Archive | May, 2011

Off The Grid – Fort Mason

21 May

My first Off the Grid experience!!! I’ve been looking forward to this for months! I come from Wisconsin, and the only “street food” we have are hot dogs and bratwurst on the corners of Water Street at bar close. Since moving to San Francisco I have had the opportunity to try out some of the food trucks around town and they tend to be pretty damn good. For those of you who don’t know what Off the Grid is, it’s a food truck extravaganza that’s held at different locations all over the city. On Friday nights, the party parks at Fort Mason, which happens to be just a few blocks from my apartment. 

Street food in SF is growing rapidly and has evolved a lot in the past couple of years. These trucks offer affordable food and a lot of time have interesting fusion dishes like korean-mexican, etc. My friend Leah did her research ahead of time and heard that Curry Up Now was a good truck to check out. While we were waiting in line, I originally was determined to get the burrito, but after further reviewing the menu, I ended up ordering the Paneer deconstructed samosa. I love samosas, but this was absolutely delicious. It was easy to eat and had great flavors with the right amount of spice. Leah opted for the Tiki Masala burrito, which was really great too. I would highly recommend either dish.

After our Curry Up Now bites, we decided it was time for a beer. They had brews from Magnolia Pub on tap, a brewery located in the Haight. I opted for their IPA and decided to make my way through the crowds for one more small dish before ending our OTG evening. We heard that the empanadas at El Porteno were good, so I opted for the chicken empanada. The dough was more pastry-like than you would imagine for an empanada, but made it seem healthier than the deep-fried varietal. I would say that the empanada was really good, but I was far more impressed with the Curry Up Now offerings. I will definitely head back to check out some of the other great and interesting food these trucks have to offer.

www.offthegridsf.com
www.curryupnow.com

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Golden Boy Pizza

20 May

After a long Saturday afternoon walking around the city and enjoying some sunshine, my friend Misty and I decided that it was time to grab a beer and more importantly, some food. Being in North Beach and inundated with cheesy Italian restaurants and restaurant hosts throwing menus in your face, we decided to hit a low key and affordable establishment. Golden Boy Pizza is a tiny pizza joint in on Green Street, just off Columbus. They’re conveniently located near some of my favorite near-dive bars (Columbus Cafe, Grant-Green and the like). Golden Boy serves up yummy pizza all day and late into the night (2AM on weekends). I ordered a slice of the vegetarian pizza, which was loaded with delicious tomatoes, black olives, red onion and most importantly, cheese. To wash down those pizza slices, they offer beer and wine. Their beer selection is better than I would’ve anticipated for a small spot like this. They offer Trumer Pilsner, Widmer, Stella, Red Hook, and Bud Light.

Golden Boy is definitely the type of place where you go to grab a slice of pizza and not an entire pizza because a whole pizza is $48! I mean it’s good, but that’s a lot of dough. Great for late night or a quick bite after an afternoon sitting in Washington Square park. 

542 Green Street (North Beach)
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Umami

17 May

For dinner Sunday night while my friend Audrey was in town from Dallas, I decided to take her to Umami. I heard from numerous friends that they had some great Japanese food. I have to say given the overflow from the Bay to Breakers crowd, it was a little more “lively” than I would’ve anticipated on a Sunday night. I started out with a Faded Crane cocktail which was: vodka, muddled oranges, fresh lime and orange bitters. While this drink was quite tasty, I have to say that the Basil Koori was even better (Plymouth gin, elderflower liquor, Thai basil, apple cider, and fresh lemon). Maybe its that I love the freshness of basil, but this drink was one of the best I’ve had in awhile! Aud’s is a big fan of warm sake (I’m not into sake all that much), but she really enjoyed it.
We started out with miso soup and then moved on to our three delicious roll choices. We went with the very ‘traditional’ California roll, which tasted super fresh and was better than we could have anticipated. We also indulged on the “Buttercup” which was spicy tuna, asparagus, avocado, butterfish, tobiko and spicy aioli. This roll had a good combo of flavors but I would have to say that it wasn’t my favorite of the three we tried. My favorite roll was the Geki-Kara, and we chose at the recommendation of our bartender. It consisted of tempura shrimp, avocado, mango cucumber, spicy tuna, jalapeno, tobiko and eel sauce. The flavors all blended really well, but if you are looking for really spicy rolls, I think you’re going to be a little disappointed by the offerings of Umami. I like my spicy tuna rolls to be a bit more on the spicy side, and I was feeling like there was more Umami could’ve offered.
When looking around at the orders of fellow patrons, I was bummed that I didn’t order one of their seaweed salads and the sliders also looked really tasty. Given that I’m right in the neighborhood, I know that I’ll be back to try a few more of their dishes, and maybe they’ll wow me a bit more next time. Overall, it was a solid sushi spot, but I expected a bit more given all the strong recommendations I’d received.

2909 Webster Street – www.umamisf.com


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Q Restaurant and Wine Bar

16 May

On Saturday I had a lovely day bumming around town with a pal of mine and ended up on the 1 bus headed to Laurel Heights to visit my friends Nadlie and Tim at their apartment. We had no idea where we wanted to grab dinner, but after a delicious bottle of champagne and some much needed catching up, we braved the light rain showers and made our way to Q. I had never heard of this Inner Richmond establishment, but this didn’t surprise me since I almost never make it over to that part of town.

We head in and find out that we’re going to have quite a wait ahead of us, so the next logical step is, of course, drinks. Lately, I’ve been on this major sangria kick and when I realized that they had sangria, I was sold. For $16.75 I had my own pitcher of sangria. Yes, I just said my own pitcher. I knew I had an hour wait for dinner and I opted for the most economical drink choice rather than $11 glasses of wine. While we were waiting we decided to start with their well known tater tots. I love tots. These did not disappoint; they were well seasoned and the right amount of crispiness.

After a lengthy wait, we finally get seated at a cosy booth near the back. We quickly make our entree choices, but not before we opt for another round of tater tots. I go for the grilled steak with tarragon-zinfandel butter on mashed potatoes and garlic spinach. The steak was cooked to the perfect medium-rareness and the mashed potatoes were helping soak up the copious amounts of sangria I was consuming. The waiters at Q were friendly and very jovial. They definitely helped make our night more exciting. Q is known for their very traditional American fare including mac & cheese, tater tots, meatloaf, etc. Adding to the already great ambiance of Q is that they have magnetic boards that run along the walls with letters that you can spell out your name or random phrases. I will definitely be back to Q to check out more of their delicious food.

225 Clement Street

www.qrestaurant.com


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Roam Artisan Burgers

14 May

Happy Friday everyone! I couldn’t be happier that the weekend is finally here. The original plan for the evening was to check out Off the Grid at Ft. Mason — the food truck expo that goes down every Friday, but given the wind and chilly temperatures, we opted for an indoor location. After much discussion we ended up at Roam on Union Street. Roam is essentially a glorified burger joint, but a good one at that. You can choose your meat, bun, and toppings. They are all about using sustainable meats and produce like grass-fed beef, free-range turkey and all-natural bison. Roam is pretty informal. You order your food at the counter when you arrive, grab a number and scrounge for a table. The place always seems to be pretty busy (probably based on all the good press they’ve received).

As of this posting, this is actually my second time dining at Roam and my feelings are just as great as the first time. On my pioneer trip, I had the turkey burger “sunny side” on wheat with sweet potato fries. I love the combo of the sauteed onions, fresh meat, white cheddar, tomato, chili sauce, and yummy egg together. The fries were good too; I can’t say no to sweet potato fries! On my second adventure, I opted to start with a shake. While I typically don’t waste my time on shakes the prospect of a mint chip shake sounded too good to pass up. The shake was amazing (I may have to go back again just for one of these delicious treats)! The mint flavor was just right and every sip had the right amount of shredded chocolate chip in it. I really don’t think it could’ve been any better. While I loved the “Sunny Side” burger, I decided to switch it up and try the “French and Fries” turkey burger. This has truffle parmesan fries, gruyere cheese, avocado, caramelized onions and watercress. It was also really great! Roam also offers beer and to my delight they have Pranqster, which is one of my favorites. If you’re looking for a low key delicious fresh burger in the Marina, Roam is your go- to spot.
1785 Union Street (@ Octavia)
415.440.7626 – www.roamburgers.com
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Andalu

9 May

In order to celebrate my friend Misty’s birthday, we decided to check out Andalu in the Mission. To our (and our pocketbooks) delight, they offer a group menu for parties of 6 or more for only $19.95 a person. When we thought it couldn’t get any better: $15 bottomless sangria and beer. Basically, for $35 you can have a delicious meal and get hammered on their delicious sangria. I would note that their white sangria is actually better than their red. I typically would not even touch white sangria (I love my reds), but yelp reviews told me to go with the white and they were all correct.
Also of note was our awesome waiter who made our evening even better by starting us out with a couple of plates while we were waiting for the rest of our party to arrive and keeping multiple carafes of sangria on the table at all times. Since we were in celebration mode he also livened things up with a round (or three) of free shots.
On to the important part the food:
  • Mini Ahi Tartare Taco with mango salsa
  • Crispy fried Mac and Cheese
  • Green salad with beets and goat cheese
  • Cambazola Cheese Fondue with Apples and bread crisps
  • Sliders with basil aioli and tomato
  • Shrimp with a garlic tomato sauce
  • Coca-Cola braised short ribs
All of the dishes were good but the Ahi taco, sliders, mac & cheese and short ribs were the best. The meat on the ribs practically fell off the bone and was tender and delicious. I’m a Wisconsin girl so anytime there is cheese that is fried, it’s going to get good marks in my book! The fondue tasted great, but it seemed a little to thin and drippy. Overall, the meal was delicious, especially for the price. I will definitely be back again for some sangria and those short ribs!
www.andalusf.com – 16th St. @ Gurrero
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King of Thai Noodle House

3 May

King of Thai is a staple among my friends for a great place to watch a game while enjoying an extremely affordable beer and $5 Thai food. That’s right. Every entree on the menu is just $5. The photo here is of my Pad Thai noodles, which were quite tasty, given the price tag. I’ve also tried the Pumpkin Curry which was also pretty good, but Osha Thai’s is definitely superior (but also more than twice the cost).
The beer selection is decent (see listing above) and ranges from $2-$3 based on how high class your taste is. I’d have to say there aren’t too many places in the city you can get food and a beer for under $10. Although I’ve never tried their delivery service, friends who have say it is not very good. Your best bet is to go in for the full experience, but get there early cause it tends to get crowded.
1268 Grant Avenue – http://www.kingofthainoodlehouse.com/
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