Cuisine Food Restaurant San Francisco

Dosa on Valencia


Photo from

995 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 642-3672

Dosa on Yelp

After many aborted attempts to eat dinner at the much-hyped Dosa due to long wait times, we finally snagged a reservation last week.  We ordered:

Panipuri, a kind of chaat. $8 – Mondays and weekend brunch only

According to Wikipedia:

It comprises a round, hollow “puri”, fried crisp and filled with a watery mixture of tamarind, chili, chaat masala , potato, onion and chickpeas. Its size is small enough to fit in the mouth.

This is the first time I had tried this dish, but I was looking forward to it ever since my ITP classmate Sonaar was singing the praises of panipuri at Wo Hop after the ITP Post-Show Party.

I liked how the panipuri a Dosa were fun and DIY, but I don’t understand why they couldn’t have been assembled in the kitchen.  I’m sure these things only cost pennies from street vendors in India, but in a yuppie-friendly SF restaurant, they are 8 bucks an order.  Reasonably tasty, but the crispy shells tasted a bit stale.  Definitely like the idea though. 

Habanero-Mango Masala Dosa spread with spicy Habanero chutney (watch out!) $10

The waitress warned me that this was REALLY SPICY, but I felt safe seeing that most of the diners at Dosa were non-Indian.  I normally have a fairly high tolerance for spice, but this was a weapon of mass destruction.  It was all heat, with none of the fruitiness of fresh habaneros and I couldn’t taste the mango at all.  This dish might have been saved by the contrasting sweetness of mango, but alas, it was just overwhelmingly hot with no complexity.

Tomato & Onion Uttampam topped with onion, tomatoes and green chiles $10

This was pretty right on, similar to the uttampam I’ve had at other places.  A nice contrast to the atomic heat of the habanero-mango dosa.

In conclusion, Dosa was a little underwhelming despite all the hype.  The wait times are just not worth it and the food is a little pricy for this kind of Indian food.  For my next South Indian food fix, I’ll probably just wait until I’m back in New York and go to one of my usual places in Curry Hill: Tiffin Wallah, Saravanaa Bhavan, or Tamil Nadu Bhavan.

California Cuisine Food Restaurant San Francisco

Pancho Villa Taqueria


Pancho Villa Taqueria
3071 16th St
between Caledonia St & Julian Ave, in the Mission District
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 864-8840

Pancho Villa on Yelp

Kris and I went to Pancho Villa Taqueria for a late night dinner last week.  I love how this place is hopping even at 11 pm on a weeknight (compared to other places in the the neighborhood), and how it attracts a motley mix of clientele – from hipsters in skinny jeans to hip-hop kids in sweat pants to businessmen in suits.

We shared an order of the garlic prawns ($9.95 – pictured above) and washed it down with a medium horchata ($1.65).  The plate, which included rice, beans, avocado, fresh tortillas AND tortilla chips, was enormous and delicious. The salsa bar made things even better.  A real Mission District gem.

Como dice el “Governator,” “I’ll be back.”  Más Pancho Villa, por fa-please!


California Cooking Cuisine Food San Francisco

Magic Curry Kart

Magic Curry Kart Man

Magic Curry Kart guy (above) had a Burning Man fundraiser at the Bryant Street Sports Basement today.  I went and had a tofu red curry (below).  Five bucks for a take-out container of curry on rice.  The vegetables tasted fresh and the price was right.  I like the extra touch of cutting the carrots into star shapes.


I noticed that Magic Curry Kart man used Mae Ploy red curry paste, a common mass-produced Thai curry paste.  The curry itself was made by frying the curry paste in some coconut milk, and then adding the tofu and vegetables, and seasoning with sugar and fish sauce.  Chicken curry was also available.  Maybe it was vegetarian fish sauce for the tofu curry, because I noticed a second bottle of liquid on the cart.  There is shrimp paste in Mae Ploy curry paste anyway, so it’s definitely no vegan if you are strict about that sort of thing.

Another thing I noticed was that the curry was very thick.  I don’t think water was added to dilute the curry, which is commonly done.  It was a bit on the thick side for my taste, and the rice was a bit mushy in places and hard in others.  But all in all, you can’t beat the price, and the concept is great.  And you can’t go wrong supporting a local micro-business.  Follow Magic Curry Kart on Twitter to find out where he will show up next.


Magic Curry Kart on Yelp
Blogpost about Magic Curry Cart on Mission Mission
SF Gate blogpost on food cart mini-trend

California Cuisine Food Restaurant San Francisco

Burrito at Dos Piñas

Vegetarian Burrito at Dos Piñas, San Francisco

My dinner at Dos Piñas last night: Avocado, lettuce, beans, rice, and cheese burrito at Dos Piñas ($4.95), spiced up with some hot salsa and cooled down with horchata.

Dos Piñas is conveniently located right next to where the number 10 bus drops me off from work, at the foot of Potrero Hill where I am living.  I’d say that the burrito was well above average and the location is convenient, so I’ll be back.  They definitely get brownie points for melting the cheese in the burrito, which Chipotle does not.  Wow, I can’t believe I even compared it with Chipotle.  Ok, nevermind, I guess I was deprived of good cheap Mexican food in NYC (although La Esquina Taqueria in NoHo is definitely an exception).

Apparently they are known for their 2 dollar Coronas on Fridays and their fish tacos, so I’ll be back to try them out.

Dos Piñas official site
Dos Piñas on Yelp

251 Rhode Island St
(at 15th St)
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 252-8220

California Cuisine Food Restaurant San Francisco

Little Saigon Deli

I had lunch today at Little Saigon Deli, a Vietnamese banh mi shop in the Financial District/SoMa area of San Francisco, near the waterfront and the Bay Bridge.  I had regular pork sandwich and a green coconut waffle lunch combo ($5.50 for any sandwich and waffle). The sandwich consisted of tender and fatty pork belly offset by plenty of fresh vegetables and a bit of a kick from chili peppers, all in a crunchy-chewy baguette.  I went with Parker, a fellow Creative Commons intern, and the Vietnamese sandwich guy asked him if he wanted chilies, but he didn’t ask me.  Maybe it’s because I’m Asian and Parker is white, so it’s assumed that I can handle the heat?  Dunno, but the heat was definitely welcome.  I have no idea why the coconut waffle is green (lightly tinted, not shockingly green), and it didn’t really taste all that strongly of coconut, but it was good.  In fact, I was so hungry that I ate most of the waffle on the walk back to the office, before I even had my sandwich.

Little Saigon Deli

Photo by Sheenie L., via Yelp

Little Saigon Deli
Vietnamese Sandwiches – Snacks – Desserts
131 Steuart Street, Suite 101
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 284-7375
Monday – Friday
8 AM – 4 PM