Daisy Chow, tablehopper editorial assistant extraordinaire, has this field report from an event I had to call in sick to (thanks Daisy!): “If you ever get a chance to play hooky for the day, I suggest you play tourist in your own city. On a surprisingly sunny Saturday in February, I joined a group of writers, bloggers, and tweeters for the BEST OF SAN FRANCISCO STREET FOOD TOUR, sponsored by Chevrolet, La Cocina, and the San Francisco Street Food Festival. We started off with Blue Bottle coffee from the Ferry Building to warm up—the wind was still whipping at this point. Then we all climbed into brand-spanking-new Chevy cars that were waiting to take us to our first stop, old-school street food at the Fisherman’s Wharf sidewalk stands. We made our way through the off-season crowds to Alioto’s Crabstand to get to the piping-hot clam chowder in Boudin sourdough bowls and ginormous crab sandwiches. Unique, stand-out food? Maybe not. Classic street food? Yes. Sun coming out? Yes!
“Next, our friendly drivers steered us to Let’s Be Frank Hot Dog Stand at Crissy Field for 100% grass-fed beef hot dogs and gorgeous views of the Golden Gate bridge. I liked the idea that the humble hot dog is part of a sustainable food system because it’s made from trimmings that might otherwise go to waste.
“When we reached our third stop, the clouds had caught up with us at the Alemany Farmers’ market. Weather-be-damned, I wanted to eat, but I was so full, I could barely sample the authentic Mexican street food from La Cocina protégé El Huarache Loco. (No food was wasted though ‘cause this starving student took home all the leftover nopales tacos and huaraches.)
“Our last stop was a rendezvous with itinerant food pioneer The Crème Brûlée Cart, conveniently waiting for us in front of La Cocina. There’s always room for dessert, especially if it’s creamy French custard flamed right before your eyes by a surly man in a floppy toque. Between the lavender, coffee, vanilla, and s’mores flavors, saying no was not an option. Just goes to show, playing tourist can be quite the delicious treat. My thanks to the tour organizers! They even sent us home with goodie bags. Score!”
Vegetarian offerings from El Huarache Loco. Photo by Daisy Chow.