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Monday, July 23, 2012

Become a Hipster Pop-Up in 10 Easy Steps

Posted By on Mon, Jul 23, 2012 at 7:30 AM

click to enlarge CAMILA MCHUGH
  • Camila McHugh

San Francisco is the king of hipster pop-ups. And we love it. Here's what you need to do to throw your fedora in the ring:

1. Put an egg on it: You can slap that free-range, olive-oil-fried egg on everything from burgers to bimbimbap. Eggs come from chickens, chickens are birds, and birds are painfully hipster. A true indie pop-up not only boasts a chef with owl-framed glasses, but an option to pay an extra buck to adorn pretty much anything with an egg.

2. Get on that Instagram hype: How much does a hipster weigh? An instagram! This smartphone app turns your average Joe into a pro food photographer and is a must have to document every step of prep and presentation. Let's be honest, that triple-fried chicken sandwich looks even tastier through a Valencia filter.

3. Think fusion: You know what's not cool? A regular hot dog. You know what's almost too cool to function? A hot dog fried in bacon fat, covered in sweet and sour slaw, doused with a secret Korean BBQ sauce, and served in an Acme roll.

4. Get a punny/ironic name: As a pop-up, you can play around a little with your name before you tone it down for a brick-and-mortar. Curry up now before your twist on "Seoul" gets snatched up by another sneaky Korean fusionist. Don't be afraid to stick in a reference to yourself -- are you the Bulgogi Baron, the Bacon Apple Pie Guy, or the Cupcake-on-a-Stick Lady? Own it.

5. Worship the Mission Street Food Cookbook: This is your bible. Take a peek at any self-respecting pop-up chef's bookshelf and you are guaranteed to find Anthony Myint and Karen Leibowitz's eclectic reflection on their improbable restaurant. Go get yours and read it about a million times to soak up every bit of knowledge you can from the pop-up that knows how to be both hipster and successful.

6. Read Mission Mission: Read it every day for a week. You'll be a different person. And just that much closer to pop-up stardom.

7. Partner with an obscure coffee company: Even San Francisco's favorite brews (rhymes with Tlue Tlottle and Door Darrel) are too mainstream for you. Your coffee company preferably paddles their coffee over from Bolivia in a canoe and delivers it to you by unicycle. Oh, and speaking of drinks: You've got to have Thai iced tea or Vietnamese iced coffee, and some agua fresca with basil in it on tap.

8. Don't cook in a real restaurant: You tried, but it wasn't for you. That's why you're popping-up! (Cue inspirational backstory.) Watch YouTube videos, befriend some chefs, and read lots of books instead of shilling for The Man.

9. Meet the other pop-ups: Lure them in with free whiskey and hope they tweet at you. If they like your food, maybe you guys can be friends and go play some Berlin-style ping pong together.

10. Launch a Kickstarter campaign: Even when you're living the hipster pop-up dream, you've still got future plans for a brick-and-mortar with a toned-down name and a slightly staider menu. You probably just left a good job to get your pop-up going, so get your name out there with folks looking to invest in the next cool thing.

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Camila McHugh

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