Flashback to Summer '09; that was when I first heard rumblings about a new generation of creative street food entrepreneurs that were causing a stir in the local SF culinary scene. Some of the original individuals included Curtis Kimball, the Crème Brûlée Man, who could make you a delicious crème brûlée right on the spot; and his brother Brian, the Magic Curry Man, who whipped up a tasty Thai concoction from his humble portable kitchen.
These were lo-fi dining affairs with a twist. They elevated street food beyond the usual greasy fare of hot dogs, pretzels and other fast food and provided an upscale alternative. And part of the fun was cyber-stalking them via Twitter; these nomadic vendors rotated their locations on a regular basis, so hungry customers tracked them down once they revealed their daily location.
Another early pioneer of the nouvelle cuisine of the streets was Steven Gdula of Gobba Gobba Hey, whose name pays homage to the punk rock band The Ramones and their classic catchphrase Gabba Gabba Hey.
Author of "The Warmest Room in the House: How the Kitchen Became the Heart of the Twentieth-Century American Home," Steven moved to San Francisco from the East Coast in 2008 to seek new opportunities. But, according to his blog,
"Shortly after unloading the last box and settling into our new home here this past fall, like so many other people, I started to lose my sources of income. As a freelance writer there just wasn’t that much work to be had. Magazines and newspapers were getting smaller. Some folded entirely. Also, I was new to a city where there were many established writers already ahead of me at the various outlets I approached. But writers have to write just as painters have to paint and musicians have to make music, so I did what so many others have done. I returned to my blog to keep my fingers moving and my thoughts flowing. And then I started baking regularly just to, well, just to see what would happen."
Steven started to bake "gobs," or as he describes it in his upcoming collection of recipes, Gobba Gobba Hey: A Gob Cookbook, "two domes of moist, dense cake with filling in the middle...kind of like a cupcake sandwich." These were "one of my favorite confections as a kid. Growing up in Pennsylvania they were everywhere. You could find them at church bake sales, school bake sales, birthday parties, stores and even in some gas stations on the counter right next to the cash register. I haven’t seen anything like them since moving here to San Francisco so I set out to fill the void."