If you live in San Francisco, you most definitely know the Tenderloin and Nob Hill neighborhoods – with varying reputations. And most likely, you’ve heard of the area in-between the two called the Tendernob.
If we’re being real here, in the seven years I’ve lived in SF, I haven’t really checked it out. Why? It sometimes gets a dodgy reputation and I was a little hesitant to explore it on my own. Luckily, I got over it and I’m so glad I did because the culture (and FOOD SCENE) is SO rich.
I recently took a walking food tour with Avital Tours all around the Tendernob and found some gems that will soon become food staples.
Located between Jones Street and Leavenworth, Chisme is a place to get the party started. Hailing from the Windy City, the owner Ray and his team are bringing Mexican-fusion tacos to the Bay area. We first nommed on jackfruit tacos that were insanely fresh and 100% delicious. To accompany the tacos, we sipped on refreshing glasses of fruity sangria that were the BEST complement to the meal. I usually can’t handle sangria since it’s so sweet, but this was the perfect balance. If you’re looking for a creative menu and good time, Chisme is all about mixing taqueria classics with vegan and pescatarian-friendly favorites.
Next up: Turtle Tower – a San Francisco staple and one of the best Pho restaurants in the city. This multi-generation family owned Northern Vietnamese restaurant is a landmark (now with 3 locations in SF altogether) and the food seriously does not disappoint. Turtle Tower's go-to is the broth. Unlike many other pho places, Turtle Tower’s comes with no side garnishes or bean sprouts. You have to focus on the broth (naturally), crispy vegetables and beef. It’s the perfect meal to welcome in Karl the Fog or for any meal in fact. And if you’re looking to go to another place in SF for pho, well pho-get about it (I HAD TO).
If you look for southern food or BBQ in SF, you’ll probably see 5 or 6 options scattered throughout the city. I’m here to say, don’t waste your time searching Google and head directly to Rusty’s Southern. This Carolina style BBQ spot serves up delicious Souther cuisine and local craft beer to boot. The vibe at Rusty’s? Down home, inviting, and relatable – a place where anyone no matter your age, race, or religion can go for a nice meal. During our time at Rusty’s, we noshed on their signature Buttermilk Fried Chicken with braised collards and rice. IT WAS AMAZING and seriously I can’t wait to go to Rusty’s for brunch (I mean…smoked brisket hash YES!).
Overall, this food tour was one of the most favorite things I’ve done in a LONG TIME. And for someone who has lived in the city for awhile, it’s a nice reminder to get out of your day-to-day and explore new neighborhoods, areas, and spice things up a bit.