The Best San Francisco Restaurants and More: The Podcast

Wayfare Tavern’s Fried Chicken (photo property of VirgoBlue)

I recently had a great discussion with Seth Resler of Mystery Meet, where food lovers in the Bay Area can get together at a restaurant in San Francisco (that isn’t revealed until 24 hours before) and discuss their love of all things culinary.

Here’s my podcast interview with Seth of Mystery Meet discussing all my favorite eats in San Francisco. I basically leave no stone unturned, talking about my favorite purveyors like Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen, Wayfare Tavern, Frog Hollow Farm, Curry Up Now, 4505 Meats, my thoughts on the SF vs. NY food debate, my pick for the best date/anniversary restaurant in town (it’s not what you think), my love of Thomas Keller, why the food truck trend has exploded, and even manage a BlogHer Annual Conference plug. Obviously, I’m in marketing. ;)

It’s all here: http://mysterymeet.org/find-dining-podcast/podcast-episode-8-wayfare-tavern-in-san-francisco/

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4C7IfmpaD-o&feature=youtu.be&a

Wayfare Tavern on Urbanspoon
Sociale on Urbanspoon
Wise Sons Deli on Urbanspoon

Curry Up Now Wants You to Join The Dosa Republic

Inside The Dosa Republic

Husband and wife team, Akash and Rana Kapoor have created a name for themselves with their Curry Up Now food trucks, specializing in authentic and boldly flavored Indian street food. Their immense popularity spawned an equally popular brick and mortar joint in San Mateo, which opened last year.

Curry Up Now started as a pipe dream for Rana. She had always loved feeding large groups of friends and family at home, and wanted to bring that feeling of creating and sharing a good home cooked Indian meal to a larger community.

But Akash, who also loves to cook and create special dishes for their restaurant’s menu, had a culinary dream of his own.

“I went to this place in India that specialized in dosas and they had 140 different kinds you could choose from. They took a traditional Indian dish and made it cutting edge. That became the inspiration for this new restaurant.”

Enter The Dosa Republic, which opened this week. The new fast-casual restaurant in San Mateo serves rice bowls, salads, inventive appetizers, and of course, dosas. The Kapoors are taking this traditional Southern Indian staple and giving it a modern twist.

Dosas are thin, crepe-like delicacies made from a rice and lentil batter, making them naturally gluten-free. The dosa crepes are then filled with a variety of ingredients. That’s where the fun comes in for Akash, who created the menu.

Paisano Dosa
Paisano Dosa

They have two dosa menus which include The Dosa Republic’s own innovative creations, like the Paisano, filled with prosciutto, figs and burrata, along with the more traditional ones, like the Bombay, with potatoes, green onions and chili. Many dishes can also be made vegan.

Kale Vada Sambar
Kale Vada Sambar

One of the more notable appetizers include the Kale Vada Sambar, a deliciously fried lentil and kale dumpling served with their lentil and seasonal veggie stew. Many dishes come with the stew or a Sri Lankan Curry to dip. Others are served with a variety of chutneys like young coconut, tomato, and strawberry habenero mint. It’s a lot of flavors to take in, but they certainly make for an extremely interesting and adventurous eating experience.

Tanga Dosa
Tanga Dosa

But one of the most popular dishes seems to be the Tanga Dosa, filled with an unusual combination of ramen noodles, carrots and cabbage for crunch, and Gobi Cauliflower (chili cauliflower), which resembles more of a Chinese sweet and sour dish because of it’s bright orange hue. “Chinese food is actually really popular in India right now, or their version of it,” says Akash. “That’s why the Gobi Chicken and Cauliflower look like something from a Chinese restaurant.” The flavors, thankfully, are more tangy and spicy than sweet and sour.

The Tanga was a wonderfully satisfying dosa, giving you a complete protein, veggie and carb meal all wrapped in one extremely delectable package.

Sinhala Dosa
Sinhala Dosa

Also notable is the Sinhala Dosa, which contains juicy chicken, curry and potato. The boldly flavored spices come through loud and clear without coming on too strong. Everything was cooked perfectly from the meat to the lightly crisp yet soft and tender crepe it’s wrapped in.

The Kapoors have taken this humble yet commonly enjoyed Indian dish and managed to make it fun, tasty, and surprisingly unintimidating to a Bay Area audience that might not be familiar with it. It’s a formula they seem to have down pat with Curry Up Now. Now at The Dosa Republic, they’re betting that formula can work for them again.

Dosa Republic Interior

The Dosa Republic
Address: Map
2299 S El Camino Real, San Mateo, CA 94403
Phone: 650.458.DOSA
Twitter: @thedosarepublic
Facebook: Curry UpNow

The Peninsula’s Best Casual Dishes

Garlic Pork Ramen w/corn from Dojo Ramen

I’ve had the great fortune of visiting a wide variety of restaurants over the years. Most are good, some mediocre, and a few just plain horrid. But there are a few standouts; the kind of restaurant where everything comes together and you can’t stop thinking about the meal you just had there. These are places in the Bay Area peninsula where service, cleanliness, overall vibe and of course, food are not only good, but memorable and relatively AFFORDABLE!

Curry Up Now (San Mateo) – Deconstructed Samosa, Chicken Kathi Roll

Cuisinett (San Carlos) – Moules Frites

Millbrae Dumpling Shop (Millbrae) - Braised Lion’s Head Meatballs, Xiao Long Bao

Mingalaba (Burlingame) - House Special Noodles, Tea Leaf Salad

Osteria Coppa (San Mateo) – Tagliatelle Bolognaise

Ramen Dojo (San Mateo) – Garlic Pork Ramen

Speederia Pizzeria (San Carlos) - Indianapolis Pizza

The Best of San Francisco Street Food

Street food is definitively proving that it’s no flash in the pan fad here in San Francisco.  With both a trip to Off the Grid and the Foodbuzz Festival’s kickoff dinner at the Herbst Pavilion last week, here’s some of the best I had there.

Sisig Taco w/Chicharrone Topping from @adobohobo

I’ve gotta say, the Sisig Taco with crunchy chicharrones and creamy sauce from Adobo Hobo (@adobohobo) was the best damn thing I had that night.  There was the tender, juicy meat with that distinctive vinegary flavor, along with the cool creamy sauce and the crunchy salty bite of the chicharrones. And like @inuyaki and I were discussing, their tortillas were warmed by a brief visit to the grill, which made all the difference. What a perfect, inventive, and unexpected combination and a true winner! Further proof that Filipino food is the new food trend to hit the scene.

Korean Shortrib Nachos from @bbqkalbi

This dish from BBQ Kalbi (@bbqkalbi) was either born out of laziness or sheer genius because it is so good (and so terribly bad for you, I know). How can you go wrong with a marriage of creamy processed nacho cheese and homemade, flavorful Korean shortribs? Answer: you can’t. Oh, and it’s not always on the menu so make sure you ask if they have it that day.

Korean Tacos from @namusf

The boys from Namu (@namusf) do it again! I always love the tang of that fluffy flavored rice, the creamy sauce, the lovely marinated shortribs, and the cool zesty tomatoes and scallions. Some complain the nori it sits on makes it more of an open faced sushi roll, or that it may get too soggy, but I’ll always be a devoted fan.

Porchetta Sandwich & Roasted Potatoes from @roliroti

This is a CLASSIC! No one can touch the perfection that is this famous Porchetta Sandwich from Roli Roti (@roliroti).  Succulent pork belly, garlic and spices, crunchy pork skin for texture, and the juices that seep into that roll. Pure perfection. But amazingly, it wasn’t the standout of the night (perhaps because it’s something that’s so reliably good).

Jalapeno Marinated Pork Loin Sandwich from @4505_Meats

Who the hell would think of taking the liquid from pickled jalapenos and using it to marinate a whole pork loin and then giving it a cornmeal crust, making it one of the most outrageously unusual and imaginative sandwiches you’ll ever eat? Ryan Farr, that’s who! He’s the genius from 4505 Meats (@4505_Meats) who makes the best damn chicharrones in the world (I’m not exaggerating, trust me. Pork rinds that are light, airy, crisp and spicy). Now he can say he’s made one of the moistest, most flavorful, inventive pieces of pork anyone’s ever put between two pieces of bread. Is this thing on his regular menu, because it damn well should be!

And special props to the guys at Curry Up Now (@curryupnow) who make their fabulous Chicken Tikka Masala Burrito a dish that I now have to eat at least once a week. Thankfully, I can find them all over the Bay Area and not just in San Francisco.

I’ve gotta make it out to Off the Grid again soon because there was SO MUCH I didn’t even get to try!