Be adventurous by expanding your palate in San Francisco


Chris Christenson

San Francisco is a diverse city which offers a wide variety of food options.

Who said you had to have a boring palate to eat decently?

If millennials want to exercise their palate and have a better sense of good food, they must discover the food culture of San Francisco and pay less attention to what is advertised.

San Francisco’s food culture is quite unique from every other part of the country. Not only does the culture have restaurants that serve cheap and delicious meals, it also has the most aesthetically pleasing restaurants. With that being said, I don’t understand why I see millennials in fast food joints more often than I do in restaurants.

Of course, I don’t think the reason I don’t see them as much is because I go to certain restaurants for food or a drink during times when other millennials are nowhere to be found. It’s probably because it’s not in their interest to be adventurous. But they need to exercise their palate to discover better food so that they don’t become the type of person who doesn’t know about the lesser-known gems that San Francisco has to offer. That’s embarrassing.

Can it be the price that distracts these consumers from these food hubs? Maybe that’s not the case.

A Business Insider article states that 53 percent of millennials go out to eat once a week compared to 43 percent of the general population. Forbes says that millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025. The millennials who are going out to eat are actually the quickest growing generation that is going to work.

As a college student, it is difficult to go out and find these places, let alone afford a decent meal. So even though students are working more, they’re also paying for other things that distract them from being adventurous. It does take some time to find a new place to eat at and how do they know where to start looking?

If spending money on nice meals and trying something new is a concern of millennials, then they may be heading in the direction of the adventurous food culture that San Francisco has to offer.

Millennials have been on a health trend for quite a while now. But to be honest, they haven’t really been realistic about what it truly means to be healthy. This generation is not trying to eat healthy food just to be fit, because if they were, they’d try harder. I think what they’re mainly looking for in a meal is the nutritional value followed by good service.

You don’t have to try hard to find something you haven’t eaten in the city, but it does take some time to find those establishments. If you want to change your palate around and try something different, Lee’s Sandwiches and Brenda’s French Soul Food may be a good place to start.

If you want to exchange that $5 footlong for a better sandwich that’s more tasty and filling, consider checking out Lee’s Sandwiches. Although it doesn’t have Subway’s commercial feel, this local spot is well-known for baking their own baguettes and croissants.

Lee’s Sandwiches is a food chain that serves over 25 different sandwiches with a decent amount of them of them being under $6. Of course, some people may say you might “catch an L” for coming here because you could possibly get a cheap quality or poorly made sandwich. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t ask them to remake the sandwich.

But let me tell you, when you sink your teeth into one of their sandwiches, you’ll notice the flavors and they won’t be as bland like the other sandwiches you’ve had at those other sandwich spots. Subway may be extremely convenient, but not knowing if any part of that sandwich is actually fresh doesn’t make it as appealing. But I beg to differ because their sandwiches are crap. You walk into Subway expecting to get a cheap sandwich that won’t leave a strain on your pocket.

If sandwiches aren’t your thing and healthy meals aren’t a concern, but you want to pay for a meal that packs a lot of flavor that nearly costs as much as Denny’s, I would recommend trying out Brenda’s French Soul Food on Polk Street.

The San Francisco food culture provides you with a homey feel and Brenda’s truly encapsulates that. While occupying a narrow building, the restaurant has a simple and clean design inside. You’ll notice mirrors hanging all over, which makes this concrete-walled establishment look hip while remaining simple and elegant.

As for someone who has never tried French or soul food before, it was an outstanding experience to try their pork belly grits. I would tell you more but hopefully you’re more interested in actually going to the restaurant and experiencing their menu for yourself.

You might be thinking, where in this San Francisco food culture is the health trend? And to be honest, it’s not that far. There are plenty of places that brag about how the food they make is organic and vegan-friendly. Instead of eating something that is processed, you become mindful of the quality of your meal.

Remember, it’s not that your taste in restaurants suck, but they’re too commercial. I have been to Chipotle, the Cheesecake Factory, In-N-Out and other restaurants that you can name in a single breath. However, they do get boring after a while because there is no real variety in their offerings.

Think about it. If you’re just paying attention to where you’ve been told to go, or you’re only paying attention to advertisements, you’re just following the crowd. Even though there is no problem being this way, wouldn’t you want to be different? There are so many amazing restaurants out there waiting to be discovered, but not many of them advertise on platforms that attract this generation of people.

Health trend or not, you would appreciate your dining experiences a lot more when you accidentally find good restaurants.

And restaurants aside, being able to explore doesn’t just open the door to new places to eat. You end up finding a restaurant that you can bring other people to. Not only that, exploring the San Francisco food culture allows you to visit unexplored areas of the city that you haven’t been to before. Of course, food is why we’re reading this in the first place but you should really be looking for that different experience to train your palate.