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Get in My Belly! The Top Things to Eat This Week

A weekly compendium of the highlights of our culinary wanderings. 

Lentil-yam pie from Peasant Pies.


I'm a staunch fan of hand-held carbohydrates, because the joy of eating them is matched by the ease of cramming them into one's face. So I'm among the target demographic of Peasant Pies, the savory-pastry concern that recently opened a kiosk in the Financial District. I stopped by yesterday and scarfed down two pies: lentil-yam (above) and garbanzo curry. I enjoyed both, but it was the lentil-yam I'd return for again and again. Though lentils don't have a particularly luxurious reputation, here the silky quality and robust flavor are enhanced by a healthy amount of cumin and onions. The crust encasing the filling is tender but has a character I generally associate with whole-wheat pizza crust. It's kind of like what would happen if the Moosewood Cookbook went into the hot pocket business, and I mean that in a good way.

At the opposite end of the health-food-to-gutbomb spectrum sits (heavily) ABV's kimchi fritter. Roughly the diameter of a Big Wheel tire, fortified by a brawny layer of deep-fried batter, and covered in a thick drift of gently undulating bonito flakes, the thing is, pardon my indelicacy, built like a brick shit house. It's delicious in the way of most spicy, deep-fried things, compelling you to a raging case of heartburn while filling whatever deep, unnameable void you harbor, and then some. To eat it is to love it, and to accept that you will probably hate yourself later. 

As I still have daydreams about a meal I ate at the Temescal Burma Superstar a year ago, I didn't waste a lot of time getting to Burma Love after it opened on Valencia Street late last month. Although the digs are a little tomb-like for my liking, the tea leaf salad is still all unicorns and rainbows, a beautiful heap of lettuce, sesame seeds, tomatoes, dried shrimp, fermented tea leaves, and fried garlic, peanuts, and lentils. If watching as it's mixed tableside is a hypnotic and drool-stimulating experience, then eating it is an exercise in deep-seated satisfaction. Also, it is completely devoid of kale, which is practically illegal in San Francisco's salad universe, which in my book makes it even more of a miracle food.


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