Thursday, September 1, 2011

San Francisco: Where It's All About the Food

Never mind that I just came from the Farmer’s Market where I had demolished the best porchetta sandwich (Roli Roti) I’ve eaten in my entire life followed by a fantastic bread pudding (Della Fatloria Bakery – made with Crossiants not Brioche) and Loco Motto (Namu – made with Niman Ranch Beef)…and all of this for breakfast. I passed up at least 10 other items that looked so delicious I finally understood what the hype is all about. This market is easily one of the best!
The market is showcased by one of the premier foodie destinations in San Francisco – the Ferry Building – where some of the best shops and restaurants serve up the cuisine that is San Francisco.

The market itself was jam-packed with beautiful produce. Yes, I will always compare produce to what I’ve seen at this market. I have never poured over so many good looking grapes and figs in my life.

One quick and easy trip on the BART left me right smack dab in the middle of the Mission District about to indulge in one of my favorite all time passions – Street Food!

La Cocina, an incubator kitchen program that has thrived under the direction of Caleb Zigas, it’s Executive Director, threw a street party and over 50,000+ showed up to feast on over 200 foods from 74 vendors…and this wasn’t just any street food.

In additions to the amazing chefs at La Cocina, food trucks from around the country and some of the best restaurants in San Francisco pulled in an enthusiastic crowd who could not get enough of the food or the drink. Spirited guests found new portions to try and I picked one up on my way out.

Like most vendors at Taste Of Chicago – who started the street food thing 31 years ago – there were mini-portions that were priced at $3.

Did I have a favorite?
From the Arepa Lady, Maria Piedad Cano, who is a New York cult favorite for her arepas made with corn batter and folded over salty grated cheese

to Ferry Building favorite Il Cane Russo, who served up some of the best grilled spareribs I’ve had since I made them at home myself, I have to admit that I loved it all!

The flavors balanced perfectly with the sights and sounds of the neighborhood. An ethnically diverse neighborhood, this area thrives because of the many small businesses that are the community. All the murals took me back to the alleys of Mexico where the street art is as plentiful as the street food.

Just like Chicago there are plenty of great neighborhoods in San Francisco to eat high-quality food....North Beach and Chinatown being two of them.

Conclusion: One long weekend in San Francisco is simply not long enough!

Bon Appetit!