Last week I had a post recapping a lot of what we ate while in San Francisco. This one is going to cover everything from food trucks, market vendors, and anything that was in any way street food.
During our five days in SF we managed to fit in two of the Off the Grid food truck events. Friday night 27 vendors (truck and tent) gather in a parking lot at Fort Mason, a former army base that has been repurposed as community space and would be familiar to Torontonians as having the vibe of the Wychwood Barns on a scale and in a space like the Distillery District.
We tried as much as we could at Fort Mason and if we have a complaint it’s that the large portions kept us from trying more.
Best bite of the event goes to the Fryin’ Maiden ($5) from the Brass Knuckles truck. Actually, that might have been my favourite bite of the entire trip. Even with the generator problems they were having during the event the sandwich was a perfectly executed combination of crunchy-salty fried chicken, a soft bun, and just-spicy-enough, just-saucy-enough jalapeno slaw.
Close runners-up were The “Senor” Sisig Burrito ($8) a Filipino burrito with fantastic crunchy pork and garlic adobo rice and the Lemongrass Chicken banh mi from the Nom Nom truck–even if it leaked some of its deliciousness into my pocket.
Little Green Cyclo with their truffle oil fries provided the side for our feast and dessert, the brioche bread pudding ($3.50), came from the cool automat-style windows at 3-Sum Eats.
Despite the drizzly weather we had a great time enhanced by the wandering live band, ample folding chairs, and craft beer for sale.
On Saturday morning we got up bright and early(-ish) to get a jump on the crowds at the Ferry Building farmers’ market. Our first stop after taking in the beautiful variety of fresh vegetables (in November) was the Roli Roti truck parked around the south side of the building. Saturday is one of Roli Roti’s porchetta days and the sandwich was an excellent combination of succulent roast pork and crispy, sticky, fatty pork skin. The sandwich was a bit over-salted while unfortunately the potatoes (roasted in the meat drippings) were terribly so and some were quite under-done.
Out back we grabbed a couple freshly-shucked oysters from Hog Island Oyster Company (Toronto farmers’ markets: Please add this offering) and one of the famous maple sausage breakfast sandwiches from 4505 Meats. All delicious and only made better by sitting on a sunny bench with a great view of the Bay Bridge (Golden Gate’s less-famous cousin).
Inside the building itself we grabbed a hot chocolate (near the top of my all-time favourite list) from Boulette’s Larder and a round of the widely-recommended Mt. Tam from Cowgirl Creamery. This brie-like cheese made a perfect partner for a half loaf of Tartine’s country levain bread and a couple pears and persimmons from the market.
The obvious sequel to all this eating in the morning was to eat more. On our way back to the Mission District we stopped at the McCoppin Hub Off the Grid event for a late lunch. Smaller than Fort Mason this midday food truck gathering brings five trucks to a small parking lot. From the five trucks I picked Five Ten Burger for an audaciously rare burger was only kept from perfection by leaning a bit too heavily on the toppings.
For dessert both Friday and Saturday we continued to take advantage of the fact that we were staying right at Guerrero and 18th by heading to Bi-Rite Creamery. The lineup for the regular, hard ice cream makes the newly-added soft serve operation a couple doors away an attractive option. The Pre-Holiday daily sundae (vanilla soft serve, house-made pecan pie chunks, and hot fudge) was a winner.
San Francisco has its all-year moderate weather as an advantage but it still has many lessons to teach other cities, like Toronto, about delicious food served from food trucks, mobile vendors, or takeaway windows.