Monday, May 21, 2012
Cathead's BBQ-A Folsom Street Treat!
One of my main goals while I'm living in the Bay Area is to eat my way through San Francisco. Yes, that's right, eat my way through it! I'm a die hard Foodie with a fierce knife and fork. I have a rapturous hunger and taste for adventure. San Francisco is a foodie mecca that offers a delectable, mesmerizing, sensational, gastronomic odyssey. Some many cuisines are offered throughout the city-by-the-bay. Cooking is a passion and hobby for me. Ever since high school I have worshiped Julia Child, Ina Garten, Martha Stewart (She really is a bitch...I met her in person, scroll down to read about my encounter), Rachael Ray, Paula Deen, Emeril Lagasse, Tyler Florence..etc. These people are heroes to me. They educate, comfort, and give me confidence. I find safety in them. And in my dark hours, I can always escape this cruel world through a cookbook.
I realize I can rant, as I'm doing now, but I LOVE San Francisco more than you will ever know. Even though this is gonna be somewhat of a food review, its also gonna be a walk through my city, and a reflection. I realize I'm too sentimental, but I think that's part of my charm. It's natural, never fake. I also want to preserve my discoveries and capture the moment. I love my heightened sense of reality, and I hope it makes you feel as if you're right along with me. Life in the city is bliss.
I've been severely homesick lately. I miss the people, my old stomping grounds (I can't believe I'm here, but I'm much more happier), my family, and the food. I come from a large family of authentic Southern cooks. I have fond memories of helping my Grandmama pick her garden. We would go out in the late balmy afternoon as the mosquitoes swarmed around and drained me. There we were together picking bountiful amounts of tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, green beans, and even pick cherries off her tree in her back yard. That old cherry tree was located next to her exceedingly ancient sprawling grapevine that crawled all around this large rusted iron structure. I have fond memories of us snapping green beans in a large metal bowl, shucking corn, and helping her can pickles, and making real strawberry jam. This is one of my earliest encounters with food.
Barbeque is one of my favorite chows. In the South our barbeque is "wet". That means its braised and covered in its savory sauce. Its sweet, sour, tangy, and smokey. In other parts of the country they serve their barbeque "dry". I prefer my barbeque "wet". My boss lives on Folsom Street. He told me right next door to his Edwardian apartment that there is a new restaurant called Cathead's BBQ. Its named after these small homemade biscuits that they serve you with apple butter. The biscuits are the size of a cathead. He knew I was homesick and said I should go. He let me off thirty minutes early and made me promise to call him after I had ate. Barbeque sounded so far away, but it was refreshing to learn that the owners of this place were from Tennessee and Michigan! My brother lives in Memphis, and I believe that the best barbeque in the world is located there!
Folsom Street resides in the SoMa (South of Market) District. It's an industrial blue collar working neighborhood packed with large warehouses, small factories, car dealerships, maintenance garages, retail shops, paint stores, welding facilitates, and hardware repair businesses. Certain parts of the area are packed with nightclubs, small intimate restaurants, and littered with old Edwardians and false front Victorians where rooms are rented out to the masses. SoMa is also the home to San Francisco's Leather and S&M Community. Every year this neighborhood holds the Folsom Street Fair, which is the largest BDSM kink festival in the world. Folsom Street is filled with leather bars...I refer to them as caves. Some of the bars are named Powerhouse, The Hole in the Wall, and The San Francisco Kok Bar, there is also Wicked Grounds Kink Cafe. The majority of the bars are located on Folsom. There's even large leather emporiums like Leather Etc.. and Stormy Leather where you can purchase gear and outfits for your fantasies and fetishes without shame. That's a good overview of the district. Do not be afraid, it's safe, and the people won't harm you.
As I was walking to Folsom Street, the skyscrapers downtown were beginning to empty, rush hour had already began. I walked down 7th Street and onto Folsom at an intersection. A hard wind was blowing off the Pacific causing a thick blanket of fog to invade the lower parts of the city. Twin Peaks was invisible, but I could see the pinnacle of Sutro Tower above the invading mass of thick salty vapor. The traffic was average for that part of town, and many cyclists were peddling up and down both sides of the street. One cyclists in particular rode on a red bike. He had on a green beanie, thick black rimmed glasses, brown wavy hair that went down to his shoulders, a decent square face, a blue stripped shirt with a backpack strapped around his powerful arms, tight black skinny jeans, and blue canvas shoes which had a thick white outsole.
Hardworking men were emptying out of the warehouses and shops and headed home. The leather bars were gearing up for the evening, Bears were entering in with their Cubs.I could smell the pungent wreak of alcohol lingering out of the dark doorways.I kept moving forward with Barbeque on my mind. I had Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" playing in my ears and all of a sudden, I just started dancing down the sidewalk with my scarf fluttering. I didn't care. I was just so happy being a part of my city. Magic is all over San Francisco. Its the one city in the world where you don't have to be a drag...you can be a queen!
I arrived at Cathead's and went inside. Oh my God, it smelled just like an Arkansas barbeque pit!!!! The powerful scent of fresh smoked pork, veal, and chicken mixed in the aroma of vinegar mingled with brown sugar, chile powder, and other earthy spices made my mouth water. I wanted to bathe in the invisible vapor. It was such a delicious comforting scent. I talked with the owners and they were fabulous. They are originally from Tennessee and Michigan. Richard, told me that he was a closeted Foodie who was sick and tired of his day job working in a cubical. Him and him wife had moved to San Francisco for a change. They then started their own barbeque business...and business is booming because the food is damn good!
I ordered a pulled pork sandwich slathered with habenreo slaw with a side of pimento macaroni and cheese and strawberry sweet tea. The order was served to me in a metal pie pan (which I thought was sincerely Southern) and the sweet tea came in a Mason jar! How folksy is that? The barbeque was delicious. I made it wetter by hosing it down with their special house barbeque sauce. I was raised around sweet and tangy sauces. This one was sweet, but much more smokey and earthy. The sweetness was subtle and the tangyness was pleasantly powerful enough to continue to make my tongue produce saliva as a rush of pleasurable endorphins rushed through my body. In all honesty, it was so good I think my mouth had a orgasm of measurable size. The watermelon sweet tea was killer and the perfect thirst quencher. The liquid slid down my throat in waves of refreshing ahhhh. The pimento mac-n-cheese was perfectly cooked to aldente. It was topped with bread crumbs and I loved that the cheese sauce was made with fresh heavy whipping cream. It was delectable, I cried. I felt right back at home, safe at home. I told the owners that and I left with a full stomach and happy spirits. If you're ever on Folsom Street, you have to check out Cathead's BBQ. My meal was around $13.00. Worth every penny. Go to Cathead's. Drop everything now, and get over there!