- Bending over to put on your shoes is more difficult than it was when you were in college.
- You and your Asian dry cleaner’s wife have something in common; you both think the gaping hole in the crotch of your jeans is a lost cause.
- You find yourself rationalizing the three appetizers and entrée you ordered for lunch with statements like “I owe my readers!”
- You think a spinach flour tortilla makes your chile relleno burrito “healthy.”
- You feel like folding laundry is exercise.
- Your hybrid’s gas mileage has dropped from 41 to 38 MPGs and your mechanic turns away when he asks if you’ve been schlepping more passengers than usual.
- You’re growing a beard to hide the double chin a friend has affectionately nicknamed “triple cream.”
- Your eyes are trained to gloss over vegan recipes, because you know they can’t be used as an excuse to visit the cheese monger.
- The sales clerk at the Bethesda Brooks Brother’s makes the unsolicited suggestion that you can soften your man-boobs with Spanx before winking at you and writing what you think is his number on your receipt, but is really the number for a fat-chasers dating service.
- Although you can’t see him and you don’t always feel his presence…there is indeed a plumber in the house!
And it’s food blog pots like this that make me realize how much I need to comfort my overweight soul with more delicious food; thus repeating the vicious cycle all over again. Because that’s what it means to have an addiction to food.
Thankfully, I’ve learned to channel my obsession into a more sustainable way to satiate with sustenance— Japanese yakitori!
How is yakitori (or kushiyaki) healthy? Because it’s usually skewers of small pieces of meat or offal cooked over a charcoal grill, making it high on protein and low on carbs. So when I’m feeling like I need to eat “healthier” and yet I’m starving– which is always the case—I trek out to Halu in San Francisco’s Inner Richmond, squeeze my tush onto a stool at the bar, and enjoy some of the most simple– yet delicious—styles of Japanese comfort food.
Halu- The Best Yakitori in San Francisco
It’s an understatement to say Halu in the Inner Richmond is a “hole in the wall.” Not because it’s dirty and rough around the edges or anything like that, but because it’s literally the size of a hole in a wall. Fine, maybe more like a shoebox. And that’s why it’s always crowded and groups of two or more usually have to wait for a table. But don’t let me discourage you from going; put your name down and wait if you have to, because the food is worth it! Each order of skewered meats or vegetables (aka yakitori) is the perfect blend of salty goodness and smoky char from the grills going full blast behind the single kitchen counter decorated with every kind of sake you can imagine. They have both filtered and unfiltered bottles, served warm or cold. We found the “Perfect Snow,” which was thick, cold, sweet and creamy, to be an excellent choice for washing down everything we ordered.
The tiny Japanese waitresses are quick and attentive and the food comes out when it’s ready, but while you wait, you can take in all the Beatles décor and late-60’s fanfare adorning the table tops, bar, and every inch of available wall and ceiling space. For being a third of the block down from busy Clement Street, this tiny Japanese BBQ and sake house certainly commands your attention! Here’s what we ordered on a recent trip.
Chicken livers, beef tongue, gizzard, and bacon wrapped enokitake (enoki) mushrooms.
Okonomiyaki, a spongy Japanese savory pancake cooked with green onions, cabbage and meat inside, and then topped with various sweet and salty sauces, pickled ginger, and fresh green onions.
Agedashi tofu in the most delicious umami-potent broth, which is very much like (if not the same) as the broth you get with tempura. Lightly fried tofu in Halu broth with fresh graded ginger.
Fried scallops skewers.
Kurobuto Sausage with shichimi sprinkled karashi mustard and more chicken liver
Mochi wrapped in bacon and minced chicken stuffed mushrooms
Ginko seeds, which sort of tasted like a sweet corn with a slightly more waxy dry consistency.
Hiyashi chuka, cold noodles served in a traditional soy citrus broth with roast pork organic spring salad with cucumber, thin sliced egg, ginger, and kaiware daikon sprouts. This was the perfect finish to our meal.