marinated in a secret family recipe and accompanied by jasmine rice.

Seafood is the main attraction at Gourmet Faire, with its lucious crab rolls and crab fries. Offerings also include chicken tenders, corn dogs and garlic fries.

At Lemoine Crêperie, the longstanding French outpost at festivals around the Bay, you can indulge your Nutella craving, or possibly develop a new one for cherries and whipped cream. Or tuck into a traditional ham and cheese savory crêpe . . . and return later for the decadent one.

variety of grilled hot dogs and sausages

Hot & Sizzling Grill serves the Middle Eastern version of stuffed delights—pita bread filled with grilled chicken, lamb or falafel, and drizzled with traditional tzatziki sesame sauce. They also offer grilled sausages and crispy fries.

At Aroma Concessions everything is big on size and flavor. Sandwiches come piled with tri-tip or sausages, turkey legs require two hands to maneuver, and fried oysters, calamari, zucchini and artichokes are addictively crispy and succulent.

Totally Nutz, new to the festival this year, promises to draw a crowd with the intoxicating aroma of fresh-roasted cinnamon-glazed almonds, pecans and cashews.

The Roasted Corn has something for everyone, from seafood combos with fried shrimp, fish and calamari, to veggie combos, chicken strips and funnel cakes.

California Corn Roast will lure you in with just a whiff of their fresh roasted corn and bacon-wrapped hot dogs. What a combo!

Kona Ice has an island-inspired truck with twelve flavors of Hawaiian shave ice that can be mixed to create up to 100 original flavors. You can go wild with the flavors and still know you’re only getting 25 calories per serving and a dose of vitamins C and D as well. Later in the day when you’re ready for more, check out Hawaiian Shave Ice, where the frozen fare also includes ice cream.

Soft serve ice cream fans head over to Twisted K’s for classic chocolate or vanilla, exciting flavors like pumpkin pie and blue goo (tastes like birthday cake), or dole whip (dairy free and totally pineapple-y).

And what’s a festival without Kettle Corn? A La Carte & Art boasts two booths—Sandy’s Pop Shop and Old Fashion Kettle Corn—so be sure to indulge.

A La Carte and Art Mountain View

Spring into Festival Season!
May 2–3, 2020 10am to 6pm
Castro Street, Mountain View, CA