FRESH EATS Why hello there. Have we met before? (Maybe it was over some bacon-wrapped Mission dogs? My memory is a little foggy from that night, me lo siento.) I’m your new culinary correspondent, here to mainline you with the latest food news, sweet deals, events, and ideas on where and what the hell you should be eating each week. You may find some booze news in here too (hic).
Ah, so you want to check my qualifications. Well, I have lived in this fair, foggy, funky city since 1994 (Western Addition, represent!), and have been writing the weekly tablehopper.com e-column since 2006, and covering our local food scene like a culinary swashbuckler since 2002. (Yeah, I know a few things.) Pleasure to meet you — let’s fire this baby up.
Pho ga lovers, say holla! The best chicken pho — and hangover cure — in town (#9 all the way!) is being ladled into bowls once again at the new location of Turtle Tower (645 Larkin, SF. www.turtletowersf.com). The updated digs are a bit bigger: 70 seats instead of 46, with 40 more coming in 6 months. And you’ll now find bánh mì on the menu. But some things never change — the joint is still cash only. Open Fri–Wed 8am–5pm (for now).
Dim sum in the Castro—yeah, that’s an excellent idea. Now open in the former Queen Malika’s space is Mama Ji’s Dim Sum and Dinner (4416 18th St., SF). Mama Ji’s is now slinging dim sum all day and night, Szechuan dinner items, and you can even get coffee in the morning. Hours are 9:30am–9:30pm daily (10pm on the weekends). Get your har gow, like, right now.
And I just wanted to make sure all you sandwich lovers out there have these two joints on your radar: First, you can actually sit down while enjoying your Korean steak sandwich at the new and second location of Rhea’s Café (2200 Bryant St., SF). Yup, there are 30 seats, plus the famed katsu sandwich is back, and there’s Korean fried chicken on the menu too. Way to work that fryer out. Open daily 11am–8pm.
And the next time you’re around Civic Center, check out Elmira Rosticceria (154 McAllister, SF. www.elmirasf.com). Chef Marc Passetti is cranking out all kinds of Italian-influenced sandwiches, salads, and breakfast. Hello egg sandwich with speck. Get all rustic with the lampredotto, a traditional Florentine tripe sandwich, and energized with coffee from Bicycle Coffee Co. Plus beer. Mmmmm, beer. Hours: Mon-Tue 7:30am–5pm, Wed-Fri 7:30am–7pm, Sat–Sun 8am–2pm.
BALLIN’ ON A BUDGET
You a fan of the vittles at Green Chile Kitchen? (Heartland taco salad, you complete me). Well, its Castro outpost — Chile Pies (Sweet & Savory), 314 Church, SF. www.greenchilekitchen.com — is offering some Green Chile Kitchen savory dishes at half-price through June. June 9-15 is a taco plate (so good), 16-22 is the flat enchilada, and for a strong finish, from 23–30 it’s all about half-price burritos. Wow, burritos for $5. It’ll feel like 1997.
YOU GOTTA EAT THIS
There are fries, and then there are the Manimal-style, thrice-cooked (boiled and double-fried) fries at Trick Dog (3010 20th St., SF. www.trickdogbar.com). For $7, you get a veritable mountain of badassery: thick, crisp, piping-hot fries that are smothered in “doggie sauce” (housemade aioli with ketchup, sriracha, and chow chow relish), shredded cheddar cheese, charred scallion, and a sprinkling of piment d’Espelette for extra kick. Whoa. Dude! (And I don’t mean that to sound like Guy Fieri, for the record, because that would be “duuuuuude.”) Here’s a hot tip: if you can get there right when the kitchen opens at 5pm, you’ll have good odds of scoring one of the coveted tables on the mezzanine. And have you had the Baby Turtle drink the Guardian wrote about last week yet? Well, it’s time.