Crawling thru the Haight, with a dish and a plate

Dishcrawl SF Ambassador Dena Berkson

Images by Brian Wong and Mary Huynh

Our Food Patrol recently experienced what it’s like to “Dishcrawl” around the Lower Haight neighborhood. Why do we love it? Aside from the fact that we indulged ourselves in some out-of-this-world edible finds, we also had the opportunity to make new friends who appreciate and share the same love for food as we; after all, the best way to really get to know your community is through its food and local offerings and our fun foodie ambassador definitely made it more special with her food-guide-hosting-ninja-skills! Get to know the fab Dena Berkson below.

What is Dishcrawl?

Dena Berkson: A Dishcrawl is when 25-40 people dine together at four restaurants in one night sampling a trio of dishes at each and meeting the chefs, owners, foodies, and fellow members of the community along the way.

How did you become a Dishcrawl ambassador? 

DB: I attended a Dishcrawl a few months ago and thought it was a truly wonderful idea: a bar crawl but with food! Genius! It was only a matter of time before I joined in on the fun! I am a foodie with a background in catering, event planning, and restaurants so it was a very natural transition for me.

Tell us about the process of selecting restaurants/venues for Dishcrawl events?

DB: There’s a lot of tasty research that goes into selecting the restaurants. They have to be within walking distance of each other (this is a crawl, not a marathon) and should span a variety of cuisines, styles, and environments. From swanky, modern lounges with chic food to hole-in-the-wall exotic gems that you might not otherwise venture into, I try to select eateries that demonstrate the diversity of the neighborhood.

What were the highlights of your Dishcrawl – Lower Haight event?

DB: Well, it was my first one, so the entire evening was such a rush! It was a truly magical experience to see everyone enjoying themselves at an event I coordinated from scratch. There were some diners who were rather skeptical about one of the restaurants. Having lived in the neighborhood for several years and always passing it by, the couple admitted to being pleasantly shocked about the quality of food at this particular hole-in-the-wall. I loved that I was able to challenge someone’s expectations about food in a neighborhood they knew so well– when it comes to good food, everybody wins! Another highlight from the night was when the owner of Thep Phanom arrived to greet us after much drama. Pathama had flown back to SF from Thailand just for this event, but had gotten stuck in the delays at SFO. Just as I was apologizing to the group that she would be unable to speak to them, this energetic woman burst through the doors of the restaurant like a rockstar. After flying for hours, she still took the time to greet our dishcrawlers and even pose for some photos! It was a very special moment.

Describe Dishcrawl in 5 adjectives.

DB: Ingenious, extraordinary, inspiring, entertaining, and of course, DELICIOUS!

And finally… what would your dream Dishcrawl event be?  

DB: My dream Dishcrawl would be a Brunchcrawl. San Francisco is so obsessed with brunch it’s practically a competitive sport on the weekends! I would love to bring together the imaginative breakfast creations our local chefs have designed with the playful, relaxed spirit of the brunch mealtime. Oh, and maybe a Baconcrawl, too!

About Dishcrawl

Dishcrawl creates dining experiences and events to satisfy anyone’s craving.  Their mission is to show food lovers the best dishes in local restaurants.  You can find your local Dishcrawl Ambassador leading you through progressive dinners, prix fixe dinners, and other fun food events!  Dishcrawlers can enjoy dining experiences in San Francisco, New York, Montreal, Ottawa, San Jose, Toronto, Philadelphia, DC, and more.  Visit Dishcrawl.com for a memorable local dining experience.

Watch our Lower Haight SF Photo Recap below!