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SOMA StrEat Food Park, San Francisco CA

the center of the park

the center of the park

The SOMA StrEat Food Park is a triangle of magic.  Over 50 food trucks cycle so that a variety of vendors congregate every day of the week.  Because it’s a permanent fixture just off the freeway, the Park is laid out with ample room for foot traffic, outdoor patio seating, indoor heated areas, and schmancy restrooms.  Here you can always count on a good meal in a more than comfortable atmosphere.

For a cold night in San Francisco, The Fish Tank Truck offers a great warming soup.  The sweet summer corn and crab chowder was a light pick-me-up, not heavy like the rich traditional cream chowder.  There was a medium spiciness from the pepper, adding a nice touch to the chunky vegetables and savory dungeness meat.  Don’t worry about the corn being sweet – it’s just right.

Adam’s Grub Truck makes sandwiches with a Chinese twist.  Everything on the menu looked pretty tempting, but it was the Falkor that called to us: panko-crusted fried chicken with pepper jack cheese, bacon, and a fried egg topped with “grubbin'” Asian slaw on a toasted brioche bun.  The chicken’s breading was light and crispy, coating meat that was treated with a teriyaki-inspired light marinade.  Even with its own kick the pepper jack cheese, being dairy and gooey, helped tone down the slaw with an even stronger kick.  Crisp, smoky, salty bacon gave it a different kind of crunch to contrast the breading and slaw.  The ideally prepared easy over egg brought a creaminess that united the fusion of flavors.

MeSoHungry Too, the second San Francisco truck of the MeSoHungry family, changes its menu seasonally so who knows for how long the Duke will be around – we say to come and try it sooner than later.  Angus beef, smoked applewood bacon, onion rings, spring mix lettuce, barbecue sauce, and cheesy Texas toast was a tasty combination.  The hand-formed patty of tender beef was extremely flavorful and easy to bite through.  The sharpness of the Parmesan on the cheese bread fostered an excellent balance with the barbecue sauce, which itself was the most classic pairing for the crunchy breaded onion rings and smoky bacon.

Bob Cha had some of the tastiest vegetarian options, including Bibim Bob, their Korean-Mexican fusion of bibimbap.  With zucchini, shiitake mushroom, onion, sprouts, and lettuce over steamed rice with an egg, this was very light yet very filling.  Meaty mushrooms and aromatic, crunchy sprouts gave the dish excellent texture extremes, and the creamy yolk of the perfectly cooked sunny side up egg was the middle ground to bring them together.  We took this one step past vegetarianism and added bacon spicy fried rice, which brought heat without being anywhere near sweat-inducing.

We didn’t eat dessert first, but the CandyBar Dessert Truck was first in its class for satisfying our sweet tooth tonight.  CandyBar is San Francisco’s first “dessert lounge” offering sweets, wine, art, and recreations; the dessert truck is an abbreviation of the lounge with some of the best sweets from the storefront’s menu.  Apparently back by popular demand, we were compelled to try the tres leches.  Both tender and dense, the soft cake was soaked with just the right amount of condensed milk.  Rich and thick caramel was on the lighter side, not too dark and deep, drizzled over fluffy and creamy whipped cream.  The s’mores tart was built on a graham cracker crust with caramel, chocolate ganache, and pillow-like homemade marshmallows.  The crust was as crumbly as the ganache was smooth, so scraping the chocolate around helped to pick up all the graham bits.  Toasted right before our eyes, the marshmallows had a faint vanilla flavor to add an extra element of sweetness.

We did not visit all the trucks tonight since some we had tried before, but it’s a guarantee that there will be something new to experience each time.  Once you’ve cycled through all the trucks, look out for updated and seasonal menus to change.  Bring friends and family, since there’s enough seating, amenities, and diverse food to please everyone.

Spiced Honey-Roasted Yams

Roasted yams need not be limited to Thanksgiving.  So long as they’re in season, why not enjoy them?  As we slide into autumn, this dish is a warm welcome to the coming climes.  It’s beginning to be that time of year when an ignited oven is an appreciated source of heat!

Makes 4-5 servings

2 large garnet yams

1 cup of mini marshmallows

2 1/2 oz. of Marshall’s Farm honey

2 tbs. of butter

1 tsp. of vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. of ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp. of ground nutmeg

Pinch of salt

coated

coated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Peel and dice the yams in bite-size chunks.  In a large saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Stir in the honey and spices.  Toss in the yam chunks, coating evenly with the butter-honey.  Saute just during the time that you’re coating the yams – you’re not going to cook them in the saute pan.

foiled

foiled

Transfer the yams to a baking dish, and cover with foil.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove the foil and top with marshmallows, and bake for an additional 5 minutes uncovered.

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Classic Candies

classicDepending on your age, you may have nostalgia for different candies.  And also depending on your age, there are many candies that you may never have heard of before.  Next time you get a craving for some sweets, look down the aisle to see if anything different might catch your eye.

It would seem like orange and yellow are indicators of how many generations a candy has been around.  The while labels are the oldest, with Valomilk from 1903 and Cherry Mash made since 1918.  The youngest of this assortment are the Mallow Cups, which have been in production since 1936; in comparison, globally popular M&Ms have been around since 1941.  Even if these candies aren’t so widely known or consumed today, each had its moment of glory sometime during the 20th century.  Zagnut, for example, got a prime product placement spot in one of the most beloved horror/comedy/fantasy movies of all time (watch the clip from Beetlejuice here).

Seriously, though, you might surprise yourself when you consider what’s old, yet new for you.  Read the descriptions to make sure you’re getting something with ingredients you already like, or be brave and experimental.  If these candies have already been around in some cases for over a century, then you know they’ve got to be good.