Brass Knuckle Truck – San Francisco

Brass Knuckle Food Truck

Rated: ♣♣

As you might have learned from here, here, here and here, I have an obsession with fried chicken. Any time there is fried chicken on the menu, it’s mine. It’s a very bad addiction, and I swear I’ll get help next week.

But first, let me review the fried chicken sandwich from the Brass Knuckle food truck. Now, I would say I’m rather an expert at fried chicken sandwiches (cocky much?) from experiences at such places like Bakesale Betty, 4505 Meats and the BBQ line at Town Hall (during past summers). I’ve heard some talk about Brass Knuckle after the Eat Real Fest in Jack London Square this year and I knew I had to try. I’m not sure I’m thrilled about having the Truck Stop (alley on Mission between Fremont and 1st) only a few blocks away from me because it’s almost too easy to get delicious and unhealthy foods from the hottest food trucks.

So, when I learned that Brass Knuckle would be at the Truck Stop, I rallied up my team and we each ordered the Fryin’ Maiden, a buttermilk fried chicken sandwich with a jalapeno slaw. Oh before I forget, their entire menu is “rock star” themed. At first bite, I was a little disappointed. The chicken was juicy, but flavorless. It could’ve also used some extra slaw, though that didn’t taste like anything either. It was basically flavorless shredded cabbage with chunks of non-spicy jalapenos. Bakesale Betty’s still has the number one fried chicken sandwich in my book.

The sandwich came with a complimentary bag of french fries. This, I loved. Though, I’m pretty sure these were frozen french fries. They tasted like the generously salted golden fries at McD’s. Who doesn’t love that?

Brass Knuckle Fries

Overall, a disappointing meal. I wouldn’t order the Fryin Maiden again, but I’m interested in trying the Notorious PIG. That’s a pulled pork, bbq sauce, waffle sandwich!

Brass Knuckle Food Truck

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Addendum – Yountville

Addendum Storefront

Rated: ♣♣♣♣

If you’re a foodie, you’ll know Thomas Keller. And if you know Thomas Keller, you’ll know about his restaurants in Yountville, CA. You may recall that I took a crazy drive up to Keller’s Ad Hoc in Yountville one Monday evening in an attempt to try his famous Buttermilk Fried Chicken, but later had to order Wagyu Tri-trip because we came the wrong day (They serve the fried chicken every other Monday). Anyway, Keller has since opened up a little shack behind Ad Hoc called Addendum which serves brown bag lunches in a to-go fashion. Here you can grab your order and eat at one of their picnic tables in their vegetable garden. I was excited to learn that his Buttermilk Fried Chicken is on their limited menu, and I’ve already been back twice to eat it.

Addendum Menu

Before I get into the description of the meal, there are some rules you need to know. Addendum only serves 200 orders of the fried chicken and barbecued meats per day or until 2pm, whichever comes first. To help you gauge the time, I’ve come twice already and was able to snag the fried chicken at 12 noon and at 1pm. At 1pm, I was within one of the last 5 orders. They say you can call ahead and order 10 minutes before you pick up, but I’ve never had any luck getting through on the line.

Each order comes with potato salad, corn succotash and a slice of honey cornbread. The potato salad is the best potato salad I’ve ever had. It’s kind of like  a cool version of mashed potatoes. The salad was lightly seasoned and lemony; a great neutralizer for the fried chicken. The corn succotash was amazing! The corn and the roasted bell peppers were sautéed together until it became sweet, buttery goodness.

Addendum Meal

Thomas Keller’s fried chicken is hands-down the BEST fried chicken I’ve ever had. It was perfectly seasoned and extremely juicy on the inside, two vital characteristics that are hard to come by. It doesn’t taste like yuppy fried chicken either (like the version from Wayfare Tavern). It tastes like good ol’ Southern fried chicken. I’m thinking Keller uses abnormal chickens that are injected with juice because I have never had a chicken so juicy (kidding about the abnormal chickens). It must be the 12-hour lemon, honey and herb brine that makes this chicken drip with juices. Even with the moist center, the skin is still very crispy too. Each order receives 3 small pieces which are surprisingly very filling. My brother made this fried chicken before using the Ad Hoc: At Home cookbook and his was pretty much on par. I asked the server if there were ingredients left off of their recipe and they said no.

Addendum Fried Chicken

I must add that the 2nd time I came back, I was pretty disappointed. I feel like because we were one of the last few orders, they ran out of a lot of items. They replaced the lemon potato salad with little fingerling potatoes with a tasteless white sauce. The fried chicken didn’t really have any flavor either. I have a feeling that they ran out of the brine-soaked chicken and had to make do with what else they had in the kitchen. A few groups nearby actually had to return their fried chicken because it was still raw in the middle. A little disappointing…

Nonetheless, I know Addendum makes some amazing fried chicken most of the time, so take my advice and come early!

Addendum
Behind Ad Hoc
6476 Washington St
Yountville, CA 94599

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Criolla Kitchen – San Francisco

Criolla Storefront

Rated: ♣♣♣♣

Formerly the Bagdad Cafe, the little restaurant on the corner of Market and 16th is now the very soulful Criolla Kitchen. Their specialty? Chicken and waffles. I’ve been hooked on the chicken and waffles craze since I tried Roscoe’s several years ago. Since then, I’ve been trying several around the city to see how they compare. Front Porch and Little Skillet are great alternatives.

Criolla Fried Chicken Waffles

Criolla was pretty good. I ordered the 2 piece fried chicken with an original crispy waffle and a side of gravy. I smothered my chicken and waffle with the gravy and went to town. Their battered fried chicken was moist and flavorful, but tiny. I should’ve went with the 3-piece. The waffle was fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside. Criolla also offers a cornmeal waffle and a herb waffle. The best part was the homemade sauces – hot and garlic. Both were very distinct and packed with heat.

Criolla Sauces

For sides, we had the sweet potato tater tots and the shrimp hushpuppies. The sweet potato tater tots were so addicting. I could’ve easily eaten half of the serving on my own. I probably did actually. The tots were served with a creamy cilantro lime sauce. I don’t like cilantro, but I couldn’t stop eating it. The hushpuppies were moist and flavorful, but the pieces of shrimp were super tiny. I think there was like one baby shrimp per ball. For a shrimp hushpuppy, I was hoping this would be loaded with the little sea creatures.

Criolla Sweet Tater Tots

Criolla Hush Puppies

We even had room for dessert! We ordered the pecan pie and the bread pudding. The pie was good, but probably a little too healthy for my taste. The pecans were loosely sitting on top of the pie crust. I prefer mine to be packed tightly with that sweet syrup. The home made whipped cream on top, though, was very delicious. I was only able to snag a bite out of the bread pudding from my dad. Wow, this was sinful. The bread pudding was topped with a bourbon caramel sauce. The sweetness from the sauce was actually well balanced with the pudding. If I come back, I would order this.

Criolla Pecan Pie

Criolla Bread Pudding

Although I thoroughly enjoyed the food at Criolla, everything seemed to be in miniature form. I’ve never been to the south, but from what I hear, everything is large and in charge. I didn’t get that from Criolla. My chicken could’ve used a little more meat and the hushpuppies could’ve used more shrimp. Nonetheless, I’m eager to come back to try their beans and rice. It looked delicious!

Criolla Kitchen
2295 Market St
(between Sanchez St & Noe St)
San Francisco, CA 94114
Neighborhood: Castro

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Wayfare Tavern – San Francisco

Wayfare Tavern Storefront

Rated: ♣♣♣♣

You know how some people have a list of celebrities they’d like to meet? Well, I have a list and celebrity chef Tyler Florence is on it. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch him when I dined at Wayfare Tavern, but I did get to meet him here. When Wayfare Tavern first opened last year, the restaurant was the talk of the town. You’d have to make a reservation several weeks in advance to get a seat. Well, one year later and I still had to make a res a month in advance.

The decor of the restaurant is beautiful. It looks much like a tavern with rich wood tables and a stuffed deer head hanging over their bar, but it’s still very elegant with the dim lighting and personalized china.

Wayfare Tavern Bacon Wrapped Dates

Wayfare Tavern Poutine

Wayfare Tavern Popover

We started the meal with bacon-wrapped dates and poutine (a Canadian specialty of french fries, cheese, and gravy). The bacon-wrapped dates were excellent. The sweetness from the dates were countered with the salty bacon. The poutine was such greasy goodness. Thin shoestring fries were topped with… not gravy, but pot roast. K and I had to cut ourselves short before we got too full. One nice touch was the complimentary popovers they served to each guest. We soaked up the drippings from the poutine with the fluffy popovers. Boy, it was sinful.

Wayfare Tavern Fried Chicken

For my entree, I ordered the famed fried chicken. This takes your average fried chicken to a whole different level. Instead of plain ole buttermilk fried chicken, Tyler Florence marinates his chicken in a brine and seasons his batter with fresh thyme, rosemary and lemon. The chicken was perfectly crispy, juicy and aromatic. He took a southern comfort food and made it upscale with fresh herbs. I really liked this fried chicken, although if I had to choose between this or Ad Hoc’s fried chicken, I’ll go with the latter. I don’t think anyone can beat Thomas Keller’s masterpiece.

Wayfare Tavern Burger

K ordered the burger made of grass-fed beef, Mt. Tam cheese, roasted onion and crispy bacon all stuffed within a brioche roll. It took K a whole 10 seconds to figure out how to shove this 6 inch high burger into his mouth. Of course, he managed. This was probably the best burger we’ve ever had. So juicy and tender, the burger just fell apart in our mouths. The Mt. Tam cheese was so creamy and rich, offsetting the saltiness from the bacon. The caramelized onions were sweet which helped round out the flavors.

Wayfare Tavern Sticky Toffee Cake

For dessert, K and I shared the sticky toffee pudding with warm toffee sauce and ginger ice cream. Wow, this was the icing on the cake for us. There were little bits of dates in the cake making it so sticky, chewy and dense. The ginger ice cream was light and subtle which was a nice break from the heavy cake. But, oh so delicious.

Wayfare Tavern was an enjoyable experience. I’d definitely recommend it to couples for an occasion restaurant. If you’re lucky, you might catch glimpses of Tyler Florence while you’re there!

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1300 on Fillmore – San Francisco

1300 Fillmore Storefront

Rated: ♣♣

If you haven’t noticed, we love Southern food.  1300 Fillmore is a Soul Food joint buried in the Western Addition.  Don’t mistaken this part of Fillmore  for the trendier strip in Pac Heights, this is the “soulful” Japantown neighbor where some of the best Jazz joints are (Yoshi’s).  The low light, dark brown interior, and vintage-modern jazz revival decor give this place a beautifully comfortable atmosphere where a couple on a date, a hungry family or an elegant party with friends can mingle.  Tonight we celebrated two birthdays, my dad’s and my brother’s.

When you first arrive, you are greeted by a very large (and heavy) front door into a boxed room that’s meant to keep the cold air out.  That room leads into the main dining area, where the host gathers your party to seat you.  Our entire party had not arrived yet, so we were invited to wait at the Bar and Lounge area.  K helped my mom pick the Macallan Scotch to surprise my dad.  Once the rest of our party arrived, the host gathered our party and sat us far in the back next to the kitchen.

The dinner included complimentary triangle shaped cornbread. For appetizers we ordered the Hush Puppies and Fat Fries. LOVED the cornbread and the hush puppies. I would’ve been happy stopping there.

1300 Fillmore Hush Puppies

1300 Fillmore Steak Fries

K ordered the Southern Exposed Black Skillet Fried Organic Chicken.  He was really excited for some crispy, delicious fried chicken and didn’t really look at the menu for an alternative.  Boy was he disappointed.  It was good fried chicken, but could have been better.  The meat was dry, and not flavorful.

1300 Fillmore Fried Chicken

I had the special of the day which were the Baby Back Ribs. These were dry ribs. No sauce. But, it also tasted like they forgot to add the dry rub. It was almost flavorless. I had to dunk each piece into the the sauce for flavor. The ribs came with a side of mac-n-cheese which I was too full to eat at the restaurant. I had the intention to take it home with my leftovers, but the restaurant didn’t pack it for me! I was so disappointed the next day at lunch when I saw 2 bare ribs in my box with nothing else.

1300 Fillmore Ribs

For dessert, K and I shared the Banana Cream Pie with a lime caramel sauce. It was the most interesting version I’ve ever had, but delicious! Creamy pudding, chunky bananas and a thin crust. It definitely doesn’t beat Tartine’s, but I still licked my plate clean!

1300 Fillmore Banana Cream Pie

Check out what else we ate!

Short Ribs

1300 Fillmore Short Rib

Salmon

1300 Fillmore Salmon

Beignets

1300 Fillmore Beignets

Apple Cobbler

1300 Fillmore Apple Cobbler

1300 on Fillmore
1300 Fillmore St
(between Eddy St & Ellis St)
San Francisco, CA 94115

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