Everybody has their thing, some people like breasts, others are into ass and legs, some people even chew on feet. Odds are, if you can think of it, someone’s into it. Me? I’m a wing man. On my long list of favorites, there are few treats that grant me more satisfaction than a perfect chicken wing. Crackling greasy skin smothered in salty seasonings, mmh, my cheeks are tightening at just the thought.
Wing Wings, in San Francisco’s lower Haight, serves the best damn chicken wings I’ve ever had. There it is, I said it, and dammit, it’s true. I'm aware that wings are touchy. Like french fries or crappy pizza, they’re a snack that’s often seen as a cheap “throwaway,” and similarly found at the most affordable gorge hole on the block. But as I said, Wing Wings serves the best wings I’ve ever had, not the cheapest. Taste and quality first, cost second, add that to the PYG handbook. Back to the chicken.
While approaching Wing Wings you'll experience a sensation you can identify but can’t quite trace. It's those fresh California free range chickens taking over your brain and gliding up your nostrils before you even take a bite. Wing Wings is just one of those places that’s got it figured out. For six bucks you can get a carton of five wings that are plump, juicy, and so fundamentally delicious, that it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it is that makes them so good. They just are. I take mine dry rubbed and crisp with dips on the side to garnish, but if you’re a saucier kind of lady, there are about 10 different accoutrements they’d be happy to douse your chicken in for you.
The small counter service restaurant is found in what resembles a storage unit or a garage. Along both sides are slim counter tops with a handful of stools beneath. The walls are covered in a San Francisco street artist’s work and a consistent playlist of Bay Area hip hop sets a “no bullshit” kind of tone. I once overheard a customer suggest how brilliant it would be to add waffles to the menu, while the owner Christian Ciscle effortlessness deployed a sincere lack of interest. I hunched at the counter, devouring the contents of my precious paper boat and smirking at the pleasant reminder, that some places still no fucking bullshit.
Small Dry Rubbed $6.50
Chicken Tenders $8
Large Seasoned Fries $5.50
I was lucky enough to have a good friend bring me to Hai Ky Mi Gia — a.k.a. Hai Ky Noodle House — not long after I moved to San Francisco. Obviously I fell in love, but at the time I don’t think I quite understood how head over heels I would soon become. This Chinese/Southern Vietnamese soup joint lives in the heart of San Francisco’s Little Saigon neighborhood, which is nestled in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district. The place is a loud “L” shaped restaurant that smells like well seasoned pans and rich chile paste. There is a diner-like atmosphere where everybody knows everybody, except for me. The menu can be a little overwhelming at first, but with just a spec of effort, one will notice that the long list of over 30 soups only slightly differ in ingredients and noodle shape. Hai Ky Mi Gia’s claim to fame has been built around their super popular braised duck leg with wonton egg noodle soup ($9.22), which makes sense because it’s not only unique and special, but it’s also unbelievably fucking delicious! The soup’s broth is dark and rustic from the giant ducky drumstick that is soaking and glistening in all of its glory. Amidst the main attraction are handmade pork dumplings that are nestled among springy yellow egg noodles, and that’s about it. No bells or whistles needed folks, just good old fashioned fowl play.
After a visit or two, and once the duck wonder has lost some of its mystique, I would recommend going ahead and ordering any of the other options on the menu. Even though the list of soups doesn’t vary nearly as much as it seems to, the regulars know something I don’t. They never seem to order the duck, instead they mix and match different types of proteins, noodles, dry and wet combinations that are endless and all of them look just as lovely as the next. Each soup prices from about $6-$10, and every one is a hearty and reasonable meal for anyone who’s hungover, on a quick lunch break, or just strolling about and soaking in all the quant scenery the TL has to offer.
I love visiting this place. I feel like I grew up eating here with my dad after we’d do a Saturday afternoon chore, like raking leaves or driving to the dump. I didn’t grow up here, so I don’t know why I feel like that, nostalgia must be something else that Hai Ky Mi Gia has bizarrely perfected. They've been open for over three decades now, so they’re doing something right, whatever the hell it is.
Braised Duck Leg w Won Ton and Egg Noodle Soup (thick) $9.22
House Special Won Ton Soup $8.22
Fried Wontons $5.99
House Special Won Ton Egg Noodle Soup (thin) $8.76
Egg Rolls $5.99
I want to talk about a special place found deep in the bowels of the Tenderloin, a neighborhood that has become near and dear to my heart during my stint here in San Francisco. Here, there is a tiny family run Korean restaurant that is just, for the lack of a better term, the mother fucking tits.
First off, I want to recommend you ignore everything your concierge tells you about the Tenderloin’s seediness. Just go for it. Keep your wits about you and sift through all that the TL has to offer. If you stumble across the corner of Larkin and Cedar you will see the plastic yellow sign that resembles one for a McDonald’s Play Place, except this one has a shattered corner that looks like home-runner went straight through it. If you see that sign, you’ve made it my friend, you’ve found Aria.
The bright rectangle is scattered with bubble letters and reads ‘Aria Korean American Snack Bar.’ It’s floating above a glorious facade of blown up menus and massive images of fried goodies. At first sight of the giant sauce doused chicken, I was cast under the spell of my first Korean love affair. Passing through the dark portal, that truly is a hole in a wall, I’m greeted by an adorable 3 person family that couldn’t be happier that I’ve arrived. I feel like a guest they were expecting but weren’t sure quite would show up. Immediately to my left, behind a counter, sits Dad and I place my order with him. Diagonally to the back left, Mom is surrounded by a compact but sturdy kitchen and is working over several steaming pots. She resembles a church organist as she sends all sorts of spicy and salty aromas through the air, flipping and cradling the contents of her pans while manipulating gravity. Two steps forward from the front door there is a counter where I am asked if I would like a beverage by the jolly son. He has a subtle but clearly intentional swagger about him and looks as though he could carry both of his parents at once. I grab my can of Sac Sac and find a seat at one of the few tiny tables scattered along the wall to the right.
A small metal tray quickly arrives to my table with an assortment of bites placed in three rows. Dumplings that look like fried potstickers with a bubbly outer crust, bulgogi beef kimbap, and crispy chicken that’s dripping with a sweet & spicy sauce. It takes less than half a second for me to I recognize that this shit is going to be good.
The tangy chicken has a sweet heat to it as it lightly crunches and dissolves between my jaw. I’ve never been the kind of guy who is freakishly affectionate of chicken or even fried things, but nothing hits the spot like some well made boneless fried chicken every now and again. Aria’s KFC is exactly what I want when I’m having a couple beers and a devilish craving. The dumplings are equally as indulgent and satisfying, while the beef nori roll with cucumber and kimchi is a nice chilled bite to break up all the fried sauciness. Although the Kimbap are more like little breakfast bites than a drinking snack, anything in front of me would be perfect with a couple dry lagers. Unfortunately Aria’s beverage program taps out at banana milk.
My next course comes in a boiling tin pot that’s housing a rich opaque broth. It’s my bulgogi Korean ramen and it is emitting sinister beefy fumes. It resembles a beef stew with a nest of noodles that’s holding a single glowing egg. Unlike Japanese ramen, which is usually made with a chicken or pork bone broth, Korean ramen or ramyeon, is often made with instant powders and can come in a large variety of flavors. The fun part about this soup is how customizable it is, starting at $5 it’s then up to the diner to add whatever other ingredients they’d like for $1-$3 per addition. I keep it simple with beef and an egg, but other option include spam, kimchi or even cheese!
This place is cool. It’s authentic and it literally couldn’t get more mom and pop. Other than the perfect location of this gem, the food is just so fucking good! I want to try everything. I will try everything.
Fried Dumplings $4
Bulgogi Kimbap $11
Old School KFC 10 pcs $10
Korean Ramen $5 ($9 w/ bulgogi and egg)
Cold Spicy Noodles w Veggies $8
Normal life for me usually consists of a zip down to the Mission for a drink or a bop up Market street for an errand I can’t run anywhere else. Today I’ve decided to take a little vacation and head to the Richmond district.
I love coming out here with no agenda at all, but just to ramble through the dim sum, barbecue, pho, shabu, ramen, and all the Asian delights that my little heart could desire. Today’s journey, although, is a bit different than the usual mosey. I've come for sushi. Kabuto is a cozy little spot between 15th and 16th on Geary Blvd that I’ve had my eye on some time now. After it was suggested by a friend and little investigative intrigue (duck nigiri), I had to check this place out for myself.
Me and my lovely partner step inside the small but buzzing space and are greeted by a yell from the old man working the fish and a young woman wearing a white shirt and black tie. Her outfit certainly doesn’t seem to fit into this quaint sushi counter, but I’m digging the vibes. We sit and sift through the long menu but are immediately drawn to the list of unique specials. We start with a cup of asari clam kai miso, a soup I adore. It's just a brinier version of the classic Japanese appetizer that no proper sushi excursion can start without. But even as I slurp my delicious bowl of umami broth, I can't relax. I'm here and I'm ready for some mother fucking nigiri. We look around and notice the clams, scallops, tartars, ceviches, foir gras, duck, and truffled caviar, that are all individually plated and coursed out in front of our fellow patrons. The waitress’s attire is beginning to make a little more sense. We begin with the spicy scallop. It’s silky and buttery, served with a dollop of “Kabuto spicy mustard” or as I like to call it, Sriracha. This one is always a favorite, and Kabuto’s take was definitely up to par. Next time we’re ordering it live! On to the toro tartar. This massive bite of meaty umami explodes as it breaks free from a crunchy nori shell. This was my favorite, I'm serious, it's fucking good. And finally, the duck. I’ll admit, I may have been a little too excited for this one but it’s exactly how it sounds. It's a delectable little fillet of charred duck on a ball of soft sticky rice. What's not to like? It has everything: simplicity, elegance, and a dash of sweat. We are not disappointed.
As soon as we begin to conclude our little collation, I see that familiar look in Justine’s eye and she sees the same look in mine. It’s settled then, uno mas plato por favor! Just...one...more. Something called “CiViChe" intrigued us both when we initially glanced at the menu. It's "halibut with salsa wrapped in deep fried seaweed and served with lime and sea salt, eaten with no sauce.” One word: good choice.
Kaputo Sushi is traditional and feels a bit little whacky at moments. It’s classy and yet it maintains that mom and pop feel. I’m in love. Much of the experience resembles the first visit to La Ciccia. Hopefully that says enough. I will be returning, soon.
Kai Miso $6
Spicy Scallop $7
Toro Tartar $6
Sonoma Duck $7
Cholo Soy is not just one of the best kept secrets in town, it’s one of the only secrets left in town. This food court style Peruvian restaurant can be found behind the inconspicuous front doors of 19th street’s Plaza Aelante, located in San Francisco’s Mission district. The tables and counter seats are vacant with locals and workers looking for a half hour to shoot the shit and watch some tv before finishing up their afternoon. The menu’s simple traditional dishes are a fortuitous glimpse into a distant land where the “afternoon snack” seems to have a much different meaning. As my teeth slice through buttery basa fish and crunch down on crispy canchas, I wonder if my comrades realize that their $7 treat also happens to be some of the best damn ceviche in the city. The classic tangy fish dish is prepared simply with cilantro, red onions, citrus, and yellow pepper upon request. No squid, shrimp, or mystery mixto, just beautiful translucent fish and fried corn nuts. Yes.
A new discovery and favorite of mine is the statuesque causa rellena ($7), a cold yet comforting preperation of tuna, chicken, or crab salad (changes daily) sandwiched between two potato cakes and topped with half of a hard boiled egg. The heaping assemblage is then smothered in a chilled amarillo sauce that alludes a distant relation to hollandaise. The entire dish is only about the size of a tall hockey puck but it is perfect for a refreshing, no so light, lunch.
I could carry on and on about the pleasantly unfamiliar yet strangely nostalgic homeyness of Cholo Soy, but to truly understand the experience it is something that must be lived. After only my first few visits, it is clear that this pocket charm eatery is exactly why I love being a mother fucking PYG.
Being from the east coast, there are dishes that exist but are a little harder to track down than they are out here in the West. California’s history and geography have made it an orphanage of worldly cuisines. Influences from Asia and Oceania to Spain and South America have resulted in a fusion that ranges from traditional to avant-garde. The menu is diverse and easily taken for granted due to its variety and abundance: Banh Me and pho, street tacos, pupusas, and pozole, Dungeness crab, and poke are just a few local favorites that can be found up and down the coast.
The street vittle that I have become particularly fond of since my Manifest Destiny is the empanada. Just like the piroshki or boa, this international heirloom is fried or baked dough that is pouched and full of a savory or sweet filling. Nothing special, but also perfect in every way and Chile Lindo has one unlike any I’ve ever tried (probably because I’ve never been to Chile). The walk-up window located on 16th and Capp has a menu that consists of six different empanadas and a few other traditional favorites. The Classic Pino ($6) is stuffed with Neman Ranch beef, sliced hard boiled egg, black olive, raison, onion, and a mixture of cumin and paprika. The dough is folded more intricately than other empanadas I’ve seen, like a crown rather than a turnover. The flavors are complex and authentic, while the thick egg washed dough acts like a koozie keeping the steamy fillings intact. Look, it’s a pastry, we’ve all had a pastry, but it’s nice to see something that has been done many times over and for it to still feel new, different, and best of all, super effing scrumptions. Muchos gracias Chile Lindo...muchos gracias.
Wise Sons is one of those special cases. It’s an establishment that has so many of the qualities a PYG looks for in a spot. First of all it’s a deli, and not just any deli, a Jewish deli. Growing up in Providence, there was no shortage of authentic bagels and delicious smoked meats. Many of my closest friends come from Jewish families, and I am lucky to have been exposed to so many of their mouth watering traditions.
After moving out west, it didn’t take much exploring to realize that I wasn’t in Kansas anymore. Every corner where I’d find my usually sandwich shop or bodega, is now replaced with a taqueria or house of pho, which for the time being, I’m okay with. There is something fundamentally different about the “West coast deli.” I’m not exactly sure what it is, other than the overwhelming ability to add avo to anything from my breakfast sandwich to my cappuccino. Maybe it’s all the clean water. Maybe it’s the sourcing of the products. Whatever it is, the deli-air is just a little different out here. But trust me, Wise Sons is as close to home as it gets.
Modeling their vision after the Los Angeles Jewish delicatessens they grew up visiting, the Bloom brothers set out to find a métier of their own here in San Francisco. After opening in 2010 on 24th street in the Mission district, Wise Sons quickly established themselves as the answer to San Francisco’s most momentous question, where the hell can I find a decent bagel?
What’s interesting about Wise Sons is how many things they have in common with many of the fast/fine/casual/counter service/whatever you want to call the Chipotles/Subways/Panera Breads of today’s foodie climate. Wise Sons is relatively newish and sleek, they have beautiful and expensive looking branding, and on top of that, they’re aren’t exactly cheap. But here’s the kicker: Wise Sons is real. They aren’t trying to be something they’re not, and they know what damn good deli is. Similar to 4505 Burger’s and BBQ, Wise Sons is doing everything they can to keep up with their competitors, while also producing quality authentic food. And also like 4505, if you know what you’re doing, you might be able to skoot in and out without draining your wallet. Alright, let’s get to the fucking food.
First things first, the bagels are about as tasty as you’ll find anywhere. Wise Sons’ are smaller than a NY bagel but less dense than Montreal style, which are a little smaller, sweeter, and denser than those hailing from New York. For $2-$4 you can get just about any classic bagel with butter, hummus, avocado, almond spread, and about five different shmears that range from spicy harissa and horseradish-dill to berry and smoked salmon. In this town, it’s a beautiful thing to be able to find any breakfast at all for under 5 bucks, except for maybe a hard boiled egg or an inorganic granny smith apple.
Some of the other PYG delicacies on the menu include the colorful and snappy pickle plate, one of my personal favorite snacks. A seasonal selection of pickle spears, cauliflower blossoms, crunchy carrots disks, a couple earthy beets and a dash of stingy kraut all for $4.50. Accompanied by beer, a pile of pickles has to be one of the purest of pleasures.
Another favorite is the matzo ball soup. A clean and rich chicken broth with a massive soft ball of matzo plopped right in the middle. It’s savory, it’s hearty, and it makes me feel like I’m warming up after a long day of sledding in the backyard.
Wise Sons is not the holy grail of the bagel, smoked fish or the deli, but but everything they crave it simple and unbearably perfect, just like bubbi used to make.
Sesame Bagel w Cream Cheese $3.50
Pickle Plate $4.50
Matzo Ball Soup $8
Poppy w Smoked Salmon Shmear $4.50
Plain Bagel w Butter $3
Living in San Francisco, there is no shortage of great Mexican food. My most recent taco ideé fixe however is the unfortunately named Tacos Club, located on Upper Market in the Castro. These guys are dishing out some of my favorite crispy carnitas in the city and I simply cannot control myself. On Tuesdays their street style tacos only cost $2, making them even more dangerous. There isn't a hell of a lot to eat in the Castro, but next time you're in the area and you're hungry swing by the club! No membership needed.
They come from LA and started in a food truck, but thankfully they are not another gourmet hybrid pastry or some bullshit like that. I'm talking about baos baby, and I'm afraid I'm addicted. The Chairman, located in SF's Tenderloin district, has some glorious little steamed sandwiches that make the cronut look about as exciting as the mini-muffin.
The Chairman's baos come in two styles, steamed (small) and baked (large), which is more like a burger than a dumpling. I recommend ordering two or three of the steamed for some variety. The unerring pork belly ($3.75) along with the other meat options are juicy and tender, complimented with pickled veggies like fennel, daikon, and cabbage. The tofu and crispy tempeh are also great vegan choices that do not lack at all in the flavor department, quite the opposite actually. The Tenderloin, once again, proves that in order to find some of the city's best you might have to do a little digging in the dirt.
Saigon Sandwich is a little, sorta cute sandwich shop located in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco. They have a petite menu of three to four bánh mì that are all priced around $3.75. Each sandwich, depending on the choice of chicken, pork or tofu, is prepared with the classic vegetable medley of cilantro, jalapeño, carrot and radish that's laid over a slab of mayonnaise and squeezed inside a big loaf of fresh French bread. One bite in and the saucy mayo oozes out of every seam in the white deli paper, this thing is a beast. For under $5 you’ll have the most wonderful wrestling match with your lunch. Saigon Sandwich also offers an assortment of Asian snacks, candies, and sodas. Although this little gem sounds too good to be true, it is not for the faint of heart. The tiny space can get very loud and the line gets long, so have your order ready!
Teryaki Tofu Bánh mì $3.75
Right around the corner from PYG favorite The Fatted Calf, is a neighboring patio that beckons with beers and brats. Much like The Fatted Calf, Biergarten is the kind of place that isn’t cheap at first glance but with a little finesse and an urge to indulge, there are plenty of reasonable options for an affordable afternoon buzz. Biergarten is the Bavarian baby sibling of Hayes Valley’s Suppenkuche and is most distinctly known for their full liter beer pours, ranging from $15-$18 (half liters also available). After ordering 34 fluid ounces of a mysterious German brew it’s time for the most vital vittle on the menu, the pickled deviled eggs ($4). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, deviled eggs are a gift from god and you should order them as often as you possibly can, especially if you’re visiting Biergarten. Another favorite on the menu is the luscious beat salad. At only 6 bucks this beautiful salad is hearty and elegant. The colorful beety chunks are dressed with a shallot vinaigrette and topped with fluffy shredded parmesan. It’s an earthy option that is relatively healthy and goes well with their other pickelings, did I mention it’s only 6 bucks?
The list of tasty treats at Biergarten goes on and on from sliders and knots to sausages and sandwiches, everything luxurious and pairing with beer like milk does with cookies, but better for obvious reasons. Even if you’re not in the mood for a snack, sitting in the city sun with something to read is always better with a towering glass of dopplebock sitting in front of you. Taking time to turn off the phone and be alone is a simple concept that we often neglect here in the city, there is always somewhere to be and something to do. Biergarten’s patio is one of the best spots around San Francisco to really take a load off while putting a couple on.
Next time you're down between 6th and 7th on Market street, approach the small storefront tucked politely between a beauty school and a smoke shop. Flying Falafel is our first official entry on our non-official PYGAF List. Flying Falafel has everything going for it, it's delicious, its vegan, it's street food and it's dirt cheap. The place is almost perfect, which is quite the achievement considering that the menu is flesh free. They offer a pocket bursting with falafel for $7 or the snacker (half pocket) for $5. The sandwich is basically a balloon full of crunchy fresh veggies, crispy falafel balls, and a concoction of fiery yet refreshing sauces. Just go try one, they are friggen delicious. Did I mention cheap, cheap, cheap? One $5 dollar lunch please.
More often than not, after summoning piers for "one drink," I'm the one egging his buddies for just one more. Honestly, who only has one drink? The only reason I usually have a drink is to get myself ready for the next one. The Sycamore, on the other hand, may be the exception. This is exactly the kind of place made for a quick afternoon beer and a savory treat. Tucked between 17th and 18th in San Francisco's Mission district, The Sycamore is more like a local coffee shop than a pub. Board games and local artwork give the small space a cozy atmosphere while bottomless mimosas and brunch bring in hipsters from all over the city on the weekends. Visits to the Sycamore for me are short and sweet, a lot like their menu. The pan fried provolone or one of their adorable sliders are lovely dishes that both satisfy and won't spoil dinner. A snack, a beer, and a spliff and I'm on my way.
There is certainly no shortage of Vietnamese food in San Francisco, which has resulted in an ever growing affection for the Bahn My sandwich. DragonEats is cozy little shop in Hayes Valley that dishes out some of the tastiest little sandwiches on the block. Being such a simple assemblage of crispy veggies, roasted meat and fresh baguette, it can be particularly easy for this sandy to be underwhelming if the balance isn't just right. I’m often drawn to the to joints that offer items that may not be as common at other Bahn Myteries. DragonEats does it right, cooking up duck, butter chicken, and sardine stuffed into crunchy perfectly petite baguettes. They also have a delicious secret vegetarian soup that isn’t listed on the menu for $3.50. The crispy fried onions and crunchy kale float in a clearish green broth, resembling a savory little pond in a strangely appetizing kind of way. It’s the perfect steaming snack on a chilly wet day. Maybe my enthusiasm stems from the fact that I happen to live a few blocks away from this place, but DragonEats is doing a great job singing their little version of a very familiar tune. Bahn Bad Ass!
There are two distinct categories that encompass the holy grail that is the cheese burger. There's the dignified proprietary patty that possesses some heroic quality elevating its price to sixteen, seventeen, twenty dollars and sometimes even more. This burger may be made with prime cuts of meat or literally worth its weight in gold (graphic material). There are those rare occasions when purchasing one of these sovereign snacks is justified, but like I said, they're rare. The other species of the burger de boeuf is like this one from Whiz Burgers on the corner of 18th and Capp in SF's Mission District. If you're like me, you want something quick and easy, you want something delicious, and you want something cheap. What I don't want is a sandwich that is oozing with oils and aiolis and I'm certainly never craving 6,500 calories in one sitting. A burger is not rocket science but just like anything else there are the exceptions when people must always fix what isn't broken. Thankfully there will always be the true crusaders who understand why a burger is so great: it's just a mother fucking burger! Visit Super Duper Burger, Double Decker, or the ever popular In-N-Out for quality at quality price.
So there's my two sense on the matter, take away from it what you will and I'll stop boring you with such banter. You have officially been warned. If you must tamper with an ancient formula like the basic cheese burger know you are meddling with the work of the Gods and they may not be as open minded as I am.
Corn Dog $1.50
Patty Melt $4
Arinell Pizza located on 16th and Mission is a safe haven for pizza lovers like me looking for a quick slice. No bells or whistles here folks, just Neopolitan ($3) or Sicilian ($3.50) with your choice of topping (50¢). The pizza is fresh and the crust is crispy just like it's made back home. It's exactly what pizza is supposed to be, cheap and good. Ask if they have gluten free crust, I dare you.
Lets face it, we live in the most anomalous era of coffee to date. We have become so connected that there is virtually a race to experience every different form of demitasse known to man, old and new. I enjoy a cup of delicious boutique coffee as much as the next guy, but it will never replace my $2 cup of joe. Listen, I'm moving fast and I need immediate gratification, the best crappy cup of coffee in town is exactly what I'm looking for. A place where is can get a pound of beans for less than $10 is an especially nice touch these days. Thank you Castro Coffee for brewing damn good coffee and not operating under the pretense that you're selling ground diamonds.
No longer a well kept secret, Yamo is more of a crack in an alley than a hole in the wall. This perfect little slice of San Francisco's mission district has the best Burmese food in the city with prices just as unarguable as the food. The menu has three sections and only two prices (apps and salads for $4.50 and entreés for $6.25). Sitting along the 12 person counter is like eating in the hull of a dark ship, and the chefs are three mischievous Burmese woman who may hate you, it'll be hard to tell. Yamo's location and atmosphere add to its allure, but the popularity it has gained over the past few years make it tough to grab a seat.
If you do find yourself lucky enough to sit down for a quick bite, start out with the fresh rolls or a tea leaf salad. Light, crunchy, and spicier than anticipated, Yamo's tea leaf salad is a delightful way to precede a big bowl of house noodles. The House cold noodles are served with piping hot chicken, crispy cabbage and peanuts, and all the other accouterments that make Burmese cuisine such a joy.
Restaurants like Yamo represent the fundamental values of a PYG, top notch street food at affordable prices. That being said, it is natural that you'll want to keep a gem like Yamo for yourself. In this economy that selfish mentality will only extinguish the establishments we love and cherish, and if we're not careful, they'll all be gone. The only way for Yamo and places like it to stay afloat are asses in their seats. So next time you're in the hood and looking for a spot along the counter, be intuitive about when you decide to swing by. If you're planning t wait until 7:30 pm on a Friday to show up, I'm sorry my friend, you deserve to wait.
If you’re like me, you have a very clear idea of what you’re looking for in a Chinese restaurant. You want a loud and tiny grease pocket that specializes in traditional fare at authentic prices. You want to be able to bring your friend who only eats white rice and General Tso’s, while you can shuffle through eel dishes, duck apps, and assortments of entrails. Shanghai Dumpling King, located in San Francisco’s Outer Richmond, is a cozy little gem that is not only worth the trek for its casual decor and unreasonably cheap prices, but they also have some of the best damn dumplings in town.
The Salt Duck ($5.50) is a great place to start. Chilled fatty duck bits dressed with a touch of oil and sprigs of cilantro will definitely get the taste buds prepped and ready for whats to come. Although the variety of dumpling, wrapper thickness, and fillings varies, the Shanghai steamed soup dumplings ($5.95) are the must order. Other establishments may refer to these glorious treats as xiaolongbao or mini juicy pork buns, call them what you will, Shanghai Dumpling King lives up to its name.
While the dumplings may motivate your expedition, I recommend also trying something completely new. Dumpling King offers items like cow stomach ($5.25) and shrimp with vegetarian goose ($5.25), not to mention most of the menu is under 10 bucks. So if you’ve got the afternoon off and find yourself craving some cheap and delicious Chinese down by the beach, Shanghai Dumpling King is the place.
I always go to Rosamunde for some of my favorite sausage links in the Bay Area. The best part has to be the wide range of variety, from wild boar, duck, bratwurst, beer, and andouille. Even though each sausage comes with its own perfectly paired complimentary condiments, I utilize this wiener oasis for their raw dogs. Usually about 1/4 the price of the prepared sausages, I'll order a few to take home and cook myself. There's nothing like assembling an assortment of franks on a walk home from work or the gym, especially when they're about two bucks a piece. The Haight street location is cozily nestled next to beer library Tornado Pub, another PYG favorite. You can order your sausage to-go or have it prepared and eat it in the bar. Like so many tales of star crossed lovers, in the end sausage and beer will always find one another.