A Taste of the South in the Bay Area
What’s that twang you hear? Why, I do believe there is a little Southern charm percolating in the city. Here’s where you can find some quality Southern treats, soft drawl included.
The fine folks at this kiosk inside the Second Act Marketplace in the Upper Haight have so many of your Louisiana bases covered, you won’t know what to do with yourself. Chef Terrell Brunet (a Louisiana native) is behind the juicy and mustardy cochon de lait po’boy, red beans, and rice (there’s a vegetarian version too!), gumbo, tasty housemade pickles, and cheese grits and brown-sugar bacon in the mornings. Mmmmhmmmm. You can also get Meetinghouse biscuits with honey butter to go with your Sightglass coffee. I do declare! 1727 Haight St.
Barbara Caldwell, a Tennessee native, makes some very bewitching pies, and anyone who appreciates a good chess pie will get all swoony over the three versions she makes (classic, lemon, or chocolate). One bite of that lovingly made crust and you’ll see how her training at Tartine Bakery, synced up with her Southern roots, make for a very powerful combo. You can order her pies for pick-up in the Mission (she takes requests, so you can have her make you a Kentucky Derby pie), and then there’s her pie-of-the-month club (careful with that one).
The Elite has been serving many oysters on the half-shell on Upper Fillmore since 1981, but there is some fresh blood in the kitchen: James London, a talented chef who was recruited from New York, but is a South Carolina boy at heart. He has been updating the classic Creole and Cajun menu, adding his skilled touch on some supremely delicious shrimp and grits, and sneaking some smoky Benton’s ham into a fantastic heirloom root salad (he’s loving California produce, and it shows). The classic deviled eggs remain, keeping company next to lardo cornbread, goodness. 2049 Fillmore St.
If you consider yourself a lover of grits, then you better do yourself a favor and track down the cheesy, creamy grits made by Stephanie Fields, a good Southern girl who happens to make some very wicked grits. You can get these creamy, rather memorable grits topped with everything from eggs to bacon to pulled pork to greens. You’ll find her at various pop-ups around town and every Sunday at the Presidio Picnic (11 a.m.–4 p.m.); follow her on Twitter for updates.
Chef Peter Jackson may be a California native, but his love of Louisiana cooking (and a stint working for John Besh at August in New Orleans) definitely inform his latest venture, which is all about handcrafted meats. You pre-order and pick them up at monthly events while you nosh on appetizers with fellow meat lovers. On your shopping list: authentic boudin, Cajun tasso, andouille, chaurice (fresh southern Louisiana-style chorizo), and more. The next pop-up is June 29 (10 a.m.–2 p.m.) at Baia Pasta in Oakland, and in case you're not sure what to do with that boudin, Peter also teaches classes!