While chefs in New York think they can trash San Francisco’s food scene from 3,000 miles away, some of us here in the Mission beg to differ.
On Friday The New York Times ran a piece on Bay Area chefs responding to critiques from their colleagues in New York, centering on Anthony Bourdain and David Chang’s “I Call Bullsh-t!” discussion where they slammed cupcakes, pork belly and Alice Waters.
And yes, San Francisco.
“F-ckin’ every restaurant in San Francisco is just serving figs on a plate. Do something with your food,” said Chang as part of the discussion.
Huh? Are you talkin’ to us? Obviously you’ve spent little time in the Mission, the incubator of food trends. Innovations? We’ve got it in the vegan, the street carts serving up everything from adobo chicken to lamb curry with fresh rotis, the ice cream from Bi-Rite’s Mexican chocolate with salted peanuts to Humphry Slocombe’s creamy bourbon and cornflake concoction, the pastas from Flour + Water and the flavors of the Mediterranean via Ethiopia at Radio Africa & Kitchen. This list goes on and makes us hungry!
And it’s all served up at prices a good chunk of eaters can afford. Yes, we like to dine in New York, but after a couple days, the wallet hurts. And, the knockoffs from the Bay Area, like Blue Hill, just don’t stand up.
Folks can talk trash about Alice Waters all they want, but walk your mouth into Chez Panisse and it’s gonna be damn happy on the way out. And, if you eat upstairs, you’ll still be able to pay your child’s college tuition bill. Yeah, we too have wondered why anyone would ever order greens with goat cheese—anywhere—when you have so many other options on a menu, but those are the mysteries of taste.
“Produce in the Bay Area is so good that many chefs and diners are content to do nothing to it,” writes Jordan Mackay in his piece. Sounds like Italy to me. Get me there quick.
To make a good dish, you need good ingredients. And with our Bay Area network of local farms we get some of the best in the country.
The New York Union Square organic market compared to the Ferry Building farmers market is just plain sad. We light a candle out here for New York farmers.
One of the forerunners of the haute street-food movement, Anthony Myint, a former “high-falootin’” line cook at Bar Tartine, and his wife Karen Liebowitz, started Mission Street Food by renting out the Antojitos San Miguel cart on Thursday nights and setting up at 21st and Mission.
Offering up haute cuisine at prices befitting a recession, Mission Street Food moved from the street to the storefront, playing the experimental venue for a guest chef from a different restaurant every week, often with a different theme.
This past week, they even did what Chang and others say San Franciscans are loathe to do–“f*ck with Thanksgiving dinner.” Their “Foreign Invasion of Thanksgiving” involved za’atar-dusted turkey wings, mashed potatoes with beef mole, and sake-mirin creamed corn. Oh, and unlike Momofuku, they always keep vegan-friendly options on the menu.
How’s that Mr. Chang? At least one of us is headed to New York in a few weeks to check this Momofuku out.