Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Travels with Blondie: Off San Francisco's Grid

Off the Grid at City Hall
Another year, another Foodbuzz Festival, another trip out to San Francisco. Though I made my requisite trips to Tartine and others, I wanted to devote this vacation to food trucks. During the past summer, Matt Cohen of San Francisco Cart Project started Off the Grid. On Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, a rotating variety of food trucks meet up in the same locations to vend for a few hours. I hoped to hit them up at least once, and felt lucky when I got to visit them twice.

Off the Grid
On Thursday evenings, you can find the truck in the Upper Haight at Stanyan and Waller. Used to New York where if you put two or more food trucks together all hell can break loose, I was prepared for quite the chaotic scene. Instead I got a peaceful, friendly, let's all hang out and eat in a parking lot scene. It was a welcome change for me, I could see myself getting some dinner here every Thursday if it was in my neighborhood.

Pork Belly Bun
Granted we did show up a little late in the evening; my cousin and her roommate were able to get the last pork bun from Chairman Bao, while I went for the Hawaiian take on chicken and rice from 51st State. Along with the last bun, which they both agreed was fantastic, they received a mediocre pumpkin soup. I had to admit that I was a bit jealous they got that bun, I figured I would probably get a chance to visit the truck again. Unfortunately, I didn't, next time.

Mochiko Chicken
But 51st State's take on our beloved chicken and rice was definitely something to write home about. Their Mochiko Chicken meal consists of fried, ginger-scented, Shoyu marinated chicken on white rice with kimchee macaroni salad. The marinating and sauce make the chicken sweet with a bit of stickiness, and it's perfectly fried, not greasy at all. It reminded me of a sweet Katsu over rice, and I was a bit happy that they're on the other side of the country or I'd eat it all the time.

Off the Grid at City Hall
The next day, I convinced Yvo to join me at the Friday lunch Off the Grid spot by City Hall. Since the various trucks alternate weeks, this means a whole different group (save 51t State) than the night before and the same groups this week.

Sisig Tacos
We went with an order of the Sisig Tacos from the Filipino truck Hapa SF. The two tacos contain braised pork, avocado salsa verde, radishes, and cabbage. At $3 a taco, they are a bit expensive for the Bay Area, but you do get some nice chunks of pork. I wouldn't be adverse to eating this for lunch, but I would have to buy something else to tide me over.

Twirl & Dip
Then, we saw the jackpot, for me at least. I love ice cream, I love soft serve, I adore our main summer soft serve go-tos, Big Gay and Miss Softee, but one thing I've always wished for is flavored soft serve. You can throw a lot of toppings on a vanilla/chocolate twist, but it's still a vanilla/chocolate twist. So when I saw the menu at Twirl and Dip, the sun shone down on me, the birds chirped louder, angels began "Ahhhhh!"-ing, and I had found my dream truck.

Ginger & Mexican Chocolate Swirl
Yes, flavored soft serve. And not just any flavors, Ginger and Mexican Chocolate! Two of their rotating flavors! Which you can get in fresh, handmade cone, OR as an ice cream sandwich! And for the lactose-less, coconut milk ice cream. ALL for under $5. I went with the twist since the two flavors complemented each other quite nicely together. The Mexican Chocolate had a nice amount of good cinnamon in it, while the ginger wasn't too overwhelming. It was held by one of the best cones I've ever had in my life, crunchy and fresh-we need more handmade, fresh cones like these in New York. Between this and Sylas & Maddy's, I'm getting spoiled.

For those of you in SF, this Friday night is the season finale of the Fort Mason Off the Grid, the one where I was so close, yet so full. If I were you, I'd totally make it my Friday evening plans.

No comments: