Most of the windows on the corner of 12th and Howard are still covered in paper as the newest location of The Coffee Bar is still under construction. If you're a foodie, the window you're looking for is on the Howard Street side and identified by a bright red, stylized sign displaying this pop up hot spot's particularly pithy name: The Window.
The Window started hosting pop up restaurants a few months ago, and now has a weekly rotation serving up lunch and brunch to go. The much buzzed about three-dollar-but-chewy-and-Brooklyn-y-enough-to-make-it-worth-it Shmendrix Bagel was at The Window recently, and every Wednesday Jablow's Meats serves up the Pastrami sandwich that made our Top 10 Sandwiches in San Francisco. Apparently artisan, organic ketchup company SoSu Ketchup is also getting involved. Could Balsamic Bacon Ketchup be the new official pop up condiment of The Window? The possibilities are endless. A full schedule is available here.
I stopped by The Window to try some of the Cajun food served up by Bayou by the Bay. Their menu varies with each pop up -- I missed the Po Boy, which has been a huge hit, and the shrimp and grits, a close second, so it looks like I've already got an excuse to go back.
Their original recipes include a spin on Cajun specialty, the "Alligator Egg," that just came to Tracie one day. No, they aren't really eggs, but some creole mustard marinated alligator tail meat did make it in to these panko fried, dirty-rice stuffed, pasta shells. This variation on the shrimp stuffed jalapeño peppers that often don this exotic name down in New Orleans is certainly a way to mix up the daily lunch routine and get your fried fix.
This Cajun food was more about the cream than the kick, as a simple mixed green salad ($8) was served with a thick, avocado based dressing. The chicken and cilantro cream quesadillas were rich, but mild, encouraging slightly excessive dunking in a side of Louisiana hot sauce. The three maple glazed wings caught my attention most, as their sweet and tangy marinade not only brought flavor, but also a crunchy texture that covered the morsels of meat.
A few tables and bar stools are set up outside, where lunch breakers can perch to eat their food. Beware as the wind of our San Francisco summer picks up -- there may have been some flying alligator eggs. Once The Coffee Bar opens in July, you and your fried fritters can stay grounded, as Bayou by the Bay will be taking over the kitchen all weekend. Get ready for big, boozey brunches with bushels of beignets and other Southern grub. Said beignets have been Bayou's most popular item, receiving high praise and cult following from New Orleans natives who lauded them as "the best they've ever had." Let the good times roll.