5 Savory San Francisco Summer Treats (that aren’t Ice Cream)
The Chino-Peruano Cebiche uses ahi tuna at Piqueo’s (Patrick Wong)
With summer upon us, there’s a lot more to indulge in beyond ice cream. Savory dishes deserve their own spotlight during the summer heat.
As the weather heats up (well as much as it can for San Francisco), summer revelers can probably be seen more and more with ice cream cones or nice frosty drinks in their hands.
While there is definitely nothing wrong with ice cream in the summer, there are definitely some dishes here in the city that can just as easily help you combat the heat--and they're probably better at keeping you a little fuller a little longer than your favorite dairy confection.
Now, we know that with just about every other season, San Francisco's summer is very mild and we have yet to hit the stride of our highly anticipated "Indian Summer." However, with already some unseasonably hot days on the books this year, the following dishes should keep you cool and satiated, and some can even keep you warm for those summer days that just don't feel like summer days.
San Francisco institution, One Market, takes its Summer Fridays very seriously, as its “Back Porch BBQ” menu makes a return to the restaurant's weekly offerings.
Chef Mark Dommen revives their menu of summer BBQ favorites, including 12-hour beef brisket, St. Louis style ribs, a smoked pork belly "BLT," and a slew of traditional summer picnic sides like potato salad and coleslaw. Included with most of the dishes is the tangy house-made BBQ sauce; it's highly recommended that you drench everything in it.
The Back Porch BBQ menu is only available on Fridays (but what better way to have a summer Friday than enjoying a barbecue without actually having to set up a grill?). Swing by One Market's back entrance for pick-up directly from their kitchen from 11:30am to 2pm. If you're unable to get there in time, or if your company doesn't believe in Summer Fridays for some early BBQ enjoyment, the Back Porch BBQ offerings can also be ordered and delivered via Caviar from 11:30am to 8:30pm.
One thing to note, though, that if you happen to come by for pick-up, it's not a bad idea to enjoy One Market's $5 lunch cocktail menu. Nothing like a grown-up lunch dirty martini to start off your weekend.
Although they offer a full list of Korean BBQ favorites, Muguboka--which roughly translates to “let’s eat it” in Korean--has something on the very back page of their menu to both keep you hot and cold: their chol-myun, or cold noodles.
Arguably, the best part of this literally very cool dish, is the springy and chewy texture of the chol-myun noodles (chol-myun could refer to the noodle dish or just the noodles themselves). Made from corn starch and wheat flour, the chol-myun are addictively fun to slurp up and eat. The dish is typically dressed with a spicy and tangy sauce that's made with gochujang chili paste, garlic, vinegar, and sugar and served with assorted veggies.
While chol-myun is usually eaten as a snack dish, the portion sizes at Muguboka are definitely entree-worthy and easily shareable--pending you don't get too addicted and can actually share them.
At Muguboka, they offer a couple other versions of this dish, including some with radish and beef and others that are made using a buckwheat noodle instead of the chol-myun.
The restaurant is on an unassuming street in the Inner Richmond neighborhood, but is definitely worth stepping into, even if not for the chol-myun. The small team there is consistently pleasant and have been known to throw in complimentary dishes just because!
Judging by the consistent lines out the doors, it's likely you've probably stopped by Stonemill Matcha already to take a gander at their ever-enticing case of pastries and sweets.
However, Stonemill's savory options are nothing to scoff at. Case in point is the matchazuke. The matchazuke can be ordered at the register (after selecting from that case of sugary matcha-infused wonders) and comes in a large ceramic bowl filled with rice and topped with a sizable slab of salmon and togarashi and nori. Everything in the bowl is then bathed in umami in the form of a chicken dashi and matcha tea broth.
The dish is delicate and refreshing, while still feeling substantial and filling--a perfect dish that will squash hunger pangs without making you feel sluggish afterwards...but if you decide to also indulge in the offerings from the pastry case (which we cannot encourage enough), we can't promise anything. For sweet tooth-havers, the matcha cream pie and matcha cookies with toasted rice are a good start.
And if you need even more refreshment with the matchazuke, the sparkling matcha (seltzer with a shot of matcha) is a unique offering to sip on for some summer cooling.
Surrounded by the offices of major companies and their suited up employees in the Financial District, Leo's Oyster Bar provides a nice, almost tropical escape, which just so happens to also involve an ever rotating list of fresh oysters.
While it can be hard to snag a dinner reservation at Leo's, try instead sidling up at the open bar seats if you're just going for their selection of oysters and clams. Just ask for a raw bar menu, and order to your heart's content. If you go for this method, you may want to consider grabbing a seat to the immediate left from the front entrance where you'll get the most real estate against the highly Instagrammable Ken Fulk-designed wallpaper.
Off the raw bar, you can expect an array of pre-shucked oysters as well as "composed oysters" which come dressed or topped with a variety of accoutrements including caviar, sea urchin, and pickled tomatoes. And since you're already enjoying the raw bar, might as well enjoy the regular alcoholic bar. Order cocktails alongside your oysters, or sneak away to The Hideout, Leo's very own lux cocktail lounge nestled away in the back behind the kitchen.
If mollusks aren't your speed, venture to Bernal Heights and visit Piqueo's, which should be able to sate your other seafood cravings.
As a Peruvian restaurant, Piqueo's obviously serves the Peruvian national dish of cebiche, and they serve it very well and in four variations. While all of Piqueo's cebiches are made using locally sourced sustainable fish, the restaurant is well-known for its Cebiche Pescado and Cebiche Chino-Peruano.
The Cebiche Pescado is simply the fresh fish of the day, marinated and served with leche de tigre and spicy rocoto peppers (which are grown on chef owner, Carlos Altamirano's own farm in Half Moon Bay). The Chino-Peruano takes on Chinese flavors by being served as ahi tuna with rocoto pepper sweet chili leche de tigre and garnished with wonton chips. All versions of he Piqueo's cebiches can be served with fried plantain chips, which are perfect for scooping every bit of fish and garnish.
Piqueo's is just one of chef Carlos Altamirano's concepts, alongside other Peruvian restaurants in the Bay Area, including the very popular Mochica in the Potrero Hill neighborhood of San Francisco and La Costanera in Half Moon Bay. The aforementioned cebiches are available at all of Chef Altamirano's restaurants, should you find yourself not near enough to Piqueo's for your liking.