Food in San Francisco – From Fried Chicken to Salt and Pepper Ice Cream

There was a fair amount of eating while we were in San Francisco, much of it good. Here are a trio of spots we visited.

Little Skillet

While still in Bangkok, Tawn and I had developed a hankering for fried chicken. Despite the preponderance of grilled chicken, there is very little fried chicken in Thailand outside of KFC (which isn’t that bad, actually). Doing some research, I stumbled across an entry on public television and radio channel KQED’s food blog about the best fried chicken in the Bay Area and planned on visiting Little Skillet.

This “restaurant” is just a walk-up window in an alley not far from the Caltrain station and AT&T Park. An offshoot of the “neo-soulfood” farmerbrown restaurant, Little Skillet is open only for extended lunchtime hours and keeps a short and simple menu. Fried chicken features prominently. You order at the window and wait for your name to be called. Eating options include sitting on the loading dock of a warehouse across the street or, if you buy some of their coffee, the java joint next door lets you use their tables.

The biscuits are tasty and buttery, although more crumbly and less flaky than the ones I make. Still, they were pretty good.

Tawn, who prefers his chicken drier than I do, opted for the fried chicken po’boy sandwich. Made with chicken breast, he exclaimed that it was the best fried chicken he had ever had. 

Aiming to evaluate Little Skillet by its ability with the classics, I ordered a two-piece fried chicken with waffles. Tawn’s exclamation was well-placed: this was amazing fried chicken. The meat was flavorful and extremely well-seasoned. The coating was crispy and adhered well to the skin. The homemade honey jalapeño hot sauce is a perfect foil for the juicy, crispy, deep-fried goodness of the chicken. While I’ve never understood the combination with chicken, the waffles were light with just the right amount of crispiness.

Little Skillet is on the must return to list!

 

Wise Sons Delicatessen 

Speaking of the must return to list, we made a return visit to Wise Sons Deli, located on 24th Street just east of South Van Ness Avenue.

After our first visit last June to this relatively new entrant to the San Francisco deli scene, we were eager to return. Exiled New Yorkers have long bemoaned the lack of good deli food in San Francisco but that has recently started to change, not least of all by the entry of Wise Sons’ proprietors Evan Bloom and Leo Beckerman. Their meats are cured in-house and the quality of food, homey atmosphere, and friendly service make the place feel like it has been on this corner for decades.

On my last visit, I enjoyed a tasty pastrami sandwich. This time, I tried their corned beef Reuben. I’ve had a lot of Reubens in my life, many of which were made by my mother. This was simply the best one I’ve ever had, the one that came closest to recapturing my childhood memories, except that this corned beef was much better than any my mother ever made. Wise Sons cooks the brisket until fork tender and cuts it relatively thick. To say it “melts in your mouth” is accurate. Unlike a lot of brisket, this beef isn’t at all tough or chewy.

We also shared a plate of sinful pastrami cheese fries, minus the pastrami since Tawn isn’t a beef eater. The fries are loaded with Swiss bechamel sauce, caramelized onions, pickled cucumbers and jalapeño peppers, with a side of Russian dressing. Couldn’t eat this every day so that’s why we ate it this day!

 

Humphrey Slocombe Ice Cream

While San Francisco isn’t known for its pastrami, it does have a great reputation for ice cream. Swensen’s, the global ice cream chain, was founded in San Francisco, and there are many small ice cream parlors that make interesting and innovative flavors from. One of the most prominent of these parlors is Humphrey Slocombe. Located just around the corner from Wise Sons, Humphrey Slocombe opened in 2008 and quickly gained notice for flavors like salted black licorice, hibiscus beet, and Jesus Juice.  

We were pretty full from lunch but Tawn ordered a Tin Roof Sundae: three scoops of Tahitian vanilla ice cream, hot fudge sauce, candied peanuts, and a sprinkle of sea salt. Oh, boy!

Enjoying calories I didn’t really need. I also tried a taste of their salt and pepper ice cream, which tastes amazingly of… salt and pepper!

Well, hope that’s enough food porn to get your weekend off to a good start. There’s more to come!

 

0 thoughts on “Food in San Francisco – From Fried Chicken to Salt and Pepper Ice Cream

  1. What! I have been to those places and want to go back. I used to travel a lot and on the Coast they were no my list all the time. Forget the calories lolol.

  2. Looking forward to your following post, that’s for sure! These excellent choices make one feel like grabbing a ticket and fly, already! =D

  3. On a liquid diet and you are not helping. Lol just kidding, but it looks so good. The fries remind me of poutine. Nothing particularly similar but I think fries need gravy but that is the Canadian in me. But the hot peppers would kick it up a notch, Mmm. Here they have chicken and waffle flavored chips. I wonder if french fries would be good with those seasonings. Just pondering. Have a good weekend!

  4. Just for this reason, I want to visit SF! Thank you so much! My iPhone note pad is filled with the names of restaurants you recommended and the cities you visited! (As my wish list).

  5. Looks like the french fries were made with white potatoes. It is good to investigate what kind of potatoes is used for french fries.So how are you on french fries with a bit of skin? I guess baked potatoes are better with the skin on.I know that my mother insisted that fresh chicken is superior to frozen chicken. In your country or here could you tell the difference?

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  7. I had to stop right after seeing the Little Skillet to go get a bib cause I am drooling so much. It all look so delishious and fattening-oh what the heck who is going to notice a few more pounds on me anyway<:)I am baking a cure 81 lean, low salt ham for tomorrow, and have already baked a strawberry pie. Will finish up the rest in the morning. I am making TD’s fav Easter dinner.Blessings to you and Tawn tomorrow and every day.

  8. @Inciteful – @slmret – Hazards of being on Xanga, I guess. Ha ha…@Grannys_Place – Strawberry pie – and it is just now strawberry season, isn’t it? Delicious!@Texasjillcarmel – I agree – obscure places are often the best.@PPhilip – Potatoes are great with the skin – that’s where most of the nutrients and fiber are.@awoolham – When you get ready to visit SF, let me know and I’ll give you recommendations.@Ikwa – Love poutine!@armnatmom – Yes!@nov_way – Shouldn’t the tourism board be paying me something?@momofjenmatt – I’m sensing sarcasm…@Fatcat723 – Time for a return visit…

  9. i will have to go to the ice cream parlor next time i am in san francisco those flavors sounded absolutely strangest just up my alley but i will skip salt and pepper

  10. I worked around the corner from that little skillet at my last company! That “java joint” next door is a Blue Bottle coffee vendor shop. Blue Bottle coffee is amazing, so I certainly hope you tried a cup. If not, definitely go back next time. Little Skillet’s fried chicken is unique, in that they don’t use traditional batter. I am more of a traditionalist, so I would recommend “hard knox cafe” the next time you’re in town. Their fried chicken is amazing, and its a southern food joint, owned and operated by a young Vietnamese couple that learned their craft growing up in Texas. Definitely a must try!

  11. @ZSA_MD – Have tried Blue Bottle and really like it. Didn’t need any more caffeine at that point in the day, though. Thanks for recommending Hard Knox Cafe. Will check it out next time. Let me know if you care to join.@ZSA_MD – Fried chicken that inspires salivation is good indeed!@grannykaren – Actually, the salt and pepper flavor was enjoyable.@CurryPuffy – If I had the room in my kitchen, I would buy an ice cream maker…@stevew918 – Well, if you can substitute the food porn for the real food, weight loss should be easy!

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