Friday, November 23, 2012

Grand Hyatt's Food Truck Fakeout: It's the Off the Grid Food Truck in Drag

Tooling down Stockton Street to check out the Black Friday madness, I spotted what appeared to be a shiny new food truck being tweaked on the plaza in front of the Grand Hyatt Hotel.  It was emblazoned with the hotel's name as well as the name of the Grand Hyatt's new OneUP Restaurant and Lounge. I knew that the Hyatt had previously hosted some of Off the Grid's stalwart truckers, but was this their attempt to one up (as it were) the Hilton Financial Distract's permanent Coffee Shack with an actual food truck of their very own?  Well, not exactly, at least not for now.

I talked to one of the principals who identified himself simply as "Ben" from the Hyatt (as did the badge on his shirt).  He told me that the truck was there as a two-and-a-half month promotion for the OneUP Restaurant and Lounge.  Initially it would be offering free samples of OneUP's food ("come back at two," said Ben, though I was unable to), but halfway through the promotional period they planned to actually be selling food from the truck. And what  becomes of the truck after its two-and-a-half-month run?  Well, it turns out that the truck will revert to its owner, Off the Grid. Yes, the truck is actually none other than the black and white one OtG uses to host chefs like it did for Farm255's Whitney Otawka at the 2012 San Francisco Street Food Festival, with a new wrap over its paint job. Ben also revealed that the truck was provided by a partnership of Matt Cohen (who forever finds new ways to monetize his resources and knowledge) and William Pilz of HapaSF, who presumable will consult on the fine points of serving food from a truck.

Before posting this I checked the Grand Hyatt's website for more information, and they apparently do have plans for a truck of their very own, so the Off the Grid truck in drag may be just a  stand-in until they get their act together. The plot thickens.

Monday, November 12, 2012

When is a Food Truck Burrito Not a Burrito? When it's a Tunnbrödsrulle from Chef Pelle

It's not often I find myself excited by a food truck that doesn't feature either Asian or Latin cuisine, but that's what happened today when I paid a visit to Pelle Nilsson's Nordic truck at SoMa StreatFood Park.

When the StrEat Food park tweeted that "Chef Pelle" was on the lunchtime roster I was curious enough Google the unfamiliar name. I was headed for Costco (across the street from the Park) anyway, and hopeful of finding something new to try out for lunch.  "Chef Pelle," it turned out, is Pelle Nilsson, who has been cooking in high-end venues since he was 14, traveled throughout Europe and Asia to broaden his knowledge of world food, and has had several executive chef stints in Hawaii and the Bay Area before turning his attention to catering. Needless to say, I was curious to find out what he would do from a truck.

I circled the StrEat Food Park's vendors once looking for "Chef Pelle" before realizing that the truck I was looking for was identified as the "Nordic Truck."  It's a somewhat nondescript truck decorated with home-grown artwork and its menu sprawled across a white expanse in a less than elegant longhand. After perusing the menu, I selected what the menu described as "{Tunnbrödsrulle} beef & pork sausage w/ mashed potatoes, shrimp salad & cucumber salad wrapped in thin flat bread" and a side order of home-pickled herring.

When my unpronounceable lunch came, it had the appearance and heft of a burrito, but couldn't be eaten like one, because the fresh flatbread had nowhere near the tensile strength of a flour tortilla. Once bitten into, it began to look as messy as its combination of ingredients sounds, and I resorted to eating it with fork and knife (which is how Swedes are reputed to eat sandwiches, anyway). The sausage was long and hotdoglike with a bit of snap, and amazingly enough the range of textures (from the insipid mashed potatoes to the firm crunchiness of the cucumber slices) and flavors (the shrimp salad added a curiously salsa-like counterpoint) played together like a symphony.

The home-pickled herring was also a tart bit of heaven in a plastic cup. The generous portion of herring (for  a $3 side dish) had a nice firm bite to it, and the pickling liquid was so refreshing I wanted to drink it all. It's a safe bet I'll return to try everything else on the menu, like the aquavit cured salmon crostini, the crab and shrimp melt with scallions, parmesan and provolone cheese, and ooooh, yeah, the Swedish meatballs. And it's an equally safe bet that I'll have a side of pickled herring each time.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Hongry Kong Truck: Does It Herald a Wave of Mobile Chinese Food?

Chinese food has long been my favorite cuisine.  But when it comes to mobile vendors, it's scarcely been seen served up in San Francisco in any recognizable form.  Even Off the Grid's mammoth Fort Mason Center event, with its charter mandate to serve only Asian and Latin fare (or at least food inspired by those cuisines) has been hard pressed to come up with a truck dedicated to traditional Chinese food, though it has staged trucks featuring traditional Thai, Vietnamese, Indian and even Filipino dishes. Things may be changing for the better; recently I've become aware  of not one, but two food trucks that have come on line and feature Chinese food in traditional forms. I caught up with the first of them, the Hongry Kong truck today at the SoMa Streat Food Park.

Click to enlarge.
Hongry Kong, as the name implies, serves Hong Kong style Chinese food.  This might bend the notion of "traditional" Chinese food a bit, but what's served up is bona fide cha chaan teng (teahouse) fare.  The menu is built around mix-and-match rice plates featuring pork chops or cutlets (pork, chicken, or fish) with a choice of saucing and of fried rice or spaghetti (natch).  There are also a variety of  dim sum-style side dishes including two types of egg tarts (butter crust or flaky crust), siu mai, skewers, fishballs and fried rice.  You can complement your entree with iced drinks such at HK style milk tea, lemon tea and or Ovaltine, and  a waffle with lychee or ube ice cream for dessert. The latter sounds more Filipino than Hong Kong-ese, but it's been 15 years since I was last in Hong Kong and it may be a standard by now.

I ordered a fish cutlet in a peppery oyster sauce over fried rice.  It was about a 10-minute wait at high noon, and it came out piping hot. The sliced, breaded fish filet covered the entire dish, and the pepper sauce evoked a hundred pepper beef, pork, fish or chicken cutlets I had in a past stint in Hong Kong. It was a comforting and substantial lunch for $8.00, which seems to be a benchmark price for lunch in SoMa.

I'm eager to sample the dim sum offerings of the Hongry Kong truck whenever and wherever I catch up with it again.  I'll also have my eyes peeled for the other recently launched Chinese food truck, Bao & Bowl, and will report on it when I catch up with it.  Let's hope these two trucks are the beginning of a wave of Chinese food trucks

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Move Over Hyatt, Hilton Launches its San Francisco Street Food Presence Today

"The Coffee Shack" at The Hilton Financial District Hotel

Lately I've been noticing the installation of a garish prefab "Coffee Shack" on the corner of the parking area in front of the Hilton Financial District hotel at Kearny and Washington Streets in San Francisco. My first reaction was that it was probably from someone who was leasing space to sell snacks to to student at SF City College's new high-rise campus across the street. The mystery took a bizarre twist with the appearance on the site of a "Hi-Striker,"  that carnival gizmo which lets you test your strength by swinging a hammer hard enough to ring a bell.  At this point, my curiosity was piqued enough to send out Inspector Google, who brought back this report from The Barbary Coast News.

According the the article (which appears to be straight from a Hilton Hotel PR release), "The Coffee Shack" is the creation of none other than the Hilton itself.
The "Hi-Striker"
The Hilton San Francisco Financial District is pleased to announce the opening of The Coffee Shack. Parked permanently in Hilton San Francisco Financial District’s front drive and one block away from the Pyramid, The Coffee Shack features much more than coffee. Patrons can start their day with coffee for a buck. Food selections feature a savory breakfast burrito and a build-your-own bratwurst or hot dog for lunch.

In addition, the Shack will offer salads and sandwich wraps, and a "house-made spiced pork" served in a rice bowl or on a corn tortilla. The menu and prices, the mighty Hilton assures us, are "designed with tasty enjoyment and frugality in mind." Nothing on this "great menu" will cost more than $6.

As for the Hi-Striker, that's part of today's (September 13) Grand Opening, which will also feature a DJ and a free small coffee.

The "Little Green Cyclo" at the Hyatt
In recent weeks, the Grand Hyatt on Union Square has been featuring street food by periodically hosting one or two food trucks curated by Off the Grid on its plaza area on Stockton Street and religiously tweeting about them; in that light, The Hilton's move seems logical. Has street food become a de rigeur part of the San Francisco experience that hotels must offer? 

 Your move, Holiday Inn.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

La Cocina Brings Ya Ka Mein to the Streets of San Francisco -- For a Day

[ Cross-posted from my Full Noodle Frontity blog] 

Thanks to La Cocina's San Francisco Street Food Festival, I recently got to sample ya ka mein, a New Orleans street favorite from its most celebrated purveyor, Miss Linda Green, who was imported from NOLA for just that purpose. Though the distant origins of this dish are obscure, we know from restaurant menu archaeologists that it emanated from Chinese-American restaurants and still exists in such restaurants on the eastern seaboard (particularly in Baltimore) as "yat gaw mein."

Perhaps the best resource for understanding ya ka mein's travels and signifcance is an article by noted food writer-folklorist John T. Edge, "Seventh Ward Ramen" in David Chang's Lucky Peach, Issue 1 - Ramen.  According to Edge's description, ya ka mein
usually arrives in a white foam cup, brimming with limp spaghetti noodles, soy-and-ketchup-colored and -flavored broth, chunks of roasted pork or beef, boiled egg halves and a thatch of ragged-cut green-onion rounds....slurped from a bowl while standing on a street corner, [ya ka mein] is also known as Old Sober.
 Linda Green, proprietor of Miss Linda Green's Catering, sells ya ka mein from a booth at the annual Jazz and Heritage Festival and from the tailgate of a pickup truck at other events in New Orleans.  Miss Linda is no mere ramen hacker, however. Though she has no formal training, she has the cooking chops to have kicked serious butt on the Food Network's Chopped: Pride of New Orleans episode, coming away with the big prize.

As for my ya ka mein experience?  I found the salty, peppery, bouillon-y cup of noodles comforting, if not  exactly life-changing; to be fair, it must be noted I was cold sober when I downed them.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Tracking Down the Indies: The Vietnamese Sandwiches Stand at Main & Market Streets

Though it suffers from being premade, it's still a solid FiDi bargain

While San Francisco street food purveyors in institutional settings (e.g. Off the Grid or SoMa StrEatFood Park venues) have vied to keep my attention, I've been overlooking independent enterprises that streamlined San Francisco permitting procedures have encouraged. To be sure, some of the food trucks that appear at OtG and SSFP also have their own spots on City streets, but what about those vendors, particularly non-motorized, that choose to fly solo?

Thanks to a thread and some Yelp reviews, I was alerted to the presence of the Vietnamese Sandwiches Stand, which operates on the west side of Main Street, just south of Market St. in downtown San Francisco, and set out yesterday to check it out.  The stand features both Vietnamese sandwiches (banh mi) and spring rolls (ban cuon) but by 1:00 when I arrived had sold out of the latter, so I contented myself with a BBQ Pork Sandwich from the menu. My sandwich was generously filled and nicely balanced though somewhat lacking sharpness in flavor. (I would have liked the option of throwing in some jalapeno slices, but this option was not available.) The sandwiches are pre-made and kept warm and, as Chowhounds and Yelpers have pointed out, thereby suffer from muddled flavors and textures.  Mine was no exception, especially given the lateness of my arrival, and toasting the sandwich for me did little to help. Overall, though, it was a solid and tasty sandwich experience and at $3.50 a true bargain for the Financial District. (Any comparison with the haute $8.00 food truck banh mis at Off the Grid would be out of line!) I plan to return to vet the spring rolls, perhaps a comparative tasting again on a Thursday when the Soup Junkie down the street on Market Street offers the same item. 

Incidentally, although the sign captured in my photograph specifies Tuesday and Wednesday, the stand is reportedly there every work day.  According to the thread, the operator has a second stand two days a week at California and Sansome Streets, and it's likely the stall (or just the sign) was pressed into service on Main Street on the Thursday I was there. Also according to one of the Chowhound posters, an Indian wraps cart may soon be joining the banh mi stand on Main Street. It's certainly heartening to see the streets of downtown San Francisco populated by street vendors offering other than cellophane-wrapped white bread sandwiches or overpriced hipster junk food. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

300 Block of Kearny Street: The Most Culinarily Diverse Block in San Francisco?

The re-opening of Lee's brought Chinese food back to the 300 block of Kearny St.
When Onigilly brings its rice balls to its new brick-and-mortar location at 343 Kearny St., it won't exactly stick out like a sore thumb.  It'll be the new kid on what may be the most culinarily diverse block in San Francisco.

If you include the restaurant tenants in the partially re-opened International Food Court (which officially  has a Bush Street address but a has co-equal entrance at 316 Kearny Street), there are currently 20 operating eateries you can stroll into at lunchtime in the short 300 Block of Kearny St. These can be grouped into at least 12 national cuisines, and if you parse them into sub-categories, perhaps 15 or 16 distinct cuisines to choose from.

For starters, Onigilly will have company from four other purveyors of Japanese food including a ramen-ya, a Japanese curry house and not one but two sushi-cum-bento outlets.  Your other choices in that block include Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Korean, Filipino, Cuban, Hawaiian, Mexican, Greek/Mediterranean, Italian, and what I'll call "New American/Continental" (gringo food).

Here's the full lineup for the 300 block of Kearny St. :

International Food Court (316 Kearny St).- separate Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese (sushi/bento)  and Filipino vendors. (Previous Burmese and Mexican tenants may or may not return.)

Ayola (327 Kearny St.) - Greek/Mediterranean
Baladie (337 Kearny St.) - Greek/Mediterranean
Banana House (321 Kearny St.) - Thai
Bangkok Best (301 Kearny St.) - Thai
Darn Good Food (322 Kearny St.) - New American/Continental
Ebisu (336 Kearny St.) - Japanese sushi and bento
El Faro (346 Kearny St.) - Mexican taqueria
Fleur de Sel (308 Kearny St.) - New American/Continental
Harrow (357 Kearny St.) - New American/Continental
Have a Rice Day (356 Kearny St.) - Korean and Japanese Rice Bowls
L & L Hawaiian Barbecue (312 Kearny St.) - Hawaiian plate lunches
Muracci's Japanese Curry (307 Kearny St.) - Japanese curry
Pachino Trattoria and Pizzeria (318 Kearny St.) - Italian
Paladar Cafe Cubano (329 Kearny St.) - Cuban
Pasilla Mexican Grill (359 Kearny St.) - Mexican Grill
Underground Ramen (355 Kearny St.) - Japanese ramen

The 300 block of Kearny Street is prone to turnover, though the crop of restaurants listed above (except for the New American venues) have shown some staying power. An Indian/Pakistani restaurant recently failed, as did another New American restaurant, leaving vacancies that have yet to be filled.  And Onigilly's spot? It will replace a recently closed Indonesian restaurant.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Smoking out those Notorious P.I.G.S.

Brass*Knuckle's Notorious P.I.G.
I not only follow San Francisco's Off the Grid, but also -- vicariously -- London's equivalent, Eat Street.  I was somewhat startled to find that one of Eat Street's vendors, Anna Mae's Southern Street Food stall offered a creation called the "Notorious P.I.G." That, of course, is also the name of a signature creation of a popular San Francisco food truck, Shellie Kitchen's Brass*Knuckle.  The two are very different creations, the former being conventional BBQ and Brass*Knuckle's being basically a Cubano on a rosemary waffle, but my suspicious mind wondered if coincidence or copycat-ism were at play here.

Photo Flickr/Indiana Public Media
Upon further reflection, I reminded myself that "great minds think alike" and wondered how many hand-held eats were graced with this fairly obvious pun for a name.  I decided to do a little research, using a Flickr search on "Notorious P.I.G." (hey, if it's worthy of a foodie's attention, it's been photographed in situ). It turns out that there at least nine creations out there dubbed "Notorious P.I.G." ranging from panini to to pizza and wraps. Here are the highlights of my research, and if it makes you hungry, head out to the nearest BBQ or street food event.

Notorious P.I.G.S. of the World

- Brass Knuckle, the San Francisco food truck, serves a basic Cubano with house-roasted pork, ham and Swiss on a rosemary waffle as its "Notorious P.I.G."

- Anna Mae's, the London food stall, describes its "Notorious P.I.G." as pulled pork topped with a proprietary BBQ saiuce on a roll.

Frank, a restaurant in Austin, Texas gets creative with a house-made pork, bacon, jalapeno and sage sausage topped with macaroni and cheese and Texas BBQ sauce on a baguette.

- Sugar Shack, a barbecue trailer also in Austin, offers 12-hour smoked pulled pork in a sandwich or in a "wrap" (photos suggest tortillas).

- Il Bambino, a restaurant in Astoria, New York, goes haute with a panini containing scrambled eggs, smoked bacon, "artisan" cheddar and truffle spread.

- The Happy Pig, a food truck in Bloomington, Indiana's "Notorious P.I.G" features cured and braised pork topped with maple syrup and a sunnyside up egg on house made sliced bread

- The Notorious P.I.G., an eponymously named BBQ restaurant chain in Phoenix, Arizona, offers a conventional smoked pulled pork topped with blue cheese slaw on a bun

- We the Pizza, a pizzeria in Washington, DC apparently offers a "Notorious P.I.G. Pizza." No description of the toppings can be found on the restaurant's web side , but a Flickr photo caption describes it as a "BBQ" topping.

- Pork Belly Grub Shack in Sacramento, California, offers a "Notorious P.I.G. Burger" which is not pork at all (despite the restaurant's name) but a conventional beef cheeseburger topped with pork rinds and "belly sauce" on a ciabatta roll.

It's not clear who put the name "Notorious P.I.G." in play first, though photo dating suggests it was either the Austin sausage restaurant of the Phoenix chain (both were documented in late January, 2010).

There's a Charlie Mingus recording called "Gunslinging Bird." Mingus used to explain at his live performances that the full title of the song was "If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger, There'd Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats."  I don't know if the originator of the "Notorious P.I.G." menu moniker is a gunslinger (though its probable Phoenix or Texas origin gives one pause), but let's hope he or she is more intent on slinging porky goodness than bullets or trademark lawsuits.

Now, on to my favorite rock band, Notorious MSG.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Soft Opening of SoMa StrEat Food Park Brings out Hardcore Food Truck Fans

Carlos Muela (center) and friends at the SOMA StrEAT Food Park Launch

The "Soft" opening today of Carlos Muela's SoMa StrEat Food Park was announced in sotto voce and with no small measure of expectation management.  The local foodie media, following a press release, announced the Wednesday, June 6 official opening day with scarcely a mention of an interim shakedown period (other than this here blog, which nobody reads anyway).  To be fair, @SOMAStrEatFoodPark did tweet there would be some soft openings with "a couple" of food trucks in the interim.  The "couple of" food trucks turned out to be six, and somewhere in the neighborhood of two to three hundred food truck fans turned out for the unofficial launch.


I wasn't on site for the staging and setting up of the trucks, but by the time I got here around 11:30 everything was working like clockwork, and there wasn't much for Muela to do but greet and schmooze with arriving guests, and  feel good about the results of a year and a half of hard work.  If there were any glitches, I didn't see any. I availed myself of the spartan but spacious and clean bathrooms, the free high speed Wi-Fi (I clocked  both uploads and downloads near 20 Mbps on my first generation iPad, better than Comcast gives me at home) and the food, downing a hearty and tasty lamb shawarma from the Sunrise Deli truck at a picnic table sheltered from the sun.

San Francisco has reached the "If you build it, they will come" stage of hunger for quality street food venues. Carlos has built it, and we will come.

Mentioned: @SoMaStrEAtFood, @Brassknucklesf, @SmokinWarehouse, @SunriseDeli, @LaPastrami, @TheWaffleMObile

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

SOMA StrEAT Food Park to "Soft" Launch Thursday, With Grand Opening June 6

The anticipated SOMA StrEAT Food Park, San Francisco's first specifically designed venue for food truck dining, is poised to open for business. According to proprietor Carlos Muela, who was onsite today overseeing some last-minute touches, a soft launch period will begin Thursday, with lunch-only service beginning at 11:00 AM.  The lunch-only service will continue through next Tuesday; Wednesday, June 6 will see the formal Grand Opening of the Park and all-day service (lunch through dinner).

Muela promises some new trucks not seen before, and will experiment with occasional  appearances by non-food vendors in the mix, such at the Top Shelf mobile boutique.  He anticipates up to seven vendors at the opening of the soft launch period, and promises a full complement of 10 trucks at the Grand Opening. The SOMA StrEAT Food Park is located at 428 Eleventh Street, across from Costco.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Matt Cohen's SF FoodLab Opens with Sol Food Lunchtime Pop-up

Thankfully, there are no mad scientists in white coats running around with test tubes at the SF FoodLab. It's not a crucible for molecular gastronomy, but rather a combination commissary kitchen and host space for pop-up restaurateurs. Located in the Renoir Hotel at 1106 Market Street in the space that once held Cafe do Brasil and most recently the valedictory run of Little Joe's ("rain or shine there's always a line"), it's a new project by Off the Grid's Matt Cohen and partners Gabriel Cole and Mark Walker.

I attended the first public event at the SF FoodLab, a May 23 lunchtime pop-up appearance by San Rafael's Sol Food (it's pronounced Sōl Food, after proprietor Marisol Hernandez, hence a pun). Sol Food features Puerto Rican cuisine featuring free range and antibiotic-free meats and organic salad greens.  On opening day, the offerings were only a small subset of Sol Food's extensive San Rafael menu, with one chicken, one beef and one vegetarian "Combinacione" available. I chose the Pollo al Horno Combinacione, described on the menu as "Free Range/wheat free boneless, skinless chicken thighs marinated with oregano & garlic, then baked."  I added a Té Helado (orange-mango iced tea) for caffeine as no coffee drinks were available. It came with  rice (topped with choice of pink or black beans) and salad. The San Rafael menu promised fried plantain or fries, but were not available at the pop-up on opening day.

My chicken was moist and savory, though not particularly exotic.  Fortunately, I was able to enhance it with a house-made sauce (found bottled on each table).  I was told to use this mildly spicy, slightly tart and slightly sweet sauce liberally, and it did wonders for both the chicken and the salad. The house-made orange-mango iced tea was wonderfully refreshing though a touch too sweet for my tastes, though probably not so for most people, as I tend to be sweetness-averse.  My lunch came to $13.50 including tax (service is cafeteria-style, so tipping is discretionary), a little steep for a worker's lunch, novelty value of Puerto Rican food in the area aside. Nonetheless, I'll likely return to try something else during the pop-up's tenure, which is said to be every weekday through June (per Gub Street).

The dining space at SF FoodLab is light, airy and attractive, though spare. There is a small bar at the back, which was unused except by a laptop squatter during my visit. Latin music played in the background, though at a very civilized level (meaning NOT LOUD).  According to Grub Street, future popper-uppers (poppers-up?) include Russell Jackson (ex-Lafitte), Aaron London (ex-Ubunto) and the ex-Frisee pair who currently operate the Southern Sandwich food truck.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Old World Food Truck -- Jewish Soul Food at the New Mission Dispatch "Pod"

[Update: I caught up with the Old World Food Truck while they were serving pierogies at Off the Grid:5M on Wednesday the 23rd, and am happy to report the potato and cream cheese pierogies were big, plunp and luscious.  I intended to check out the corned beef (in Reuben form) which Matt Cohen praised highly to me, but had just eaten a full lunch at Matt's other project, the SF FoodLab (see above).]

A small, two or three truck food truck “pod” on a private lot isn't really something to get excited about these days, unless you happen live or work nearby. But what got me to brave the No. 9 bus to the new Mission Dispatch pod at 18th and Bryant was a new one-of-a-kind truck featured today, the Old World Food Truck. OWFT boasts “East European and and Jewish Soul Food,” or the kind of fare that kept my body and soul together 50 years ago when I lived on Manhattan's Lower East Side (in a SRO at No. 9 St. Mark's Place, to be exact).

Mission Dispatch bears a striking resemblance to The Lunch Box on Ritch Street, with space for two and possibly three trucks and a generous amount of seating, both at picnic tables and at loose chairs. It was bustling when I arrived there around 12:30, with lines of approximately equal length at the Old World Food Truck and Little Green Cyclo, which MD was also hosting today. I found the Old World Food Truck decked out in a charmingly schmaltzy décor which might be called “Fiddler on the Roof” style. The largest font on the truck proclaimed “Pierogies and Artisan Sandwiches” but, alas, they had no pierogies today. Instead, I ordered a knish to go with my “Chicken Schnitzelwich.” described elsewhere as a “Jewish Banh Mi.”

When the sandwich came, it was HUGE, with as much fried chicken as could possibly be stuffed into a banh mi-type roll. It was dressed with a pickled slaw-like topping with shredded carrots and all, and did in fact bear a resemblance to a banh mi. I ordered my sammie with a “schmear” of chopped liver (a dollar extra) and, looking back, that may have been my favorite part of the sandwich. I found the chicken, encased in a crunchy, nostalgically greasy batter, tasty but a bit on the dry side. The slaw dressing and the creamy chicken liver would have attenuated the dryness, but due to the very size of the thing I ate the top part of the bun (with the toppings) separately and left the bottom part behind. The truck's knishes have a nice flaky shell, but the savory potato and chard filling is so pillowy you'll want to ask for a fork to eat it with.

Also on the menu today was an open-faced “Texas Toast Reuben” sandwich featuring their own cured corned beef, a Brisket Borscht, a Polish Strawberry Soup and Mint Lemonade. Both the chicken sandwich (I believe I got the last one) and the reuben sold out before 1:00. I'll definitely catch up with Old World Food truck again to try the reuben, and they damn well better have the pierogies!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Julia Yoon, Seoulful Queen of Korean Food Trucks, Marks 5 Year Anniversary

She didn't invent the Korean Taco, but Julia Yoon, proprietor of the Seoul On Wheels Korean BBQ truck, can lay a claim to bringing hand-held Korean cuisine to the food truck world. In mid-2007, more than a year before LA's vaunted Kogi Truck hit the road, she was dispensing hearty portions of Korean barbequed meats in sandwich as well as rice bowl form to hungry workers. According to Julia, she first hit the streets on May 21, 2007. As was the normal modus at that time, she focused on lunchtime service for hungry workers at construction sites and other captive audiences, but by July of that year she had caught the attention of free-range Chowhound and Yelper foodies. In August, Seoul on Wheels received a full-fledged review with pictures by delighted blogger Bunrab, Bay Area Bites published her schedule of stops, and the process of raising an army of devoted fans had begun.

With William Pilz and OTG's "Kevlar"
By the summer of 2010, the Food Truck 2.0 movement (in which Julia and her Seoul on Wheels truck was a key pioneer) was well under way, and when Matt Cohen and Caleb Zigas created the food truck destination event Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center, Julia was among the first to answer the call. Seoul on Wheels has been an OTG fixture ever since. Amazingly, though Julia hasn't expanded beyond a single truck, and doesn't do a lot of delegating, Seoul on Wheels seems to make an appearance at nearly every food truck venue and special event in the Bay Area. Organizers seem to know that without Seoul on Wheels and Julia Yoon's sweetness and generosity of spirit, a food truck rally's street creds (as it were) are, at best dubious.

Early on, Julia introduced herself as The Princess of Yoon on her website, but I've upgraded her to Queen, because she is indisputably Queen of Food Trucks 2.0 in the Bay Area and perhaps the Universe. If you see that sedate academic blue truck with Julia smiling from the order window at Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center on Friday night (or at any of the 20-odd other events she'll show up at in the next week), stop by, say hello and congratulate her. Oh, and grab a Galbi Korrito.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Oakland's First Food Truck "Pod" is Launched.

Today's fine weather found me headed to the mysterious East Bay to check out the debut of Oakland's first legally sanctioned on-street gathering of food trucks, the Clay Pod.  Under legislation passed late last year, three food trucks will be stationed on Clay Street between 14th Street and 15th Street in downtown Oakland every Tuesday from 11:30 to 2:00.  The Clay Pod is the brainchild and personal project of Gail Lillian, proprietor of the Liba Falafel truck (the East Bay Express has some of the backstory). Two of the trucks, Lillian's Liba Falafel and William Pilz's HapaSF are scheduled to be there weekly, while a new-to-me truck, Go Streatery, will alternate with another old friend food truck, Julia Yoon's Seoul on Wheels. (I'm counting on either HapaSF or Seoul on Wheels to come up with a dish called "Clay Pod Rice," ya hear?)  As the East Bay Express noted, a legitimized Bites Off Broadway launches Friday, and more "pods" appear to be in the pipeline.

Business was brisk today, and judging by the number of surprised and delighted looks, will get even better as word gets out.  For my part, I decided to get something from Go Streatery, it being new to me. Go Streatery serves glorified comfort food, which, with no small measure of hipster irony, it calls "Glorious Peasant Food."  I went for the pan-fried dumplings (the only dish with pork in it) and a side of house-made root kettle chips. The dumplings seemed more sauteed than fried (limp rather than crunchy) and were on the bland side. To the dish's credit, they rested on a generous portion of salad consisting of sprightly chopped greens and Cara Cara orange slices.  The root chips (made from blue potatoes, sweet potatoes and yam were the real winners -- thin, crispy and not overly salty.  At $2.00 they're a no-brainer add-on to your main course.

Monday, April 30, 2012

California Foie Gras? Vote With Your Feet -- Whether they are Webbed or Not

Chefs at the restaurants listed below have put themselves on record as wanting to overturn the California ban on foie gras.  If you care about this issue, you can point your webbed feet or your Manolo Blahniks toward or away from these establishments. It's your call.

City Restaurant Chef
Berkeley Meritage at the Claremont Josh Thomsen
Beverly Hills Bouchon Rory Herrman
Corona Del Mar Five Crowns and Side Door Ryan O’Melveney Wilson
Granite Bay Hawks Restaurant Molly Hawks
Half Moon Bay The Ritz-Carlton Otto Sanchez
Healdsburg Cyrus Doug Keane
Healdsburg Dry Creek Kitchen Dustin Valette
Hermosa Beach Hot’s Kitchen Sean Chaney
Hollywood Animal Vinny Dotolo
La Jolla Ariccia Italian Market Robert Pascucci
Long Beach Michael on Naples David Coleman
Los Angeles Eva Restaurant Mark Gold
Los Angeles Father’s Office Sang Yoon
Los Angeles LudoBites Ludo Lefebvre
Los Angeles Mezze Restaurant Micha Wexler
Los Angeles Patina Joachim Splichal
Los Angeles Providence Michael Cimarusti
Los Angeles Republique Restaurant Walter Manzke
Los Angeles Son of a Gun Jon Shook
Los Angeles W Los Angeles Dakota Weiss
Los Angeles West Matthew Woolf
Los Gatos Manresa David Kinch
Monterey Bistro Moulin Didier Dutertre
Mountain View Chez TJ Joey Elentrio
Napa Angele Restaurant Scott Ekstrom
Napa La Toque Ken Frank
Napa La Toque Matthew Mullowney
Napa Mustards Cindy Pawlcyn
Napa Redd’s Restaurant Richard Reddington
Napa Terra Hiro Sone
Napa The French Laundry Thomas Keller
Newport Beach Brasserie Pascal Pascal Olhats
Orange Haven Gastropub Greg Daniels
Pacific Palisades Maison Giraud Alain Giraud
Pasadena The Royce David Feau
Pasadena The Valley Hunt Club Michael Beck
Plymouth Taste Mark Berkner
Redwood City Martins West Michael Dotson
Rohnert Park Hana Japanese Ken Tominaga
Sacramento Ella Dining Room and Bar Michael Thiemann
Sacramento Lounge ON20 Pajo Bruich
Sacramento Mulvaney’s BandL Patrick Mulvaney
Sacramento Selland Family Restaurants Randall Selland
Sacramento The Kitchen Noah Zonca
Saint Helena The Restaurant at Meadowood Christopher Kostow
San Diego Bertrand at Mister A’s Stephane Voitzwinkler
San Diego Evolve Cuisine Daniel Barron
San Diego The Cowboy Star Victor Jimenez
San Diego The French Gourmet Michel Malecot
San Diego Urban Solace Matthew Gordon
San Francisco Alexander’s Marc Zimmerman
San Francisco Ame Restaurant Lissa Doumani
San Francisco Atelier Crenn Dominique Crenn
San Francisco Aziza Mourad Lahlou
San Francisco Baker and Banks Jeff Banker
San Francisco Benu Cory Lee
San Francisco Bon Appetit Management Co. Robbie Lewis
San Francisco Boulevard Nancy Oakes
San Francisco Boulevard Tim Quaintance
San Francisco CHAYA Brasserie Yuko Kaji
San Francisco Citizen Cake Elizabeth Falkner
San Francisco Claudine Ileah Paolinelli
San Francisco Epic Roasthouse Jan Birmbaum
San Francisco Foreign Cinema John Clark
San Francisco Gary Danko Gary Danko
San Francisco Incanto Chris Cosentino
San Francisco Jardiniere Traci Des Jardins
San Francisco La Folie Roland Passot
San Francisco Michael Mina Restaurant Group Michael Mina
San Francisco Nopa Laurence Jossel
San Francisco One Market Mark Dommen
San Francisco Palio D’Asti Daniel Scherotter
San Francisco Perbacco Staffan Terje
San Francisco Picco Bruce Hill
San Francisco Quince Restaurant Michael Tusk
San Francisco RN74 Jason Berthold
San Francisco SPQR Matthew Accarrino
San Francisco Taste Chris Borges
San Francisco The Absinthe Group Adam Keough
San Francisco The Ritz-Carlton Xavier Salomon
San Francisco The Slanted Door Charles Phan
San Francisco Txoko Ian Begg
San Francisco Waterbar Emily Luchetti
San Francisco Wayfare Tavern Tyler Florence
San Francisco Zare Fly Trap Hoss Zare
Santa Clara Yan Can Asian Bistro Cory Chen
Santa Monica JiRaffe Rafael Lunetta
Santa Monica Melisse Josiah Citrin
Santa Rosa John Ash and Co. Restaurant John Ash
Santa Rosa Petite Syrah Josh Silvers
Saratoga Plumed Horse Peter Armellino
Sausalito Maestra de Cocina Joanne Weir
Sonoma Carneros Bistro Andrew Wilson
Sonoma Hot Box Grill Norman Owens
Sonoma La Sallette Manuel Azevedo
Sonoma Ramekins Doug MacFarland
Venice Beach Joe’s Restaurant Joey Miller
Yountville Ad Hoc Dave Cruz
Yountville Bistro Jeanty Philippe Jeanty
Yountville Bottega Michael Chiarello
Yountville Bouchon Michael Sandoval
Yountville Lucy at Bardessono Victor Scargle
Yountville The French Laundry Timothy Hollingsworth

Source: Eater San Francisco

Monday, April 9, 2012

Xiao Long Bao, OW! Shanghai Dumpling King's Quality Has Gone South, Literally.

Shanghai Dumpling King's xiao long bao in better days

[Note: If you are one of those unfortunates not familiar with xiao long bao, refer to Olivia Wu's evocative description in the piece she wrote for the Asian Art Museum's Shanghai exhibit blog.]

Last Saturday was the 20th anniversary of my xiao long bao epiphany, which occurred on April 7, 1992 at the very temple of xiao long bao, Nanxiang Xiaolong Mantou Dian, in Shanghai. To mark this anniversary I dragged my wife, stepdaughter and mother-in-law to the place I had long counted on for the best xiao long bao on this side of the Pacific, Shanghai Dumpling King in the foggy reaches of the Outer Richmond. We ordered two longs (steamers) of the precious baozi, as well as an order of sheng jian bao (xiao long bao's rough-edged cousin), some traditional Shanghainese appetizers, and an order of Lion's Head meatballs.

We were sorely disappointed. The xiao long bao had a mealy ground pork filling, insipid “soup” and wrappers that broke upon simply being looked at. To add insult to injury, the steamers were lined with parchment whereas they formerly would have rested on a traditional lettuce lining. SDK's xiao long bao, which I've been in the habit of recommending to others, had become as inept as they once were superior. The sheng jian bao were ever worse representatives of their species. As for the other dishes, my wife could have (and has) executed them better, as she didn't fail to point out to me.

What on earth had happened? I related my disappointment to my main Chinese restaurant gossip source (I'll call her Deep Teacup) who knows the Outer Richmond turf well.

“They've changed owners, you know,” said Deep Teacup.

I had to admit I didn't know. “The old owner moved to Millbrae,” she said.

“To be with his wife,” I said. “You got it,” said Deep Teacup smugly.

I knew that several years ago the wife of the owner of Shanghai Dumpling King (which was then known as Shanghai Dumpling Shop) had opened a spinoff with the same name in Millbrae. I had taken the train there to check it out, such was my love for xiao long bao, and found them not of the quality of her husband's (he personally made the XLB at the San Francisco location). I have no idea if there was a rivalry between the two shops, but when the San Francisco shop was subsequently renamed Shanghai Dumpling KING, I imagined it was to rub it in. In any event , whatever distance there had been between the two dumpling shops has vanished. The real Shanghai Dumpling King (or Queen, or both) now has a 650 area code.

I see another train trip in the works.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Late April Launch Projected for SoMa Streat Food Park

 Two months ago a flurry of reports (well, at least three reports) about a proposed food truck “pod” breaking ground South of Market excited the street foodie in me. It was to have permanent amenities such as an open roofed structure, picnic tables and restrooms, and was inspired by the now-renowned street food pods in Portland. Having heard nothing about it since, I had nearly forgotten the dream until a friend (thank you, Amanda!) informed me that a big new sign, visible from the freeway, drew her attention to construction activity at the site. The site is adjacent to Costco, so I resolved to check it out on my Costco run today.

Carlos Muela of  SOMA Streat Food Park
Sure enough, the signs were up, the roofed shelter was up, and work was underway on some light stanchions. I was fortunate enough to be greeted by Carlos Muela, the genial force behind the project, and was able to ply him with questions. Muela, whose restaurateur parents (they own Picaro and Esperpento in the Mission) hail from Madrid, Spain, confirmed that the plans revealed in the January SF Weekly interview cited above were still operative, although the beer garden component is still a question mark, due to a maze of regulations which he is attempting to navigate. Most of the “difficult” construction work (e.g. the utilities infrastructure) has been completed, he said, and he foresees a launch by late April.

SoMa Streat Food Park, to recapitulate, will have space for 10 trucks at a time, which Muela plans to host in some form of consistent rotation. What he hope to emulate is the sense of community he felt at the Portland street food pods with their fixed locations, regular vendors and regular customers. He anticipates having no trouble filling slots, and plans to host some carts as well as trucks. He promises some vendors never seen before. The park will be open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week. The site has one thing money can't buy: one of the best microclimates in the city. Assuming he vets his vendors well, the project looks like a winner.

Follow the event at @SoMaStrEatFood 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Return of the Bush & Kearny International Food Court?

This post has been updated.  See added final paragraph.

The International Food Court at Bush and Kearny, closed by a fire in early 2008, may be poised for a comeback. The basement level food court, affectionately known as “The Dungeon” by many or simply “the place with the red awning” by some, was officially located at 380 Bush Street but had a coequal entrance (and awning) at 316 Kearny St. (Never mind that it was previously known as The International Food Center, or “the place with the blue awning.) It specialized in cheap, ethnic (mostly Asian) fast food from six stations. In its last incarnation, the IFC hosted Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Burmese, Filipino and Mexican food vendors. The food was generally indifferent, though the lumpia from The House of Lumpia and the Burmese tea leaf salad from By the Bite had many fans (and where else in the FiDi were you going to find Filipino and Burmese food?)

After the facility was closed by the disastrous fire, signs were posted at both entrances promising a reopening “soon.” Nobody held their breath, and that promise of "soon" faded with the ink on the signs.  Now, four years later, that “soon” may really be soon. Newly printed “Coming Soon” signs recently appeared, and  signs of activity have been spotted. within the past few days. Last Friday I observed an open door behind the grate at the Bush Street entrance, and people who appeared to be taking measure of the space milling about below. Lights can also sometimes be seen inside the subterranean interior from the street where previously there were none.

What phoenix will emerge from the ashes of the beloved dungeon?  It's unlikely that all six of the pre-fire tenants have been biding their time for the past four years waiting to resume, but at the very least we are being promised an "International Food Court" once again, and that is music to my ears. Given the recent upsurge in interest in ethnic street foods, the possibilities are tantalizing. I have yet to find any clues to the who, what or when of International Food Court II, but believe me, I'll be on it like Bulldog Drummond.  

Amazingly, I found a pre-fire video by sflunch on YouTube (God bless the Internet!) which captures the spirit of a visit to the IFC.  If you were a devotee, it may bring a tear to your eye or a Proustian flood of memories.

[Update - 3/28/2012] Today when I wandered by the IFC site I noticed the grate and a door at the Bush Street entrance were open, and peering down the stairs I could see feet.  I descended the stairs to the hallowed space, and saw that the feet belonged to a whole Asian family of indeterminate denomination who appeared to be inspecting one of the cooking stations. Before I could converse with them, Another Asian male who appeared to be representing the food court interposed himself between me and the family . I quickly asked him if they were preparing to re-open, and he said "maybe in one month."  I then tried to ask if tenants had been found for all six food preparation areas; I'm not sure he understood my question, as his English seemed to be quite limited, but he appeared to, and answered in the affirmative.  He then waved me goodbye, saying "come back next month."  The space and the facilities appeared to be sparkling clean, though there was some standing water on the floor near the Bush Street stairway (probably from yesterday's deluge) so some issues may remain to be dealt with.  Fingers crossed.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center Returns Bigger and Badder

Off the Grid Season 3 debut in the early going, 
The return of Off the Grid's flagship event at Fort Mason Center after its winter hiatus drove home to me the importance of the non-motorized (i.e. tented booth and cart) vendors to the character of street food in San Francisco. I had found my interest in attending the lesser, truck-only OTG events waning soon after Thanksgiving and the Fort Mason event's furlough , but Friday night's debut of Fort Mason Season 3 was miraculously restorative. Don't get me wrong – I have my favorite trucks (see this post) – but by and large the OTG satellite events tend to be dominated by hipster hobbyist trucks pitching to the Bacon-wrapped Pork Belly and Demented Donuts demographic. In retrospect, it occurs to me my go-to vendors in previous seasons at Fort Mason were always the tented ones; if I couldn't find something new there to tempt me, it was still worth the trip to the chilly veldt of the Fort Mason Center parking lot to grab something from El Huarache Loco, Azalina's Malaysian or Chaac Mool. What vendors like these may have lacked in variety, they made up in authenticity and value. You can't invent a new traditional street food every other week, after all.

Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center, 2012 version is bigger, better, and simply more amazing than previous editions. It's bigger both in physical size and number of vendors.  It's organized as before with tents along one side and trucks along the other, with a middle row of more trucks. However, the perimeter has been expanded outward in all directions, allowing for better circulation and more amenities, and the tent alley and outer truck alley have been flip-flopped. Matt Cohen swears this expansion has been accomplished without sacrificing any additional parking spaces. To break down the space allocation, there are scheduled slots for 16 trucks, 14 tented booths and and four carts. That adds up to 34 vendors at a time, according to my sterling math skills. There's also a bi-weekly rotation for five of the truck slots and three of the tent slots, allowing for an additional eight vendors, swelling the total to 42, not counting some likely turnover over the course of the 8-month seaason. As before, there's live music and a full bar, but a second beer bar has been added (tip: the line at this "back" bar was much shorter than the other one on opening night). There's also more seating overall and even some picnic tables within the event's perimeter, so you can enjoy your beer with your food in sit-down comfort if you're lucky enough to snag a table space.

Beef heart anticucho from Lima Peruvian
As for the vendors, 16 on the roster are new to Fort Mason (and most of these are new to OTG altogether), including nine new tented vendors, four new trucks and three new carts. Some of my favorites are missing from the schedule, most noticeably Veronica Salazar's El Huarache Loco (which has moved on to bigger things) but enough new ones are of interest to me to remove the sting. Friday night saw debuts for tented vendors Lima Peruvian (anticuchos and tacu tacus), Wing Wings, Don Bugito (pre-Hispanic insect-based snacks), Bombzies BBQ (chicken kabobs), Kirimachi Ramen, and Belly Burgers (pork belly burgers). There was also one new truck, Eric Rudd's Fogcutter (formerly The Brunch Box) and three new carts: AK Double Up (Trinidadian Hot Doubles), Fat Face (New Age popsicles) and Alicia's Tamales. The rotation for next Friday promises traditional fish tacos from Cholita Linda, a new musubi vendor (Gohan)  and a truck named Eat on Monday, which is said to vend New American and Asian Fusion creations.

Jamaican "Double" from AK Double Up
After casing the joint Friday night I made a beeline for the Lima Peruvian stall for an Anticucho de Corazon (beef heart skewer) and a side of Papas Wankas (a.k.a. Papas a la Huancaina). The beef heart was garnished with chimichurri and pleasant, if mild in flavor. It was very chewy (more chew and less snap than chicken heart skewers, by comparison) and may or may not be more work than you want your jaw to do. The cheese sauce on the papas was also a bit on the mild side, but maybe if enough people ask for it to be spicy.... Lima Peruvian also has other varieties of anticuchos, which I'll check out after trying a tacu tacu plate.

My second course was a surprising “Double” from the AK Double Up Cart. A “Double” or “Hot Double,” as I found out, is a popular street food in Trinidad. It's a taco-like hand food with a puffy, cumin and turmeric-infused flatbread “shell” and a filling of curried garbanzo beans garnished with chutney and a pepper sauce. A harmonious chorus of flavor, it's vegan, but the kind of vegan food that would keep life worth living for me were I to become a vegan.

Pork belly burger from Belly Burger
My third and final sampling on opening night was from the oh-what-the-heck department, a belly burger from (you guessed it) the Belly Burger tent. It's made with pork belly, but it's not Yet Another Momofuku Pork Bun. Instead, the pork belly is ground (burger-like, heh), grilled, and served on a traditional soft burger bun. The variations on the menu are in the toppings, and I chose the “Classic” (fried chili pepper aioli, tomatillo pickles and Cotija) and a side of Almond Cumin Slaw. The pork belly patty was flavorful and not overly greasy, the dressing added some meaningful notes and the thing didn't gross me out at all. I mean that as a compliment, and as for the slaw, I don't think I'll ever spend a better $2 at an Off the Grid event.

Lastly, in case you are wondering, I did NOT wimp out on the Don Bugito cart. I enjoyed their wax moth larva tacos last summer at the San Francisco Street Food Festival, and they are not yet back in rotation on my bucket list.

See you on Friday.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Remembering the Basque Hotel Restaurant, and Basque Food Culture in the Bay Area

Basque restaurants, particularly the ones attached to Basque boarding houses in San Francisco in the mid-20th Century played  a big role in keeping body and soul together in my salad days of the early 1960's. The Basque Hotel Restaurant at 15 Romolo Place (there's a hipster bar there now) was my favorite. It was one of the later vintage Basque hotels, but actually functioned as a boarding house for sojourning Basques and, at least in its early years, adhered to a very traditional French Basque dinner service.  You'd walk in before its single 6:30 seating and sit at a long communal table.  At 6:30 sharp food would start coming, and you'd start eating. They would start with soup, followed by two entrees (which varied by day of the week), passed down the table on huge platters. Entrees might include clams, lamb chops, coq au vin, even sweetbreads.There were invariably mountains of French fries, the best I'd ever had.  Sourdough bread (probably from Larraburu Bakery, which existed until the late '70s despite the erroneous info in the chart below), served without butter. Salad would be served last, European style. There was also unlimited quantities of vin ordinaire, and at the end of the meal strong coffee would be served, poured into the same tumbler you drank the wine from.  I've never been a dessert guy, but there may have been pie or ice cream, too.  At the end of the meal one would walk to the back or the room, pay at the bar and exit.  I don't recall the exact price, but it was a splurge, at least double the $1.00 I would pay for a full American-style dinner at Jackson Cafe or Sun Tai Sam Yuen on Jackson street.

Not long into my tenure some traditions yielded to practical considerations, such as the pay-on-exit (which required a detour which was too easily avoided) and, eventually, the unlimited free wine. Prices rose faster than the cost of living as well, but it was still an affordable feast and a great social outing in the '80s when the above photo was taken (that's yours truly with the cig). .

I found the chart below on It's presented as is, though there are some errors and out-of-date information in it (Iluna Basque, for one thing, has closed).

Basque Hotels and Restaurants
In The San Francisco Bay Area

Hotel du Midi
1950’s & 1960’s
Powell and Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133
Marianne Ospital and Frank Monaut
Frank Monaut and Katrine Oillarburu
Jose Mari Etchemendy 1960’s
Felix & Begoña Bilbao 1964-1974

Hotel de España
781 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133
Katixa & Juanes Bordalampé and Maria and Fermin Uharte
Marie and Louis Elu (proprietors)

Pyrénées Hotel
Before 1958
Pacific between Powell & Stockton???, San Francisco, CA 94133
Janamarie and Martial Gonzalez

Pyrénées Hotel
After 1958
517 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133
Amélie and Jean Sorhondo

Obrero Hotel
1950’s to 1970’s
1208 Stockton, San Francisco, CA 94133
Mr. and Mrs. Idiart (Juan and Nieves ??? p95 Home away from Home) 1950’s
Mrs. Emile Ornague
Katrine and Pierre Goyhenetche
Mayie and Arnaud Mendisco

Hotel de France
1950’s to 1970’s
780 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133
Jean Camino & Arnaud Etcheto (1950’s)
Juanita and Jean Etchevers and Claude and Claudine Berhouet (1960’s & 1970’s)
Annie and Pierre “Titou” Palomes (1970’s)

Hotel des Alpes & Restaurant
20th century
732 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133
Ambrosio Yriondo 1907
Mrs. And Jean Cazahous “Xubero” (proprietors 1930’s)
Mayie and Marcel Chaparteguy (1950’s)
Katixa and Juanes Bordalampe and Ganix Iriartborde (1956-1965)
Ganix and Anna Iriartborde (1962-1975)
Helene and Ciriaco Iturri (1975)
Augustin Oroz and Basilio Arraiz

The Basque Hotel
1960’s to 1990’s
15 Romolo Place, San Francisco, CA 94133
Martha and Pierre Bigue (1960’s)
Madeleine and Joseph Gestas
Anna and Sauveur Anchartechahar
Antoinette and Francisco Oroz
Jean Emile Idiart

La Cancha
20th century
Pacific between Stockton and Powell, San Francisco, CA 94133
Jose & Expectacion Elizalde
Jeronimo “Antón” Meabe

Cosmopolitan Hotel
1960’s 1970’s
700 Block of Broadway???, San Francisco, CA 94133



Le Chalet Basque Restaurant
1960’s to present
405 N. San Pedro Road, San Rafael, CA 94903
Eugenie & Raymond Coscarat
Antoinette and Francisco Oroz
Roger Minhondo

Tricolor Restaurant
1960’s to present
Geary Blvd, San Francisco
Jeanne Marie and Gratien Mocho

Fleur de France Restaurant
Geary Blvd, San Francisco
Jeanne Marie Mocho

Croisette Restaurant

Columbus Avenue, San Francisco
Annie Mocho Newman

Fringale Restaurant

570 4th Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
Jean-Baptiste Lorda & Gerald Hirigoyen

Piperade Restaurant
2002 to present
1015 Battery Street, San Francisco, CA 94111
Gerald and Cameron Hirigoyen

Bocadillos Restaurant
2004 to present
710 Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA 94111
Gerald and Cameron Hirigoyen

Cote Sud Restaurant

4238 18th Street, San Francisco, CA 94114
Raymond Arbelbide

Iluna Basque Restaurant
2003 to present
701 Union Street, San Francisco, CA 94133
Mattin Noblia

Guernica Restaurant
1970’s - 2006
2009 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94111
Roger Minhondo
Gary Jones (2002-2006)

Chez Léon Restaurant
San Francisco
Peyo and Jean Marie Lagourgue

Larraburu Bakery
San Francisco

Royal Bakery
1960’s to 1987
4773 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94112
Dominique Jambon and Pierre Saldubehere