There are a lot of reasons to love San Francisco, but I think one of the biggest is the food you can get here. You can travel around the world’s cuisines without leaving this city squeezed into a 7 mile by 7 mile peninsula. An Austrian friend of mine, Karin on her first trip to San Francisco gave me a wicked little smile when I said you can find any kind of food here. “I will offer you a challenge then.” OK, that was a rather Germanic way of putting it, but even though she was born and raised in Austria she’s of Syrian decent.
“Can you get authentic Syrian food?” I stopped for a second. What the hell exactly is Syrian food? I still don’t know for sure, but I imagine it must involve slow cooked tagines of animal parts served in a spicy sauce. Time to google. Yep, we have seven Syrian restaurants in San Francisco. We never got to try one to see how authentic they were, but even so you can still find any kind of food you want here. We of course have the fresh seafood down at the wharf. House of Prime Rib offers up some wonderous slabs of beef, but those are things you expect to find. The Italian food in North Beach is still great and has moved outside of North Beach to possibly permeate the city. Steak houses are a dime a dozen around here. Where you have to go to find some odder, uncommon foods is the local neighborhoods. Want a little tongue with your burrito? Head to the Mission. Chinese food that the squeamish don’t want to ask what’s in the broth of the soup. Head to Chinatown. Middle eastern and Indian food is everywhere from Yumma’s and Sunrise deli in the Sunset District to Saha Arabic Fusion and Shalimar downtown or Kan Zaman in the Haight. We even have a pizza place that rumor has it, imports its water from New York and brought it’s pizza oven from there as well.
In the picture that goes along with this article is one I took that yesterday at a local grocery store in the Sunset District. This is what I expect to see in a grocery store in the Mission District, not the Sunset. As a matter of fact they had almost an entire aisle dedicated to Hispanic ingredients right down to the candles with Jesus and Saint Mary on them.
I can get most countries cuisines without even leaving the Sunset district, although German and French food is getting harder to find, but there’s always Ethiopian food ready at New Eritrea on Irving Street. We have three Hawaiian restaurants within 5 minutes of my house serving up a plate lunch just like the surfers in Hawaii feast on after a morning of surfing, yet not one of them is near the beach. We got food here and you gotta love it. Now I think I’ll run out for some Southern BBQ today.