forage sf’s underground market started in 2009 when the founders wanted to supply a platform for beginning food entrepreneurs to get their products to the public (sounds super secret, huh? my vote is for a secret knock to get in). last year, the market allowed vendors to sell foods that were cooked in their homes, forgoing the costs of kitchen permits and other regulatory structures. it is a place where creative, local minds (who may not have the financial backing needed to start a food truck or restaurant) can come to share their food – and make a little bit of money doing it. now they are providing a kitchen for the members of their community and re opening the market to the public since last year when they were shut down.
it’s pretty sick. a major reason why i absolutely love san francisco. food is #1. always. food > government. freshman 15, smeshman 15. lets talk about 25’s 25.
public works bar with super cool lighting and countertop.
this was forage sf’s venue, public works, before the crowds. the warehouse allows for two floors of vendors, a stage for an eclectic instrumental group (the performer who was there while i was dining was a dread-wearing clarinet player), and a bar. homeroom is a restaurant based out of oakland and dedicated to mac + cheese. they were offering gilroy garlic and classic versions of the dish. both tangy with unexpected cheese flavors and hot enough to blister your hand.
biscuit bender was there – offering biscuits only to those with chipped nail polish (seen below). i had their iced carrot biscuit which had all the buttery goodness you could ask for. other items on the menu: double bacon maple biscuit, holy trinity pork + bacon + chicharron, espresso ‘n cream, corn + cheddar + jalapeno, biscuit ‘n molten cheddar gravy, and a pulled pork sando biscuit.
jablow’s sandwich was the biggest hit of the day. jablow’s meats makes everything but the bread for these pastrami sandwiches. the pastrami spends a week in brine and hours in both the smoker and the oven, before it is sliced and dressed in his secret mustard sauce. it was divine. if you can find the pop-up chef, go to him – he is calling.
there were a lot more vendors (hopefully a growing amount as forage sf just accomplished their funding goal) including: bread srsly sampling a moist, gluten-free rosemary sourdough bread and gluten-free, strawberry pop-tarts; mission cheese with platters full of goats’, cows’, and sheeps’ cheeses + fruit to pair; grilled cheez guy passing out testers of perfectly made grilled cheeses to those standing in line for homeroom, iced dill pickles, and “zuni zukes” aka cider pickled mustard seeds, onions, and zucchini; and, lastly, rice paper scissors with a hangar steak/pho noodle wrap.
SO while this was great and all – i have to apologize to you, friends, for dangling a bunch of caramelized, fried, and sugar coated carrots in front of your faces. forage sf is an event that you must attend if you ever get the chance. it’s a cultural mix of people all with one goal: to support the innovation san franciscans so love in their food.
to make up for it: i give to you, this. one of my most favorite dishes in all of sf, betelnut’s curry latska. 7×7 magazine, under their secret recipe regime, has managed to publish the happenings inside this bowl of euphoria. it may be labor intensive, but it is WELL worth it. trust a homie. also – curry latska is thai, arigato is japanese – i just like the pin 🙂
betelnut’s curry latska noodles
3 teaspoons ground cumin
6 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 ounces madras curry powder – i used reg curry powder
1 cup vegetable oil
10 shallots, minced – can you say, food processor?
2 tablespoons garlic
3 tablespoons minced ginger
2 lemongrass, lightly bruised with a cleaver/knife
7 cups coconut milk – tj’s 99 cent cans
6 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup sambal oelek (chili sauce) – sriracha
kosher salt to taste
3 pounds chow mein egg noodles, cooked – i used pho noodles, the clear ones
1 pound bean sprouts
50 cooked and peeled large shrimp – check the freezer section
2 pounds cooked and shredded chicken meat
2 cups mint, cilantro, and thai basil, hand-torn
6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered – i 100% skipped this
3 limes, cut into wedges
directions (compliments of 7×7):
1. lightly toast the ground spices in a small pan over low heat until fragrant.
2. in a pot over high heat, and add oil, shallots, garlic, ginger, and lemongrass. add the spices, and stir-fry until the oil is absorbed. lower the heat, and add the coconut milk, chicken stock, and chili sauce. stir until everything is incorporated. bring the sauce to a boil, and season with salt. simmer for 25 minutes, stirring the bottom of the pot every 5 minutes so you don’t burn the spices.
3. in a pot of boiling water, blanch the noodles and sprouts. portion the noodles and sprouts into six serving bowls. add the shrimp and chicken to the noodles, and pour the hot curry sauce over them. finally, garnish each bowl with herbs, eggs, and lime.