Video: Off the Grid with SavoryGirl

Street food is one of our absolute favorite things about traveling abroad.  It's the fabric of a culture...what ties communities and generations together while allowing locals to make a living and share their authentic food with those who come to visit.  Eating street food is like drinking locally grown wine...it allows you to taste and get a sense of place.  Terroir, if you will.



The relatively recent swell of food trucks in our own country brings this glorious tradition to our own backyard...but even a die-hard foodie like me found it hard to keep up with all of the different trucks and be where they happened to be just at the right time.  So for the first couple of years when food trucks were all the rage, I kind of missed out which was frustrating!  But who has time to chase trucks all over town just to show up right when they're running out?  So when Matt Cohen founded Off the Grid, which brings food trucks from all over the Bay Area together into centralized locations I was thrilled!  Finally, an efficient way to sample from many food trucks and support my local food scene.  It's like I'm traveling & eating all around the world right in here in San Francisco.



This short video takes you on a tour of the Fort Mason Off the Grid market...take a quick look and then swing by this Friday and check it out yourself!

Pacific Catch

 

I keep waiting until a time where we actually eat in at Pacific Catch instead of ordering out to take a good photo and tell you about it, but I've decided enough is enough and it's time to share!  Pacific Catch is by far our favorite take-out place...we order it in at least twice a month, which is saying a lot for us since we prefer to try new places and are rarely repeat customers!

So what's so great about Pacific Catch?  They have fantastically fresh seafood, great flavor combinations and super high-quality ingredients.  I order the same exact thing every time (which again, is crazy for me!)...not because the other bites I've had aren't delicious as well but because I genuinely crave this dish pictured above (it would be even prettier if not in a take-out container!).  So what is it?  It is the Japanese Wasabi Bowl with Poke and half brown rice/half salad (instead of the full white rice order it usually comes with).  So freaking good!  Ridiculously fresh Ahi, avocado, fresh ginger, micro greens, wakame salad, shredded nori all lightly dressed in a soy wasabi sauce.  Don't let the wasabi in the  name fool you, it's not super spicy.  Mix it all together sit back and eat some of the most guilt-free yet satisfying take-out you've ever had!  

SavoryGirl on Check, Please! Bay Area

KQED is re-airing the Check, Please! Bay Area Season 6 Opener featuring yours truly this weekend! The schedule for the re-airings is below (Friday, Saturday & Sunday!), but I've also included a link to the online episode in case you miss it.

So if you haven't seen "my" episode before, take a look and let me know what you think! Are you going to my restaurant recommendation, Saha ASAP?!  If you ever doubted my reviews before this should give you a bit more confidence...SavoryGirl knows good food!
Noodle Theory

I can't believe I haven't written about Noodle Theory yet.  I almost cried when the one in my neighborhood went out of business and now I have a hard time eating anywhere else when I find myself near the one location in Rockridge.  So to be clear, I LOVE Noodle Theory.  I think my love is two-fold.  First and foremost, I am kind of obsessed with noodles, especially when served in a soup.  I crave them at least weekly...particularly Udon, but really any noodle with an Asian-inspired broth will do.  Second, I don't like to feel guilty about my noodles.  So greasy noodles with poor quality meat or barely identifieable vegetables just won't do.  I like my noodles to be dressed up with high-class, respectable ingredients.



You would think in a city like San Francisco with such an deep Asian history and influence, noodles like this would be pretty easy to find.  But I tell you, that just isn't true.  I still haven't found a go-to place since the Noodle Theory in the Marina closed!  So my noodle craving often goes unsatisfied...unless I make them myself which still just isn't the same.
Chotto

Chotto, a Japanese Izakaya, is a relative newcomer to the Marina food scene having been around for only a little over a year.  But if you haven't discovered this gem yet, you're missing out.  Traditionally, an izakaya is a Japanese drinking establishment with samplings of food and small bites to go along.  Order a dish here and there along the way while you drink until you've had your fill ....both the menu and service are set up at Chotto to fit this traditional izakaya experience perfectly, allowing you to linger and socialize while satisfying your hunger at intervals that suit your fancy.

So, first things first for an izakaya....the drinks.  As expected, Chotto has a great sake menu.  If you're new to sake, the sampler is a perfect way to start off.  They give you enough to share between two people if you want to use it as a way to decide which larger sake to order for the table.  One of our favorites though, is the cold unfiltered Ozeki Nigori...cloudy in apperance with a deliciously complex flavor.  Somewhat nutty while also a bit sweet with a slightly creamy finish.  Divine and pairs so well with all of their food, especially from the raw portion of the menu.  While we don't typically venture into the cocktail portion of the menu, friends always seem pleased with their unique concoctions...all either shochu (distilled liquor, similar in taste to vodka) or beer/wine based.

My Favorite Cupcake…

 

We live in a city over-run with cupcakes shops.  I don’t know if this trend has taken such a strong hold across the entire country or we are unique here in San Francisco, but within less than a mile from my own house I have at least 4 cupcake devoted bakeries!  But alas, my favorite cupcake does not live in my neighborhood, but my all-time favorite cupcake is in of all places, touristy Union Square.

It’s at a little shop on O’Farrell at Powell, right in the craziness of it all, called Cāko Bakery.  This morsel of goodness is called the Andes Mint Chocolate Chip Cupcake (click the link to see how it should look since mine got a little smashed in transit!) and I honestly crave it and find myself at Cāko pretty much anytime I am in Union Square.  As I’m writing this I’m actually trying to come up with reasons why I need to go back to Union Square (or their second location in Japan Town) again today just as an excuse to get another one of these cupcakes!
Bar Bocce

I don't know if there's anywhere in the world I'd rather be during the Fall than in the Bay Area.  Fall in San Francisco is always spectacular, and this year has been no exception.  Bar Bocce, in Sausalito is one of the best places to experience this phenomenal weather.  Grab a glass of Prosecco from the bar and play a round of bocce on their water-front court while you wait for a seat on their great big outdoor patio and you have yourself an afternoon!

If you happen to get to Bar Bocce a bit later in the day or didn't hit it on one of our spectacular fall days have no fear...they have a great big fire pit and cozy fleece blankets for you to wrap around yourself while you stare wistfully at the shimmering water and idyllic house boats.

So...how's the food?  Well, Robert Price of Buckeye Roadhouse and Bungalow 44 is in charge of the kitchen so you're in good hands.  But like so many restaurants with amazing spaces and views, the food doesn't quite live up to the ambience.  It's good food, but not great food...but the spot is so fantastic that I do always find myself coming back for more.  Some of our recent samplings from the menu...

Umami Burger Arrives in San Francisco

Most of us living in the Bay Area know that there is a, shall we say, friendly little competition between those of us living in San Francisco and those living in L.A. Why? I'm not really sure. They're such different cities they're honestly hard to even compare but the back and forth continues. Which city is better? Nor Cal vs. So Cal? The prettier people? The smarter people? Which is better...having prettier people or smarter people? The best restaurants? It goes on and on. Silly really, but it's here to stay.

So when I heard that L.A. import, Umami Burger was opening it's first northern CA location in my neighborhood I was intrigued to say the least. So intrigued that Christian and I popped in for lunch on day 2, right in the middle of their soft launch. So not really fair to assess the restaurant in it's entirety so early but since we did check it out I thought I'd share:
Tantalizing Tomales Bay

Tomales Bay on the Pt. Reyes National Seashore is one of our favorite day trips.  We first discovered it when training for a 340 mile, 5-day bike ride from Eureka to San Francisco about 2 years ago and immediately fell in love.  It's only ~40 miles from San Francisco (although with all of the curvy, country roads it takes about 90 minutes to get there) but feels a lifetime away from the city life.  Amazingly beautiful scenery, relatively untouched wildlife and some of the best Bay Area gastronomic treats around!

 

Typically when we head to Tomales Bay, we pack an empty cooler and make our first stop in the town of Pt. Reyes Station...home of Cowgirl Creamery, Bovine Bakery, Marin Sun Farms and many other well-known Bay Area food treats.  This is the perfect place to pick up all of your picnic fixings to go along with those delicious Tomales Bay oysters you'll be adding to your bounty a bit further down the road.  If you haven't been to Pt. Reyes Station before, beware...you'll have a hard time making it out of this adorable town and onto your next stop!  

Incanto

I'm embarrassed to say that I've lived in San Francisco for almost 5 years and last night was my first time eating at Incanto. I've heard so many good things about executive chef Chris Cosentino's food (and have been following his career for a while) that I was honestly a little worried Incanto wouldn't live up to the hype I had built up in my mind...but not to fear, Cosentino's food and my first Incanto experience absolutely delivered!

If you don't know much about Chris Cosentino there is one important thing to note in order to be prepared for the Incanto menu.  Chris is a big part of what I will call the "whole animal" movement...meaning he is passionate about using every part of the animal in his cooking.  Snout to tail if you will, including all of the delectable organ meats that I personally love so much.  Take a quick spin to his site, OffalGood for all of the delicious and gory details on his work in this area.  For me, and my dining partners for the night, this was very exciting and we tried our hardest to sample as much as we could on our visit.