Best Hole-in-the-Wall Food in San Francisco

San Francisco is known for having some of the best foods in the world when it comes to endless fresh seafoods, unforgettable sourdough breads and everyone’s favorite: Ghirardelli chocolates. Also included on San Francisco best foods list should be some of the many unbelievable “hole-in-the-wall” eating establishments that also provide an incredible culinary experience. Our best picks, listed in alphabetical order, are:

The Blue Plate – located in the outer Mission neighborhood, The Blue Plate was the winner of the 2016 Diner’s Choice Award. Serving their own, “American fare with a Mediterranean twist,” they also boast of using the best Northern California produce from local farms.

Brenda’s French Soul Food – with a BFA in Painting and Drawing, owner and chef extraordinaire, Brenda, turned from her love and gift of art to providing customers with an incredible best San Francisco food experience. Continually excelling in the food and restaurant arena, she has received many accolades for her soul food fare.

The Front Porch –  with so many great reviews regarding their culinary delights, their southern-style chicken meals are intended to provide a one-of-a-kind palate pleasure. Formerly a popular place for the rich and famous, there is no additional cost for rocking in one of their many rocking chairs.

Nob Hill – this literal “hole in the wall” (based on its size) states on their website, “We specialize in authentic, home-style Italian food. We are a family owned restaurant that has thrived in San Francisco’s Nob Hill neighborhood for 20 years. Enjoy our cozy atmosphere and delicious food, which will keep you and your guests coming back for more.”

Tommy’s Joynt – as mentioned on their website, Tommy’s Joynt is the Original Hof-Brau of San Francisco and is one the longest living culinary institutions. Unchanged, year after year, their hot food and cold drinks parry their no-frills, best food atmosphere.

Cordon Bleu – this no-more-than-twenty-seat Vietnamese restaurant finds people coming from all over town to treat themselves to their signature dish: five-spiced roasted chicken on a tall bed of rice with a meaty sauce. Cordon Bleu is known for its huge portions and homemade style and is a must on San Francisco’s best food list.

Sam Wo – Known as the oldest restaurant in San Francisco’s Chinatown, as their website states, Sam Wo, “was built shortly after the 1906 earthquake at the original location (813 Washington Street) by three immigrant siblings from the village of Taishan, China.” And is, “famous for inexpensive barbecue pork rice noodle rolls and porridge called jook until 3:00AM.”


When it comes to San Francisco’s city life, there are always more places and events to see than time allows, including enjoying so many best food meals that are quick to offer great flavor in an unforgettable atmosphere.

If these places aren’t big enough for your company event, Handheld Catering’s San Francisco Bay Area catering services can provide fresh and delicious food for your special event right to your doorstep or in a special venue. Gives us a call at 408-692-4782 or by emailing to discuss your event.

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Does Your Business Need Lunch Catering?

When it comes to the daily business environment, within the Silicon Valley or surrounding San Francisco Bay Area, the demands of each day can be so overwhelming. Too often employees are found perplexed about how and when to take a lunch break. Equally as challenging is the onsite unavailability of anything nutritious to eat. And then there are all those high-tech professionals that sometimes need to be impressed. Handheld Catering continually handles these dilemmas with our Silicon Valley catering services.

Whether you have an important, upcoming corporate event or a simple lunchtime thank you for your employees, our catering services are here to help. A basic meal can easily become an unforgettable experience for both guests and colleagues, as well as a phenomenal addition to any necessary lunchtime brainstorming sessions, and these are the reasons why:

Time efficient – whether you’re in need of a box lunch, buffet or even a sit-down meal, Handheld Catering is here to help. Our mobile kitchen is prepared to deliver food that is hot off the grill or cold and fresh from the fridge. And we make sure to park our culinary trailer completely out of sight. Leaving lunch to us, allows time for you to continue to address your business work load without too much of a break in flow. By using Handheld Catering, all you do is conveniently make your way to the lunchroom area and leave the rest to us.

Fresh nutritional value – Handheld Catering is known for its farm-to-fork approach. We only use locally grown fruits and vegetables to guarantee our food is fresh and flavorful. There is nothing better than avoiding all the junk food machines or the salty, non-nutritious fast foods we tend to pick up and start enjoying foods that will add nutritional value to your diet while not contributing to unwanted pounds.  

Delivered to your lunchroom table – no longer do employees have to waste busy business time trying to figure out who will leave the building to pick up lunch, only to return without one of the meals because there were so many to remember. By pre-ordering, we confirm each meal for each person and conveniently bring your food to you. This ease in obtaining lunch and enjoying a full catering experience is one of our customer’s favorite features.  

Increased employee morale – nothing increases employee morale more than being together doing something positive. The additional experience of adding a freshly prepared meal to your business environment is “the icing on the cake.” Since food is a necessity for any business, the fact that a quick solution to this dilemma is available brings delight to every employee. To have this type of “thank you” happen in the comfort of your very own office can make your employee’s day and motivate them to increase performance.  And best of all, many of our meals are as affordable as most fast-food chains.

Call Handheld Catering today and let us show you how we can turn your dull lunchtime meal into one amazing experience, with just one quick phone call at 408-692-4782 or by emailing today.  

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San Francisco Summer Festivals

When it comes to Summer Festivals, no one puts on greater, more festive events than San Francisco. And what’s even better is that most of these festivals are free. With this list, the opportunity is there for you to enjoy more of your Summer days and nights:

Stern Grove Festival – “For the Community, Building the Community,” and “By the Community” is the mantra for this nearly 100% donation-funded festival series. Taking place each Sunday throughout the Summer, this admission-free concert series is in its 80th season, with a line-up that includes: Ximena Sarinana (a Summer Classic from San Francisco Ballet); Cross-cultural funk (War, Global Electronica, Brazilian Girls, Moon Hooch); and Sunday Soul Jam (Mavis Stables).

Gilroy Garlic Festival – Touted as “Summer’s Ultimate Food Fair,” this popular San Francisco Summer festival began in 1978 when Dr. Rudy Melone decided Gilroy grew more garlic than anywhere else in the world, so he decided to celebrate this fact. And, he has, for 39 years. This year, from July 28th – 30th, you can celebrate the wonderful world of garlic with great entertainment, cooking contests, wine-tastings, arts & crafts and a kid’s area. Then, top this all off with some unforgettable garlicky foods, such as pickles, fries and even ice cream.

Berkeley Kite Festival – “Let’s go fly a kite, up to its highest height.” And you can, at the 32nd Annual Kite Festival & West Coast Kite Championships, held in Berkeley, from July 29th – 30th. Admission is free, but parking is $15.00. Make a kite or buy a kite. Either way, this is one fun event. Activities include free kite making, kite flying lessons and a giant creature kite expo.

Free Shakespeare in the Park – this fun San Francisco Summer Concert Series features Shakespeare’s, Hamlet. For 35 years this free and professional performance has pleased audiences from inside and outside the San Francisco area. Running from July 16 – October 8th, 2017 at five different locations, their goal is to offer the general public an opportunity to attend a live production.

Yerba Buena Gardens Festival – As their website states, “The YBG Festival presents classical, world, and jazz music, contemporary and traditional dance, theater, children’s and family programs, and cultural events reflecting the rich cultures and creativity of the region. Artistic excellence, inclusion, diversity and innovation are at the heart of our mission.” Check out their website for dates and times.

Beer Week in San Jose – running from July 21st – 30th in the South Bay Area, this 10-day event includes such exciting opportunities as: No Peeking! 6-Beer IPA Blind Tasting; Knee Deep Tap Takeover; Barebottle Brewing Company Flight Night; Beer Week Tap Takeover!; The Bruery Tap Takeover; SVBW Official Kickoff Party; and An Evening w/ Japan’s COEDO Brewery.

   San Francisco Summer Festivals are now in full swing, guaranteed to be an incredible addition to your unforgettable Summer fare.  

Are you hosting or sponsoring a local event in the Bay Area and in need of awesome catering?  Handheld Catering’s Bay Area event catering services can provide fresh and delicious food for your special event that all your guests will rave about. Gives us a call at 408-692-4782 or by emailing to discuss your needs.

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Planning Your Stay: Visiting the Bay Area for an Event

When it comes to San Francisco events, including those catered by Handheld Catering, you have nothing to worry about. Because their annual calendar is always full, this city accommodates visitors from all over the world, which is why San Francisco event planning is far from being a rocket science. In fact, it is very travel-friendly.

Usually, when a person thinks of visiting San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge comes to mind. While this bridge is truly one of greatest wonders of the world, San Francisco has much more to offer for every personality type, from adventurous to cultural to high tech to everyday tourist.

San Francisco is a small city only seven miles long. Boasting of a population of under one million, this town is the second-most densely-populated city in the nation, earning it the nickname of “city on a hill.”

With nearly 25 million visitors arriving each year to attend a myriad of events, like those catered by Handheld Catering, there are many resources available to make your stay more than enjoyable.  

If you are planning to come to the San Francisco area for an event, the first step you will want to take is to check the weather. June and July are famous for fog. April and October have the clearest skies. And remember, the ocean water is typically too cold to swim in anytime.

Other event planning facts and resources are:

  • Summer attracts the largest number of visitors while Spring and Fall are not quite as busy.
  • Like nearly everywhere else, hotel rates are the least expensive during the winter months, with the expectation of any type of huge event.
  • Hotels near the airport are less expensive. Within the city, hotels average $244 per night and run from two-star to five-star with some being pet friendly,
  • Airbnb, apartments, vacation rentals, hostels and bed and breakfasts are in abundance  
  • San Francisco has more restaurants per capita than any other major city in the nation so, when it comes to fine dining or fast food meals, the options are endless.
  • San Francisco is sometimes referred to as “a collection of villages,” as in Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square and Golden Gate Park. In addition, there is Nob Hill, the Castro District, Haight-Ashbury and Japantown. Other attractions include Alcatraz Island, AT&T Park, Lands End and the many Walking Tours
  • Because of its small size, San Francisco is one of the easiest cities to navigate, using cable cars, public transportation and ride-sharing

Handheld Catering partners with many of the events in the San Francisco area. We

pride ourselves in providing high quality culinary experiences at every event we cater and enjoy meeting so many satisfied visitors who delight in visiting this unforgettable town.

Feel free to contact us today at Handheld Catering at 408-692-4782 or at with any help you might need regarding your next San Francisco event.  

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Stay Hydrated! Keep Your Team Happy & Healthy

At Handheld Catering, we a very aware that water is one thing we cannot live without. In fact, did you know we can survive without food longer than we can survive without water? Knowing the recommended daily allowance of water is eight cups per day–with more water necessary during the hot summer months and during exercise, we encourage hydration at all of our San Jose catering events. We keep fluids readily available and replenished often.   

Severe dehydration can create many health problems. However, most people don’t realize that even mild dehydration can be dangerous. Losing just two percent of your body’s overall hydration can result in headaches, confusion, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating. Outdoor events held in the San Jose area are subject to summer’s heat. Drinking lots of water helps regulate our body temperature. The last thing anyone wants to experience or witness is lightheadedness or worse. We are aware of this and go to great lengths to make sure all our customers receive the water they request.

Because nearly 20 percent of our daily water intake comes from fruits, vegetables, meats and other foods—resulting in less drinking water being needed, we know it is important to plan our meals with this thought in mind.

Here are some simple ways Handheld Catering suggests you keep hydrated at your next San Jose area summer event:

Always have a water bottle nearby – studies have shown that those who keep water within reach, tend to drink it more often. Do not put too many steps between you and your water bottle.

Plan your meals to include more water-friendly foods – there are many foods rich in water available during the summer months, like watermelon, cantaloupe, honey dew and cucumbers. These foods are a vital part of our menu selection.

Drink water during your meals –  this is an easy one because our natural and cultural inclination is to accent every meal with one or more fluids.  

Avoid foods that deplete hydration – when attending or planning an event in the San Jose area, Handheld Catering suggests avoiding salty snack foods like potato chips and crackers. Cookies and cakes have minimal water to offer while alcohol is extremely dehydrating.

Know the signs of dehydration – if witnessing or experiencing dehydration, know that a normal urine color is pale yellow. If your urine is dark, like apple juice, you might be dehydrated. Dehydration also includes reduced urine output, thirst, fatigue and/or headaches. So, keep in mind proper hydration when planning all your San Jose area summer events.

Call us today at 408-692-4782 or email us at and let us show you how we can help your next event be a well-hydrated one.

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Summer Food Options

Summer is here in the bay area, which means the time has arrived for all those wonderful summer foods to take center stage at all your catering events. Fortunately, in the bay area, we’ve got terrific foods to choose from, and we here, at Handheld Catering, keep this in mind when it comes to our food selections for these unique and physically demanding summer months.

At Handheld Catering, many of our best choices, for your upcoming bay area events, keep summer specifically in mind. We realize that during these hotter months, it is important to focus on hydration and meals rich in nutrients. Our unique farm-to-fork approach continues to lead the industry because of our fresh flavors, nutrients and signature flavor.

Because of our commitment to use only local area foods in our catering menus, our meals do not lose their value and flavor, like they would through long-distance shipping. The look and appeal of fresh food makes all the difference as well.

Our years of experience in creating just the right type of summer offerings includes an abundance of green leafy green vegetables, thirst-quenching fruits and the all-important fibrous vegetables. Created with these facts in mind, our popular vegetarian dishes include:

  • The Vegetable Tower (grilled seasonal vegetables, charred tomato coulis, basil oil)
  • Stuffed Sweet Chili Peppers with Wild Rice and Wilted Spinach in a Spicy Tomato Sauce.
  • Seasonal Vegetable and Red Quinoa Streusel with a Roasted Red Pepper Coulis


Everyone knows lighter meals are easier on the digestive system, especially during summer. We have created several meals specifically for this time of year, including:

  • Chipotle, Honey and Lime-glazed Prawns
  • Smoked Baby Back Ribs with an Apricot and Siracha Glaze
  • BBQ Chicken with a Chipotle and Lime Glaze


Often, our repeat customers select these meals

over and over again because of their satisfying taste, appeal and hydrating, nutritious effects.

Also included in our summer selections are our tasty roasted seasonal vegetables, such as our Caramelized Brussel Sprouts and our ever-popular Balsamic Marinated Grilled Vegetables. .

Because watermelon is 90 percent water, this, and so many other locally grown melons, also adds to Summer’s demands while appealing to your guests.

Let the team at Handheld Catering take your next bay area summer event to the next level, like we have for so many of our other satisfied and repeat customers. Call us today at 408-692-4782 or by emailing

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Vetting Your Caterer: What to Know

Nowadays it pays to vet anyone in the Bay Area, and throughout the country, who is responsible for any major event in your life, including the caterer of your important upcoming event. This can make the difference between a positively remarkable event and one that could end up being one of life’s worst nightmares.

In addition to the many other questions you will want to ask your prospective caterer, you will also want to ask him or her questions to verify his or her legitimacy and compliance.

Following are some questions you might want to ask to guarantee the person responsible for providing the food at your event, in or around the Bay Area, is responsible and reputable;

Can the caterer provide the names and phone numbers of three references – this question is so standard that a good caterer would be surprised if this question was not asked.

Where can you read reviews of their services – typically reviews can be found on their website. If not, they might possibly have third-party validations from past customers who were pleased with their catering services.

Do they have a business license – a professional caterer must have a business license, and make sure their business license is current.

Do they have liability coverage – a reputable caterer will also carry liability insurance. If not, you could be responsible and held liable for any unexpected damages that occurred during the food services portion of your event.

Do they have a liquor license – a caterer can only serve liquor with a current liquor license.

Is the kitchen where the food is prepared licensed as a Food Service Establishment – some states require this, so that the kitchen and the caterer follow all health codes.

Is food stored, prepared and transported adequately – you will want to make sure your food is free from cross-contamination by dust, insects or other sources.

Is food stored and displayed at safe temperatures – this is not the time for people to get sick, so make the caterer is knowledgeable and compliant with food temperatures.  

What hygienic measures do they follow – this includes all cooks, servers and other staff members. Food, kitchens, equipment and vehicles must be sanitary.

Would that we could just trust everyone that comes our way, but, when it comes to a costly, time-consuming, one-time event, in the Bay Area, that’s meant to impress, entertain or inform your guests, one can’t ever be too careful when choosing a reputable caterer. Contact Handheld Catering today!

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Things to Know for a Summer Wedding in San Francisco

Whether you are a San Francisco Wedding Planner or simply planning a wedding in the San Francisco area, there are a few things you should know when you or your planner creates your Summer wedding, namely:

Keep your eye on the sky – because weather is always unpredictable—in the San Francisco area as well, keep an eye on the forecast. Websites, like, can give you a broad idea of what the weather might be like through their long-range forecasts.  

Have a plan B – if holding an outdoor event, make sure to have a backup plan in mind, just in case the weather decides not to cooperate.  

Give a heads up – Summer is a busy time for most individuals, couples and families, so enough time should be given so your guests can plan accordingly. Sending a Save-the-Date card can also give your guests even more time to plan.

Keep your cool – no one wants to ever see a guest hauled off on a stretcher because of heat stroke, which is why every effort must be given to this aspect of your wedding planning. You, or your wedding planner should make sure proper ventilation inside the venue is clearly understood and well-defined, especially when selecting your location during the cold Winter months. If air conditioning is not available, give each of your guests a cool hand towel and/or use portable fans. Make sure to have water available for all guests and staff.

Keep it light – hot weather is tough on the digestive system, so avoid heavy foods. Light foods should be served, including fresh green salads, pasta salads, locally grown fruit and/or vegetable trays. Easy-to-digest foods and drinks should also be considered. Popsicles are a popular Summer wedding delight, particularly if the heat is unavoidable.

Take in the shade – consider renting umbrellas and/or awnings for outdoor weddings. When selecting a venue, keep in mind those places that provide a lot of natural shade.

Include an ice sculpture or two – whether it is a dolphin or other custom design, ice sculptors are a refreshing addition to any Summer wedding.

Wear comfortable attire – Summer weddings usually attract simple designs of light-weight material.

Offer repellent and sunscreen – consider placing bug repellent and sunscreen around the area, so guests can use these if desired.

    With the right Summer planning in the San Francisco area by your or your wedding planner,  your wedding will be one that’s filled with many fond and endearing memories. Contact Handheld Catering today for more information!

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Dealing with Picky Guests

As caterers in the San Jose area, we know that picky guests can be part of any event. Possibly, the guest does not like the food that’s being served. Possibly this guest is one of the most important people at the event, such as the groom’s father. Possibly, he is on a salt-free diet or simply does not like most foods and the foods he does like, he only likes them cooked a certain way. Or, he is too hot or too cold, his chair is uncomfortable, the guests are too loud or he had to park too far away.

Whether in the San Jose area or somewhere else, the question then becomes, how should this picky guest be handled? Here are some suggestions:

Avoid embarrassment – Never bring undue attention to the picky guest to avoid looking rude or disrespectful. Possibly ask the person if he or she would to like to join you in a more private setting so you can better understand his or her needs and how to best help.  

Listen – The first rule of communication and interaction with a picky guest is to listen enough to understand. Being listened to and understood can sometimes work to diffuse an otherwise difficult situation. Being willing to absorb at least a little bit of his or her fears, anger and/or dissatisfaction can help.

Plan ahead of time – if you know Grandma is always cold, bring a blanket. If Uncle Bob has a bad back, know where a pillow might be. Sometimes, a buffet-style dinner is served if the event includes a lot of people with special needs diets or unique food preferences.

Do not feel pressured to cater to picky guests – sometimes the old rule, “You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time” is the governing them. Just as some picky guests might choose to be this way because they enjoy the attention, others might just be unhappy people inside or outside of your party setting. For these people, again, listen to them, possibly even apologize that their needs have not been met and that this was not your intention, and then just move on, knowing you have given them as much time and attention as the situation required.

Let us help you plan your next event, all things included—even those picky guests, by contacting Handheld Catering at  (408) 692-4782.

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Ask the Experts! Questions for Your Caterer

You have an event coming up and have decided to have it catered. Using a catering company in the San Jose area is no different from any other part of the country when it comes to what questions should you ask a caterer to make sure all of your bases are covered. Here are the top twenty most important questions to ask when meeting with a caterer:

  1. What is the company’s history? How long have they been in business, including employee work history? Any awards or special recognitions?
  2. How many events do they cater per year?
  3. What is their food type: fresh? frozen? canned? local?
  4. Can they accommodate special diets, like allergy-free or vegan?  
  5. Will they have any other events that day?
  6. Do they hold food tastings and is there a charge for this?
  7. Is there a set-up fee and drink rate for a separate bar? How long will alcohol be served?
  8. Is there a separate fee for their set-up and clean-up?
  9. Do they have any specials or package deals?
  10. What can be expected as far as presentation of food?
  11. What type of décor do they provide?
  12. Is there a reduced price for children’s meals?
  13. Is there a different rate for buffet service as opposed to table service?
  14. Do they have a portfolio that highlights past events?
  15. What are the names and phone numbers of three references?
  16. Can an outside baker be used and, if so, is there a rate to cut the cake?
  17. Do they have access to rental equipment?
  18. Will they provide linens, glassware, plates and flatware? If so, is there a separate rate for this?
  19. What is their leftover food policy?
  20. What is their server to guest ratio?
  21. What is the attire for servers?
  22. Do they provide their own coordinator for the services they provide?
  23. What is their policy if the event runs longer than expected?
  24. How much time in advance do they need for a final head count?
  25. What is their payment policy? Deposit?
  26. Are there any other fees that have not been mentioned?
  27. If selected, when does the signing of a contract take place?
  28. What is their cancellation policy?

At Handheld catering, we delight in making sure your event meets or exceeds your expectations. Let us know, not only what you need, but what you want, and, together, we will make sure your event is something you look back on with fondness year after year. Call Handheld Catering today at (408)692-4782 and let’s get working on making sure your event is a great one.

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