Thursday, May 5, 2011

Dishcrawl San Mateo - A Culinary Adventure in Our Own Backyard

Last night my wife Terri and I hired a babysitter and went out for a night in Downtown San Mateo for one of the hottest new trends to hit the Bay Area -- DISHCRAWL!

Our cool Dishcrawl badge of honor!

The idea behind Dishcrawl is to "blend good food with good company" according to owner and founder Tracy Lee. The concept is simple:  For $25 per person (drinks not included), you get to walk around a City and sample the best food from 3-4 different restaurants.  On the way, you meet, mingle (and drink!) with 50-60 new friends! 

Adding to the fun of the event, the names of the restaurants are kept a surprise -- only the meeting location for the first location is revealed via email 24 hours before the event. 

Terri and I joined a group of 50 other Dishcrawlers in front of our first stop:  RAVE BURGER at 144 East 3rd Avenue in Downtown San Mateo.  We signed in with the friendly Dishcrawl staff, got a cool Dishcrawl button to wear for the evening, and then . . . eating ensued!

Terri in front of Rave Burger with our new Dishcrawler friends!

At Rave Burger, we started off with sweet potato fries and homemade curly fries, then had a mini-cheeseburger made with all natural Niman Ranch beef.  Despite warnings from seasoned Dishcrawlers to "pace yourselves", I threw caution to the wind by eating two helpings of sweet potato fries.

Our 2nd stop was to newly-opened FLETCH'S at 385 2nd Avenue, across from the movie theater.  Fletch's serves authentic Chicago Style hot dogs -- hot dog with sweet green relish, onions, mustard, tomato, dill pickle, and pepper on a poppy seed bun.  Fletch's is so authentic, the buns are delivered daily from Chicago!

Meeting the owner of newly-opened Fletch's Hot Dogs

I was so busy admiring the Chicago-themed decoration of Fletch's I barely had time to eat my hot dog before it was time to move onto our 3rd stop which was . . .

KINGFISH at 201 South B Street.  An upscale American restaurant specializing in seafood and steaks, we were whisked to a private room upstairs where many of us bought the famous Hurricane drinks (fruit juice and rum) Kingfish is known for.  While we sipped our drinks, we were treated to warm homemade truffled potato chips sprinkled with creamy blue cheese and chives, followed by baked garlic parmesan bread.  To top it off, Kingfish served us delicious filet mignon crispy potstickers topped with red pepper vinaigrette and pesto aioli.

At this point, I was seriously stuffed, and so it was fortunate that our 4th and (supposedly) final stop was a little further back up 3rd Avenue.  We all needed the walk to make some room for our last stop!  By that time all 50 of us had mingled and talked for over an hour, so we were a merry band of Dishcrawlers as we headed to

ASTARIA at 50 East 3rd Avenue, located on the ground floor of the historic Ben Franklin Hotel.  Specializing in California fare, the owner of Astaria, Alicia Petrakis greeted us and escorted us inside.

At Astaria, we ordered a tasty pineapple mojito while dining on delicious Asian style pulled pork tostadas and sauteed portobello manchego and gorgonzola quesadillas.  It was truly a great way to end a wonderful evening of Dishcrawling.

Or so we thought.  We were then told that as a surprise, a final stop was being added to our night.  We therefore tramped back into the night, and ended up at . . .

BEARD PAPA'S at 365 2nd Avenue.  Known for their fresh and natural cream puffs, we all loaded up on chocolate and vanilla cream puffs.

And with that, our Dishcrawl adventure was over.  We traded phone numbers and emails with some of our new-found friends, and made plans to meet up at the next edition of Dishcrawl in San Mateo.

That's the beauty of Dishcrawl.  Each Dishcrawl is a unique experience with all new restaurants, and all new adventures, so our next outing will feature all new places to eat. 

As a San Mateo City Councilmember, I was excited to see such an exciting, vibrant, and tasty experience come to Downtown San Mateo, and I look forward to welcoming back Dishcrawl later this summer.  I hope everyone in our neighborhood will come out for to make new friends, try new foods, and have a wonderful time!!

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