When you need it to be cheap and greasy

I would love to hear the scientific explanation behind greasy food being so richly satisfying when you’ve been drinking. That’s a lie, actually. I don’t really want to know the science behind it because science isn’t really my thing. I rather just skip to the good stuff: the greasy food.

Recently, during a night out with friends, someone suggested getting something to eat after our first drink and before several more that were to come after it.

Mango chicken at Yamo: cheap, greasy and obscenely filling. Everything I look for in my drunk munchies.

“Well, what do you guys want to eat?” asked one person I was with.

“Something greasy,” was the fast and firm answer from someone else.

This night could’ve been any night, in that when is that not the answer?  I mean the above dialogue happened between two people I was with but really, I’ve had that same dialogue internally with myself. Sometimes when I’m sober, I actually want a salad, or some fruit, or a bowl of oatmeal. But after a few drinks? I want greasy pizza, street meat and Mc Donald’s.

On this most recent occasion, a friend had a better idea, (thankfully sparing us all from the golden arches).  In response to the request for greasy, we found ourselves at Yamo, a tiny, almost literal hole-in-the-wall Burmese lunch counter in the Mission.

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Just when you thought pork belly couldn’t get better…

Little nuggets of deliciousness

It doesn’t get more diabolically delicious than fat little chunks of juicy pork belly, battered and deep fried and topped off with Maker’s Mark infused maple syrup. I mean really. Really! Did you process that? Pork belly donuts, people. Pork belly freakin’ donuts. It’s almost wrong how gluttonously awesome I think this is. Almost.

These tender mouthfuls of pork belly, moist and fluffy in their little coats of batter and syrup, were courtesy of  The Sycamore, a funky, laid-back bar in the Mission (where thanks to food like this I now regret not living in). To sell these at a place that focuses on alcohol is just pure evil genius. I’d have a hard time turning these down sober, but put so much as one drink in me and chances are I’m gonna be wolfing these down by the dozen.

Lucky for them they come in orders of six and I was splitting them with two other people. But next time, pork belly donuts? I don’t think you’ll be so lucky.

At long last, chicken and waffles

I was starting to think I’d never try them. Back in New York, every time I brought up the idea of going to Harlem to get chicken and waffles, something came up. Either no one felt like going, no one was available, it was too far, other brunch plans came up, there wasn’t enough time. Always something.

Little Skillet: just a little walk-up window

But then I moved to San Francisco and found out that one of the 100 things I had to try here before dying was chicken and waffles at a place called Little Skillet. The food gods were in my favor, or so I thought, because it was just a few blocks away from work. I’d easily be able to pop over during my lunch break and finally basque in the delicious, fried, wonderfulness that is chicken and waffles.

But then, on two separate occasions, I went and came back chicken-and-waffleless. The first time it was at the hands of my ol’ nemesis, the “cash only” sign. I rarely have cash but I looked anyway and found a two-dollar bill and some euro cents. I left, empty stomached and dejected. Then the second time, with fresh-out-of-the-atm bills in my wallet, I went over during a lunch break with one of my coworkers… just to find out it had closed 15 minutes earlier, at 2. I won’t even get into how ludicrous I think it is to close a lunch place at 2pm, but just know that I’m not ok with it.

I wanted to give up but I just couldn’t. I didn’t want to wait till I got back to New York (still about another month away) and I didn’t want to look up other places in the city. I wanted chicken and waffles dammit, and I wanted them from Little Skillet. So, for the third time, I went. I had cash and left early, and thankfully, the food gods rewarded my commitment to the cause. I had my chicken and waffles.

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Chicharrones revisited

From a poster at 4505 Meats: “Gringo translation: Crispity clouds of porkaliciousness”

I honestly had no intentions of eating the whole bag. I swear! Hell, I don’t even like pork rinds! Really, I don’t! Or at least I used to not like them.

My last memory of eating pork rinds was back when I was a kid. It was the mid 90s and my parents, who have tried every fad diet known to man, were deep into the Atkins diet. When the good doctor wrote in his books that pork rinds had zero carbs, my parents started buying them in bulk. They were found in the potato chips aisle which to my young mind equated them with being just as tasty, yet when I tried them at home, I realized I had been duped. They were like weird pig-flavored styrofoam and when I found out they were made from tough, nasty pig skin, I was completely turned off of the whole idea.

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Breakfast buns

Decisions, decisions...

I’ve been cutting through Chinatown to get to work in the morning the past few days. Sometimes, when I find myself stuck in a sea of 3-foot-tall, ancient looking Chinese women, my New-Yorker-in-a-hurry powerwalk slowed to a near stop, I curse under my breath. “[Expletive]! This was a terrible idea. I’m never gonna get there in time. Am I the only one trying to get somewhere right now? Ugh.”

Today was different though. For one thing, I left 10 minutes earlier. But it wasn’t because I was factoring in the time it would take to elbow my way through the clogged sidewalks. No, I left earlier because I was making a stop along the way. A breakfast stop at a Chinatown bakery. Continue reading

My kind of Sunday

There are few things I enjoy more on Sundays than having a huge meal and then being a lazy ass the rest of the day because of it. I mean, that’s what brunch is all about for me. Get together with friends, eat enough breakfast food to make up for all the breakfasts-on-the-run during the week, drink too many mimosas and Bloody Marys, and then head back home to do my best Jabba the Hutt impersonation. That’s Sunday bliss right there.

While it wasn’t brunch but instead a late lunch that turned early dinner (so, dunch you might call it), that’s pretty much how my Sunday turned out last week. A friend/coworker who’s way more in the know than I am about San Francisco’s million and one great places to eat suggested we go to  Suppenküche, a German restaurant in the Hayes Valley. I, of course, am always down for A.) food with friends, B.) eating somewhere I’ve never been, and C.) German grub, which as I’ve mentioned before, I’m a fan of. Continue reading

Morning at the farmers market

The Ferry Building is fast becoming one of my favorite places to hang out in San Francisco. With all the great food and interesting places to eat and shop, all under one roof, I have yet to get tired of going. Since I’ve been here I’ve gone at least once a week, sometimes twice. When I woke up yesterday morning, I knew that’s where I’d be heading first during my Saturday wanderings around town. The reason: Saturday’s Farmers Market.

I originally went for something specific, but when I got there it turned out the vendor I was looking for wasn’t there this week. At first I was upset because I’d walked all the way over there for nothing but once I started looking around at all the other stuff there I was glad I came. Fresh produce, baked goods, cheese and meat products—everything regional, straight from the farm, and most of it organic.

Everything looked incredible but I was particularly blown away by the fruits and vegetables. It was like I was seeing them for the first time. Had peaches always been this big and round, the color of a fiery sunset? Definitely not the tough, dinky ones I bought at shitty supermarkets in New York.

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I love it when you call me Beard Papa’s


Beard Papa's cream puff

When people say “You’ve got to try this” I seldom argue, especially if it’s in a city they know better than I do. And since I’m very much still getting my bearings around San Francisco, exploring neighborhoods, reading up on local foodie hotspots and eating my way around town, I’m very much open to any suggestions people have. When a friend said I had to have one of the cream puffs he bought from Beard Papa’s there wasn’t a whole lot of arguing on my end. Continue reading

Sandwich love

I’m not what you’d call a hopeless romantic but if there’s one thing I believe in, it’s love at first bite.

This weekend, sitting on a bench at the pier, with the warm sun on my face and a cool breeze blowing through my hair, I absolutely fell head-over-heels in love the moment I bit into a sandwich from Il Cane Rosso, a small sandwich shop and rotisserie in San Francisco’s Ferry Building. It was one of those moments straight out of a movie. Time slowed down and I got all googley eyed as little cartoon hearts burst out of my head. Birds were chirping and there might’ve even been a full orchestra playing. But I couldn’t tell you what else was happening in the world around me because all I had eyes for was the beautiful and ridiculously delicious half of a sandwich I was holding in my hands, the other half still wrapped in brown paper next to me.

Beef brisket sandwich from Il Cane Rosso

Beef brisket sandwich, this is me professing my love to you. Where have you been all my life? Continue reading

Recommendations from a crazy cabbie

Combination pizza from Golden Boy

To me there’s nothing new about crazy cab drivers. After growing up with a dad who once worked as one and then spending the last year of my life in New York, the world capital of lunatic cabbies, I’m hardly fazed by them. But taking food recommendations from one? Well that was new for me. Continue reading