Archive for the 'Eats' Category


Beyond Festivals: Street Food Actually on Streets and Sidewalks

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

Night dining in Hong Kong

These last two weekends in the Bay Area have been a celebration of the best and the biggest of food on the go. La Cocina and Eat Real both showed that there are indeed thousands of people willing to stand in long lines in the full heat of summer to try any tasty treat served from a bicycle or cart, tent or renovated taco truck.

But it was a bit like eating Thanksgiving dinner, my cousin’s 12-course wedding banquet and my mom’s new year’s brunch all in the same week. The specialness of each blurred together, and the meaning of each was lost in the flurry of food.

If we would like to see the creativity of those festivals extended to the other 362 days of the year, we now need to divert some of our gustatory energy to ensuring systemic support of microenterprise. Yes, I know, public policy and economic reform is not nearly as sexy as a coconut-basil popsicle. And, yes, talking about immigration and community development is such a downer. Tweeting is way more fun than writing letters to our city supervisors.

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Red Crawfish

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

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One of my favorite culinary mash-ups of recent years is the Vietnamese-Chinese-Cajun crawfish boil served with rice or garlic noodles. Following the arc of families moving from Vietnam to New Orleans to Southern California to, finally, San Jose and San Francisco, mud bugs have taken a garlicky turn and shown up, of all places, in Little Saigon’s across the country.

Red Crawfish in San Francisco’s Tenderloin is the one closest and dearest to me, as I head over that way anytime I’m craving familiar, comforting flavors. Boiled crawfish is a new tradition among my peeps, but it’s one that I’m very happy to adopt, too.

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Chile Lindo Empanadas

Monday, May 11th, 2009

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(Photo courtesy of Myleen Hollero.)

If, from high above, you could pick up California, stretch it out thin from tip to tip and then flip it in a graceful arc over the equator, you’d have a piece of land that looks pretty much like Chile. Last month, CEOs and politicians met in Santiago to discuss Plan Chile-California, a trade agreement that would create a “partnership for the 21st century” in areas such as education, energy and agriculture.

For the past 10 years, though, Paula Tejeda has been quietly working her own brand of business development and cultural exchange, one empanada at a time, in San Francisco’s Mission District. Stroll by the Redstone Building on any Saturday or Sunday to taste for yourself her efforts to connect Chile and California.

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Local Flavors: Contigo

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

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If you eat out and read blogs and live in the Bay Area, then you’ve surely heard your share about the doors opening soon at this shiny, new Noe Valley restaurant.

Perhaps you’ve even followed the saga, Chef Brett Emerson’s wild ride from inspiration through daily exasperations and deep disappointment to — at last! — his very own kitchen.

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Happy Belly’s Kimchi Dog

Monday, October 20th, 2008

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Now that Namu is taking a break from serving lunch, to focus on opening a new deli at Balboa and 3rd, their outpost in the park, Happy Belly, has been receiving lots more visits from yours truly. The next time you’re strolling from the Conservatory over to the DeYoung or taking a break from Lindy in the Park, stop at this modest little hot dog cart and read the menu carefully.

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