Wednesday, May 17, 2006

i'll take a hyphy juice, a vegan sundae, some peanut milk and a frog, please . . . hold the mustard

Today SF Weekly came out with its annual Best of SF issue. I didn't write many food entries this year, but I did do a few real fun ones:

Best Place to Buy Frogs

Sunset Super

2425 Irving (at 25th Avenue), 566-6504

San Francisco's sizeable Asian population ensures that the city stays stocked with creatures not particularly indigenous to the American diet, including live frogs and turtles. Frogs are a notable inclusion in Sunset Super's vast selection of meat in a department that ranges from giant, wiggly conches to (thankfully dead) pork intestines. Last we checked, the amphibious treats could be yours for $2.99/pound. But if the idea of eating frogs is horrifying, and you can't bear the sight of them looking up at you from their box prison like sad, sluggish puppies, the price is affordable enough to buy a few to liberate from possible stews and fricassees. Oh, and those short on recipe ideas for Kermit's cousins can check the menu at the nearby Go-Go Cafe & Restaurant (1830 Irving at 19th Ave.; 661-4289), which features frog dishes among both its appetizer and entree offerings.

Best Tonic

Signs & Wonders Peanut Milk

KK Cafe, 252 Divisadero (at Haight), 626-6188

Forget those bitter and expensive (not to mention seasonal) pomegranates: Peanuts also have great antioxidant powers. Get your fill with Signs & Wonders Peanut Milk, the creation of KK Cafe owners Jack and Margaret Chang. The Changs bottle their original, chocolate, and strawberry varieties and sell them in various area stores, but it's worth stopping in to their joint to have a peanut milk smoothie blended with apple and banana, or just to plunk some of the creamy tonic into your coffee. After much anecdotal evidence about the healing powers of their products, they're conducting preclinical studies on the milk's helpful benefits for those with ailments from arthritis to eczema. We haven't fixed any of our major physical problems just yet (we'd swear about our bum knee, except that the company is "managed according to Christian principles"), but we do know that Signs & Wonders gives us energy, makes us feel good, and tastes delish.

Best Vegan Sundae

Banana split at MaggieMudd

903 Cortland (at Gates), 641-5291

Vegans have come close to perfecting many animal-free recipes that can pass in taste and texture for their meat-filled originals, but praise is not always so forthcoming about their advancements in making edible, dairy-free frozen treats. One of several sundae options at this Bernal Heights parlor, the banana split features three flavor options, plus a waffle cone, whipped cream, and a choice of toppings and sauces — all mind-bogglingly vegan. The creams are made of soy or coconut milk and range from the tame (toasted almond) to the adventurous (chocolate cardamom). Since MaggieMudd also offers a full range of real ice cream flavors, soy snobs can come along and have an old-fashioned dairy bomb of goodness. But wouldn't it be more fun to fool your favorite carnivores into trying some of that cotton-pickin' hippie food without their knowledge?

Best Energy Drink


New from Oakland's It's Good Beverage Co. (helmed by Clyde Carson of up-and-coming rap group the Team), Hyphy is sure to give popular energy drinks like Red Bull and Rockstar a serious run for their money when it comes to taste and power punch. The name comes from a very current and very energetic Bay Area youth culture that's on the edge of exploding nationwide, a scene that's ripe for bottling (or, in this case, canning). Hyphy advertises itself as having the flavor of "grapple" — a grape/apple hybrid — but it goes down like a less-sweet green apple Jolly Rancher, with the electric green color to match. We can say with some authority that Hyphy is as stimulating as some illegal substances, only more flavorful — and easier to recommend in good conscience.