Mijo and I usually go to the same places to eat which is ironic because we live in a city where it has more restaurants per capita than any other cities in the United States. Our favorite places are generally other people's favorites too, judging by the long queues. We do try out new restaurants during special occasions or during my once a month meet-up with my foodie friends Dinah and Karen or with my friend from church Brent and my college buddy Mike B. Last month was an exception because I've been to, not one, but several restaurants where I've not been before.
Here are the restaurants in the city where I've been in for the first time and to where I am definitely going back again because I loved the food.
Brunch Drunk Love. It may sound like an independent film at first but it is really a crowded trendy brunch place. I came here with Mike B. and Brent because Mike had a Groupon for this brunch that was about to expire. (Thanks Mike for the treat!) And we also wanted to hear the juicy details about Brent's new guy. On the left is the very moist and sweet French toast topped with fresh berries. We also shared a bread platter (no picture) and plate of Lox and Latkes (photo on the right) which is smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, zucchini latkes, dilled cucumber, crispy capers. And have I mentioned Mimosa? The food was delicious! I will go back for brunch eventhough the wait was for about an hour. Brunch Drunk Love is inside Bruno's on Mission St. between 20th and 21st Sts.
Tuba Grill.We came here on a weekend after my grueling graveyard shift at the Command Center at work. To make myself feel better after the exhausting work schedule in the office, I took Mijo out for something extra special - a Turkish dinner. We've also been talking about Turkey and how we would love to travel there next year if time and finances permit. We loved everything that evening - the Turkish platter (first pic) and the mixed grill (second pic). I find Turkish food very similar to Mediterranean food. My favorite is their equivalent of kebab but this one is spiced ground meats where the dominant flavor is paprika, rosemary, sage and cumin. The serving is big so we ended up taking home the left overs because it would be such a waste to throw them away. Tuba Grill is on Guerrero St. between 22nd and 21st Sts.
Criolla Kitchen.Ok. I was told that their specialty is Fried chicked and Waffles. I was like What?! The thought of eating something savory with something sweet makes me sort of sick to my stomach. I can't imagine eating mango ice cream with chicken adobo at the same time, for example. Trail Mix is an exception because nuts paired with chocolates are something I am used to eating and it is salty with sweet and not savory with sweet. I guess it has more to do with smell that taste. Since we came here with friends, we were trying to be polite and of course open minded about the whole fried chicken and waffle thing. I love soul food but I haven't tried this particular combination. But by the end of the dinner, I became a fan! There is something about the black peppery flavor of the fried chicken and the maple flavor of the syrup on the waffle. I read some other Creole dishes on the menu that I couldn't wait to try next time! Criolla Kitchen is on Market and 17th Sts.
Los Planes de Renderos. I've been to the real Los Planes de Renderos in El Salvador's capital city San Salvador. This unassuming and unpretentious place is in the Outer Mission area of the city. When you get in the place, you'll notice that the place looks a little dingy with only two tables. But don't let that discourage you because they serve here one of the best pupusas I've had in the city. If you go upstairs, you'll discover that that is their main dining room and it is packed and noisy. I admit I've only been here once but I've been eating pupusas for over 10 years so I know a good one when I taste one. I also enjoyed their stuffed pepper or chile relleno! But I forgot to order a plate of platanos. Usually, pupusas and platanos go together when we eat Salvadorean food.
Los Planes de Renderos Pupuseria is on Persia St. between Mission and London Sts in the Outer Mission neighborhood of the city.