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Street Eats

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Greetings from a cold and rainy Scotland. Am coming across to a hopefully much warmer and sunnier San Francisco in April with the specific intention of researching (and eating!) the best street food which for these purposes I am defining as all the usual carts, wagons or holes in wall. Anything which is purchased and consumed from the side walk.

Now I know that this has been a topic before but am unsure how many of these develop into fixtures or come and go over time.

Ladies. Gentlemen. What are your thoughts, recommendations, must visits?

Appreciate any help that can be given. Must go now an put some more peat on my fire......

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  1. Here's some threads to spark your research fire.
    http://offthegridsf.com/EMAIL/
    http://www.chow.com/food-news/74642/c...
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/770447
    and check out the Saturday Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.

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    Ferry Plaza Farmers Market
    One Ferry Building, 200 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA

    1. Will 2nd Off the Grid. It's a weekly gathering of food trucks. Their biggest one with the most vendors present is the one at Fort Mason on Friday's. They took a winter hiatus and will be back next Fri so you're in luck! The main theme is Asian and Latin street eats with Asian tacos, Indian burritos, Chinese-style buns, creme brulee, Adobo, Empanadas and they're introducing some local breweries to serve booooze!

      For the real street food, explore the Mission at night and sniff your way to find the Bacon Hot Dog carts that is operated out of vans (pop up around 10pm or so). Generally pretty disgusting and full of grease, but actually great if you've just come out of the bars in a drunken stupor. I've heard that there is a churro guy roaming that neighborhood and his stuff is real authentic. Have yet to try it though.

      There are also organized food cart gatherings... generally operated semi-illegally. Think lumpia, thai curry, grilled cheese, pie, dessert, etc all in cute little homemade carts. Your best bet to hear about them is through twitter. Follow this list - http://twitter.com/#!/sfcarts/san-fra...

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      Off the Grid
      Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, CA 94123

      1. No quite purchased from the sidewalk (but very close) would be the fare from many walk-away hole-in-the-wall Cantonese dim sum shops in Chinatown (and along a stretch of Clement St. in "New Chinatown"). You'll see the goods in the window, walk a few steps into the shop, order over a counter, walk out and consume your bounty on the sidewalk. These are found mainly along Stockton St. (Sacramento St. to Broadway, and along Washington St., Jackson St. and Broadway between Stockton St. and Grant Ave.

        1. You do realize -- I hope -- that April in San Francisco is traditionally cold and rainy as well?

          If you are considering a trip to Napa, the first Friday of every month is our Food Truck Night at Oxbow with fabulous Dim Sum Charlie's, Flying Pig BBQ, Chicago Hot Dogs (always a long line!), Phat Salad and more.

          Oh yeah - it is traditionally always warmer in Napa!

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          Dim Sum Charlie's
          Napa, Napa, CA

          2 Replies
          1. re: CarrieWas218

            In warm weather it's usually a lot warmer in Napa than in SF, but in cold weather it's usually a little colder.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              perfect condition to grow grapes.

          2. I'd recommend Little Skillet for some chicken and waffles. Food is very american (though you sound american, so you probably know that already), literally a hole in a wall next to (or in) a night club. I just find the concept of "american" street food fun (although I do enjoy a good chicken tikka wrap as well).

            1. Brace yourself for possible disappointment with SF's gourmet street food scene, where you stand in line for upscale variations of dishes that would cost less and in many cases taste better at an immigrant-owned hole-in-the-wall dive with tables and chairs.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                I'm with you on this one. Except for a couple of vendors at the Alemany ( El Huarache Loco ) and Ferry Building Farmers Markets - I've experienced mostly let-downs. I know I can get better tasting food, for less money, in the comforts of a non-mobile establishment.

                El Huarache Loco - 100 Alemany Boulevard San Francisco, CA

                1. re: scarmoza

                  Agreed. Portland really has us beat on this one.

                  1. re: insectazoids

                    And Austin has Portland beat by a mile....

                    :-)

                2. re: Robert Lauriston

                  the sf street food festival i attended 2 years ago was ridiculous. half the SF yuppie population was there...and the prices were obscene.

                  1. re: majordanby

                    last years was far better

                  2. re: Robert Lauriston

                    There's both hipster street food and the real stuff out there. Vendors like El huarache Loco, Chac-Mool, Happy Dumplings, El Norteno and El Tonayense,. to name a few, show up at Off the Grid: Fort Mason with authentic and well-priced offerings. I'll agree that similar options are harder to find at the other OtG venues. This may be because La Cocina is in involved in determining the vendor mix at Fort Mason, whereas the other OtG venues are "curated" by Matt Cohen, who makes no bones about a focus on "gourmet" street food.

                    To the OP, I'd say that the Friday Night Fort Mason Off the Grid event is worth the effort to get to (28-30 vendors). If you stumble across the others, thank heaven for small favors, given the dearth of alternatives.

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                    El Tonayense
                    2598 Harrison St, San Francisco, CA

                    Off the Grid
                    Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, CA 94123

                  3. I just had a sample of a fantastic white wine potato leek soup from a big brown tureen on the corner of 21st and Valencia in the Mission, courtesy of Patrick of Soup to Nuts, and I'm told he will be there every Friday night. The soup was served with some baguette, and for dessert he had some great looking chocolate and boozy truffles. I can't tell you prices, however, because I had not a dime on me and Patrick was nice enough to give me a free sample. The soup was silky and creamy, rich yet light, and buttery. I could taste the wine, but not too much, as well as the leeks. Patrick told me he is in conversation with the powers that be to get his own cart soon... i'm hoping he becomes a fixture right where he is, in my neighborhood. (Soup to Nuts is on FB.)

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: mariacarmen

                      Is Spencer on the Go still there?

                      1. re: mamachef

                        Spencer on the Go is across the street from Terroir Wednesday through Saturday.

                        http://www.spenceronthego.com/home.html

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                        Terroir Natural Wine Merchant & Bar
                        1116 Folsom Street, San Francisco, CA 94103