Between social media stalking your bae crush, spilling tea with BFF and trying to wrap your mind around the President’s latest tweet, who has time to cook anymore?
The Bay Area has an enormous food culture, and a seemingly endless supply of dine-out options. If you’re looking to try something off the beaten path of $35 avocado toast and $300 sushi plates, then this is the list for you. Calorie counters, and health-conscious gurus, step-aside. This list is for the foodies who don’t mind trying something a little wacky. We’re talking donut burgers and red velvet waffles with fried chicken. The foods on our wacky eats list won’t cost you a fortune, so go ahead and #treatyourself or that tinder date you’re planning to take out on a (post) Valentine’s Day date.
Freakin French Toast ($7)
Hippie’s Brew located in Hayward, describes itself as a cozy neighborhood spot with a quirky vibe. They’re known for their inventive coffee drinks, and baked goods. A menu item favorite is the “Freakin French Toast,” which is essentially a grilled cheese sandwich, made with turkey bacon and french toast. The cinnamon swirl bread is dipped in a house-made Maple syrup batter.
The Ringmaster: Famous Doughnut Burger ($15)
Straw in San Francisco serves carnival style comfort food. Think po-boys, funnel cake and southern fried pickles. The menu’s gem is the doughnut burger, which features; two grass-fed all-beef patties, classic american cheese and two house-made glazed donuts. If that’s still too Plane-Jane for you, add-ons include maple-glazed bacon, fried egg, avocado, and you can even add two more patties for an extra fee. The doughnut burger is served with a side of shoestring fries. (Because what are calories? We’ve never heard of them.)
Red Velvet Signature Waffle and 2 piece Fried Chicken ($13)
Auntie April’s Chicken, Waffles, and Soul Food in San Francisco, takes chicken and waffles to the next level. Their Instagram worthy deep red velvet signature waffle has a remarkable look and taste. Pair the waffle with two pieces of fried chicken, and there you have an authentic Southern meal. The restaurant’s owner is a San Francisco native, who says she learned to cook Texan and Louisiana-style food in her grandmother’s kitchen.
Steak and Shrimp Cheese Fries with Bacon ($8)
L&S Fish and Chips in Oakland is conveniently located blocks away from the 12th Street Bart station, making it a convenient stop-and-go. There are so many delicious foods to please you at this hot spot, where the majority of menu items are under $10. Nothing makes us want cheat day to come sooner than land and sea uniting over a bed of cheesy steak fries.
Garbage Bread (Meat or Veggie) ($16)
Portal Oakland, located in the center of Oakland, has stylish and serene environment great for brunching or a Valentine’s Day date. Their glass-enclosed patio features handmade wooden benches, and a breathtaking view of Lake Merritt. Along with an innovative food menu, the restaurant serves a wide variety of local and regional craft beer. You absolutely cannot leave this place without trying the Garbage Bread–a house made stromboli stuffed with local vegetables, cheese and served with pesto and marinara.
Original Sizzling Plate #2 ($8)
Pepper Lunch in Milpitas first became popular in Japan, where its headquarters is currently located. This Japanese joint features noodles, meats and other ingredients a cooked on tabletop hot plates. The foodie’s choice meal is the Original Sizzling Plate #2, which has curry rice or udon, corn, choice of meat and egg.
GATOR PO’ BOY (price varies)
Southern Comfort Food operates out of a food truck, and has various locations depending on the day. All locations are updated on their website. Maybe you’ve seen their purple and gold food truck around, and thought about checking out the menu. Nike said “Just Do It,” and so do we! The menu item favorite at this spot is the Po-boy served with chopped up Alligator tail. The gator is soaked in buttermilk, hot sauce and blackened seasoning, then fried golden. Southern Comfort pairs the dinosaur meat with their well-celebrated red wine vinegar-cilantro infused coleslaw, tomatoes, pickles and homemade remoulade sauce. The sandwich is served on a classic french roll.
Crawfish Beignets ($4 each)
Brendas’ French Soul Food in San Francisco serves New Orleans inspired cuisine, described as French soul food. On the dinner menu, is Brenda’s version of beignet. The classic French style pastry is stuffed with spicy crawfish, a creole food staple, scallions and cheddar cheese. This dish is served as an appetizer, but can easily become a meal of its own.
Deep Fried Lobster and Fruity Pebble Waffle with Oreo Ice Cream (price varies)
If you’re looking to order in, Cooking N Style offers some of the most unique private dinner catering options in the Bay Area. Check out their Instagram handle @cookinnstyle to see the array of affordable options, made fresh. The restaurant is pretty underground, and enjoyed by some of the Bay Area’s elite, including some Warriors players. The must try menu item, is the waffle made with Fruity Pebble cereal, topped with Oreo Cookie ice cream and paired with deep fried lobster. To order, or for more information, email Cookingnstylee@gmail.com.
Captain Crunch Mini Cheesecake $3, Whole Cheesecake $30
Did you save room for dessert after all that? You should have, because you don’t want to miss out on our last wacky nom. Lynn’s Cheescake, based in Berkeley, creates unique and fantastic cheesecakes. The pie to try is the original cheesecake on top a cinnamon graham cracker crust, topped with Berry Captain Crunch cereal.
// Photos sourced from the respective businesses and shot by Candace Price. Did we miss your favorite bite? Why not DM us and let us know. Feature photo by Tanya Pro.