Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sol Food

DH outside Sol Food
Where and what one is eating is a topic of conversation I am endlessly interested in. It is is one of the few subjects I am equally happy to talk about with anyone, be it close friends or perfect strangers. As a result, restaurant recommendations are an important part of almost every conversation I find myself in.
Upon moving to the Bay Area, a restaurant frequently recommended was SOL FOOD in San Rafael, a half hour north of east bay by car.
Of course I heard SOUL food whenever anyone said it and politely passed on the suggestion. There was already more soul food restaurants in east bay than we could handle so why would we get in the car and drive to yet another soul food place in San Rafael?
After a half dozen different people suggested Sol Food, we could ignore it no more. 
And so we made our way to SOL Food, the Puerto Rican restaurant that now haunts my every waking hour and some dreams.
colorful doors line the interior walls

a kettle collection and family mementos are sprinkled throughout
Puerto Rican sodas and coconut waters
That last sentence might be an overstatement but only slightly. Sol Food is one of those rare restaurants that is so good, you almost regret knowing about because it completely distorts your relationship with all other restaurants. 
Am I the only one that has this perverse relationship with restaurants?? 
(Viet Noodle in the Atwater area of Los Angeles has this same effect on me.)
pique, housemade hot sauce
limonada fresca
Two staples of the restaurant are the pique, the vinegary homemade hot sauce, and the limonada fresca, perfectly sweetened limeade mixed with sparkling water and served in a 32 oz. mason jar! 
veggie plate with 'pink' beans and maduros, sweet platanos
veggie deluxe sandwich on tostones, with garlic-lemon dressed greens
The menu is very vegetarian/vegan friendly while still having quality chicken and steak and seafood options. DH usually orders the vegetarian plate of rice, pink beans with green olives, lemon-garlic dressed greens and either sweet or savory platanos. All sandwiches have the option to be served on tostones, or garlicky flattened platanos as a wheat-free option, a must in my opinion. The veggie deluxe sandwich on tostones pictured above is a sandwich I simply cannot recommend enough.
An angry letter from a concerned citizen
At the corner of Fourth and Lincoln in downtown San Rafael, Sol Food's mint green building has become iconic. In fact there is a hilarious letter from an uppity Marin county citizen advising the proprietors to change the 'garish' color of the restaurant or risk going out of business!
When we last went on a Monday afternoon, after the typical lunch hour rush the line was still out the door so luckily, the minty green Sol Food is here to stay!

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