The smells of deliciousness were overwhelming. Where do we start?!
As Sam Love and I wandered around the La Cocina media preview for August 17's San Francisco Street Food Festival, everywhere we looked there were delightful taste treats, colorful, fresh and also deep fried. I'll take four of each, thank you.
We made the rounds, chatting with fantastic chefs who are living their dreams, whipping up flavors from around the world. We tried everything and, while we enjoyed it all, becoming clean plate champions many times over, there were three highlights that made our short list. If you don't have the stomach to make it to all the vendors at the Street Food Festival, we'd recommend trying these first:
TABLEHOPPING Ahhh, the much-maligned San Francisco "summer," the 62-degree, socked-deeply-in-the-fog days we love to hate on — but secretly cherish when the rest of the country is melting in 98-degree temps with sauna-like levels of humidity. But we are a hardy bunch. We proudly don our scarves with a flourish as we sit on patios drinking pitchers of beer, our stripy sweaters like badges of honor as we attend windy picnics in the park, eating corn on the cob (that was grown somewhere warm, definitely not here) while wearing fingerless gloves.Read more »
VEGAN DISH Sure, vegan junk food has been visited in the past, but restaurants and changing menus come and go in this town. New fake meats, cheap sweets, and truffle-drenched treats are beefing up our veg options all the time.
And remarkably, there are still some casual diners out there unaware of the veg takeover — or at least, uninformed of the fact that you can find great tastes and high junk food art without dairy or meat:
COCKTAIL HOUR Yes, the rest of the country is sipping piña coladas and pink lemonade margaritas, while we shiver and pour whiskey into our hot tea. No problem: this is a primo time to ditch the sickly sweet and explore some solid bellywarmers in the cocktail category.
Can you believe the Upper Haight — practically a food desert — has a new option for vittles that looks downright promising? Freshly open on Haight Street is the rather darling Sparrow (1640 Haight, SF; sparrowbarandkitchen.com)Read more »
COCKTAILS Novela, the new literary-themed lounge in SoMa, is undoubtedly beautiful: plenty of window light pours in during the evening, highlighting tall black shelves packed full of color-coordinated books. The space, a collaboration between acclaimed bar stars Alex Smith and Kate Bolton, is littered with huge, cozy reading chairs as well as low comfy couches.
But my friend and I just somehow felt out of place.Read more »