Pal, please: You'll want your own sandwich and salads at Pal's Take Away. Photo by Kimberly Chun.
By Kimberly Chun
I love Dynamo Donut's newest neighbor - nestled in Tony's Market, at 2751 24th St. and Hampshire - 'cause he's absolutely delish.
Pal's Take Away - essentially a stand within the corner bodega across the way from DD - sources its sparkling fresh food stuffs from Acme, Marin Sun, Dirty Girl, Riverdog, Full Belly, Knoll, etc., as well as chums' fruit trees - and it keeps a concise menu, focusing on sandwiches made to order and two or three salads, tops.
Pal also likes mango on his homemade strawberry jam and almond butter offering - but I'll forgive him for that because my spring peas salad - with fresh shelling, sugar snap, and snow peas and a blissful dose of mint and champagne vinegar - kind of made my day. I don't care what some cooks say about frozen peas being a perfectly acceptable substitute for fresh: you can tell the difference, and this salad is the ideal way to relish these tiny-tailed babies.
I also snagged the Indian-style chicken salad with pickled shallots and shredded Blue Heron lettuces and, man, was it tasty. I seem to recall telling my very own pal that I wasn't very hungry as we stood at the counter reading the verbose signage, the detailed sandwich descriptions, and drooling a little in our mouths - I think I said I only wanted a bite of his. Needless to say, I wolfed the entire number down while the chicken salad was still perkily fresh in its seeded bun.
The ideal side to the chicken salad: the turmeric-ginger roasted cauliflower. Yep, I know, lightly curried cauliflower is the LBD of Bay Area restaurants these days - but this one made me want to rush back to Pal's for more.
Pal's menu changes all the time - apparently their own "lovingly cured authentic East Coast NYC pastrami" is up next since the proprietors claim that they managed to waterboard the recipe out of their Uncle Manny. So get over there. You pay a little more - like Dynamo - but I think the bright flavor combinations just may be worth it. A few more vegetarian and vegan options would also be welcome additions to the menu. One downside: nowhere to sit, though I recommend trotting over to the small park with the Gaudi-esque snake bench on the next block, near Pop's, and inhaling your sandwich there.