Photo by Vinni C.
We all know 2020 has been a rough year for many people. One thing that comes to mind for those that are impacted hard are restaurants and small business owners. With the lockdowns in the Bay Area, it is difficult for many restaurants to be at the same level as they were before the pandemic. It is sad to hear how many restaurants either had to close down after being in business for decades or is struggling to keep their business afloat. Luckily, many of them offer to-go options and are available to order on any of the food delivery apps or you can purchase gift cards to use when things are back to normal. Here is a roundup of a few restaurants I supported and wanted to highlight since they have the best sets in San Francisco this year.
Farmhouse Kitchen (Mission District)
If you are a huge foodie, you probably heard about Farmhouse Kitchen and their delicious and authentic Thai food. To order, they have their own app that is available through the App Store, order online (free delivery if it is over $45), or just order off Ubereats, DoorDash, Postmates, etc. I ordered their famous Little Lao Set which is their chef's selection set with their popular items on their menu. It's for 2 people but honestly, you can probably feed 3-4 people which is such a steal for the price of $60. It comes in a large tray and everything looks beautifully plated with all the vibrant colors from the blue rice to the fried chicken to the flowers they use to decorate - what a showstopper platter.
The Little Lao set comes with: complimentary two Thai tea or 2 Thai beer depending on your preference, fresh spring rolls with peanut sauce, samosas, egg rolls with chili sauce, papaya salad, num tok rolls, hat yai fried chicken, shrimp fried rice, pad thai with a fried egg on top, spicy eggplant, and blue rice. I like this platter since you get to try a few of their top appetizers and items on the menu! One that stood out in particular with the num tok rolls which was grilled wagyu beef flank wrapped with cucumbers and the hat yai fried chicken. The rolls is something I would not have ordered but I was glad it was in the platter so I can give it a try! I also know the fried chicken is one of the top entrees so I was happy they included in the Little Lao Set. You can also add a side of pad see ew on the side and that is considered the kid’s meal.
When the pandemic is over and everything starts to open up, I recommend coming to this place since the interior is so beautiful. They also have a few locations sprinkled throughout the Bay Area where you can find them in Oakland at Jack London Square and Menlo Park.
Aria Korean Street Food (Tenderloin)
One of my favorite Korean restaurants that offer authentic Korean street food. The shop is actually really small inside so I usually come here for takeout and bring it to a park since it is the perfect picnic food. Everything is packaged nicely and makes for a good spread. Since they have a small menu, the food is prepared rather quickly. The Korean Fried Chicken (KFC) is delicious and reminds me of the ones I had in South Korea. Perfectly crispy on the outside and juicy and tender on the inside. I like how they use chicken thighs instead of the breast to keep the meat moist even after awhile. They have two combos (A or B) and depending on whether you have 3 or 4 people, choose the one that fits your party size. Their dipping sauces are sweet and spicy, garlic soy, white, green, or chipotle aioli. My personal favorite is definitely the garlic soy hands down. Even if you don't go for the combos, try out their soy garlic KFC and you will not be disappointed.
- Combo A: 10 pieces of KFC + one dip, glazed fried chicken (GFC) + one dip, side of bulgogi, and a roll of kimbap. Personally, I find this more than enough to feed 4 people but the suggested size is 3.
- Combo B: you get everything from Combo A and their Homies 3 taco sampler which features their KFC taco, GFC taco, and bulgogi taco.
I’m sure you have seen all the pictures and videos of the humongous braised beef short ribs and the epic cheese pull. If you love Korean braised beef ribs or beef short rib soup, then this is the one for you. Before the pandemic, there used to be a huge waitlist and the wait was at least a minimum of an hour or two. However, they are now on all the delivery platforms and you can enjoy the delicious beef ribs from the comfort of your own home. While you don’t get to see them torch the cheese in front of you, at least you can still enjoy the melted cheese at home safely. For the regular size, it starts at $56 and if you want to add extra meat, it cost $66. You can also opt to add in more items like glass noodles, rice cakes, vegetables, and cheese but it already comes with radish and a side of rice. This is a bit on the pricey side similar to Farmhouse Kitchen but the meal itself can easily feed 4-6 people and there’s always enough for leftovers so I think it is worth the price. Each order also comes with their standard variety of bon chon. I also recommend trying their galbitang (beef short rib soup). The broth definitely feels like it has been simmering for hours and it comes with glass noodles. I love ordered the braised beef ribs and noodle soup together since they are the perfect combo for comfort food.
Follow my food Instagram, eatswithvinni, if you are interested in seeing more restaurants around the Bay Area, and join me on my food adventures. Which restaurants have you supported in 2020? Are there restaurants where you would highly suggest? I would love to hear your recommendations so I can add them to my list! #nbholidaycheer