Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Food & Drinks
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Published on March 29, 2024
San Francisco Welcomes 'Fare Play,' a Queer-Owned Pop-Up Celebrating Farm-to-Table Cuisine in SoMaSource: Google Street View

San Francisco's foodies have a new go-to spot with Fare Play, a queer-owned pop-up dishes out farm-to-table goodness in the heart of SoMa. Chef Brenden Blaine Darby, a veteran of haute cuisine and agriculture, is steering the kitchen at this jovial joint, which sprang from humble dinner parties for the queer community to a full-blown culinary venture, according to a report by SF Eater. The pop-up, located at 167 11th Street, serves a zest of seasonal savors, based, on what's ripe and ready at local farms and markets.

The food scene at Fare Play is ever-changing, with menu items that twist and turn with the seasons, and the latest haul from the Heart of the City farmers market. Darby, who previously worked at coveted kitchens like Noma and Manresa, imbues the Fare Play dishes with flavors learned from their Italian and Portuguese grandmothers, "SF Eater" reports. The pop-up's playful approach extends to customers drawing or jotting down notes on the menu - a little game that gets a chuckle when the kitchen responds in kind.

One enamored diner took to Instagram to rave about their experience, detailing a tasting menu that tickled the taste buds with vegetarian offerings from smashed radishes to pumpkin carpaccio and a show-stopping Portuguese bean stew named "grandma's soupage." The post underscored the creative and community essence that Fare Play seems to embody flawlessly.

Darby also keeps the beverages straightforward, with a curated selection of red and white wines, one beer choice, and a few nonalcoholic drinks to cleanse the palate, "SF Eater" adds. On the horizon are plans to broaden the drink menu and include wine tastings – a prospect as refreshing as the pop-up's concept. Fare Play charms diners Thursday to Saturday from 5 to 10 p.m., with reservations available via OpenTable. With a mission to fashion a fun, food-filled evening, Darby quips, "We’ve had a lot of people come in very grumpy, and when they leave, they say, ‘Oh my god, I’m so sorry, I came in so upset. This was the best night I’ve had, I needed it.’"