Of the 7 years I’ve lived in San Francisco, a glorious 5 of them have been spent living in the Inner Richmond neighborhood.
It’s refreshing to hear that my college ‘hood is finally gaining some reputation points as an up-and-coming place to live. Unfortunately, I’ve since moved to the other side of the park, but I still frequent a few of my favorite hip shops and eateries up and down Clement street: Park Life, Green Apple Books, and Q Restaurant.
Q Restaurant holds a special place in my heart since it was one of the first restaurants Alex took me to when we started dating. With quirky art shops and laid back coffee houses dotting the same block, Q encompasses both playful and energetic decor (alphabet magnets!) with the unpretentious warmth of comfort food. We arrived during the dinner rush and were not surprised at their estimated 45 minute wait (this place is usually packed on weekend nights). The blocks of Clement street between 3rd and 8th are home to some of the best little Asian markets in the city, so we were happy to browse the shops and reminisce about our early dating jitters.
An absolute favorite dish of mine has always been mac and cheese. Q definitely hits it out of the park with their version, topped devilishly with tater tots. Their mac and cheese has that familiar sharp cheddar taste, but also a hint of sweet smokiness (almost like BBQ sauce) that blends nicely with the crunchy tots. We also tried their fried chicken for the first time during our recent visit and were blown away at how moist the chicken was and again intrigued by the faint sweetness of their gravy. Q does a great job of taking classic comfort food and adding an ingredient or two that set it apart from the rest.
After a nostalgic and tasty meal sprinkled with hints of sweetness, we decided to pull the lever into full sugar overload with Q’s Wickedly Forbidden Apple Crisp. Although the apple faded into the background, the homemade crisp topping and gooey caramel center reminded us of why we continued to trek across the park for dinner. Not only does this neighborhood bring back old college memories for me, there are actually some excellent restaurants and shops, like Q, that are well worth the trip.