This week's tablehopper: wheels turning.
I know, he’s adorable. A tray of sherry cobblers at Central Kitchen’s Sherryfest event. Photo: © tablehopper.com.
This morning was off to a good start, drinking my cappuccino and enjoying fresh, cream-filled bomboloni while sitting at the counter at Il Casaro in North Beach, the room a sea of Azzurri jerseys. But watching the wheels come off that game with Costa Rica (were Italy’s wheels ever really on?) was painful. Fortunately Molinari was there for me after the game—this half of an Italian combo I am munching right now has special uplifting powers, let me tell you. Get ready to watch the on-fire USA team play against Portugal on Sunday! Here’s our ever-updating listing on where to watch World Cup games!
My week has been really over the top, I gotta confess. Tuesday night was a memorable dinner at Central Kitchen to celebrate Sherryfest West. Jan Pettersen of Fernando de Castilla and Borja Leal of Sánchez Romate poured us some very special sherries, and the food pairings by chef Ryan Pollnow were on point (charred octopus in a marvelous broth with amontillado for the win!). I also need to have more aged finos in my life.
The next evening I was at the Big 4 for dinner, and the room had more energy than I have seen in a long time. It was totally buzzing! There were a lot of industry folks, and I was lucky to have a glass of 1982 Gonzalez Byass palo cortado sent over, just at the perfect moment because it matched beautifully with my bowl of rich bouillabaisse. Kismet.
Last night was ladies’ night: my mom and I went to Nojo in Hayes Valley for a little preshow dinner before seeing Show Boat at the SF Opera. Fabulous production! So much fun, with gorg costumes, and the numbers (both singing and dancing!) were beautiful. Very heartfelt. Check it out if you can, it’s such a buoyant night of musical theater. The audience was fired up.
While I still have “Ol’ Man River” playing in my head, over on 7x7.com, I posted a story about where to enjoy some new Southern treats around town, from chess pie to really tasty grits, check it out.
A few final weekend notes for you! I know, that double cappuccino this morning got me wired and chatty. First off, Marla Bakery is open as of today, so that could be a fun excursion for you, and Sunday is Summer Celebration at the Ferry Building—you can still get discounted tickets with our special tablehopper code! And today’s review of Los Shucos may add a pit stop to your weekend as well!
Have a gorg weekend! Go USA! Marcia Gagliardi
New Restaurant Reviews (I'm looking for somewhere new to eat)
You know when you get a craving for something kind of dirty, and it’s all you can think about? (Note: I’m talking about food here, people.) Well, there’s this spot in the Mission, and, well, truth be told, they specialize in something that is rather phallic. And even the name sounds a little inappropriate. It’s LOS SHUCOS, this awesome little Guatemalan hot dog spot that is very next level.
In San Francisco, we love our 2:15am bacon-wrapped dogs, loaded with grilled onions and pickled jalapeños and condiments galore. It’s some mighty fine street meat. It’s magic.
But these shucos are another beast, another unicorn. They’re almost a bridge between a super burrito and a bacon-wrapped dog, they’re that honking. And I love that the owner, Sofia Keck, is a super-slim foxy Guatemalan mama (who knows how she does it). She cares so much about everyone enjoying her food—it’s like she’s a shuco ambassador. Actually, she is. Everyone who works here is so friendly, and they are kind of like a matchmaker when they see you puzzling over which shuco to get, quick to advise you on which way to go.
My hands-down favorite is El Frijolazo ($6.95), a bacon-wrapped dog tucked inside a freshly and locally made and grilled-to-order bun (it has the airy texture of some of my favorite torta rolls), which is totally spackled with black refried beans, fork-smashed avocado, their “mayo maya” (it’s thinned with Mexican crema), and topped with queso fresco. It’s a total challenge to eat daintily—you just gotta get in there. It’s a hefty bun, but you need something to contain all that goodness. I kept squirting on the feisty green chile sauce as I worked through it (kind of like what you do with a super burrito). Hunger, gone (for hours and hours). Hangover, abolished. Weird dirty craving, sated.
The El de la Foto ($7.95), whose name means “The One in the Picture,” is another monster, you’ll see it on the menu and website, and when you see it, you’ll want it. This one skips the beans and highlights the special “salsa chapina,” a bright sauce with a whisper of garlic that Keck brings back from Guatemala, and repollo (lightly pickled cabbage, or as we tend to know it, curtido), plus the avocado and mayo maya. It sings because of that acidic touch of the repollo—if you like a little acid in your food (I’m not talking blotter, folks), this is the one for you.
La Llorona ($5.95), the “weeping one,” is closest to a traditional bacon-wrapped dog with its golden onion and classic condiments setup, because hey, sometimes it’s just what you want. There’s also a locally made chorizo option instead of the snappy all-beef frank, which turns up in El Huevón ($6.95), because what’s not to love about sliced chorizo with scrambled eggs, cheese, avocado, and mayo maya in a bun? Dios mio, it’s so good. There are seven shucos in all, and you can also get a vegetarian dog.
Another charming thing (well, I think so) about this place is the setup. It’s totally bare bones, with a couple of chairs inside, a window ledge, and some milk crates you can pull up for some ad hoc seating. You’re all in there together, waiting for your shuco, and then getting your grub on. It’s a social and very street food vibe, even if it’s technically indoors. And it’s totally spotless.
What I love is that each time I have come by, there are always at least a few Guatemalan guys in there, happily communing with their shucos (obviously such a taste of home), and let’s be honest, flirting with Sofia. Meanwhile, I had a blissful night sitting on the outside bench, listening to their awesome soul selection, watching people go by, but really, just chilling with my shuco (and praying no one I knew came by and saw me with all that sauce on my chin).
They have late hours on the weekend (until 2:30am Fri-Sat), but have been known to run out of some things, so come with a, uh, flexible mind. And look at that, the name “shuco” means dirty dog. I am so not surprised. And I am also not surprised to see how popular this place keeps becoming—can’t wait to see this female-owned business take off with multiple locations, mark my words.
This review was based on three dinner visits.
Los Shucos - 3224½ 22nd St. San Francisco - 415-366-3868