A Feel Good Story: Off the Grid Food Trucks Offer Help

Andrew Dalton, with sf.eater.com, put it perfectly when he wrote recently: “Known mostly for organizing night markets and food truck corrals around the Bay Area, Off the Grid didn’t anticipate being called into action as an emergency services network. But when city officials in Santa Rosa put out a request for “licensed and available mobile food vendors” to help aid its fire relief efforts earlier this week, they might as well have put up a Bat Signal with Off the Grid’s logo on it.”

The company provides infrastructure for dozens of weekly food events, creating regular spaces for its network of mobile vendors, food trucks, catering companies and partner restaurants. Off the Grid’s ubiquitous presence throughout the regional street food scene gives it a deep roster of cooks and resources to call in the wake of a disaster.

Off the Grid founder and CEO Matt Cohen estimated the first wave of vendors served more than 3,500 meals in their first 24 hours in the field. Off the Grid acts as a dispatcher; taking requests from emergency workers who know of areas in need of hot meals and then reaching out to vendor partners nearby. Each vendor is offered $7.50 per meal in compensation, which comes directly out of a gofundme  fund that was established for this very purpose.

To donate to the fund, and for more information on this effort, please click here.


Johnny Doughnuts Has Arrived in Hayes Valley

Yes. We’re talking about Hayes Valley again. So many good places to eat now in this neighborhood! The newest addition is Johnny Doughnuts. According to sf.eater.com, the wildly popular doughnut truck operation with a San Rafael shop that’s had to double in size to keep up with demand, is now larger still with the opening of its San Francisco location.

Johnny Doughnuts says all of their artisan doughnuts are handcrafted with the finest organic cool milled wheat flour and ingredients from locally sourced vendors. You’ll find old favorites like classic chocolate and glazed doughnuts, and new interpretations, like their jam filled bismarks, and croissant and doughnut hybrids that they call a “Crodough.” They even have something they call a “Wheat-Free Fritter Thang .”

The new shop is located at 392 Fulton Street, and the place is open from 7AM to 4PM, or until sold out. To visit their website and learn more, click here.

San Francisco’s Best Place for Pizza

Chronicle restaurant critic Michael Bauer includes just one pizza place on his list of the top 100 restaurants in the Bay Area. His favorite? Del Popolo, which he says represents the quintessential Top 100 restaurant — a place that consistently brings more to the table than expected.

Bauer says Del Popolo’s pizza has a “puffy, blistered crust, held in check with a thin, crisp layer that quickly gives way to the steamy interior. The eight toppings are also a big draw whether it’s the traditional Margherita ($13); a more inventive combination with summer peppers, beef salami, roasted onions, pecorino cheese and parsley ($18); or salami with crushed tomatoes, mozzarella, peppers, onion and a hefty dose of chile ($18).”

The restaurant’s interior is striking, and the service is professional and has a fine-dining quality. But what really sets the restaurant apart, according to Bauer, are the small plates, which offer a nice selection of delectable dishes — all well conceived and perfectly executed.

To read the entire column, click here.

Or you can always skip the column, and just head directly to the restaurant!

Del Popolo 855 Bush Street, San Francisco, 415.589.7940 www.delpopolosf.com

Museum of Ice Cream Now Open Through February 2018

With much fanfare, the Museum of Ice Cream opened this past weekend. It’s the hottest ticket in town since Hamilton. Tickets originally sold out within hours, and the pop-up the museum has since extended its stay through February 2018.

Located in the stately 108 year old landmark building at 1 Grant Avenue, this whimsical and Instagram-friendly museum has already received rave reviews. It’s bigger, and completely different than earlier iterations in L.A. and New York.

What’s all the fuss about? Take a look at this KPIX 5 video and you’ll understand.

Long-Awaited Eight Tables Opens Tonight, Breaking New Ground

As we understand it, Eight Tables opens tonight, following two years of construction and preparation.  The restaurant brings a whole new concept to the City, based on an elite style of dining in China.

This is how Ellen Fort, with sf.eater.com, describes Eight Tables in the context of San Francisco’s current dining scene:

“Years after cementing itself as the birthplace of California cuisine, San Francisco has now become known as the “Land of the Tasting Menu.” The perfect storm of tech affluence, international travelers, and ambitious chefs has resulted in some of the country’s best dining experiences (and most Michelin stars). Now, there’s a new contender in town: Eight Tables by George Chen, the fine-dining apex of Chinese food and retail emporium China Live.”

“The menu is one of the city’s most expensive, clocking in at $225 for food, with an optional $125 wine pairing in tow. It’s also one of the most ambitious of its kind to open in recent memory, based on its construction bill (and lead time of over two years) alone. It’s also singular in its cuisine, which is shifan tsui, or “private chateau cuisine,” an elite style of residential dining in cities of China. There aren’t many Chinese restaurants operating at this level in San Francisco; unlike Mister Jiu’s, the upscale, one Michelin-starred restaurant down the street, it is focused only on serving prix fixe menus to small groups of diners each night, literally offering eight tables of varying size for reservation only.”

To see photos and read the entire review, click here.

Eight Tables  China Live, 644 Broadway, 415.788.8788

How Sushi Gets from Japan to San Francisco

Getting sushi from Japan to San Francisco requires enormous effort, and results in an incredible odyssey. At the SF restaurant Ju-Ni, diners who may have never been to Japan themselves, pay at least $145 each for a tasting menu that serves 18 or so courses of fish. Most all of it has been flown in from Tokyo’s famous fish market, Tsukiji.

Tsukiji has been called the fish market at the center of the world. Launched in 1935, it’s the world’s biggest fish market, with more than $3.96 billion worth of seafood sold in its last fiscal year. 555 marine wholesale companies compete for the business of supermarkets and restaurants worldwide — including many in San Francisco.

SFGate.com just published an amazing article about how sushi gets from Japan to San Francisco. It’s a long journey, and consequently, it’s a long story. But if you like sushi, it’s well worth reading. There are accompanying photos — and even a video — that help you visualize all that’s involved. To see the entire feature, click here.

Abalone in Abundance

Good news for those who have gotten up in the middle of the night, driven though a predawn fog to get to some hidden rocky cove on the coast, put on a wetsuit, endured a punishing surf in pursuit of abalone — which under water looks like any other black rock you see down there — and then spent the afternoon pounding the abalone you brought home into an edible steak. You can now just buy it over the counter.

There’s an abalone farm in Davenport, south of San Francisco, that makes getting your hands on — and eating — abalone much easier! American Abalone Farms sells live three inches wide abalone ($3.75 each at the farm) as well as pre-pounded steaks, each consisting of a whole abalone (four for $20).

There are four abalone farms in California, but American Abalone Farms is the closest to the Bay Area, making it a popular option for San Francisco restaurants like Tadich Grill, the Progress, and Cala — along with some local stores and food delivery services. Whereas many other types of wild seafood have limited seasons, the farmed product is sustainable, and available year-round. For more details, click here.