Warm muffaletta, chicken meatball Reubens, fizzy Kvas ... Market and Rye, Anda Piroshki, and All Good Pizza hit the spot
A close childhood pal is Russian and her mother and grandmother often home-baked us unforgettable treats as kids, from blintzes to piroshkis, those little baked buns stuffed with goodness. I still dream of them — a rarity in this town. Not even in Chicago or NY have I tasted any piroshkis as fresh as those at Anda Piroshki, a stall in the tiny but idyllic 331 Cortland marketplace housing a few take-out food purveyors. I've eaten Anda at SF Street Food Fest, but the ideal is to arrive at 331 soon after it opens when piroshkis are pulled from the oven piping hot.
The dough is airy yet dense, ever-so-subtly sweet, like a glorified Hawaiian roll. No skimping on fillings — one piroshki ($3.75–4.50) fills me up. Sustainable meats and local ingredients make them relatively guilt-free. Try a button mushroom piroshki overflowing with fresh spinach, or one of ground beef, rice and Swiss, oozing comfort. My favorite is Atlantic smoked salmon and cream cheese accented by black pepper and dill. It makes a savory, creamy breakfast.
The one downside has been a straight-faced, disinterested server who could not be bothered as I asked a question about Russian sodas (like Kvass, a fermented rye soda — pleasing rye notes if too saccharine) and acted the same when I returned a second time... a stark contrast to the friendliness I encounter at every other 331 business. But momentary coldness is still worth those warm piroshkis.
331 Cortland Ave., SF. (415) 271-9055, www.andapiroshki.com
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