Dear San Francisco, you are killing me with the fun. First SF Chefs, then Outside Lands, now the Street Food Festival, three weekends in a row? You are aggressive. Aggressively fun. THE NIGHT MARKET This weekend’s fun starts tonight with La Cocina’s first ever Night Market. It’s at the Alemany Market (free shuttles will be running from the Mission), and from the looks of it, after tonight your stomach will be sufficiently warmed up for tomorrow’s festivities. On my hit list is The Boss Hogg from the Bone & Gristle Boys (a collaboration with Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats and 3 time Cochon 555 winner, Matt Jennings of Farmstead). I don’t even know what’s in it, but they promise it will change lives and I’m a believer. I’m also excited to sink my teeth into Jardiniere’s Wagyu Beef Slider, Nopalito’s Gordita Campechana (handmade masa cakes with the works), and Sabores Del Sur’s Empanadas. And, it’s summer in SF, so you know it’ll be freezing. Expect to see me slurping down a steaming bowl of BÃºn RiÃªu from the Soup Junkie. Also excited for an encore of The Whole Beast’s Indian-style lamb Mulligatawny Stew – we had a taste of it at Outside Lands and it hits the spot on a chilly night. If you need more convincing, here’s the menu for tonight’s Night Market. THE STREET FOOD FEST Then the games begin tomorrow at the actual Street Food Fest. I had the chance to preview some of the dishes that will be served, and let’s just say you are going to be pummeled with good eats.
There will be 85 vendors and 80,000 people expected to descend upon the Mission. Here are a few standout dishes you’ll want to bang out early: 1. Pickled Green Tomato Croquettes, Jarred Emiliana Puyana blew us away with her Pickled Green Tomato Croquettes. Jarred is a pickle business that uses local and organic fruits and vegetables at the peak of their season. Puyana took her pickled green tomatoes and made them into croquettes by battering them in 4505 Chicharrones and frying them in lard. She served the croquettes over a homemade buttermilk ranch dressing. Hold me. 2. Brazilian Cheese Bread, Kika’s Treats Cristina Arantes is well known for her sweet Kika’s Treats, but she does savory just as well and her Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pao de Queijo) is testament to that. These gluten-free cheese puffs are delicate and chewy, and disappear way too fast. For a fun twist, they’re served with a dollop of tomato jam from Maison de Monaco. Also, don’t miss out on Kika’s Crunchy Caramels. Chewy coconut palm sugar caramels made with bits of puffed brown rice crunchies, then covered in dark chocolate and a light sprinkle of sea salt, these treats are absolutely addictive. 3. Jacked-up Hush Puppies, Zella’s Soulful Kitchen Zella’s Soulful Kitchen will be a crowd favorite for sure with their Jacked-up Hush Puppies -- corn fritters made with pepper jack cheese, onions, jalapenos, and fresh corn. A drizzle of remoulade sauce keeps it saucy. 4. Malaysian Chilaquiles, Azalina’s If you’ve never had Malaysian food before, be sure to stop by Azalina’s for a taste of her Malaysian Chilaquiles -- scallion flatbread and chicken rendang topped with raspberries and her homemade coconut jam. The flavors are bold and colorful, full of spice and texture. 5. Deep Fried Caramel Shortbread Pops, Clairesquares Now for the grand finale, are you ready for this? Deep Fried Caramel Amazeballs. YES. Life made. Thank you, Clairesquares. Deep fried Twinkies? Oreos? Snickers? Move on over. There is a new hussy in town. Claire takes a ball of caramel, dips it in batter, rolls it in shortbread crumbs, then deep fries it to heaven and back. Once you bite through the buttery, crispy shell, you hit a jackpot of molten caramel. You need one of these in your mouth.
- Tonight, Fri 8/17: pregame at the Night Market.
- Tonight/Tomorrow Morning: digest, digest, digest...go for a run, get in some sun salutations, do sit ups in your sleep...do whatever you need to do to get hungry again.
- Tomorrow, Sat 8/18: Game on. Hit the SF Street Food Fest and go to town.