Posted in Events, Food, San Francisco, Street Food

Not Too Shabby for a Second Choice

Despite the herd of family and events over the holidays, I was able to carve out an afternoon to the San Francisco Ferry Building Street Food Farmers Market. This is my favorite place in the city for just wasting an afternoon enjoying the people, the view, the architecture, and the food, of course.

I was on a mission to get me some porchetta sammies from Roli Roti. I’ve been dreaming of them ever since the FoodBuzz food event late last year, and it’s been hard to get a hold of one ever since. Of course, once we got there at 1:30, they had JUST served the last sandwich. I was pissed, to say the least.

But since there were so many other vendors around, there had to be some other good eats. I picked up a Margherita pie at Pizza Politana, which served as a good appetizer. That’s when the hubby ordered some Korean tacos from the guys at Namu.

I should’ve known to come here from the start. They catered our final dinner at the big FoodBuzz event last Fall and the menu was was fresh, lively, inventive and surprising.

We ordered some Korean Tacos which had chopped up bits of Korean marinated shortribs (kalbi), short grain sticky rice with scallions, daikon, kimchee, and a bit of sweet soy and mayo. Oh…my…gawd. These things are the real deal! Forget all the other Korean taco posers that drive around in their trucks. These guys mean business! All the ingredients are super fresh, organic and melded together on two sheets of seaweed (nori) to create this fantastic Californian/Asian fusion “taco” that was just out of this world!

And as a side dish we also ordered the Korean Fries that were on special that day. They were tasty too, topped with the same shortribs, scallions, Asian inspired sauce on top of some wonderfully fresh fried potatoes.

Now, the porchetta sammie will always be the first reason why I make it down to the Ferry Building on Thursday or Saturday, but the guys at Namu have made it damn hard to say no to their fare if I ever get down there again.

And word has it, their actual restaurant has some killer Monday and Tuesday night specials, as well.

Namu SF Ferry Building Farmers Market – Thursdays, 10am-2pm

Posted in Food, San Francisco, Shopping

English Sweet Treats

IMG_3923There’s something about modern candy shops that sends even the most jaded adult into a child-like state. They’re complete with retro decor, walls lined with jars of colorful treats, and pastel colored packaging.

I’ve admitted before that I’m not a huge sugar fiend, nor am I the kind of person who dreams of chocolate. But the candies and candy bars I DO enjoy, I enjoy greatly. They’ll send me into a nostalgic state complete with memories of  my youth (Fruit Stripe gum, Charms hard candies, bubble gum “cigarettes,” Charleston Chews and Jolly Rancher Stix), or of when I was living in Toronto or Hong Kong.

fionas-logoBecause both places have connections to Queen Elizabeth, common English candies and chocolate bars were easy to find at your nearest supermarket. That’s why I found Fiona’s Sweetshoppe just off Union Square in San Francisco to be delightful. It’s a tiny little shop opened by a British native who missed her favorite English sweet treats.

IMG_3925 They were stocked with sweets I haven’t seen in a while, like the full line of Cadbury chocolate products, Flake, Bounty, Aero, Smarties, Malteasers (both milk and white chocolate), the original Mars bars (which they don’t sell in America anymore), Rowntree Fruit Gums and Pastilles, and Fruittella chews. They also carry bulk candies that aren’t made in-house but shipped in from England.

Now, the English may not be known for their culinary genius, but they make some damn fine candy.

And though I was disappointed to see they didn’t carry my fave Coffee Crisp candy bars, I walked out with my pink bag full of sweet treats feeling like a kid in a…well, you know…

Fiona’s Sweetshoppe214 Sutter St., SF –

Posted in Food, San Francisco, Shopping

A Top Chef Master’s Low End Venture

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I’m excited for the upcoming season of Top Chef Masters. There’s no word on who will be competing yet, but I had a blast rooting for Hubert Keller and Rick Bayless last time around.

Trips to Keller’s Burger Bar and Fleur de Lys will have to wait (though they’re on my list of restaurants to try), but Rick Bayless doesn’t have much of a presence around these parts.

He does, however, have a gourmet takeout joint in the cellar of Macy’s Union Square in SF called Frontera Fresco. His obsession with Mexican food and culture, along with his attention to detail told me that the place couldn’t be THAT bad. The man has a reputation to uphold. So my hubby and I gave it a try after a day of post-holiday retail returns.

We went for the Chipotle Chicken and Roasted Vegetable Salad with goat cheese, shredded chicken, and roasted zucchini and peppers. We also had the Pulled Pork Tacos and a Pulled Pork Torta, grilled panini style. (Can you tell pork is the new black around culinary circles? Not that I’m complaining.)

Everything was delicious. The flavors were surprisingly fresh for a takeout place. This stuff was better than most salads or sandwiches you’d get at a sitdown cafe. The pork was stewed and flavored nicely. It wasn’t bland or dry or too greasy either. It actually tasted like it had been cooked for a long time with a lot of care. Pretty impressive for this type of place.

And my husband LOVED his salad. There were no brown lettuce leaves or wilted arugula here. Every piece was fresh, crisp, and bright. The chicken and roasted zucchini gave great flavor and texture contrast to the crisp romaine.

The best part is that this place doesn’t skimp on portions or overcharge just because a celebrity chef’s name is attached to it. Now, of course, it’s not one of his famous restaurants in Chicago, but you could DEFINITELY do worse if you’re looking for a quick, easy, affordable takeout option.

Bayless’ attention to detail and respect for Mexican food really comes through. And fortunately, his reputation has not been compromised.

Frontera Fresco on Urbanspoon