UMAMI MART MATSURI FESTIVAL
My curiosity bubbled when I read about Mission Street Foods (MSF) in the San Francisco Chronicle back in February. Started by a husband and wife team Anthony Myint and Karen Leibowitz, the duo served dishes like pork belly and cilantro aioli sandwiches for $5 out of a taco truck until the sidewalk could no longer fit their loyal customers. Thus spawned MSF, a full-fledged restaurant operation on Thursdays and Saturday nights only, when they take over a hole-in-the-wall Chinese joint in the Mission district of San Francisco.

The concept is simple yet brilliant: each night they bring in an emerging chef from the area; let chef create a special menu for that night only; keep seating and number of dishes limited; dishes are priced at no more than $9 each; BYOB, with a $5 corkage fee; donate proceeds to different local charities and organizations. Incredible.

And they have certainly made an impression on the city cause just look at the line! They don't open until 6pm, but the line was already 20 people deep when we showed up at 5:30pm. Crazy!

Khoi, Sarah and I went on a Thursday a few weeks back, for a night titled, "Peace on Earth and Food for All." They have a deal with the Beauty Bar across the street where people waiting in line get a discount, so we got our cocktails on. How great is that?

We were seated after about an hour- we went down the menu and ordered everything. Almost. The menu was created and cooked by Paul Fromberg and Sara Miles, and proceeds for the evening went to their organization, The Food Pantry, who deliver fresh groceries to 650 families every week. WOW!

The restaurant is super dim, with Christmas lights and candles as the only source of light. Thank god Khoi brought his flashlight to take pictures. What a dork- but so necessary! You're gonna love these photos- paging Dr. Octagon! You'll see that they have a real Dr. Octagon feel to them.

Thai rare beef salad: Seared marinated angus ribeye, escarole, fried shallots with kaffir lime and shaved red onions. Probably my favorite dish of the night. Great crunch factor with the fried shallots.


East Texas rice and beans with homemade wild boar sausage: Anaheim chiles and sausage from the Santa Cruz Mountains.


Pudding pork
: Pork slow-cooked in milk with nutmeg, brown sugar, and bay leaves served on polenta with herbs. This was delightful, and great concept. Needed crunch factor though- the pork was way too moist and tender to be paired polenta.


Weed tart with
farro: Tart of wild radish, chives, dandelion greens and fennel with farro and mushrooms, served with chowchow made with perserved lemons. This tasted like... weeds. Appropriate."Shit, there's a horse in the hospital!" A bit too granola for me- fatty sausage chunks would have saved it.


Mustard greens: With fish sauce, red pepper threads and garlic.


Hibiscus beet sorbet: From the Humphy Slocombe ice cream shop. This was a bit too sweet, but thumbs up for concept.


Stand by Your Man Cake: "A queer take on Texas sheet cake, with California walnuts and Humbphry Slocombe old Potrero ice cream, made with 18th-century style whiskey from Anchor Distilling in Potrero Hill." I don't remember how this tasted, but sounds awesome, doesn't it??

You win some, you lose some, that's the name of the game with dining out. All in all, I fully support the concept behind MSF and their willingness to bring on new chefs and even donate proceeds to charity. THAT is true community-building, which I'm so down for.

Coming up this Thursday, Japanese chef Mari Takahashi has created a menu that includes BACON SOUP DUMPLINGS!!! HOLLA! Get over there at 5pm to get first dibs!

Mission Street Foods
Thursdays and Saturdays, Starting at 6pm
@Lung Shan Restaurant
2234 Mission St near 18th Street
San Fransisco, CA

PS: Just for kicks, here's a pic of Kool Keith (aka Dr. Octagon aka Dr. Doom aka Black Elvis) when I went to see him last month. Still looks the same, still rhymes the same, still the same whackjob. Gotta love the guy. He had this silver scarf over his head the whole night.


Here he is after he threw panties and bras around and had all these girls come up from the audience to put them on. Oy. Good times.