Last fall, we published the 10 Best Lunches Under $10 in Union Square. It was so popular, we figured why not do every neighborhood? So we asked Eater editor and 7x7 contributor Carolyn Alburger to give us her 10 favorite dishes under $10 found in her home turf, the Haight-Ashbury. Check out our other 10 under $10 features while you're at it.
In the Haight-Ashbury, it's much easier to score weed than a good bite to eat. Here, perfectly dingy, storied watering holes, tie-dye t-shirts, tattoo parlors and tourist-magnet Ben & Jerry's run the show. If you're hungry, here's where to go.
1. Giovanni's Pizza at Club Deluxe
Club Deluxe has delicious cocktails with fresh-squeezed juice, but they also have a sort-of-secret Neapolitan pizza maker hidden in the kitchen. When Giovanni and his mom are working, they'll approach your table to see if you're hungry. If you are, I suggest the Cippolina with mozzarella, prosciutto, caramelized onion, parmigiano, basil, roasted garlic and a drizzle of olive oil. Stick around until 9 p.m. and you'll get a side of live jazz on most nights. 1511 Haight St., 415-552-6949
2. Hot and sour soup at Citrus Club
It's not the most authentic bite in town, but Citrus Club keeps delivering on its fun Southeast Asia-meets-hippie vibe, quick service and affordable renditions of Thai and Vietnamese favorites. For a healthy weeknight meal, I get the hot and sour soup with shrimp. If I'm feeling frisky, it's spicy lime and coconut noodles. My flatmate thinks Citrus Club serves one of the best peanut sauces in the city with the spring rolls. And it's really all about the sauce anyway, isn't it? 1790 Haight St, 415-387-6366.
3. The North Beach at Cole Valley Cafe
A welcome discovery just a block off Haight Street, Cole Valley Cafe has a friendly staff and above average made-to-order sandwiches for a coffee shop. The North Beach vegetarian sandwich has portabello mushrooms, feta, sun-dried tomatos, onions and spinach. I cheat and add turkey. Or get the new salmon avocado sandwich with capers and red onions on foccacia from Metropolis bakery. 701 Cole St., 415-668-5282.
4. Mofongo at Parada 22
One of the only Puerto Rican restaurants in the Bay Area happens to be in —of all places— the Haight. After it was open a few months, so many people were asking for traditional mofongo, they had to add it to the menu. Their rendition with green plantains, garlic, shrimp and soffrito is pretty delicious for a Puerto Rican restaurant in the Haight. Full disclosure: it costs $11.50. 1805 Haight St, 415-750-1111.
5. Locally-made prepared foods at Whole Foods Market on Stanyan
The prepared foods section on the left when you walk into the new Whole Foods is teeming with locally sourced goodness. There are colorful, raw delights from Lydia's Organics — they always make me consider becoming vegan for a few seconds — tamales from Donna's and Primavera and mini feasts from Hapa SF and Sukhi's. I tend to try something new every time, but a flaky, light Afghan bolani from East & West seems to be a perfect accompaniment to anything. 690 Stanyan St., 415-876-6740.
6. Piggy Special at Pork Store Cafe
People always talk about their gravy-doused 49er and the egg dish they serve in a hash brown "nest," but I always go for the piggy special: 2 eggs with 2 pancakes and bacon. It satisfies my usual ADD brunch desires to have something salty, something sweet and something with bacon for a mere $8.50. 1451 Haight St., 415-864-6981.
7. Duck hearts at The Alembic
"Just do it," is usually what I have to tell my friends. The combination of jerk-spiced tender (yes! tender!) heart meat and sweet grilled pineapple is something I could eat daily. I've never seen anyone spit it out. 1725 Haight St., 415-666-0822.
8. Deli at Haight Street Market
The Haight Street Market just expanded big-time into the old Massawa environs next door. Now there's a deli, bringing quirkily named affordable sandwiches and, my favorite, the "Wild West Pulled Pork" served with spicy coleslaw and BBQ sauce on a Dutch crunch roll. 1530 Haight St., 415-255-0644.
9. Deconstructed Samosa from Curry Up Now at Off the Grid
The Haight is lucky to have an edition of the genius Off the Grid food truck gathering every Thursday. I usually go straight to Curry Up Now and grab the deconstruced samosa with paneer, chickpeans, spicy pico de gallo, pickled onions, cilantro and mint chutney. It has vibrant, fresh flavors we don't often get to taste in this neck of the woods. Stanyan and Waller Sts.
10. Pepperoni Pizza from Escape from New York Pizza
As much as I hate to admit it, I've tried every quick slice joint on the block. In my humble opinion, Escape from New York has the best plain ol' pepperoni when the craving hits. 1737 Haight St., 415-668-5577.