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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Pop-Up of Earthly Delights is in the Tenderloin

Posted By on Wed, Jun 11, 2014 at 11:00 AM

click to enlarge The "Croc-Lady" - PETE KANE
  • Pete Kane
  • The "Croc-Lady"

Pop-ups are fun as hell and just about everyone loves them -- even the detractors of their cousin, the food truck. As most pop-ups aspire to permanent status, they usually rest on a precarious footing, existing only because a given kitchen sits idle at certain days and times. The Pop-Up Café in the Tenderloin offers a solution to this neither-here-nor-there quandary, allocating regular space to these irregular businesses.

See Also: The Cook and Her Farmer, Soul Food and Crayfish in Old Oakland

Rice Paper Scissors' Brunch: Exactly As Good as You're Hoping

Monday brings Cambodian-Laotian street food by Chef Sal. Tuesdays are given over to Mexican (with deals such as $2 tacos) from Fritas Shack. Wednesdays and Thursdays are BBQ@Lux, and the entire weekend goes to seafood wizards the Crawfish Spot. What will not be changing is the giant beer selection, which starts with a dozen selections on draft (Lagunitas, PBR, 21st Amendment) plus an entire wall of reach-in fridges stocked with bottles, plus wine and a couple aperitif-based cocktails. Get ready for some pairings.

click to enlarge PETE KANE
  • Pete Kane

click to enlarge PETE KANE
  • Pete Kane

The rotating menu is only for dinner only (5-10 p.m.) For breakfast and lunch -- served 7 a.m. - 2 p.m. -- the menu adheres to a bacon-and-egg formula. A "Croq-Lady" (bacon, cheese, egg and Bechamel) was a glorious mess, runny and gooey but utterly delicious, with toast that kept it together (barely). Coffee is from Oakland's Mr. Espresso.

It's a pretty casual setting, with little by way of décor aside from cut flowers floating in water on the outdoor tables. Octagonal stools with wooden seats like cutting boards aren't too comfy after a few minutes, and the water station uses disposable red plastic cups. But those are fixable. The food is good, and the beer is plentiful. As time goes by, some nights will certainly pan out better than others, but this experiment is a model well worth replicating.

Pop-Up Café, 620 O'Farrell St., (510) 815-5643.

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About The Author

Pete Kane

Pete Kane

Bio:
Pete Kane is a total gaylord who is trying to get to every national park before age 40

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