The fourth annual San Francisco Street Food Festival sponsored by La Cocina has over 70 food vendors in a holding pattern about to divebomb six blocks of the Mission this Saturday. This year, there is also a ticketed Night Market fundraiser on Friday night at Alemany Market (with heat lamps), and a host of food entrepreneurship related panels on Sunday. Whether you're a dabbling street food enthusiast or an industry die-hard, there's a perfect bite waiting to be had. Here are a few pointers to help navigate the weekend's street food madness so you can get the most out of it.
Our city's two largest immigrant populations form a beautiful union in one uniquely San Francisco treat: The Asian burrito. Like the classic Mission staple, most of these foil-wrapped gut bombs use rice and a flour tortilla as a canvas for flavors, but the similarities to taqueria fare stop there. Here are four great Asian burritos that are worth checking off your to-eat list.
Wise Sons Delicatessen, Rich Table, and Radio Africa Kitchen are just a few San Francisco restaurants that started out as pop-ups. For the uninitiated: a pop-up occurs when a homeless chef or restaurant concept takes over another kitchen, bar or similar venue for a limited time to show off their talent, sell their food, and start building steam as a brand. The tough thing about pop-ups? They can be hard to track down. Here now, five of our favorites that have regular, dependable gigs and great food that's worth seeking out.
As sommeliers go, David Lynch is a star. The former wine director made a splash at Quince and Cotogna with his fixed-price wine list, and he regularly writes about wine in Bon Appétit. So when Lynch opened St. Vincent, his buzzy new wine tavern on Valencia Street, and hired a certified beer sommelier, or cicerone, it came as a surprise.
That cicerone (pronounced siss-er-own) goes by the name of Sayre Piotrkowski. He is one of about 12 beer sommeliers and two master cicerones in the Bay Area now—including Rich Higgins, who designed the beer programs at Delarosa and Starbelly.
Gone are the days when music festival fare was just a slice of crummy pizza or a hot dog to keep you vertical through the night. The options for food, beer, and wine at Outside Lands 2012 are good enough to distract from the main event. Santigold is now up against a limited edition saison beer made just for Outside Lands by Sierra Nevada, and the Heineken dome has to compete with fried chicken and waffles from Farmer Brown's Little Skillet. Tough decisions await, so check out our handy guide to top picks from Beer Lands, Wine Lands, Outside Lambs, Choco Lands and Taste of The Bay Area. You can do it all.
Will 2012 be remembered as the year of ash? Chefs at hot San Francisco restaurants like AQ, Central Kitchen and Maverick are using ash in their cooking with increasing regularity. They'll deeply char everything from corn husks to wood and vegetables, using the ashy byproduct to create intricate flavor on the plate.
We're big fans of Sunday Funday, and nothing winds it down like a soulful meal. Although it's typically a day of rest and relaxation for chefs, we've noticed a growing number of them rallying to put together special fixed price feasts to wind down the weekend. Here are the latest Sunday Suppers at some of our favorite restaurants around town. Add them to your weekend dossier, and consider it our prescription for the Sunday blues.
Central Kitchen is the new restaurant project in the Mission from the Flour + Water team. As you probably know by now, Flour + Water has an amazing reputation for its Mugnaini-fired pizzas, and heavenly pasta. Though Central Kitchen boldly eschews both items from its menu, the team's sophomore effort has come with its fair share of hype and expectations. Now, two months in, the nightly results on OpenTable usually turn up a discouraging number of 5 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. tables. It's probably easier to score a seat by just walking in.
Places like Specialty's, Mixt Greens, Boxed Foods, and The Sentinel—mostly American lunch stops—are the kings of the midday scene in the FiDi and SoMa. The Asian food sector doesn't get a lot of love, but over the past few years, a few brave, new, quick-service spots are introducing the likes of banh mi, sushi, ssam and adobo to the multi-ethnic working masses. Detractors grumble about sticker shock, but many workers are happy to pay a few extra bucks to know where the meat comes from, or to be able to customize their lunch at will.
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