Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Foodie Love in the 'Loin
There's a mini food revolution afoot in my neighborhood. It all started a number of years back with the opening of my all time favorite restaurant: the beyond fabulous Canteen (above). This spot is in the heart of our neighborhood, which I always think of as being right in the borderland between the Tenderloin and Nob Hill, so it's funny to read reviews that talk about how fantastic Canteen is, and how it's even worth braving going deep into the Tenderloin, or whatnot, to go there.
Then, a couple of years back, Farm:Table opened up around the corner. A tiny coffee-plus-food spot of the highest order, it now also has a fantastic parklet out front, and the people are as sweet as can be. Both of these establishments brought what was, at the time, an unexpected does of gourmet sophistication and adorable decor to the hood.
But now, just in recent months, the ball has really gotten rolling. Sweet Woodruff--a takeout spot from the people behind Sons & Daughters--opened and was, almost immediately, about as near to perfection as a chi-chi takeout joint can be. When the day's unraveling and cooking as planned is just not going to work out, Sweet Woodruff saves the day with their upscale comfort food. It doesn't hurt either that they know Mabel by name and give her cookies.
And then just the other day I stumbled upon Hooker's. An adorable place for coffee and sweets, a good deal further down into the 'Loin than any of the above. Perhaps I'm corny but I do love finding a new place nearby with second-decade-of-the-twentieth-century-retro-vintage-nostalgia-contemporary decor and delicious lattes.
Obviously I'm not blind to the fact of what all of this may foreshadow, in terms of gentrification and its discontents. But I have the hope that the neighborhood is big enough, and diverse enough, and gritty enough, to contain it all. That the new hipsters and long-standing residents can live side by side in harmony. Pollyannaish? Perhaps. But after all, that's even kind of what ended up happening in the Mission, ground-zero for last decade's gentrification battles. You heard it here first, folks: The Tenderloin is the new Mission. (Actually, I'm sure someone smarter and savvier than me has already said this, and then probably proved it wrong. But ah well).