Pit master Andy Knudson at a Meat Carneval event in Austin, Texas, earlier this year. (Photo/Instagram)
Pit master Andy Knudson at a Meat Carneval event in Austin, Texas, earlier this year. (Photo/Instagram)

Meat Carneval’s promise to East Bay: ‘From a butcher block straight into your mouth’

Meat Carneval, a popular concept in Israel, is coming to the Bay Area — Livermore, to be exact — as a regular pop-up series.

With a tagline of “stuff you can’t do in a restaurant,” the event won’t be your typical foodie affair.

“You get into the event, and you’re given a glass of wine and a hand towel,” Napa-based chef Itamar Abramovitch said. “There’s no silverware, no plates, no tables, no chairs, no servers. It’s very primal. You eat everything with your hands. It’s so much more than just ‘here’s your food, eat.’”

Chefs Gili Ben Shachar and Ohad Kvity founded Meat Carneval in Israel.

Abramovitch, who is a partner in the Napa-based Blossom Catering and did an Israeli pop-up that I wrote about several years ago called Balagan, reached out to the chefs after hearing them on a podcast. Working with a friend at Facebook, Abramovitch brought them to do a private event in Silicon Valley in 2021. Abramovitch lent them his smoker and other equipment they needed. He loved the experience so much he wanted to work with them and bring the event to others.

The three replicated the event earlier this year in Austin, Texas, and decided they should make it more of a regular thing, except that Abramovitch preferred not to travel.

Despite the event’s meaty moniker, Abramovitch promised that there will be enough to eat for vegetarians and vegans. All events will take place in a giant barn in East Bay’s Livermore, Abramovitch said, because “Napa has an image and that image doesn’t usually involve feeding people from a butcher block straight into your mouth.”

The menu will change each time but will feature dishes such as monkey bread stuffed with braised beef, as well as whole roasted cauliflower, fish tartare and smoked brisket.

Meat Carneval is scheduled for June 16-17, with more to come. Tickets, which include all you can eat and drink, cost $225 with an early-bird offer of $180.

Alix Wall
Alix Wall

Alix Wall is a contributing editor to J. She is also the founder of the Illuminoshi: The Not-So-Secret Society of Bay Area Jewish Food Professionals and is writer/producer of a documentary-in-progress called "The Lonely Child."