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brunch/ Hawaiian/ San Francisco

Aina: SF Gets Lei’ed

San Francisco has its fair share of the latest Hawaiian craze sweeping through our cities, and I am all for this. Hawaiian cuisine has a lot of flavors that I love – island food (e.g. seafood, fresh fruits, etc.) with an overlay of Japanese influence. What’s great about āina is that they’ve taken their love of Hawaiian cuisine – with its attitude and welcoming aurora – and made it oh-so-very-SF by using seasonal ingredients to match.

Let’s dive in by talking about their spam masubi “ssam style”, using Stone Valley Farms whole hog spam, boston bibb lettuce, house-made kimchi, and short grain rice with egg yolk furikake (the seaweed sesame topping you see above). This delicious bite – or in my case, few bites worth – is delicious and awfully satisfying. The spam is unlike anything you get out of that can.

Let us not forget about one of the most important brunch time items – their Bloody Mary – made with lemongrass infused soju, charred tomato mix, fresh horseradish, pink peppercorn, and tabasco sauce. Fairly spicy and lightly tart, this drink finished with a savory taste that satisfies any hungry stomach as it waits for the next dish.

Then there’s the Malasadas, which was the epitome of you could imagine to be a Hawaiian doughnut. These three Portuguese style doughnuts coated in coconut sugar and filled with guava custard were fairly dense. It’s a great dish to share with friends given how easy it is to get full off of this; gotta make room for more later!

Here’s a dish where it’s obvious where the Hawaiian comes from – French toast made from taro bread served with apple wood smoked bacon, macadamia nut crumble, salted coconut caramel, fresh strawberries, and vanilla whipped cream. This dish is basically giving you hugs and kisses every time you take a bite, it is that good and comforting to your soul.

There’s their take on the loco moco, which became the kalbi version – braised kalbi short rib, smoked honshimeji mushroom jus, sunny side up eggs, hearts of palm pico de gallo, cilantro, short grain rice, and pea tendrils. The short rib is very tender, and salty which is nicely paired with some rice and egg to balance it all out.

Lastly, but not least, the Chicken katsu made of mary’s chicken, rolled omelet, vadouvan carrot purée, udon noodles, aïoli, katsu jelly, and grilled seasonal greens. This “bento set” blew my mind away, mostly due to their version of the Japanese potato salad; instead they used udon noodles and made it taste like how the potato salad would be but lighter! The omelet also incorporated furikake, added the umami element to the mix. I wish I could have this everyday.

I find myself wanting to head over to āina as often as I can, even if there is a wait (my personal limit is 45 minutes; I’ve generally been seated quicker than that here). With their love of using the land around them aka local ingredients, they fit right into the SF food scene and all the while, making sure you feel right at home in Hawaii.

āina
900 22nd St, San Francisco, CA 94107
No online reservations

Chinese/ dinner/ San Francisco

Mister Jiu’s: An Emergence of “New Chinese”

Chinese food is one of my comfort foods – give me a meal full of dumplings, noodle soups and rice dishes, and it’ll satiate my hunger and subdue any feelings of anger, frustration, and woe. Mister Jiu’s is a bit different than your normal MSG-filled Chinese restaurant around the corner. Even though they are located in the heart of San Francisco’s Chinatown, they’re making a new version of Chinese food, one that’s worth trying out and waiting for.

The photos will showcase dishes from the banquet and a la carte menu, so make sure to check out their seasonal menu prior to dining if you’re looking to have the same exact dish.

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Rice noodle roll (腸粉) with uni was a luxurious update to the traditional shrimp or pork filled noodle roll that you find at dim sum restaurants. The crepe felt as if it was very delicately made – silky smooth, not too oily – and worked well with the bits of creamy uni as it would slosh in your mouth.

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The charcuterie plate made of: Devil’s Gulch Pig Head, Chilled Beef Tendon, and La Quercia Cured Ham with fried dough (油條) is worth tasting. Like the traditional cold plates, it was served as an assortment and each cut with great balance between salt, meat and fat. The fried dough was not oily either, and only made me wish I had a bowl of porridge to go with it. Note: I’m also a huge fan of anything Devil’s Gulch so this won over my heart easily.

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A simple vegetable dish of tendrils, greens and stems was topped with uni mousse and pieces of uni. It was easy to scarf down this dish, with tender bites of vegetables mixed with intense umami flavors that sloshed around in your mouth.

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dinner/ Japanese/ San Francisco

Noodle in a Haystack: Creating Bowls of Ramen Delight

Inspiration can come from a number of sources and this pair of foodies is one of mine. Clint and Yoko, husband and wife, host Feastly meals highlighting their love for Japanese cuisine, more specifically ramen. Their goal is simple but challenging – to bring reliably good ramen to SF.

If anyone has lived in SF and is fairly obsessed with ramen, you’ll find our situation distressing; we have a plethora of Japanese restaurants/izakayas/ramen joints that have one or a combination of these traits:

  1. Expensive
  2. Long extended waits
  3. Just not “good” e.g. flavorful, extremely salty, dry meat, etc.
  4. Don’t make their eggs right (this makes me particularly angry)

How is it that in a city where there is over 30% Asians, this is this our reality?

Just moving back from Japan, Clint and Yoko missed ramen where finding a delicious bowl and access were never an issue. Unlike most of us, they did something about it. They made their own, and it’s awfully delicious.

They honor the traditional with the use specific Japanese ingredients and spices, often requiring them to scour SF markets for these items. In addition, being in the Bay Area, they take advantage of what’s around to make their interpretation of optimal delicious ramen. Sous vide meat? Yes. Incorporate Meyer lemon to lightly bring out citrus/sweetness to offset the fat in the broth? Oh yes.

Needless to say, every detail is carefully thought through – flavor, texture, presentation – with what reminds them of their experiences in Japan to their daily inspirations living in the Bay. They don’t hold back either e.g. their chicken skins may take up to two-three hours to make, their broth requires a multi-step process to gather umami flavors. The best part of this is, we get to enjoy what they passionately create for each bowl and dish. #winning.

Here are a few photos to help bring to life their welcoming and satiating meals.

Chicken-skin with ikura “deviled egg”

Mazemen

Shio ramen

Okinawa sugar panna cotta with kinako graham crackers

Show your support, and check out a meal with them. They host their dinners via Feastly in the Mission and Daly City. Relish in each bowl you eat, and guarantee you will leave wanting more on any given day.

dinner/ Japanese/ San Francisco

Ju-Ni: Serving Symphonies of Sushi

I’ve found one of my “ones”, and cannot wait to tell you about it.

Before going into the restaurant itself, I’d like to clarify what it takes to be a “one”. It’s not just about the food. The institution needs to be more than that: the environment – space, decor, lighting, plating – all play a role in establishing a harmonious experience; the sequencing of the meal itself; interactions and explanations from the chef and/or waitstaff weave in and out of conversation. Without sounding too out-of-the-world here, it’s about the orchestration of it all.

Ju-Ni is sushi restaurant and located in San Francisco (frankly, way more accessible to me than some other places in the area). It’s not the cheapest meal, starting at $95 for 12 piece nigiri omakase, and with a $35 three-piece supplement you are getting at $130 out of your pocket. Logistically, it’s gotten much more difficult to get reservations over the past few months with only 14 seats and two seatings per night – 6:00pm and 8:30pm.

Still totally worth it.

The traditional sushi dining experience is challenged at Ju-Ni, and updated to suit a new generation of sushi chefs in the Bay Area. The dialogue that happens between you and their staff is welcomed and encouraged, going against the notion of placing a sushi chef onto a pedestal and marveling him from afar (think Jiro from “Jiro Dreams of Sushi“). Chefs, including the owner, don’t need to be Japanese as it has no bearing at all to the quality of food they are able to produce.

They still stick to purist ideals for the way nigiri is served. Each wooden board in front of you is carefully wiped after each piece to ensure you’re able to isolate flavors between each taste. Fish and ingredients are carefully picked, and prepared in a way that is mindful of flavor and texture at the same time.

Without giving too much away, enjoy the photos of some pieces that have been my favorites in the times I’ve dined there (the menu does vary based on what’s in season, etc.)

Mackerel (Aji) with Ginger and Scallion

Soy-cured Tuna

Shima Aji

Bluefin Tuna (Sustainable)

Ikura with Ankimo Snow

Kaisui Uni

So make that reservation – wait a few weeks – and get ready to meet one of my “ones”. If you go, enjoy their delectable symphony and tell me about it.

Ju-Ni
1335 Fulton St
San Francisco, CA 94117
Reservations

American Nouveau/ dinner/ San Francisco

Aster: It’s Magically Delicious

I generally stay away from anything that reminds me of “fusion”. An image of two foods singed together, unnaturally meshed, and creating a frankenstein dish makes me very uncomfortable. Why? Often times, I’ve actually pay a lot for this type of “cuisine” at restaurants and doesn’t taste good; it’s usually confusing and leaves my tastebuds in a disappointed state.

Aster seems to make the combination of Asian and Western come together seamlessly, like a perfect magic trick. They were awarded one Michelin star this year – which isn’t the end-all-be-all per se – but at the same time, it’s catching the eyes of some critics. With a four course menu at $59, it’s a reasonably affordable meal where you will encounter interesting textures and beautifully made dishes.

We started with house-made sourdough bread with butter. As someone who loves bread, this couldn’t be any better – the butter was creamy enough to stand up to a sourdough. At the same time, the bread wasn’t too sour and finished nicely. YUM.

The first dish was beets with pomegranate, pistachio, cultured cream and arugula. Beautiful? Yes. As delicious as it is pretty? Oh yes!

Soft-cooked egg with crispy potato, ikura, and bacon vinaigrette, everything melded together – with its various textures and flavors – to create an umami boost of flavor. Not only is it fun to have the ikura pop in your mouth, but the potato made it crunchy, while the egg bounded each ingredient altogether.

 

The pork shoulder was cooked for hours and assembled layer by layer, with a crispy layer of skin, to be surrounded by carrots and satsuma mandarins, and shiitake furikake. It was like a well-done magic trick. In this case I’m not sure how umami, fat, and citrus can be brought into one dish, but it DID happen…and tasted really good too.

Lastly, the pink lady apple with broiche, sunflower seed, and bay laurel was the perfect ending to the meal. It was the just the right amount of sweet (just from the apple), along with the crumble and seeds, you still get nice bite even though the apple is soft.

The menu changes with the seasons, so that just means another visit is necessary. I’m looking forward to seeing more of the “magic” that comes out of that restaurant. Hopefully more solid and interesting dishes to come!

Aster
1001 Guerrero St
San Francisco, CA 94110
Opentable

nyc/ San Francisco/ travels

Best Bites of 2015

As I reflect upon this year with big changes like moving to a new city (chime in “California love”), entering a new decade (“30s is the new 20s” according to Jay-Z), and starting a new job, I couldn’t help but come up with a list of my best bites for this year. It spans several cities and cuisines so take a nice scroll through, and enjoy!

San Francisco

  1. Stones Throw’s Puff Potato and Egg (Russian Hill)
  2. Nopa’s Cheeseburger (Hayes Valley)
  3. Hog Island Oyster’s Cioppino (Embarcadero)
  4. State Bird Provisions’s Burrata (Pac Heights)
  5. Liho Liho’s Tuna Poke (Tenderloin)
  6. Lazy Bear’s Whipped Scrambled Eggs (Mission)

New York

  1. Shuko’s Grilled Toro (East Village)
  2. O Ya’s Truffle and Potato Nigiri (Nomad)
  3. Upland’s Hen of Woods (Nomad)
  4. Tanoshi’s Uni and Ebi Sushi (Upper East Side)

Hawaii/Japan/Taiwan

  1. Izakaya Torae Torae’s Negi Otoro Ikura Don
  2. Yakiniku Champion’s Wagyu Beef with Egg 
  3. とんかつ まい泉’s Tonkatsu Set
  4. 8% ice Cream’s Strawberry Balsamic Cheese Soft Serve

Looking forward to more bites in the new year! (^_^)v

American Nouveau/ dinner/ drinks/ San Francisco

Lazy Bear: Listen and Learn

TL;DR – Lazy Bear is worth the money and very deserving of its Michelin star. This post captures meal is documented its entirety and in a detailed fashion.

I got schooled at Lazy Bear and I loved it. With notebooks and a pencil in hand – in fact, they give you these tools – all the chefs at Lazy Bear gave us one big tasty lesson. The “syllabus” includes talking about about what produce was in season, how to make the beautiful looking things on the plate (e.g. soak this in beef fat, soude vide that, etc.), and showcasing what is possible with thoughtful preparation. TEACH ME YOUR WAYS SENSEIS!

Naturally, you may ask how much does this “schooling” cost? Similar to a private university, it’s expensive; at anywhere between $145-$175 / person, it excludes tip and drinks. Wine pairings? Add another $85. Some old timers complain; yeah I know it used to cost something significantly less, reservations came easily, blah blah, but here we are today. It’s popular, hip, and oh-so-very delicious.

With my great note-taking skills still intact – it helps that I have occasional nightmares of getting a B in any class, thank you mom – get ready for a thorough journey through my meal.

Snacks

As a preview to the main dinner – or a great way to buy time as the next seating finishes up – they bring you to an upstairs area where you’re able to hang out, enjoy their delicious drinks, AND eat.

This started off the meal, and boy was it a strong start – whipped scramble eggs with Tennessee smoked bacon, maple and house made hot sauce. This is one of the night’s highlights; eaten with a spoon so you mix all the elements thoroughly, the eggs had a completely new texture on top of smoky and spicy taste.

The albacore tuna with a gel sheet of white grape and verjus, fresh crushed peanuts, and black olive was a small bite, refreshing and light.

On the light spectrum, the strawberry meringue is topped with with strawberry jelly, foie gras, and sorel packed a smooth yet flavorful bite.

They also handed over a plum and kuwat soda, fermented in-house with shiso which was awfully delicious, and I easily could have drank two of these.

The potato cannoli was a take on “sour cream and onion chip”; served with creme fraiche, whipped potatoes, caviar and chives it totally hit the mark.

Dinner

We broke bread together, and more specifically, with a spelt and rye dinner roll served with house-made cultured butter. Not only was the dinner roll served warm (plus points)  but the butter was silky and melded into the roll – slightly sour and soft (plus more points).

If you want to win over a crowd, bring in ribeye, avocado and tomatoes; the tomato panzanella with a carpaccio of Miyazaki ribeye covering avocado, padron conserva, and seaweed focaccia was a great bite. The focaccia was soaked in beef fat and olive oil; tomatoes were soaked in red wine vinegar to help with making this dish bright; the ribeye…well, that just speaks for itself.

Making vegetables taste good and somewhat interesting takes great skill, and in this case what a success – the legumes included summer squash (cooked in chicken stock, lemon juice), snap peas, bell pepper, fennel and saffron nage (made from fish, spices, and added chicken stock).

Ever thought about making a dish centered on one vegetable? Oh they did, and chose a vegetable I’ve never heard of – celtuce (used commonly in Chinese cuisine, a mesh between romaine and celery). Its stem was braised in butter and garlic, stalk pureed with almond milk, oil, and butter, and leaves dehydrated to take away bitter notes, along with chicken skin bits, and toasted almond.

Transform an American staple? Check box on that too; they took corn and made fresh corn grits, which were very sweet, and topped it with smoked ham. Yes sir, I’d want some more!

The grilled berkshire pork shoulder (glazed and finished with peach juice) was served with grilled peach, turnip, succulents (e.g. sea lettuce, beans, New Zealand spinach), and stone fruit tare. Sweet, savory, soft, and juicy, what more can you ask for?

This was their take on “beef and tomatoes” – sous vide Miyazaki ribeye cap, seared tomato, black garlic, and pureed eggplant. Nicely marbled and meat juices flowed in your mouth as you chomped down, with the addition of the sweet and tart tomatoes. Heavenly.

Dessert

White sesame “gomatofu”, iced green melon, sake lees, rose geranium was light, and a perfect palate cleanser.

Blue corn ice cream with blueberry whiskey puree, blueberry spongecake, and whiskey pudding was the perfect representation for what was in season at the time; not to mention, it was texturally interesting (spongecake, pudding, and ice cream!) and easy to devour.

Treats

The semifreddo vietnamese cookie was light and sweet, with bits of chocolate and pate de fruits.

Another sweet bite – the caramelized apricot with hazelnut and milk chocolate truffle melted in the mouth and was a delicious treat.

Last of them, the red velvet with red berries was my favorite. Moist, sweet and tart in one whole bite; easily wanted two or three of these after every meal.

I am on the Lazy Bear bandwagon; I absolutely love this place. Everything is well thought-out – from the interior design, the food/drinks and even the chefs (they actually come up and talk to you when you’re waiting for your seating). This is the kind of schooling I’m willing to pay for.

Lazy Bear
3416 19th St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
Tickets

American Nouveau/ dinner/ San Francisco

Lord Stanley: Not My Neighborhood Joint

As someone who is passionate about food (aka one who constantly thinks about their next meal as they are eating their current one), I have been assessing the SF food scene and comparing it to what I know – New York. Friends from the East and West coast want to know where I stand, and I am always so torn. It’s as if I need to choose between Biggie or Tupac, and we all know that is a really tough choice. Then I see this article from Bon Appetit, “San Francisco Is the Best Food City in the Country Right Now” pop up on my Facebook feed. HOLY CRAP, someone answered for me! Thank you Andrew Knowlton!

This is the best gif I could find to represent my excitement…

Luckily, I have friends who are as excited about food as I am (see my foodie definition above) and want to check out these spots. Glancing through the list of restaurants in the article, there are restaurants that I have thoroughly enjoyed listed – Lazy Bear, Mourad, The Progress – alongside ones I’m not familiar with. I figured these unknown restaurants are potential gems, and I will be an early adopter! In under a day that I re-posted this article on my Facebook feed, reservations were made (thank you friends). We are going to Lord Stanley.

I saw this place having a lot of potential. I could become a regular if this was really good since it’s located about 4 blocks away from my apartment. The waitstaff would know me by first name, the host would seat me before people who had reservations, and I could order dishes only OLD-TIMERS would know about; as you can see, my imagination runs wild. Lord Stanley describes itself as serving European influence cuisine in a casual environment. They are so European where they adopted their way of billing – service is included in the final bill. No need to do math after you’ve stuffed yourself silly. Check, check and check!

Excited and hungry, we all ordered the tasting menu while two friends added the wine pairing. It was about six courses for $83. Not horribly expensive but not cheap.

Food Breakdown

Poached oyster, horseradish and buttermilk – Overly garnished with herbs, oysters fell by the wayside.

Chilled squash with ricotta and mint – Delicious house-made ricotta, and the squash had a good bite – refreshing.

Sea bass with bouillabaisse jus – The fish was nicely cooked, though the roasted red pepper felt a bit random. Any chance we could get more jus in there?

Grilled Wagyu beef with Matsutake mushrooms – Beef was cooked medium-rare and juicy, with mushrooms that added a nice earthy and spicy flavor.

Strawberry “Eton Mess” – Crispy and light piece of meringue served with fresh seasonal strawberries made a great combination.

I had the same feeling walking out of this restaurant as I did after watching Avengers: Age of Ultron – continuously disappointed and frustrated. I wanted to like the storyline, the characters, but nothing really made sense. Same goes for Lord Stanley: the food was everywhere, with no central theme or taste that combines it together; the service missed details that were hard to ignore – not explaining what the first wine was, not asking which type of water that’s in your cup before filling it incorrectly, double charging a credit card, etc.; the pace of the meal was confusing, first items coming out quickly and the last parts coming out very slowly where the entire meal ended up being three hours.

Why have you failed me Bon Appetit? I raise my fists to the heavens in rage. Looks like my search for my dream local restaurant ensues (SIGH).

Lord Stanley
2065 Polk St (and Broadway)
San Francisco, CA 94109

American Nouveau/ dinner/ San Francisco

The MINA Test Kitchen: Tasty Experiments, Sign Me Up!

People are big fans of Michael Mina, and I totally get it. He started his culinary empire in San Francisco and has played a major role in building the restaurant scene to where it is today. Think Pablo Escobar, and replace the cocaine with food and power hungry vengeance for zen-like philosophies (Warning: There may be many references in this post to this highly addictive Netflix show – I am obsessed). There is no doubt that his restaurants do insanely well (see here for awards, it will take you a solid 2 minutes to scroll through the page) and his restaurant group extends across the US with 20 restaurants. There’s barely enough room on the website to list them all:

MINATESTKITCHEN_COMOkay so he’s pretty badass. Pablo Escobar level badass. However, the more accolades one chef or restaurant receives, the more side-eye skeptical I get…which doesn’t really make much sense but bear with me here. It becomes a personal mission to figure it out – if the food is actually delicious, and restaurant worth going to – in addition to having the perfect excuse to eat out (“See Mom, there’s a reason bigger than me that requires me to eat out and spend money for it. I need to make sure people know if the restaurant IS really good or not...”)

For my friend’s birthday (Happy Birthday HARRY), we all went to the latest Michael Mina venture – Mina’s Test Kitchen, located in the Marina. He pairs up with chefs to create a pop-up kitchen; essentially, they can cook whatever they want. Successful dishes move on and graduate to his other restaurants. What’s great is that the cuisine is themed (the current one being Eastern Mediterranean) and changes every few months (next one being Italian). You buy tickets to secure your seat and payment of the meal. Easy peasy.

His philosophy to cooking – to focus on achieving balance and harmony – is in-line with what I look for in food, so we are starting on a good foot here. Tip: There were many terms I have to look up looking at the menu, so you might be interested in brushing up on your Mediterranean / Greek, or just have your iPhone handy.

The Greet

We started off with the palette cleanser, a limonata popsicle with basil, sea salt and peach with olive oil drizzled on top. Refreshing and a cute bite to begin the meal.

Laffa

This course was so good, to the point where I could be happy eating a few more and call it a night. What made is particularly tasty was the laffa; it was soft, doughy, warm, and perfectly encased everything else (berbere-spiced ahi tuna, baba ghanoush, crispy spring onions, and pickled hot peppers). It tasted as good as it sounds, trust me.

Salatim

The Saganaki-style helloumi (which sounds Japanese, but in fact is a Greek dish) reminded me of paneer, except this was pan-fried and was saltier. The marinated heirloom tomatoes, toasted sesame seeds, madjool dates, and watercress all played nice, contributing to the simultaneously sweet, tart, and nutty flavors. Taste explosions? YES OH MY.

For all the avocado lovers out there, this dish was made for you. No toast needed to show you what this avocado is all about *insert feisty sideways snap*; served with pickled hot peppers and summer vegetables, fried walnuts, kataifi (those crispy-looking things on top), schug (a chile relish) it made for a very well spiced, crunchy and creamy dish.

The grilled stone fruit fattoush, shaved cauliflower, radish persian cucumber, crunchy pita, chilies, and mint oil was a crunch-fest, and delicious to boot. Easy to eat, light, and just a solid tasting dish. Let those vegetables and fruit shine!

Hummus

Want some more oomph? Oh yes, there’s more. Hummus made of spicy lamb ragu, toasted pine nuts, pomegranate, crispy zucchini, and espelette pepper served with WARM was delightful. Yes, the pita was warm. They had a small heat device underneath the basket to ensure it arrives warm to you. Now if every place can serve warm pitas, the world would be a happier place.

Mains and Veggies

If you can’t tell, this harissa-marinated roasted chicken was tendy, juicy, and flavorful. It came with smashed and fried fingerling potatoes, soaking up any oils from the chicken and the fryer. YUM-MY.

Sides included swiss chard with oil-cured black olives, toasted garlic, red grapes and a slow-cooked brisket with yemenite-spiced basmati, chick peas, and lentils (supplement of $10). The brisket was good but, I would venture to say, okay missing out on and saving yourself the extra moo-lah.

Anything with corn will win me over and this is no exception. Moroccan street corn with chemoula yogurt, feta, cayenne pepper, orange zest, mint, and green onions reminded me of New York Cafe Havana’s grilled corn (but just a tad fit “fancier), as it has similar and basic elements: corn, cheese, spice.

Sweets

Rounding out the meal was the watermelon granita that sat above rose water cream, toasted pistachio, and basil. After a full meal of spice and intense flavors, this was refreshing and slightly sweet, closing the night perfectly.

The restaurant is well thought-out; the waitstaff is attentive, food is tasty down to the smallest components, and runs like a well oiled machine…just like Pablo Escobar’s crack business. Whatever Michael Mina and his team are putting into their dishes, I definitely want and need some more; it is THAT good.

The MINA Test Kitchen
2120 Greenwich St.
San Francisco, CA 94123
minatestkitchen.com

brunch/ lunch/ San Francisco

Picnic at the Presidio: Eating with Off the Grid

Looking for food trucks to help supplement a nice day at a park? Look no further – Off the Grid (Presidio) provides a great space to enjoy the beautiful days in San Francisco, with many food vendors to boot. It reminds me of Smorgasburg in New York but with camping tents and picnic area.

I managed to try out a few vendors, not all, so here were my eats:

Girl Friday Zeppoles were delicious; light, not oily and flavorful, these zeppoles were a perfect start to whetting my appetite. A zeppole order came with a one of their four signature sauces which you can choose from. The savory zeppole had bacon, garlic, herbs, and parmesan in it, with a creamy harissa sauce (this is the only savory sauce). The other zeppole was the traditional type, slightly sweet, and got the earl grey chocolate sauce. Even though I didn’t find early grey to be that strong, it was a great pairing regardless.

In hopes of eating more to satiate our appetites, my friends and I naturally gravitated towards fried chicken. Sugarfoot Grits brings the southern flavor to the mix, and this fried chicken was cooked perfectly. It was juicy and nicely breaded so we easily finished each piece – “finger lickin’ good – was how I would describe it. The biscuit was a bit dry and was significantly less impressed by.

Fine and Rare brought some seafood to the park, as seen above is their crab roll. There was a good amount of crab meat with a touch of mayo. The lettuce provided a nice crunchy bite in conjunction with the soft bun.

Lastly, after a huge wait, we got Little Green Cyclo‘s garlic noodles with nine-spice grilled chicken. This was really good and we ate this dish quite fast. The chicken was tender, and not over cooked, with a nice char flavor. The noodles were full of garlic – which I am openly partial to – with some sriracha sauce, and chomped away until there was nothing left.

If you’re in the mood for getting a nice blanket, your own booze and have yourself a picnic with the option of checking out more of a SF food scene, Off the Grid Presidio is a the place to go!

Off the Grid Picnic at the Presidio
Main Post Lawn
Montgomery St & Lincoln St
San Francisco, CA 94129