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.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

YOUR WEEKLY DIGESTION OF FOOD NEWS TO CONSUME

Yes, I went back to Big Chef Tom's Belly Burgers, because well, they are really good. This time around I took the SO so he could experience the juiciness. We went for the All-American--a pork belly patty with sliced green apple, cheddar cheese and rosemary mayo on a toasted buttered bun. Sounds odd, but it all worked better than I expected. Tasty meat, tangy apples and cheddar and the nice hint of rosemary blended seamlessly to make this a yummy burger. I can see why it is a bestseller on their menu. Another visit another winner for Chef Tom. Either that or I'm just addicted to pork belly burgers. Either way, each time I go, every bite I've had has been delicious. This really is my new favorite burger place and I am picking this over SOMA StrEat Food Park whenever I'm in the area, it is only a couple blocks over. So if you are ever in the area and aren't thrilled by any of the food truck choices, skip on over to Big Chef Tom's and get a pork belly burger. Choose one of the main menu ones as they are tried and true and their flavors are proven to be tasty. The special burger flavors they feature can sometimes be hit or miss as far as coming together taste wise, but the pork belly burger itself will always be a winner. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

THE MILL...TRYING THE (NOT QUITE) $4 TOAST AND HATING MYSELF THROUGH EVERY BITE

Much has been made of The Mill and it's $4 toast since that notorious post went up last year. But here we are over a year later and The Mill is going gang-busters, serving up coffee and loaves of bread to folks along the Divisadero corridor. A street that has not only gotten a makeover but has become a place to venture to get a decent bite to eat. From Ragazza to Nopa to Bar Crudo and so on. The street and neighborhood have become gentrified over the last few years and it's sort of a Noe Valley meets Marina hood where mommies push strollers wearing yoga pants and ponytails. All while hipsters stand around and drink their coffee in too tight peg leg pants and flannel--when it's near 70 degrees outside. Be that as it may, I finally decided to venture over and try this famed toast since I figured the hubbub had died down enough so that I could get in and out without much fuss. Herewith then folks is my journey to The Mill.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

BALOMPIE CAFE...I'M JUST HERE FOR THE PAPUSAS

Some of the small restaurants in the Mission have been there for ages. They are small madre y padre places featuring authentic foods from their native countries. There are so many it seems difficult to try them all, or even get back to some once you have tried it. The food is usually good and affordable. I've hit up any number of these places over the years, but since I don't live near there anymore, sometimes returning can be a haul. Every now and then I do get an opportunity to revisit an old favorite and recently I had the chance dine at Balompie Cafe for the first time in a really long time.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

YOUR WEEKLY DIGESTION OF FOOD NEWS TO CONSUME....AND SOME JUNK FOOD JUNKIE REVIEW

Oh Walgreen's you slay me! Like several other stores in town, our ever present Walgreen's drugstore has been going through a makeover the last year or so and is trying to be your one stop quick shop for literally everything. They are also reaching out to the grab/eat/go crowd with their own food imprint called "de-lish". It's their house brand name that covers any food related product--like generic but dressed up with catchy design. Part of this new brand included a couple new refrigerated dessert offerings like the ever present red velvet cake. It's a square two layer cake with icing packaged in a little plastic container for $2.99. I was in a Walgreen's one day when I had a sweet tooth attack and saw this little cube calling my name from across the room. At first I was dubious but I bought it anyway. Right off the bat, after one bite, I actually liked it. Yeah, I know, crazy right. The cake was moist and there were basically two pretty thick layers of cream cheese icing. I even checked the label to make sure this was real and yep, there it was right in the ingredients. Though I would suggest if you are health conscious in any way to not read the label on this. It's best to either just eat and enjoy or not eat at all, there is no in-between here. The cover says real vanilla used and no artificial ingredients, but you know, red dye kind of is, so I'll personally just ignore it all. The cake also has the right flavor of being chocolate cake with red food color added instead of some white cake that looks bright red. (Always pass those by they are imitators!) Added bonus, even with all the stuff in it, it doesn't taste too terribly sweet either. Thus it won't make your teeth hurt, but your waistline might complain a bit. As an admitted junk food junkie, on occasion, I'll say this satisfied a spur of the moment sweet tooth moment. Would I always want this? No, but when the feeling hits and ones choices are limited, I like to keep this in my back pocket as an option since I can usually find a Walgreen's open when other places aren't.

Friday, November 14, 2014

HRD COFFEE SHOP....REVAMPED, REMODELED, REVISITED

Things change. It's a statement that conveys the ever evolving landscape of dining in San Francisco. We may hem and haw and not like it, but inevitably our favorites come and go or remake themselves into sort of the same but still different than what we remember or loved about them. Nowhere is this more evident than in the recent makeover of HRD Coffee Shop.


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

MISSION BEACH CAFE.....FORGET BRUNCH!....IT'S DINNER AND DESSERT!

Brunch, it's not something I usually get to these days, especially in San Francisco. Since it is still all the rage there are just too many people waiting for a table to eat eggs. I can make those at home. One place that gets a lot of brunch play is Mission Beach Cafe. It's a place that's been around awhile and has a good reputation, but for one reason or another I just never made it there. Recently Miss O and I had our schedules converge and since she lives round the corner from the place we decided to hit it up for dinner.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

YOUR WEEKLY DIGESTION OF FOOD NEWS TO CONSUME.....AS COOKIE WEEK CRUMBLES TO A CLOSE

I was at The Mill and decided to forgo the "toast" (I'm saving that for some other time) and opted for trying some of their cookies. The chocolate chip with sea salt (it is all the rage) and the cherry chocolate. They were $2.50 and as you can see both fit on the bag, which means they weren't all that big and you know how I feel about that. The chocolate chip was decent enough, some pretty large chunks throughout, a tad too much crunch on the outside, softer in the middle, but a bit on the thin side for me. It was, however, the better of the two. I had hopes for the cherry chocolate, those are two things I like together. Sadly, the cookie was sticky, gummy when it should have been chewy, gooey. Plus I only came across one cherry, so there wasn't optimal distribution to give you the flavor. And that one cherry was like a sticky paste with only the barest hint of cherry flavor I was craving. The whole cookie was just off, which is too bad, I wanted to like it but it wasn't good. I couldn't even finish it and let's face it, if I can't finish a cookie, something must be wrong. I think these just go further in proving my point that an expensive cookie isn't always better. You'd think a place that bakes bread would have the baking part down but in this case, not so much. I'd say just stick to the loaves and coffee if you go and get your cookie fix from somewhere else. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

ANTHONY'S COOKIES IN THE MISSION....COOKIE WEEK GOES POPULIST

Do any internet search on best cookies in San Francisco and you will get a varying list of names. Though one name does show up on pretty much every list--Anthony's Cookies. They've been around since 1997 and I've heard their name bandied about over the years but hadn't found the time/made the effort/gotten my lazy butt over to where they are waaaay down Valencia past 25th street. That's like Outer Mission almost all the way to Bernal Heights--I mean that's all the way on the other side of town from where I'm at, totes not convenient peeps. I love a good cookie as much as the next folk but, ugh, all the way over there? Yeah, I know, suck it up and go. And that's just exactly what I did to keep this cookie week going.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

YOUR WEEKLY DIGESTION OF FOOD NEWS TO CONSUME...AND STILL SOME COOKIE WEEK

Now THAT'S  a big ass cookie! And I'm not just talking about the picture. This lovely chocolate chip handful and a half is brought to you by Sweet Inspiration in the Castro. Normally I hit this place up for their well icing'd slices of cake, this time I decided to snack on one of their cookies, which are all made in-house. At $2.25 it's a good price for a really big cookie. For the most part it is also a pretty tasty cookie. Not too sweet, crispy around the edges, slightly soft as you get towards the middle, pleasant small notes of brown sugar. Though for the size I do think they need to up the chocolate chip quotient. When things are this big sometimes there can be an issue with coverture and the chips don't spread out as evenly as you'd like. You move from large pockets of chocolate to areas where there isn't anything. So not a chocolate in every bite thing. Plus, me personally, I like my cookies just a tad chewy, gooey-er than this was. Still, overall it's a decent cookie for the price and I don't think you be dissatisfied with flavor. It hits enough of the right notes to make it worth a try if you are in the hood and craving a not so light sweet bite. It's big enough to share or have some now and save some for later--if you are that kind of person. Me, I just ate it all in one sitting, cause I'm that kind of person. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

TOUT SWEET PATISSERIE...COOKIE WEEK MINI REVIEW

I don't necessarily go in search of cookies, well, not always. Sometimes I just stumble across them while conducting my daily business. Most times if it is some place I've not tried before I'll plop down my dough and give them a shot. Such was the case with Tout Sweet Patisserie. It's not a new place and I'm not talking about the space open at Macy's downtown. I'm talking about their small pop-up tent that hits the farmer's markets at the Ferry Building on some days. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

OVER THE MOON ICE CREAM & COOKIES....IT MUST BE ABOUT THE ICE CREAM...COOKIE WEEK EDITION

Any readers of this blog know I am all about the dessert, though not usually about the ice cream as dessert. Too creamy, too runny, not filling enough. I like my desserts with heft and one of my favorite eats is a cookie. I've tried a lot over the years all over this town with varying degrees of delight and distaste. One day I was strolling through the Embarcadero and came across Over the Moon Ice Cream & Cookies and thought, well, I'm not big on the ice cream but let's give the cookies a shot.

 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

YOUR WEEKLY DIGESTION OF FOOD NEWS TO CONSUME...AND WELCOME TO COOKIE WEEK!!

What makes a cookie $3? I often find myself asking this question as I eat around town and come across places selling cookies. These days, cookies are everywhere. From bakeries to donut shops to lunch spots to restaurants. All of varying degrees and prices. Usually the $3 tag is something I only see at "specialty" places where they offer it up as "organic", "locally produced", "sea salt", etc. Really sometimes these are just buzzwords to get you to spend more. See places like Craftsmen and Wolves and the like. I don't mind paying $3 if the cookie is worth it and part of that comes down to size also. Take the cookie above for instance. I got this at the new Samovar Tea Lounge location on Valencia street. Overall it is a perfectly decent cookie. A little crispness around the outside, chewy towards the middle, chocolate mostly throughout and a sprinkle of sea salt and brown sugar on top. A pleasant salty sweet treat. Is it $3 worthy? Eh, not so much. Even if they do use Valrhona chocolate, organic sea salt and what not. These things aren't that uncommon in town and honestly no longer make a cookie a special thing. Sort of that concept that if everyone is doing it then it isn't so special anymore. I would say the sugar on top was unnecessary and the cookie as a whole was a tad overdone. Plus it was about the size of my palm and not thick but thin. Thus when taking this into consideration and comparing it to other cookies around town I'd say this is more a $2-ish cookie, still a smidge high maybe, but passable in San Francisco pricing terms. The upshot of this for me is that special ingredients don't always make it "special". When it all comes down to it, taste is the most important thing and you can make just as good a cookie with proper baking and Nestle Toll House chocolate as with anything else. Cookies don't need to be pricey to be good, they just need to be baked right.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

YOUR WEEKLY DIGESTION OF FOOD NEWS TO CONSUME...AND A LITTLE KAKIAGE

Delica is not the most budget friendly option at the Ferry Building, some things can be pricey. However, they do have one item I really like a lot, it's called a kakiage tempura. Yes, one of the overriding reasons I probably like it is because it's deep fried, but beside that, it's a mixture of edamame, burdock, carrots, onions and shrimp in a tempura batter. It's crunchy and tasty and because there is shrimp and vegetables I can at least humor myself it is somewhat healthy-ish. Plus I think it is somewhat a bargain. At $4 a pop it is densely packed with veggies and shrimp and is larger than the biggest cupcakes you can get around town--see, I'm trading in a sweet for this instead so it's good for me!. If I'm not real hungry but want something a little substantial without too much bread (cause there are plenty of bready things at Ferry Building), I gravitate toward this bundle of crunchiness. It hits the spot without too much guilt or strain on the wallet.

Friday, October 17, 2014

FOOD TRUCK QUICK BITE: MOBOWL....NO LARRY OR CURLY HERE...HANGING AT GFOOD TRUCK LOUNGE

Earlier this year a new food truck park opened it's doors (gates?) just down the road from my abode, it's called the GFood Truck Lounge. I'd been meaning to try it for sometime now but their hours are just for lunch, which was hard to make not working in the hood and all. But, alas, things change and my new assignment has crap days off, though they are during the week which at least now afforded me the opportunity to stop by and check the place out.


It's a long narrow space with about 5 trucks and beer/other drinks building thing at the back. Oh, and did I mention it's directly under the freeway? Yeah, that's right, under a bridge/on ramp. Which is great when it rains, but it is LOUD. So if you can get past that part you'll be fine. The picture above is a bit deceiving because it does get crowded in the space. And while there are some places to sit there aren't really enough to go around and it looked like many folks come by, get food and leave. Me I decided to just brave the noise, pick a truck and hang out.

Since there weren't many choices and I had already tried 2 of the trucks I ended up zeroing in on something called MoBowl--meals in a bowl to go--how appropriate.

Monday, October 13, 2014

SOUVLA....GETTING GREEK-ISH IN HAYES VALLEY

I like a good gyro sandwich, it's like the Greek version of a burrito, a quick fast sandwich that in my cost conscious cheapskate state of mind shouldn't cost you more than $6 or $7. Like high end tacquerias, my eyes just kind of roll when an upscale-ish gyro sandwich opens up. This was the case when I saw news of a place opening in Hayes Valley called Souvla claiming to bring fast casual Greek food to the area, but at prices not all that casual. Of course it sort of helps them that Hayes and Kebab closed down to make way for another mixed use apartment complex in the area leaving them with a corner on the gyro market as it were. Like most food things in this town I still tried to keep an open mind and figured next time I was in the area I would at least walk by and see what it was all about. Well, that time came and I figured I was there so I may as well give it a shot.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

YOUR WEEKLY DIGESTION OF FOOD NEWS TO CONSUME

What could be better than cheese and bread? Ok, well, I'm sure for some folks they can think of things but for basics like these, the two go really well together. Like, for instance, the sourdough cheese wheel from Acme Bread Company at the Ferry Building. A rounded twist of sourdough bread with tangy parmesan and other cheeses baked around and on top. I like the sharp flavors of both the dough and the cheese. It's a pretty big wheel for $2.55, not too bad a deal for Ferry Building pricing. I would say my one thing is I wish I could get this heated up/warm. Sometimes sourdough can get--chewy--if it sits around a bit. Other than that it makes a nice treat with a hot tea (or coffee) while you walk around either at breakfast or lunch time. But I've had several bread/baked things from Acme and you really can't go wrong with whatever you get. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

FOOD STALL(?) QUICK BITE: DONNA'S TAMALES

These days I have a job that puts me in the vicinity of the Ferry Plaza Building and every Tuesday and Thursdays, for now, they do sort of a limited version of their traditional Saturday farmer's market.  It features a handful of fruit and veggie vendors along with a small array of local food vendors including Wise Sons, Tacolicious, 4505 Meats to name a few. One recent Tuesday I wandered amongst the stalls and, but had already sampled most of the places before. Thus by process of elimination I ended up making my way to Donna's Tamales tent/stall/booth to see what they had to offer.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

YOUR WEEKLY DIGESTION OF FOOD NEWS TO CONSUME

Just For You is a cafe in Dogpatch with a New Orleans flair that is mostly known for brunch and it's beignets, which are good, but I'm here to praise the cornbread. As a born/raised Southerner I've had my fair share of cornbread in many forms and guises. From muffins to casserole topping to loaves to ones shaped like corn cobs and even some used as shortcake substitute. I've also tried pretty much everyone in this town and for me the overriding theme has usually been 'DRY'. However, having had Just For You's version on more than my fair share of occasions, I will say they do one of the best in town. It's tasty, moist and served warm which is the way I like as this allows me to smother it in all kinds of butter to my hearts delight. You get a nice big square that is corny and dense in all the right ways with a lovely golden brown crust on top and soft crumbliness inside that just absorbs the butter right up. To be honest I usually go through about 6-8 pats, which is bad for the cholesterol but yummy in the mouth. This is just straight up cornbread the way it should be. Next time you go, skip the biscuit or toast choice and try a slab of the cornbread instead, totally worth it. And if they seem to be running low on butter, it means I was probably there right before you. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

UNO DOS TACOS IN THE FIDI DISTRICT...NOT QUITE THE SUPER DUPER BURGER OF TACOS IT WANTS TO BE

Taquerias are a dime a dozen in this town, ranging from high end to low end depending on what part of the city you are in. Whenever I see a new one open I sometimes wonder why. They are becoming as ubiquitous as Starbucks. It seems folks think there is no end to San Franciscans love of some quick Mexican food. Into this mix comes Adriano Paganini of Super Duper Burger (and a few other places) fame with Uno Dos Tacos--sort of a mix of Super Duper meets Chipotle as it were.