Tag Archives: taco

Off The Grid street food photoblog, San Francisco

Regular readers of the blog may know off my penchant for street food, so whilst researching for my little jaunt around San Francisco, one thing on my food radar was seeking out the best street food I could find. I’ve watched many a street food programme on the Food Network channel and followed how street food has exploded in America over the last few years. Meanwhile, street food has emerged as part of the zeitgeist across the UK; London has a number of well known street food markets, such as Street Feast London and Brixton Market, Manchester with events such as B.Eat Street MCR, and Leeds has the Belgrave Street Feast and Amazing Graze….I could go on.

One of my guide books highlighted a weekly event called Off The Grid, with the aim of about gathering different food communities together they have 35 weekly public markets across the San Francisco Bay Area!! On reading this you can imagine my thoughts…..alarm bells, fanfares, party poppers going off absolutely everywhere!! A quick nosey on the website just reaffirmed my excitement and it was one of the first things I noted down as a FOODIE MUST DO on our trip.

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So as part of the itinerary I’d planned, we rocked up Friday 5pm (if that’s possible after walking 20+ miles in 35°C heat) to Off The Grid at the Fort Mason Centre. We anticipated seeing up to 32 different traders serving their wares from trucks, carts or tents…ahhhh STREET FOOD HEAVEN!!! There were so many different cuisines on offer; from Malaysian, Nepalese and Filipino to Koreon, Mexican, Asian and many others besides!

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After a quick scoot round to get my eye in and awaken my taste buds, we both ended up with what could be classed as four courses.

Pork belly Gua Bao, Maui Fish Taco, Sangria, Pork and Chive Dumplings, Strawberry and Lemonade Popsicle
Pork belly Gua Bao, Maui Fish Taco, Sangria, Pork and Chive Dumplings, Strawberry and Lemonade Popsicle

I love a Gua Bao and one of the best around are served up by The Chairman who offer a steamed or baked bao, I went for the steamed belly pork bao ($3.75) and it was so good!!! Soft, pillowy bao filled with uber soft pork, topped with pickled daikon and shiso leaf, with the addition of some chilli sauce made for a very tasty intro to Off The Grid. At just over £2 sterling, a bargain too!!

My second course was a Fish Taco from The Taco Guys, I think this was my favourite out of everything I ate that evening!!! Every ingredient was evident from the first mouthful and it was so full of fresh flavours, but also textures from the panko breadcrumb coating, creamy mayo, pickled onion and slaw. I found it hard to resist going for seconds and well worth $6, as it was a decent size too!

Our third savoury course came in the form of dumplings from Happy Dumplings, my friend and I are both dumpling fans so ordered a portion of pork and chive. Three large dumplings ($4 I think) had quite a thick casing filled with lots of pork; they were tasty, but weren’t my favourite. 

My last course had to be something cold and refreshing, especially as it had been a scorcher of a day, so an ice lolly or popsicle as they call them from Fat Face was in order. From a selection of unusual flavour combinations, including apricot/curry and thai tea/sweet potato I chose one of the safer picks of strawberry and lemonade ($3.50). Exactly what the doctor ordered!! 

Such a great atmosphere and it was rammed with people all enjoying great food and drink!

Hey street food fans, wouldn’t it be great to have something like this in Leeds every week? 
Off The Grid
2 Marina Blvd
Fort Mason Centre
San Francisco
CA 94123
http://offthegridsf.com/markets/fort-mason-center#about

Belgrave Street Feast pt IV, Leeds

Last Saturday was the latest Belgrave Street Feast and if it was anything like last month’s, it had promised to be a fantastic family day of feasting on wonderful street food.

My day was a mixture of whistlestop tours – a morning appointment in York, zipping back for Street Feast, then being a dutiful wife taking the other half to a hockey dinner. So when I arrived it was already VERY busy and was obvious too see the word had got out how great the event is.

New street traders this month were Manchester’s Arepa!Arepa! Arepa!, Newcastle’s Tasty Thai Deli and Leeds’ own Street Fodder and Belgrave’s new experiment Taco Wall.

I’d made it my mission to try an Arepa from Manchester’s Arepa!Arepa!Arepa! For those of you, like I was, unfamiliar with an Arepa, they’re traditionally eaten in Columbia and Venezuela and are basically flatbreads made with a maize based flour, (100% gluten flee – BONUS!) Cooked on a hot plate and filled with whatever you fancy.

Arepa and plantain on the hot plate
Arepa and plantain cooking on the hot plate

I always like asking what they’d recommend so when asked the question ‘do you eat meat?’ regular readers probably know the answer was a definite ‘yes’, then they said it was cooked in beer! There it was – a deal had been done and that was it, the Sobrebarriga Arepa was the one for me! With the selection of condiments at my disposal they recommended the Chipotle sauce, so who was I to think any different.

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Sobrebarriga Arepa
SobreBarriga Arepa

It was absolutely DELICIOUS and the best thing I ate all day!! For 4 quid, this so-called ‘beef sandwich’ was something that fitted easily in one hand, but WOW was it filling!!! Slow cooked, tender beef with the flavours of cumin and garlic in the background, the hint of beer was evident too. With the additional Chipotle sauce giving up its rich smokiness in service to the Arepa, what a match made in heaven! The flatbread (which had a delicate flavour of its own, probably from the corn) was a great vehicle to hold it all in. It soaked up all the juices too, so every last bite was full of flavour. 

My verdict – Arepa are extremely YUMMY and one of my FAVOURITES at Street Feast so far! These certainly made a regular beef sandwich pale into insignificance for me! Plans are already afoot for them to make a return to Leeds soon, I cannot wait! 

I couldn’t decide what to have next, having tried all but Tasty Thai Deli and the new Taco Wall before. Belgrave’s new in-house Street Food Lab experiment ‘Taco Wall’ had Fish Tacos (£3.50) on the go. I love battered, deep fried fish and when I saw them being dished up I was immediately sold. 

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Fish Taco
Fish Taco

Served on a little pancake the fish came with a selection of bits and pieces, like pickled cucumber, pepper, pineapple and coriander with a yoghurt sauce. I really liked the additional pieces, but for me the fish whilst well cooked, was a little under seasoned and could’ve done with a pinch of good old salt to bring out more flavour. Considering it was their first time out, fair play to them, with a couple of tweaks I’ll be back for more!

As always Sarah from Noisette Bakehouse had her ‘A game’ on, with a beautiful selection of cakes and sweet treats to woo all customers.

Noisette Bakehouse
Noisette Bakehouse

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Last month I never made it to the roof terrace, so I made the effort this time to see what was going on up there to find Hepworth’s Deli serving a lovely selection of bakes, and also a colourful salad bar too.

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Hepworth's Salad bar
Hepworth’s Salad bar

My time was nearly up and I wanted to be able to walk back to my car with a snack, so after seeing the boys at The Grub & Grog Shop I went for the recommended Veg Sandwich.

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A snip at just £3.50, I walked out VERY happy! Filled with lovely vegetables cooked and treated well, packed with flavours from the sweet parsnip to the pickled veg, such as the carrot, I loved the hint of garlic running through the sandwich and the beautiful salad leaves and pretty edible flowers. Basically street food at its best – portable, tasty, bargainous and made locally!

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The Grub & Grog’s veg sandwich on the move!!

Street Feast will be back next month on the 10th May, I’ll see you there for another day of feasting!!!

Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen
1-1A Cross Belgrave Street
Leeds
LS2 8JP

0113 2346160
http://www.belgravemusichall.com