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.
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!