Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Fins on the Hoof - Slow Braised Rancho Gordo Borlotti Beans

If most food trucks are like mobile restaurants, then Fins on the Hoof is more like a mobile bistro, the kind of place with the checkerboard tablecloth, only five tables, the chef also takes your order, and the menu is always a surprise. I really enjoy visiting Fins when we go to eat at the trucks, because the menu changes often enough that there's at least one item on it that I've never eaten before. Maybe it comes from Todd Middleton's background as a private chef, but the result is food that captures the flavors of the season and highlights his creativity.

A few weeks ago I was in the mood for a lighter dish, so I decided to get the Slow Braised Rancho Gordo Borlotti Beans from Fins. Served with crispy guanciale, roasted onions, and a fried egg, along with a few small pieces of toasted bread, it was exactly what I was looking for. Borlotti beans produce a great sauce from their pot liquor, and it was especially good when combined with the slightly runny yolk of the egg. The fatty, crispy pieces of guanciale were a good choice over bacon, being more substantial without leaving the dish too cluttered with smokiness. And the toast was perfect for mop up work. Even having two preschoolers with me stealing bits of egg and my side of fries, I could appreciate the time that was put into this meal. It made me feel like I was on vacation in a small Tuscan town, enjoying a simple supper in the early summer evening. I did find that the dish could have used a little bit more salt, but otherwise every flavor had its place.

Living in the Bay Area, we are blessed to have easy access to Rancho Gordo heirloom beans. I love to cook beans at home, and the difference between Rancho Gordo quality and small, flavorless supermarket beans is easily discerned. How much do I love Rancho Gordo's beans? Let's just say one of my favorite Christmas gifts was a seven-bag sampler pack and the Rancho Gordo cookbook. The fact that a food truck can put together a uniquely-Bay Area dish with artisanal products speaks to the great food culture we have on our streets.

Because the Fins on the Hoof menu is seasonal and changes constantly, you might not find the Slow Braised Rancho Gordo Borlotti Beans on the menu when you visit this food truck. Check out their website and Twitter feed for what's currently being served. If you are in the mood for something lighter, uncomplicated, and packed with flavor, give this dish a try.

Rating: 4/5 (ratings guide)

Fins on the Hoof (@finsonthehoof) $7.00 per order, $2 extra for a side order of fries

Does reading this make you want to try this vendor? Tell them that you saw them at I Left My Cart in San Francisco and support San Francisco street cuisine!

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