OTG McCoppin, Greek Fest: Valencia Street Serves Up Street-Food Contrasts
Two blocks separated a pair of very different food gatherings in the Mission Saturday. We always thought of McCoppin Hub, a small section of pavement next to the Central Freeway on-ramp, as a prime spot to score black tar heroin, not "Hawaiian" tacos, but Matt Cohen has more vision than we ever will. He dropped the first installment of the latest, slimmed-down incarnation of Off the Grid there this weekend.
Alex Hochman The inaugural OTG McCoppin brought out a mostly under-30 crowd.
Smart move. At 6 p.m., McCoppin Hub had an inaugural crowd of old-school Missionites, wannabe Hell's Angels looking for post- Zeitgeist nourishment, and anybody else under age 30 who happened to be nearby. (Thankfully, the Fort Mason monsoon didn't show.) They sampled wares from Off the Grid's four trucks, including Senor Sisig, El Tonayese, and 51st State.
Alex Hochman IZ-IT's Steak Kicker taco.
The Hawaii-trending IZ-IT truck lined the tortilla in its Steak Kicker taco with a full leaf of lettuce ― it reminded us of an In-N-Out protein burger. The marinade on the juicy beef delivered quiet pecks of sweet and heat but the taco's dominant flavor came from a splash of sesame oil.
Further up on Valencia Street, the gods, including Zeus, Apollo, and Telly Savalas beamed proudly from the heavens as the Annunication Cathedral's annual Greek food festival got into full swing. Suburban Greek families, white-bearded men sporting fishermens' caps, and anybody else nearby over age 40 feasted on pasticcio, moussaka, and other delicacies, all homemade by congregants.
Alex Hochman Meanwhile, the gods watched over a mostly over-40 crowd at Annunciation Cathedral's Greek food fest.
Keeping with the day's street-food theme, we snacked on a loaded beef and lamb gyro wrapped in warm, freshly baked pita. It made us wonder aloud why San Francisco doesn't have a decent permanent gyro operation. You don't see a loukoumathes stand every day in this town, so we took advantage. Hot, fried golf-ball-sized spheres of dough were drizzled with Greek honey ― they were like the glazed doughnuts that emerge from the oil at Bob's at 2 a.m. but way stickier.
Alex Hochman Loukoumathes, fried dough balls drizzled with Greek honey.
Idea for a San Francisco street-food startup: The Zorba Truck, serving gyros and loukoumathes. We're not kidding.