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Six Quirky Culinary Mashups San Franciscans Love Right Now

Salty dog: The pretzel croissant at Arlequin Cafe is a savory update to the staid pastry. Photo by Maren Caruso

The food world is nothing if not fickle. Some chefs turn to gimmicks for a flash in the proverbial PR pan, and food mashups are the latest ploy—witness the “cronut” (the now-trademarked offspring of croissant and doughnut). But although serious folk may turn up their noses, something about this trend is piqueing the interest of legitimate chefs—and some of the results are well worth our indulgence.

Highbrow pretzel croissants are palatable in the deft hands of Absinthe Group pastry chef Bill Corbett and sous chef Marisa Yenko. A little denser and crispier on the outside than your standard croissant and topped with pretzel salt, they achieve a new height of savory pastry bliss when warmed and teamed with cream cheese. “It’s a pretty simple concept,” says Corbett. (New York’s City Bakery is said to have originated the treat years ago, but our first taste of this goody was Corbett and Yenko’s version.) Pretzel croissants make their appearance daily, just before 11 a.m., in the pastry case at Arlequin Cafe.

Twists on street food are also popping up. Curry Up Now marries Indian and Mexican flavors in its Tikka Masala burrito, while burgers are subject to shenanigans at Trick Dog, where they come shaped like hot dogs, and at OneUp, where the ramen burger has noodle patties for buns. Hapa Ramen takes the trend further. Its ultra-rich bowl of cheeseburger ramen comes with optional high-caloric fixings, like whipped lardo and crispy pig ears. But perhaps no one is doing the high–low food mishmash thing better than the one-year-old Corner Store. Doused in buffalo sauce, the fried sweetbreads are enough to make you a Franken-food convert.

This article was published in 7x7's December/January issue. Click here to subscribe.