Friday, October 17, 2008

Weird Fruit

What's neon pink and lime green, leathery with tentacles all over?

A fruit - and a rather tasty one at that.

Last time I was at the Civic Center Farmer's Market in San Francisco, my boyfriend convinced me to purchase a rather bizarre looking fruit. It looked just as described - and got stranger still when we cut it open. In its core, the dragon fruit has a translucent white flesh dotted with tiny black seeds. Its like litchy, but not really. Almost like a kiwi, but not really. Actually, I can't really relate it to any other fruit I've had before.

What I can say, though, is that it's really delicious. The flesh is tender and has a light, almost perfumed taste to it. It's not overpoweringly sweet or tart. It's delicate, like a litchie mixed with a kiwi and a rambutan. A tropical smoothie in one strange package!

And it's big enough to fill you up. Dragon fruit are about the size of a large fist - although the one's I saw in Kona a week later were more like melons! The best way to enjoy them is to cut your dragon fruit in half and eat the flesh with a spoon. Then throw the peels away - a self-contained and beautiful dessert.

These tasty tropical treats will cost you though - when you can find them, they're usually $4 or more a pound. Even in Hawaii, where they grew like nuts.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Yummy Ya Mo!

You know those perfect hole in the wall finds that make you feel like you're a real local somewhere? Yeah, well - I've got a new one. And as precious as these finds are, I'm going to be nice and share it with you.

Vegetarians rejoice, there are options aplenty here for you. And if you're on a budget, even better - a hearty meal for two here will set you back $20 at most. That includes a luxurious coconut juice (served in a green coconut!) too. Can't promise you an umbrella tho.

So what is this gem of an SF restaurant? It's called Ya Mo Thai Kitchen, and it's tucked away just off of Mission on 18th street. It's tiny - be prepared to take a seat at a small counter just opposite the stove and kitchen line. You'll get an up close and personal view of dinner being made.

The name suggests thai food, but don't expect your typical green curry and pad thai here. I think the place actually has more Burmese influence, and the fare ranges from fried samosas to unusual curried meats to deliciously simply fresh rolls.

My friend Siddhi, who gets total credit for introducing me to the place, swears by their cold spicy noodles. Be sure to order their tea leaf salad too - it's fragrant, earthy sour and crunchy all at once. And it's less than $5.

My absolute favorite part of Ya Mo? Every time I go, it's entirely woman run - and these women look like they're having a blast. They chit chat, yell, laugh - and every now and then, things on the stove go ablaze!

Ya Mo Thai Kitchen
3406 18th Street