À LA CART
San Francisco's Best Street Food
Bay Area foodies are sidling up to trucks, carts, and tables serving everything from authentic Neapolitan pizza to dark-chocolate creme brulee.
Chez Panisse alum Joel Baecker and his chef-wife Naomi Crawford were honeymooning in Italy when they got the idea for Pizza Politana. Upon returning, they imported an authentic Neapolitan wood-fired oven and had it mounted on a motorcycle trailer. In no time, they were peddling perfectly blistered nine-inch pies outside trendy bars and at farmers markets in the Bay Area. The pepperoni—made with artisanal sausage—is a staple, and the farmer's pizza is topped with seasonal, local ingredients like Meyer lemon, stinging nettles (no ouch factor here—the nettles don't sting after cooking), and green garlic. Half the fun is standing curbside and watching as Baecker and Crawford stretch and top the dough on your very own pie. Ferry Building Marketplace, 1 Ferry Building, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Thursdays. Twitter feed. $8–$12.
Good Foods Caters
'Hood: Bernal Heights
Good Foods Caters owner Dontaye Ball developed his famous pulled pork recipe while working as a cook at Google. He marinates the meat in a spice rub for two days, smokes it for six hours, braises it for another six and a half hours, then pulls it into shreds. The all-natural pork is slathered with a homemade, secret-recipe bacon barbecue sauce and spicy coleslaw, and served up in a dripping kaiser roll. To really up the ante, ask for "The Eliminator": pork, brisket, and bacon piled atop a whole-wheat bun. Ball works over his portable grill at the same farmers market he visited as a kid—when sizzling with hot links, smoked chicken wings, and pork belly chunks, the grill can reach a temperature of 600 degrees Fahreinheit. Alemany Market, 100 Alemany Blvd., 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Saturdays. Twitter feed. $3–$10.
Manned by chef Kevin Ballantine, who trained at the California Culinary Academy, the big red truck known as Sam's ChowderMobile is the nomadic outpost of Sam's Chowder House, located in Half Moon Bay, 30 minutes south of San Francisco. The lunchtime specialty is a Maine lobster roll that's cooked on the spot and served "naked"—with no mayo to disguise the crustacean's natural flavor. It's a pricey $15, but the toasted hot dog bun is stuffed full of tender meat tossed in a drizzle of melted butter (Ok, so it's not totally naked). A clam chowder loaded with littleneck clams, Yukon gold potatoes, and bacon goes for a more affordable $5, and the delicious fish tacos, fish-and-chips, and calamari are reasonably priced at $5 to $11, too. Twitter feed.