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Jan 25, 2014 10:20 AM

SFO->AUS: What am I missing

Hi all, I'm a displaced Texan returning home after 15 years in San Fran. I know the landscape has changed in that span.
What we are looking for:
Farm to Table, Food trucks, sammies, donuts, bread bakers, and BBQ

Please take a look at our list and tell me if I've any glaring omissions. Thanks in advance for any suggestions you might have.
p.s. we will have a car.

Farm to Table: Barley Swine, Salt & Time, Foreign & Domestic, Jeffery's redux?

Food Trucks: ESK, Peached Tortilla, Kebabilicious, you gonna eat that,
Veracruz Natural

Sammies: Noble Pig, ?

Donuts: Gordoughs, ?

BBQ: LA BBQ, Franklin, Micklethwait


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  1. Ossie, great start.

    Food trucks: Add El Taco Rico. I'd also add VIA 313 detroit style pizza and eat it with a few to 50 drinks at the Violet Crown (try the iron whip with a shot of cream vodka for an adult dreamcicle).

    Sammies 1 - literally no better corned beef and pastrami on the planet. They make their own mayo to boot. Melvin's Deli Comfort. 53rd and Duval.

    Sammies 2 - Also consider a beef and cheddar on rye or Turkey Mozz at Little Deli - don't skip the curry and cayenne laced deviled eggs when you're there. The cherub #7 pizza is an aphrodisiactastic garlic bomb pie with bursting sweet little grape or cherry tomatoes.

    Donuts - I like Donut Crown the best, very traditional pillowy soft melt in your mouth standard glazed - NW Corner of Burnet and Anderson next to Mcdonalds.

    BBQ - if you find yourself wanting it at supper time, no other place in town worth going to can give you the beef rib as well as Stiles Switch in the evening. Theirs is pretty darn good. When they bring the A game, it's as good as La BBQ and Mueller's versions. Oh, and you need to go to Mueller's too, Mueller's Meat Market. But your first three you mentioned are my three favs at lunch time.

    BTW, relocation or just visiting?

    11 Replies
    1. re: slowcoooked

      Hi slowcooked,

      We're visiting with the possibility of relocating.

      I've been working in kitchens for the past 8 years here in SF. We want to open our own place, but it's at least an 800k investment here.

      Not to mention, $11/minimum wage and no tip credit law, healthy sf, CA taxes, yada yada yada.

      We are looking at potential markets that support farm to table cuisine and don't mind paying a bit more for locally sourced and sustainable.

      While I have your ear, where do you think Austin needs improving? Got anything like Tartine Bakery in those parts? How's the pizza?


      1. re: ossie

        I would kill for something like Tartine here! We could sure use more great bread, and even just decent sourdough.

        Pizza has made great strides in Austin over the last few years.

        You might also be interested in Eden East during your visit:

        1. re: ossie

          Hi. I think you might want to check out Easy Tiger. Easily the best baguettes in town, and other nice loaves, too. It's a bakery upstairs, with pub food downstairs. Not like Tartine, but it would be in the category of your competition, I think, if you were to open in Austin.

          I would love to see a bakery in downtown Austin that has grown-up desserts, tarts, and savories. (No cupcakes and sugar cookies, thanks.) I don't think we have a place like that yet.

          Pizza here was nothing to mention until Bufalina opened. It could be compared to your Una Pizza Napoli, but is smaller. Wonderful pies, salads, everything super fresh, lots locally sourced if not home made.

          Your list looks great. Enjoy your visit!

          1. re: ossie

            A good market for Farm To Table metropolis would be Des Moines, Iowa, An even better secret is go about thirty miles North to the college town of Ames [home of Iowa State University]. There is only one poor executed FTT place there and a shortage of good fare for a town of 60K-plus.

            1. re: ossie

              Ossie I'm not familiar with Tartine - but I agree with some other posts - Easy Tiger is probably our best bakery in town. That to me is nowhere near close to sounding like a saturated market. I'm sure it would be high rent, maybe not as bad as downtown, but a great bakery in Crestview, The Domain, or farther north would probably do very well. As one goes north, the chains become more numerous and frankly the average quality of food available goes down. There are many notable exceptions (noble pig, curly's carolina BBQ, etc.). My wife works in Round Rock pretty much dead center on 620 between HWYs 183 and 35. She often laments how abysmal most food choices are there and how much a good Sammie / Salad spot would just crush. After 9 years living here it's not changed. I'd say that's a pretty great market, but then you deal with the fact that many of us would need to drive 20 minutes to visit your shop. I gladly would for any great food.

              1. re: slowcoooked

                Bakery in Crestview: excellent idea! Especially if it went into the old dry cleaners and supplied bread to Little Deli. I'd be there several times a week.

            2. re: slowcoooked

              Slow: What is Detroit-style pizza? Square pan pizza like Buddy's? I am an Iowan, but the thing that is truly Detroit to me is a Coney ....

              1. re: hawkeyeui93

                it is square and deep and has burnt cheese crusties around the sides and when you pull a piece the cheese streeeeeeechhhhhhes across the table

                1. re: girloftheworld

                  Yep, that's the only local pizza I remember from there that was remotely interesting. I also recall it had a lot of sauce on it, which works for this style. One better is a Chicago-style if you get the chance ...

                2. re: hawkeyeui93

                  Girl's right, but another feature is the sauce is atop the cheese. Crust should be somewhat thick and buttery. Noble Romans of my childhood was always a treat, and apparently Jet Pizza does a Detroit style, but I've not had it.

                  1. re: slowcoooked

                    The best pizza of this style I had in Detroit was from a small, local chain called Buddy's ....

              2. Re. ESK: went to the one at Liberty last weekend and the food was a huge disappointment (soggy chicken, greasy Brussels sprouts, bland buns). It used to be so good. I would crave it and not be able to get it out of my head. Sadly it has been really inconsistent the past year+. Does anyone know if the food at the new place is as good as the food used to be at Liberty?

                Second Melvin's for sandwiches. Better than Noble Pig, which to me isn't worth the drive.

                1 Reply
                1. re: kosheri

                  Yes, it's a shame about ESK. Very uneven these days. Spread too thin, I think.

                  I ate at the new brick & mortar right after it opened and actually had the best karaage in a long time. Moto was there overseeing everything that night, however.

                  Only ate at Noble Pig once, but I thought it was fantastic. As good as Melvin's, which is great.

                2. Swifts Attic and Jack Allens Farm to Table
                  Sandwiches- I loooove Noble Pig but there is also a Food Truck in the Violet Crown area called Gonzos that has great sandwiches
                  Ramen- Daruma Ramen
                  Food Trucks- Via 313

                  Fine dining Uchiko- Qui