Thursday, January 29, 2015

FOOD TRUCK QUICK BITE: SEOUL OF TAIPEI...I'M GUESSING IT'S FUSION?

Holiday weekends are odd--Saturdays feel like Friday, Sundays seem amiss and Mondays feel like Sunday. That was the case a few weeks ago when me and the SO were out and about and starting to feel the need for food. We hit upon jaunting by SOMA StrEatFood Park to see what was going on. Turns out, not a lot. There were maybe five trucks operating and at first it seemed a little weird then I was like, oh yeah, it's a Monday night, not the weekend. Since the choices were few and I'd been to most of them already, me and the SO actually were able to agree on trying a new we hadn't seen called Seoul of Taipei, I think it was the fries covered in stuff that caught both our attentions on the menu.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

OUTERLANDS....ALL THE WAY OUT TO OCEAN BEACH FOR A MEAL?

San Francisco is a city of only 49 or so square miles, though when you are thinking of going out for a bite to eat, you have a tendency to stick relatively close to home because driving and parking in this town suck and riding MUNI most anywhere really sucks. Every now and then however, me and the SO manage to pull it all together and make actual reservations to try a place that's gotten raves and is quite literally on the other side of the city from where we live. In this instance I mean Outerlands. While many folks know this as a go to brunch spot for the Sunset set, they have recently expanded the restaurant and are doing the full on dinner service. So on a recent Sunday night we made our 30 minute way across town to give them a try.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

YOUR WEEKLY DIGESTION OF FOOD NEWS TO CONSUME..LOADED WITH SUGAR AND BUTTER

Neighbor Bakehouse just opened up a store front recently in the Dogpatch neighborhood and of course I was all over that. The seem to run out of things so depending on when you get there the choices could be more or less. On my recent foray they were starting to run low but I managed to zero in on what would normally be called a kouign amain, though when I said that, the girl behind the counter would call it that directly, she said it was more a variation on it and different from that other famous one you can get here in town. At $3.50 a pop my first thought was it's a little on the pricey side but once I got it, I completely changed my mind. It's a very heavy, dense, fried-like pastry bun full of caramelized sugar. It kind of reminded me of those apple fritter things you find at Happy Donuts and for me, that's a good thing. You can peel off flaky bits that are sweet, buttery and yummy to the tongue. While there is a possibility it was next to or baked with something that had rosemary in it, I was almost sure I could taste hints of that in the dough. Again, for me, not really a bad thing. It was very light and and seemed to compliment the sweetness of the bun. Who knows? Maybe my taste buds were just imagining it, either way, I did like the small notes of whatever it was. The only small thing was some of the sugar had hardened so much around parts of the bottom that it was a little too sticky, crunchy and hard to chew. Other than that I really liked this sweet bun and it could become one of my favorite go to desserts whenever I'm in the Dogpatch hood. Though seems like I'd have to go early to make sure I get one and sometimes laziness can prevent that. But if I'm near and I can then I will. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

DOUGHBIES COOKIES ON DEMAND...BECAUSE I WANT THEM NOW! NOW! NOW!

Cookies on demand, delivered to my door within 20 minutes because I want them right now? Seems kind of like a joke and a little preposterous, but that is exactly what Doughbies sets out to be for the I want it now generation. Yes, just like Veruca Salt. Seemed like an odd thing to be as a start-up, in addition to a limited selection and a strange business model. Being the consummate cookie fiend I am I was totally game to give them a try and see if my cookie dreams would come true.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

YOUR WEEKLY DIGESTION OF FOOD NEWS TO CONSUME...AND MORE VEGAN DESSERTS!

I continued my tour of Peeples vegan pastry choices by going all in on the biggest thing I saw--this sweet potato bun/roll thing ($3.25). It was quite heavy. When I got it home I sliced it open (see below) and you can almost tell how dense it is. On my first bite I tried to get half bun half iced topping to get the full on effect. My initial reaction, it was a little dry. Beyond that it was sweet, the texture was okay and not "different" like last weeks donut. I took another bite, yep, still a little dry, though I can just taste the sweet potato. I do think that flavor needed to be kicked up some. The icing on top was also supposed to be sweet potato but really just tasted like plain powdered sugar icing. Eh, I didn't hate but did feel like something was missing. That's when I had the brilliant idea to heat it up just a touch in the microwave. A little 30 second blip and voila- it did taste a little better warm, still dry and still feeling like it was missing something. Of course me next reaction just pointed up the total Southern in as, yes, I reached for the butter. You are right, suddenly that little smear makes it no longer vegan, but it also brought an extra flavor and life to the bun that it was sorely missing. Without it, the bun is okay and cooking a little less could help the dryness, but really even just the smallest bit of butter took this to another level. Enough so that I would actually get it again, heat it up, spread on the butter love and enjoy away. Vegan diss? No, more my personal taste profile than to being totally opposed to anything vegan. I did try the vegan thing for a full year in college (isn't that when we all try new things?) but ultimately I did miss, not meat, but butter and cheese. Final thought--sweet potato bun/roll thing is worth a try to see what you think--butter not included. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

BUSTER'S SOUTHERN BARBECUE IN CALISTOGA...THEY'VE GOT YOU SMOKED

When you are wine tasting (drinking heavily) in Napa, it's always good to stay fed in order to have something to soak up all that sweet alcohol. Of course, if you are going to be paying for tastings, you don't necessarily want to be be dropping a wad for food at every meal. It's best to find some affordable place that has some decent food and will fill you up heartily so you can get back onto the wine trail. In searching out places to eat I'm always drawn to barbecued meats and if I see smoke coming from a grill I'm gonna wanna stop and try. Such was the case with Buster's Southern Barbecue in Calistoga.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

ARCHETYPE IN ST HELENA...MAYBE I JUST NEEDED MORE WINE

Napa Valley, these days it's where tourists go when they want to experience "wine country". For those of us who've lived in SF awhile, you find yourself expanding to other areas with wineries and vineyards like Sonoma, Paso Robles and even Livermore (I know but look it up). Recently, the SO and I decided to get away for a few days and go old-school kitschy tourists and see what was up in Napa/St. Helena/Calistoga these and maybe hit up some populist wineries like Beringer and Sutter Home (ooo...pink zinfandel!). Besides some silly winery fun and drink it was also an opportunity to try some new eating places, though sadly no French Laundry as they are currently closed for a remodel, oh well. That still left plenty of other places to try, the first of which was a sort of revamped place. It was originally called French Blue, but new management has rechristened it Archetype and revamped the menu. They've had 8 months to work out the kinks so seemed like a good time to go.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

YOUR WEEKLY DIGESTION OF FOOD NEWS TO CONSUME

Vegan, it conjures up so many images where food is concerned, sometimes not in a good way. Particularly for me where desserts are concerned. I want my eggs, butter and what not to make things all yummy, tasty, creamy, whatever. There are a few places in town that cater to all things vegan and several do dessert foods, though I usually just roll the eyes and think if I'm gonna eat sweets I'm gonna go all in. One such place that has a location in the Ferry Building is Peeples Donuts. I've walked by it on numerous occasions but just kept on going. I couldn't bring myself to try them. Then one day I find myself in Rainbow Grocery (don't ask) and see they have a selection of things from Peeples. I shrug and think WTF, why not get some and try it. At $2.25 a pop (kind of expensive for a donut to me) I survey the goods and try to get the biggest one they have (that doesn't have coconut on it) and zero in on what appears to be a lemon poppy seed as the labeling at the store was a bit off. It feels pretty heavy and dense and the bright yellow you see in the pic is exactly the day-glow color it was to the eye. I cut it open (see below) and it is a very dense, cakey donut. The lemon poppy seed flavor is only found in the icing on top, which immediately comes off when you bite into it. The lemon flavor is tangy but not very lemony, almost tastes fake, and the poppy seeds add nothing at all as they are too few to make a difference. As for the the donut itself, it had a nice crunchy outside, but the inside borders slightly on the dry side. Plus for some reason, when I first bit into it, the first flavor that came to my taste buds minds was cornbread. Can't tell you why, but that is the flavor profile I got. Not unpleasant mind you, just unexpected in a donut. Texture wise it was denser than an old fashioned, which is about as dense a donut as you'll find. It wasn't terrible, just a bit off. It was more like I was eating a biscuit as opposed to a donut and I would need a touch of a mind re-set to enjoy it. Maybe if the flavors had been infused through the thing I might feel differently, as is, not sure this would be something I'd get again since for the cost it didn't knock my dessert socks off. Alas, I was undaunted though as I did get another of Peeples treats to try and I'll review it in next weeks food news. 



Thursday, January 8, 2015

THE MELT IS SERVING BURGERS NOW BECAUSE......

The Melt came on the scene in a bright flash. Founded by a techie who made a lot of cash by selling his company, they set out to be The Chipotle of grilled cheese sandwiches. You know, because that is what the people were clamoring for, right? Well, here we are a few years on, and most of the locations have "temporarily" closed while they reconfigure their menu, operations, brand, whatever, and relaunch touting both their previous grilled cheese and now their addition of burgers to the menu. While many of the restaurants are not up and running yet, the original spot, which I visited way back when, has reopened with the burger menu available. So, of course, I found time to stop by and see if there was any fuss to be made of yet another burger joint in San Francisco.

Monday, January 5, 2015

TAP (415) BRINGS HIGH END BEER JOINT TO THE MALL

I'm still in that mall mode to start the new year. This time I'm hanging out at The Westfield. Well, not really hanging out, more like me and the SO just saw a movie, we are hungry, it's raining outside and we don't want to go far to get some grub. Yeah, we are lazy like that. Instead of heading down to the basement to eat I vaguely remember that some new places opened up on the top level of the place right under the dome. Of the new joints there, I wasn't in a Chinese food mood so instead we hit up this place called Tap (415).

Monday, December 29, 2014

ANDA PIROSHKI.....RUSSIAN HOTPOCKETS IN THE HAIGHT'S SECOND ACT MARKETPLACE

The rise of the food scene in San Francisco has led many folks to try and get their foothold into its ever burgeoning popularity. Along with the wealth of options around town, purveyors and property owners have gotten creative in finding new ways to offer a variety of up and coming chefs and cooks to the populists appetite. One new way to serve up different foods is what I'll call a re-invention of the food court. They've come out of the shadows of malls and are stand alone entities on their own. Places like Cortland Marketplace, The Hall, the soon to open Market Hall and Second Act Marketplace to name a few. It was on a recent trip to Amoeba Music in the Haight that I stumbled across Second Act, a tiny space with a handful of food stalls.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

YOUR WEEKLY DIGESTION OF FOOD NEWS TO CONSUME....HOLIDAY EDITION


Yikes! The holidays are a busy time, particularly when you work retail like I do. Thus my chance to sit down and do the food blog run slim and I don't get to post as often as I would normally like. Thus, right before Christmas rolls in, I'm rolling out this expanded food news edition along with a mini-review to tide things over until the madness subsides and I can get my act and schedule regular again. So, last time I went by Starbucks and got Xmas cookies so why not give Peet's equal opportunity for tempting me with some holiday fare. As I wandered into this particular Peet's I did see some Christmas cookies but they were the standard sugar cookie with colored crystal sprinkles on them, not iced frosting, and I just wasn't feeling them. Then what to my wandering eye should appear but this lovely gingerbread loaf with cream cheese icing and candied ginger pieces. With my taste buds alight I plopped down my $2.35 and asked for the piece that looked like the biggest. With greedy delight I grabbed my slice and settled in for a bite of my treat. 

It's a hefty, hearty piece that falls well within my value range for the money. One bite in and you taste the moistness of this filling bread. There is a lovely snap of ginger through out, though I could stand just a tad more to really kick it up. The cream cheese is tasty, not too sweet smear across the top and for me any addition of cream cheese frosting is most definitely a plus. Sadly, loafs are not like cake so the frosting is just across the top and adds a nice touch, but in my fantasy it is smeared like butter across a piece of toast. I think I'd have to make my own for that, oh well. I liked the addition of candied ginger on top even though weirdly I'm not the biggest fan of it. Yeah, I know, I like gingerbread and things with ginger in it but something about eating straight up ginger can be harsh and bitter even when candied. Still it wasn't over the top and just a few bits. For the most part this is a good piece of gingerbread loaf that will fill the void when you get that craving for a holiday treat. It also helps that there are a number of Peet's around the Bay Area, not as many as Starbucks, but still enough you could find one to pop into and pick up a slice. It's a soft, moist piece of spiced cake with enough cream cheese frosting to make it interesting. It is a holiday seasonal thing for them so if you are interested you'll need to get by before it is gone and then it will be back to citrus loaf and banana bread. All well and good, but they are no gingerbread! Happy Holidays all!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

BRENDA'S MEAT & THREE...SERVING IT UP DOWN HOME STYLE ON DIVISADERO

Brenda's French Soul Food has been a staple in this town for some time. It's quite the popular spot as evidenced by the lines waiting to get in, that's what happens when you put out good food and don't take reservations. As waiting in line for something is like a right of passage in San Francisco. For whatever reasons, the folks at Brenda's hadn't done much about expanding--that is until recently. Suddenly they've opened up a cafe/coffee shop/store a few doors down called Libby Jane and in the last couple months they've taken over the old Blue Jay Cafe (websites seem not to go away) space and turned it into Brenda's Meat & Three (some websites need to be worked out). I like the original, so when I heard about this outpost I was interested in giving it a try to see what if any differences there would be between the places.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

YOUR WEEKLY DIGESTION OF FOOD NEWS TO CONSUME...JUNK FOOD HOLIDAY COOKIE JUNKIE

It's holiday cookie madness I tell ya'! Your standing in line for you vente double latte mocha frappa whatever and there they are, staring right at you, calling your name. "It's Christmas! Eat me!" With their snowy white frosting and chocolate hats. And that's what I do. I plop down my $2 and change and grab a Christmas snowman cookie to go so I can eat it in private shame. After gobbling it down while walking to work (yes! exercising and eating at the same time!) I can honestly say--it didn't suck. The cookie is not as sweet as you'd think with that icing. It's kind of a semi-sweet sugar cookie without the sprinkling of sugar baked into it. It's more like a thin shortbread with a layer of frosting. The cookie was crispy and crumbly but not so much so that it left a trail of crumbs on your shirt. The frosting was just thick enough to also not overpower the cookie. All in all, for a mass produced cookie, it won't too bad. Being the junk food junkie I can be, I'd say this is probably the perfect compliment to whichever coffee or tea you get at Starbucks. It's also a bigger than my hand sized cookie for under $3 which you know in my book is a big plus. Overall flavor is decent, though it mostly just tastes like a basic Christmas cookie. There wasn't anything that made me go wow, but for what it is and where I got it, it was fine. And yes, if I was there getting something and was in a cookie mood, I'd probably go holiday and get the snowman again. It was just good enough to fulfill my sweet tooth craving--at the moment. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

FEASTLY....DINING WITH STRANGERS COMES OUT IN THE OPEN

Me and the SO have been doing the underground dining scene for quite some time now. Groups like Ghetto Gourmet, Canvas Underground and Wild Kitchen/ForageSF have been around for awhile. Used to be you'd see a listing on Craigslist or something which led you to a website where you put in an email address to get on a secret list. When dinners were announced you'd get a notice and then send your credit card info to some stranger. From there you would get an email the morning of the day of the meal about the location which could be anything from a fish monger warehouse to a closed down taqueria to a house in a sometimes slightly sketchy neighborhood. Then you would show up with wine in hand and be treated to a multi course dinner of surprising food with folks you don't know. Dinner with strangers.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

TWO FISH BAKING COMPANY..FROM SEA RANCH TO SOMA IT'S PIZZA/COOKIE TIME!

I'm trying to remember what great person said "you can never have enough bakeries"--oh wait, that was me. I mean really, you just can't. As the seasons progress in San Francisco, more do seem to be opening, though sadly, many of them are not necessarily convenient to those of us who live in SOMA. Fortunately, or maybe hopefully, the tide is beginning to turn as a popular Bay Area fave, whose original location is up at The Sea Ranch, has opened a small outpost in the hood and we now have our very own Twofish Baking Company. (Though their hours are strictly M-F 7:30am-3:30pm right now, I have hopes they will try some Saturday hours soon, fingers crossed.)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

YOUR WEEKLY DIGESTION OF FOOD NEWS TO CONSUME...THE GERMAN SCHNITZEL EDITION

This is schnitzel from Little Red Riding Truck. They are a German inspired food truck that hits up various spots around the Bay Area. I checked them out on a visit to SOMA StrEat Food Park one day as I found myself in the mood for something fried. And what better way to go fried and German than with schnitzel. Pounded pork tenderloin, battered and pan fried, served with a choice of one topping, I went with bacon and onions, of course, and a side of french fries. First off I will say it was a bit on the overcooked side as you can even see the black burn marks on the breading. Plus it came off a little dry because of it. The onion bacon topping wasn't really hot, more room temperature, thus it was kind of a soggy glop on top of the meat, which didn't help things too much. This also came with fries (no choices there) which was odd as they do serve bacon fried potatoes with their bratwurst and I think that would have been a much better accompaniment to the schnitzel as opposed to fries. In this case it wouldn't have helped it be any less dry and flavorless, but they would have been better than the fries which were vastly under seasoned, salted, whatever. All around, sadly, it was just a big mess. And not a cheap one, roughly $12 for this. Oh well, that in and of itself is the joys and pitfalls of food trucks, sometimes the food is good and sometimes it isn't. Maybe I just caught them on a bad day or a not particularly good cook day, either way, it won't stop me from trying other trucks, though I will probably think twice or look harder at other choices before I pick Little Red Riding Truck again. Till then I'll just go to Walzwerk for my schnitzel fix.  

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

OVER THE RIVER AND DOWN 3RD STREET TO LONG BRIDGE PIZZA WE GO!

Vacation has long passed and it's time to get back into the pizza flow, because nothing says holiday like pizza--am I right? It's quick, it's easy, they deliver, it can be red and green--what more do you want? I'm diving right in with a new place that opened not long ago in the Dogpatch neighborhood called Long Bridge Pizza Co.

 

I have the occasion to run down 3rd every now and then and my nostrils had connected with the delicious baking smell wafting from their doors. Each time I ran by I thought, I gotta try this place sometime.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

HOLIDAY FOOD NEWS IS LIGHT...SO HERE'S A FILLING SCHULZIE'S BREAD PUDDING REVIEW!

Lots of folks take breaks during the holidays it seems so food news is on the slim side this week. Thus I'm expounding out and throwing in a review of dessert, since we all haven't eaten enough so far. In keeping the with holiday theme, sort of, I made a trek through Hayes Valley recently to check out Schulzies Bread Pudding.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

HOMESKILLET....SKETCHY TOWN GETS A BURGER JOINT

Let's be honest. As of right now even with all the changeover that is happening downtown, parts of Market Street are still--challenging. None more so than 6th and Market. It still has a way to go but it seems some folks are willing to take a chance where others have failed. Pearl's Deluxe Burgers originally had the spot on this colorful corner but gave up the goat and not soon after the place was taken over by Homeskillet. A place that is like Pearl's meets Dottie's True Blue Cafe--which just happens to be around the corner.