John Birdsall

  • Blogs

    September 22, 2011

    Screw Authenticity: Asian Food in America

    Lummmy/FlickrShould Americans even be calling pad thai "Thai" at this point?​This week, Gilt Taste is running a fantastic series about Asian food in America -- or rather, Asian American food. The series led with an article by former SFoodie editor (and current East Bay Express critic) John Birdsal ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 15, 2011

    Urban Farm Stands, Fava Leaves, and the Right Way to Sting

    I want to see this at the corner of 27th and Church.​1. In this week's top story, John Birdsall reports that San Francisco finally revised its urban gardening regulations, becoming the most progressive city in the nation in that regards. (Let's hope it shames inspires Oakland to rethink the Novell ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 21, 2011

    Sweet Deals on Some of Our Favorite Sweets

    John BirdsallSandwich cookies from Sweet Constructions are half-off this week via Yelp.​Let's hope you didn't give up sugar for Lent. This week Yelp has partnered up with sweets pushers all over the city to brighten your smile (while destroying your teeth). Participating shops, many of them S ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 22, 2011

    Pyongyang Express: Food Truck Handing Out Free Korean Tacos for the Next Month

    John BirdsallWho wants free Korean tacos ― anybody?​A sister truck launched in L.A. last week, and now it's San Francisco's turn. Starting tonight and through March 21, a pop-up food truck named the Pyongyang Express ― created to pimp a new video game ― will make near-daily appearances a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 7, 2011

    One Month In, San Francisco's Best Things to Eat and Drink

    Jonathan KauffmanGoat taco (foreground) from the El Norteño truck.​ It's been a month since we began our daily countdown of our 92 favorite things to eat and drink in San Francisco, 2011 edition. Along the way, we'll pause to catch our breath, rounding up the favorites on our list so far, an ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 7, 2011

    January 2011 Openings and Closures

    John BirdsallSee JapaCurry.​Remember when January was the sleepiest month, the month that Christmas sweater with leather elbow patches was still in limbo in its box by the front door, as you took weeks to decide whether you'd keep it? The month when you slowly got back up to speed at work, cat ... More >>

  • Dining

    January 12, 2011

    Fresh Eats

    Our weekly roundup of SFoodie news

  • Blogs

    October 21, 2010

    The Short Rib Slider at 25 Lusk

    John BirdsallBraised short rib slider with jus, fried oysters with bacon and brie fondue.​Thursday, October 21, 2010 John Birdsall​You take in the sleekness of 25 Lusk - the smoked mirrors, gleaming Scandinavian fireplaces, and enough slate tiles to strip a Brazilian quarry bare -- and ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 5, 2010

    Marin Sun Farms' BLT

    John BirdsallMarin Sun Farms' BLT with house-cured bacon, $7.50.​Tuesday, October 5, 2010 Open since June, Marin Sun Farms' Oakland meat counter rehabs the notion of the butcher shop for an age that likes its strip steaks to come with a narrative. These days we like to picture where our meat ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 4, 2010

    Wayfare Tavern's Hangtown Fry

    John BirdsallHangtown Fry ($18). Yeah, we totally got it to go ― you try getting a seat here at lunch.​Wednesday, August 4, 2010 Maybe it's because Tyler Florence is so accustomed to playing to a national audience on Food Network that six-week-old Wayfare Tavern feels so regionally nonspec ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 15, 2010

    Chicken and Waffle at Frisco Fried

    John BirdsallHouse Special two-piece fried chicken and waffle ($5.99, $1 extra for the breast).​Thursday, July 15, 2010 John Birdsall​Hard to believe Frisco Fried has been open only six months. At 2 p.m. yesterday, the Bayview soul-food restaurant felt like the kind of place that define ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 13, 2010

    Spire's Spaetzle Gratin

    John BirdsallOven baked spaetzle gratin ($8).​Tuesday, July 13, 2010 Requirements for opening a restaurant in SOMA's ballpark corridor: big bar, dishes you can eat without the dangly tails of your panda hat wicking up extraneous sauces, slouchy lounge. Once its liquor license arrives (possi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 8, 2010

    Cubano from Thee Parkside's Lunch Window

    John BirdsallCubano: grilled pork, ham, and Swiss with pickles and chipotle mayo ($9).​Thursday, July 8, 2010 John Birdsall​Late-week lunchtimes, Thee Parkside's corner is all but barren of foot traffic, though the wrack from late-night punk fans is everywhere: crumpled cig packs, a pun ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 7, 2010

    Crispy Garlic Tofu from Chairman Bao

    John BirdsallSteamed bao duo: Lions head meatball with kimchi (left) and crispy garlic tofu with miso greens ($2.95 each).​Wednesday, July 7, 2010 In San Francisco's summer of the food truck, a few stars are emerging. Top of the list is Chairman Bao, which, despite a rollout slick enough to ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 5, 2010

    The Five Best Things We've Had for Lunch Recently

    John BirdsallSpice Kit's five-spice chicken banh mi ($7.65).​We used to work with a guy who'd eat the same frigging thing for lunch every day: white bread, lunchmeat turkey, and so much French's mustard he'd have pools of it in the corners of his mouth. While we're too curious to be that singl ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 30, 2010

    Skool's Fried Aji Sandwich

    John BirdsallJapanese aji sandwich with red cabbage sauerkraut and Skool tartar sauce ($12).​Wednesday, June 30, 2010 A burly guy in a tank top, shoulders bristling with gray hairs, leans into the server. "We just came from the gym and my husband is starving." Just two days old, Skool has a s ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 29, 2010

    Spice Kit's Short Rib Ssam Wrap

    John BirdsallKorean ssam with beef short rib ($7.95).​Tuesday, June 29, 2010 After glimpses of four-star glory, Fred Tang and Will Pacio are ministering to the $10 lunch crowd. Opening yesterday: Spice Kit, their quick-casual spot in the office zone where FiDi fuses with SOMA. Tang and Pacio ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 25, 2010

    'Broke Boy' Sandwich at Clare's Deli

    John BirdsallThe "Broke Boy," bologna and cheese on white ($3).​Friday, June 25, 2010 John Birdsall​Clare Hulme's three-day-old sandwich shop seems, in some ways, like an annex of the 500 Club. You can leave your bucket stool at the 500, stagger two doors up 17th Street to Clare's Deli, ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 23, 2010

    Bacon al Pastor from Crispy Tacos, SOMA's Newest Food Truck

    John BirdsallCrispy tacos with bacon al pastor and carnitas ($3 each).​Wednesday, June 23, 2010 John Birdsall​We're pretty sure 2010 will go down as the Year of the Food Truck in San Francisco. The latest: Crispy Tacos, Matthew Griffin's straight-up taco and sandwich wagon, which rolled ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 22, 2010

    Americano Summer Grille's Heritage Pork

    John BirdsallGrilled Berkshire pork with lentils and pickled cherries ($8).​Tuesday, June 22, 2010 John Birdsall​Town Hall isn't the only pop-up stoking a mesquite grill this summer. Tuesdays and Thursdays through September, Americano chef Kory Stewart oversees an outdoor lunch on the r ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 15, 2010

    Hooker's Bread Pudding a Taste of New Orleans

    John BirdsallBread pudding with caramel sauce ($5).​Day-old Hooker's Sweet Treats combines a brooding sense of 19th-century style with vivid tastes ― including owner David "Hooker" Williams' boyhood-inspired bread pudding, and coffee drinks from some of the first batches of beans from Sightg ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 31, 2010

    What to Have for Lunch: Mortadella Dog from Boccalone

    John BirdsallMortadella hot dog with house-made pickles and mustard ($7).​Monday, May 31, 2010 _e.t/Flickr​Where tourists throng, there are no holidays. That's why, if you failed to source that drop-dead Memorial Day picnic you told yourself last year you'd be spreading out in Lindley M ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 28, 2010

    What to Have for Lunch: Ceviche Tostada from Haltún

    John BirdsallTostada de ceviche mixto ($6).​Friday, May 28, 2010 John Birdsall​What was El Cachanilla is now Haltún, an unembellished slice of room in pumpkin-pie orange. The menu reads like a syllabus for an advanced seminar in Yucatecan cooking: pan de cazón, poc-chuc, pol-can. If y ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 28, 2010

    American Grilled Cheese Kitchen Opens This Morning

    John Birdsall​We've been following this story all year, and now, finally, the American Grilled Cheese Kitchen will open this morning at 11 a.m., serving lunch until 3 p.m. (longer hours are to come). The opening menu features seven sandwiches ($6-$10), three salads ($3-$9), and The Red, White, ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 27, 2010

    What to Have for Lunch: Paneer Burrito from Curry Up Now

    John BirdsallPaneer burrito ($7.75).​Thursday, May 27, 2010 John Birdsall​Maybe you shouldn't lunch on anything this rich on a day you have to return to your office chair and stay reasonably conscious, or maybe Curry Up Now's paneer burrito is reward for having spent the morning in your ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 26, 2010

    What to Have for Lunch: Oxtail Canneloni at Radius Café

    John BirdsallOxail canneloni ($9).​Wednesday, May 26, 2010 John BirdsallPressed pork belly on green onion slab ($14).​Radius feels either like a restaurant waiting space whose dining room has abandoned it, or the coolest undiscovered café in town. The SOMA eatery's casual half opened i ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 25, 2010

    What to Have for Lunch: Egg Salad Sandwich from Pinkie's Bakery

    John BirdsallEgg salad sandwich on rye kaiser ($6.50).​Tuesday, May 25, 2010 John BirdsallChocolate-strawberry bread pudding ($3).​Like flatmates ejected in some complex landlord drama, Pinkie's Bakery and Bento 415 stuck together last month, when they left the Potrero Flats production ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 14, 2010

    What to Have for Lunch: Seafood Supremo Burrito at Orale Orale

    John BirdsallSeafood Supremo ($7.50).​Fri., May 14, 2010 ​Orale's Seafood Supremo is either S.F.'s classiest burrito or its trashiest crepe, a French-Mex hybrid that looks implausible on paper, but turns persuasive in the eating. The shroud-size flour tortilla cloaks shrimp and scallop ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 13, 2010

    Why Are There Still Health Care 'Surcharges' on Restaurant Tabs?

    ​I was at dinner with friends at Little Star last weekend, and we were splitting the check. "Looks like the health care surcharge here is 50 cents a person," said one of them, fingering the bill, and suddenly my mood flashed from cheese-stuffed and content to angry. It's been almost three years s ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 11, 2010

    What to Have for Lunch: Chicken Curry from Latte Express

    John BirdsallChicken curry over rice ($6.25).​Tues., May 11, 2010 Vivek P./Yelp​Maybe you didn't grow up ruled by a Vietnamese mom. You can make up for some of the home cooking you missed at this SOMA coffee and doughnut shop with burgers banh mi, and daily lunch specials. The chicken ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 10, 2010

    San Francisco's 10 Best Sweets

    John BirdsallDynamo's cornmeal cherry-rosemary doughnut.​Way back in January, SFoodie embarked on an epic eating spree. As a long prelude to SF Weekly's Best of San Francisco issue, due out May 19, we compiled a list of our 92 favorite things to eat and drink, revealing one each day, our own s ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 7, 2010

    What to Have for Lunch Today: Epiphany Cheeseburger from Holy Grill

    John BirdsallThe Epiphany with cheddar ($6.25). ​Fri., May 7, 2010 Toro E./Yelp​Everyone knows there's burger dualism, two irreducible types you scarf on radically different occasions. The first you order from the Nopa barstool you were aggressive enough to ingratiate your ass cheek ont ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 6, 2010

    What to Have for Lunch Today: Black Bean Fish at 77 Chinese Cuisine

    John BirdsallFish with black bean sauce ($6.95).​Thurs., May 6, 2010 ​The fish is mild as tofu but softer, jumbled up with red and green bells and enough semicrisp onion squares to make the case for it as a vegetable. It's the fermented black beans that give the dish its glimmer of pers ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 4, 2010

    What to Have for Lunch Today: Tofu Sandwich at Samovar Tea Lounge

    John BirdsallTLT: Tamari-mirin braised tofu, lettuce, and tomato sandwich ($12). ​Tues., May 4, 2010 Ed U./Yelp​The teriyaki-like sauce approaches thickly reduced balsamic in sweetness, but it's a virtuous indulgence, considering it oozes from firm slices of tofu, on a Leadbetter's Engl ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 3, 2010

    Cinco de Mayo: Mijita/Public House Offering Beer Specials, Free Chips and Salsa

    John Birdsall​We can tell you Cinco de Mayo honors a small group of Mexicans who overcame the French at the Battle of Puebla, but we can't tell you which excuse to use when calling in sick Wednesday so you can check out the celebrations at SOMA's Mijita and Public House. Festivities promise to ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 29, 2010

    What to Have for Lunch Today: Croque Monsieur at Passion Café

    John BirdsallCroque monsieur ($9).​Thurs., April 29, 2010 LiveSoMa/Flickr​There's something about the lacquer sheen of urban rehab here, the scuffed-up scene on Stevenson Alley glimpsed through lace-edged curtains, the prevalence of meaty tattooed guys who'd fit right in at an Eagle be ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 28, 2010

    What to Have for Lunch Today: Beef Noodle Soup from Chili Lemon Garlic

    John BirdsallThai boat noodle soup ($7.50).​Weds., April 28, 2010 ​Sort of a comfort go-to for gray days, Chili Lemon Garlic's Thai boat noodle soup. The beef broth is tinted delicious with sweet soy and the ghost of star anise. There are soft, stringy pieces of fat-capped boneless shor ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 23, 2010

    What to Have for Lunch Today: Superburger from Super Duper

    John BirdsallSuperburger ($4.75) and garlic cheese fries ($3).​Fri., April 23, 2010 niallkennedy/Flickr​The Adriano Paginini-fronted Beretta-Starbelly-Delarosa team will not rest until you have laid down money to eat its food. At Super Duper, the first of what will no doubt be a neighbo ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 23, 2010

    Kauffman's Five: This Week in Blogeration

    My favorite morsels from the blogs and beyond this week:Bacon Camp project.​1. Those of us who proclaimed the death of bacon a year or two ago apparently need to shut the hell up. Good Foods Catering's upcoming all-bacon dinners are all sold out (though you can order the meal to go) and the return ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 22, 2010

    Easygoing Crowd, Plenty of Elbow Room at Lush Lounge

    MRKH M./Yelp​The place: Lush Lounge, 1221 Polk (at Fern), 771-2022 The hours: Mon.-Fri., 3-7 p.m., Sat.-Sun. noon-7 p.m. The deals: Cans of Tecate and PBR $2, Sycamore Lane wines by the glass $3, glasses of champagne $4, shot of well whiskey with a PBR back $5, specialty cocktails $5-$6. No ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 21, 2010

    What to Have for Lunch Today: Beer and Cheese Soup from 21st Amendment

    John BirdsallBeer and cheese soup ($6.95/bowl).​Weds., April 21, 2010 Cathy N./Yelp​The lunchtime bar is thick with guys ― careful not to slip on the testosterone ― which makes the 21st A feel like a boys-only tree fort far from the gray-carpet blandness of office world. You can dra ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 19, 2010

    What to Have for Lunch Today: Tacos from Los Compadres Taco Truck

    John BirdsallTaco trio: (clockwise from left) carnitas, al pastor, and lengua ($4.50).​ChristineL./Yelp​Mon., April 19, 2010 Mobbed with daily throngs from nearby Gap corporate (they're the ones in the crisp jeans), the young guys in the Los Compadres truck do a decent job keeping up. Y ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 16, 2010

    What to Have for Lunch Today: Andouille Po Boy at Town Hall BBQ

    John BirdsallHouse-made andouille sausage po boy, sauteed peppers, Creole mustard ($8).​Fri., April 16, 2010 John Birdsall​Launched Tuesday, this year's lunchtime outdoor Town Hall annex is hewing closely to last year's: same ribs, same fried chicken sandwich, same office-cube workers i ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 13, 2010

    What to Have for Lunch Today: Steamed Buns from Out the Door

    John BirdsallSteamed chicken bun and steamed vegetarian bun ($3 each).​Tues., April 13, 2010 m j c /Flickr​OTD's notably dense steamed bao are big as pumped-up sliders ― eat the pair pictured here, and you can forget about those mid-afternoon snickerdoodle cravings. The vegetarian ver ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 8, 2010

    What to Have for Lunch Today: Takeaway Rice Plate from Ozone Thai

    John BirdsallStir-fried beef and sweet basil tofu over rice.​Thurs., April 8, 2010 John Birdsall​Former tenant Jack Falstaff never quite knew what to do with the lobby-like corner patio here, but Ozone seems to have it figured out. Weekdays starting at noon, you can score a to-go rice-p ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 7, 2010

    Indian Taco Truck Curry Up Now Debuts in the FiDi

    John BirdsallThe S.F. truck parked at Bush and Sansome today.​Indian taco truck Curry Up Now took its maiden voyage into San Francisco today, slinging deconstructed samosas and kathi rolls in the Financial District. Blasting a soundtrack that included Bhangra and Wham!, the truck attracted a l ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 5, 2010

    What to Have for Lunch Today: Warm Turkey Sandwich from Oralia's Café

    John BirdsallA deli sandwich standard, only without the cold cuts.​Mon., April 5, 2010 John Birdsall​At the Dogpatch sandwich shop he named for his mother-in-law, Oralia Posada, Gilbert Cab shuns cold cuts in favor of meats baked every morning, kept warm, and sliced thickly to order, ol ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 21, 2010

    We're Going To Drug You and Touch You. For a Price!

    SFoodie editor John Birdsall tipped us off to this, erm, interesting item posted by Twitter user TylerFlorence.​Has a tagline for a new business ever sounded more foreboding? Yikes.

  • Blogs

    August 27, 2009

    Local Flavor: 4505 Meats' Bacon Peanut Butter Brownie

    Can you handle another bacon dessert?​"We inhabit a subculture peculiarly steeped in pork fat," blogged SFoodie editor John Birdsall earlier this afternoon, speaking of the porcine pleasures available in the Ferry Building. To that we humbly add the bacon peanut butter brownie, available on select ... More >>

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