With more pop-ups popping up all over lately, there is now a near-overwhelming amount to keep track of in SF. But Intu-on, an Isaan Thai pop-up operating out of Birba in Hayes Valley, was at the top of my Must-Try List for a while, mainly because it’s run by Intu-on Kornnawong, who used to work at Kin Khao and Night + Market (one of my favorite spots when I lived in LA). I finally got to stop by right before SF shut down outdoor dining, and it did not disappoint. Every bite was like a funky, spicy firework of a flavor bomb going off in my mouth, bursting with texture and heat. The dish I fell in love with the most, though, was the shrimp toast: a thick slice of milk bread topped with pork and shrimp mousse and tangy pickled chiles that disappeared from the table quicker than I can say “tangy pickled chiles” 10 times fast. I haven’t stopped thinking about this meal, so I’ll most likely be back next week - or as soon as my nose stops running.
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The Lunchpad, inside the Noir Lounge in Hayes Valley, serves all-day breakfast and some truly massive sandwiches.
Mercury Cafe is a simple, low-key coffee shop in Hayes Valley. The coffee is fine, but we like the scones better. And the free wifi.
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