Michael Bauer's recent post of his favorite food items from around the Bay Area reinforced for me what a provincial locavore I am.
Sure, sometimes I head over to Oakland or up to St. Helena for a meal. But often I prefer to eat within staggering distance of my little corner of the universe, just up the hill from San Francisco's Mission District.
So what are my favorite items in my foodshed? Here's a list for locals only. I'm not saying drive up from San Mateo to taste any of these. But if you are in the neighborhood and you haven't tried something, what are you waiting for?
Whole rotisserie chicken at Goood Frikin Chicken. It's always large, juicy and healthy, with zaatar-like spices. The hummus and babaganoush, both firm-textured and covered with a dollop of olive oil, are also good enough to make this list. My favorite takeout meal.
Smoked trout sandwich at Atlas Cafe. One of those places where the staff knows they're better than you. But it is a great and healthy sandwich, with fig chutney and lots of arugula.
Arroz con mariscos at Mi Lindo Peru. Generous steaming mound of tiny shellfish and rice, with bits of corn and onion. Love their well-balanced, garden-tasting hot sauce, also good on bread.
Salted licorice ice cream at Humphry Slocombe. They don't make this intense flavor often enough. Also intense: balsamic caramel, peanut butter curry.
Turkey sandwich at Mr. Pickles. I know it's a chain, but this is apparently one that went rogue. Love the pesto-pickles-peppers standard package.
Cappuccino at Ritual. The place is so hip that I wish it didn't have the best coffee in the neighborhood. But Blue Bottle isn't here yet, so it does. So smooth on the palate, you'll wonder why you usually accept bitterness.
Paper masala dosa at Dosa. I admit I like the looks from diners around me when it arrives. (If you don't know why, go there and order one.)
Coffee-rubbed pork shoulder at Range. They're a little embarrassed at the popularity of this dish, as they want you to try other things. When it's on the menu, I confound them and order it.
Monterey squid and white beans at Delfina. Silky and chewy, mild yet scented with the sea. Great harmony in this dish.
Al Pastor taco from El Tonayense taco truck. The one I frequent got 100 from the SF health dept, better than most non-mobile taquerias. Why taco trucks have the most flavor, I don't understand.
Pavo y pavo ahumado torta from Tortas Las Picudos. I love the line of chefs assembling your sandwich. And I love the sandwich, defined by jalapeno and queso fresco, even more.
Mussels with pork at Spork. Decadently rich; you often don't notice the thick hunk of delicious pork until you've removed a couple fat, chewy mussels. It's like a one-bowl 2-course meal.
Cheeseburger and fries at Burger Joint. They sweat the small stuff. Grilled onions feel pricey at 75 cents, but I get them anyway. I like cheddar on my burger.
Gougere from Tartine. Enormous compared to the ones you usually see, but soft and flavorful. I like it for breakfast with one sweet, either a scone or morning bun.
Omelette with black beans, cilantro and cheddar at Boogaloo's. One of the few culinary tips I picked up from British travelers: beans for breakfast. Boogaloo's can stuff 'em in and still deliver an omelette with structural integrity. The cilantro is like bitters in a cocktail, making all elements more interesting.