Archive | August, 2011


8 Aug

The food truck craze is thriving in San Francisco and is personified by Off the Grid, which are these organized food truck parties all around the city. They’re even expanding outside SF to San Mateo and Berkeley. A couple weeks ago, Off the Grid hit the Financial District for lunch at St. Mary’s square. One of my coworkers had not yet heard of Off the Grid and was amped to check it out. We left the office early (11:30) to march up the hill and try to beat some of the lines. There are four trucks that come for lunch every Monday now at St. Mary’s park. Of the options available, we quickly decided that we needed to try Brass*Knuckle. I’ve seen this food truck at the Fort Mason Off the Grid events, but never tried it.

We all decided to get the same thing, although in hindsight, we probably should’ve diversified our choices so we could try more of the menu. We all ordered the Notorious P.I. G. This is one awesome sandwich. It’s a Cuban sandwich – roasted pork with a parsley herb spread, ham, swiss cheese all served on a rosemary waffle. Yes, a waffle sandwich. It’s absolutely delicious. We also indulged in the crack bar, which we split three-ways (thank God). This is one good dessert; A cocoa dusted peanut butter and salted caramel bar. Yes, it is like crack. This was quite a hefty lunch, afterwards we were all suffering from slight food comas and had to check in on each other to make sure we were all still awake at 2PM.

Brass Knuckle has music themed names for their dishes like Fryin Maiden (fried chicken), MC Hammer (pork sandwich with mac & cheese) and Prawns & Roses (prawn taco). They tend to be at Off the Grid – Fort Mason on Friday nights, and you can find out their schedule through their website or follow them on twitter @brassknucklesf. Given that my coworker is now into Off the Grid, I’m sure there will be many more food truck inspired posts to come from our Monday excursions.



Mission Cheese

5 Aug

I know the title of this blog is Beyond Cheese, but for one post, I’m sticking to cheese. Mission Cheese recently opened on Valencia Street in the Mission and being the cheese obsessed Wisconsonite that I am, I had to check it out while I was in the neighborhood. I was ironically with my other born-and-bred-Wisconsin friend, Leah, and we decided that the Midwest cheese plate, was necessary. I mean, in my mind, anything that comes from Wisconsin (or Midwest for that matter), has to be good, right?

The cheese was downright good. We could taste that this was some good cheese and even better was that their cheese monger walked us through each of the cheeses, which made our experience even more enjoyable. There’s very few cheeses I come across I don’t like, but I’d give the selection high marks. All the cheese served at Mission Cheese is from the US, so you’re not going to find any French or Spanish cheeses on this menu, which is okay. Buy American. Along with your plate comes a hefty serving of bread and a nice little cup of pickles.We also decided to order the mac and cheese, which was good, but maybe put us into cheese overload. I also think that adding something to the mac and cheese or having add-in options would’ve made it even better.

For me, this is the kind of place you stop in for a snack and drink, not a dinner spot. It’s more a place for bites to be shared with friends than to indulge in a full meal.  Mission Cheese is a really tiny spot; so if you’re headed there during primetime, expect a wait. We snuck in early on a Saturday for a late afternoon snackafter spending the day in Delores Park, and the cheesy goodness hit the spot. Mission Cheese has a handful of beers on tap and wine, although I have to be honest and say I didn’t even look at the wine menu. I opted for the Drake Amber, which was really tasty and as an added bonus is served in a mason jar.

736 Valencia St. (between 18th and 19th) –


Tartine Bakery

2 Aug

I FINALLY made it over to Tartine. This has literally been on my “to-dine” list since I moved to San Francisco, so it’s about time I made it to the Mission to scratch this off my list. This place is popular and as with all good places, there’s a line outside the door and about 20 people deep. While waiting in line you can smell the fresh baked goodness and its enticing as hell. I mean I’m starving and these smells are making me dizzy with excitement. Tartine means buttered bread in French, but they definitely offer a whole lot more than bread and delicate pastries.

We’re getting close to the counter which I wish I could stand in front of for a good 15 minutes and just look, but the line must move, so I need to make a decision. Everything on the menu looks good but I eventually choose a slice of the vegetable quiche and a double pain au chocolate as a treat for later. With little effort, (thankfully) we found two seats at a communal table and anxiously waited for our food to arrive.

The vegetable quiche was quite good, loaded with squash and corn. I’m told the eggs are local, they have a nice light fluffiness. The crust is the most important part of a good quiche, and this is crust done well; but I would expect nothing less from an establishment with a reputation like Tartine’s. My friend ordered the Croque monsieur, which was fabulous. Secretly, I think her choice was better than mine! This open faced sandwich was layered with béchamel, gruyere, thyme, spicy turkey and tomato. Truly delicious. Looking around at others food picks at our table, everything looked good, but the next time I am definitely going to opt for the brioche bread pudding. It looked phenomenal.

We enjoyed some good conversation, sipped on a latte and prepared for a full day of eating, drinking and shopping in the neighborhood. The perfect Saturday in my mind, and Tartine got it started right for us. – 600 Guerrero St. San Francisco