Less than three weeks into 2011, and San Francisco's street food scene is as warm as January in California. Much of it is percolating through Off the Grid: McCoppin ― like Saturday's debut of the Brass Knuckle truck.
Brass Knuckle owner Shellie (she prefers not to use her last name) had an 8-year career cooking in starred brick and mortars (Bacar, Bambuddha Lounge, Cortez). She left in part to become a mom (the oldest is 3 ½), then launched a truck to return to cooking on her own terms. The name? "I'm a metal-slash-punk head," Shellie tells SFoodie. "I just thought all the trucks out there were just so ― uh ― safe. I wanted to come up with something that sounded street, tough. Basically it's urban street food."
Shellie's just cleared the tortuous permitting process ― she plans to sell three, maybe four sandwiches Saturday at McCoppin, plus a Twitter-only secret menu (follow at @Brassknucklesf ― Shellie calls her fans "Knuckleheads"), and a couple deep-fried items (looks like lumpia may be involved). She'll bring her signature Notoriuos P.I.G. (sounds like a variation on the Cuban, but on a rosemary waffle pressed till crisp), the Lamb Halen (with halloumi cheese and harissa on ciabatta), and the Elvis Pressedly (peanut butter and jelly with bacon, jalapeño, and caramelized banana on brioche). Full menu here, though only the items we mentioned are likely to be on offer this week.
What's next after Saturday? Shellie says she wants to apply for a permanent lunchtime spot downtown, and is thinking of microfunding via Kickstarter to raise the 10K she thinks she'll need. Meanwhile, bars like 111 Minna, Bloodhound, and Bar Basic are courting her for nighttime slots. "Who knows ― I might just be a roving ghost truck," she says. Brass Knuckle will be at Off the Grid: McCoppin Hub from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. Jan. 22.