On one of our recent trips to San Francisco we decided go a little “out of the box” and try something off the wall. We decided to look for theme restaurant experiences in the city and boy did we find a good one. We came across the restaurant “Straw’ in the Hayes valley area only a few blocks away from the famous Haight-Ashbury district and very close to downtown San Francisco. Straw’s themed restaurant serves up carnival inspired comfort food. As we entered we noticed that the place is small and showcases vintage décor and carnival posters on its walls. From the looks of it they had salvaged some great carnival and state fair memorabilia and were now utilizing it as furniture and props, great idea!
While speaking to our server we received the history and background on how Straw was brought to life. Birthed from a simple idea created by the owner, Ari Feingold brought the theme of carnival food as a contender in the city dining scene. From his research this had never been done. Ari’s inspiration developed from his childhood memories of being dropped off by his parents at Coney Island.
We arrived at Straw on a Sunday for brunch and immediately saw that this was a neighborhood hot spot for sure! We had made reservations and much to our surprise we got the best seat in the house, a Tilt O Whirl that came from an actual carnival! Right away we got in the mood; now to try some good old fashion comfort food; diet? Not today!
We immediately noticed the wide variety of food choices, not everything is fried and fits in the comfort food category so don’t worry if that’s not your thing. T|here are multiple grilled items and Vegetarian choices for those who aren’t in the mood for carnie fare. We asked the server what the best sellers on the menu were and of course he recited the items we had currently been eyeballing. Our carnival journey started off with some interesting drink concoctions to kick off the fun. Of course we had to try the Cotton Candy Cocktail which consisted of Sabe Vodka Infused-Sake, Champagne and Cotton Candy. Once that drink was finished to stay in the carnival mood we ordered the Creamsicle Quencher of the Day. Orange Soda with fresh hand scooped Vanilla Ice Cream, instantly we were brought back to our childhood.
Now on to the food! First up was the “Whack a Mole” aka a Red Velvet Belgian Waffle with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting topped with Seasonal Fruit. This one really hit home, best waffle we’ve ever tried, hands down. We were getting full quick; our insulin levels on the rise but we were ready for round two. Time for the entrees, notice how we had dessert first, we highly suggested doing this on your trip to Straw!
Just then our server arrived with the Fried Chicken Monte Crisco, a work of art comprised of Fried Chicken Strips, a Home-made Belgian Waffle bun, Raspberry Jam, Swiss Cheese, Maple Syrup and Powdered Sugar. Holy Moly! For the sweet and salty lovers we suggest The Ringmaster, a Ground Chuck Burger with a Home-made Glazed Doughnut Bun, Cheddar Cheese and Maple-Glazed Bacon. A burger made with a glazed doughnut? We just couldn’t resist!
Our experience at Straw gave us exactly what was promised, a trip back to childhood, which everyone needs to do once in a while. Life’s too short not to have fun with your food!