October 17, 2012
In the spirit of getting back into writing and sharing my thoughts more often on Umami Mart, I want to tell you the story of how Johnny and I met.
It was the summer of 2011. I had been going on dates throughout the year, and “putting myself out there” on internet dating sites and meeting friends of friends. The scene was pretty bleak, and I was totally over the whole dating scene. What a DRAG.
Then, out of the blue, I got a tweet from @hangtownfry. He had landed on an article I had written for The Blow Off, and the internet gods brought us together via Twitter, of all places. He tweeted to me, “That was a great read!” or something like that. I’m a sucker for flattery, what can I say? When I actually looked at his photo, I thought he was a cutie. Woohoo! So without skipping a beat, I responded with something like, “Thanks for reading! Want to go out for a beer?”
That about sums up how Johnny and I met. And it can not be any great coincidence that his twitter handle is @hangtownfry either. Before we met up for that fateful beer, we had a discussion about this over email. Hangtown Fry? What is that? I had vaguely recalled that this was some sort of dish. When I looked it up, it was too good to be true: a hangtown fry is an omelette made with oysters and bacon, a dish created during the California Gold Rush.
Waaaa! Eggs, oysters and pig? My three major food groups, wouldn’t ya know?!?! How could I NOT fall in love with Johnny aka @hangtownfry.
On one of our earlier dates, Johnny took me to Just For You, a charming, no-nonsense eatery in the Dogpatch district of SF. He had tried all of the hangtown fries in San Francisco and wanted to take me to his favorite.
I had no idea what to expect. Bacon and oysters and onions with eggs? Could there be a dreamier combination of flavors and textures???
What makes the hangtown fry at Just For You so special is that they batter the oysters with cornmeal and fry them FIRST, then add them to the rest of the scramble. The crunch of the oyster really adds a phenomenal layer of texture with the onions and bacon.
Fried oyster porn!
Another important point about Just For You’s hangtown fry is that it is a scramble, and not an omelette. Other places in the city have different interpretations, and will do things like fry an egg and put it on top, or make it more like an omelette by snuggling the bacon and oysters inside of the egg. By scrambling everything together like this allows for all the flavors of the oysters and bacon grease to meld together in exquisite harmony.
Just For You also bakes their own bread, and offers this awesome housemade jalapeño salsa.
Smear salsa all over the eggs. And hot sauce. Johnny prefers Tapatio, whereas I go for Crystal. We must have our differences.
When we’re really hungry, we’ll also get a side of the longanisa sausage. Plus, their mimosas come in a giant pint glass, which is now the only way I will take my mimosas. The menu at Just For You is really long and daunting, with a southern cajun bent. You’ll want to try everything. But I’ve never veered from the hangtown fry.
TIP: Just For You recently started serving their hangtown fries with the fried oysters placed ON TOP of the scramble. If you prefer them scrambled in like me, just ask for the dish the “old way”.
Old concert posters on the walls.
The staff at Just For You is always very kind and accomodating. There is always a great bustling vibe in the place and it really caters to the neighborhood.
The hangtown fry is a legendary San Francisco dish, so please try it whenever you are in town! You can find the dish at a few other establishments around town — Johnny’s other picks are Brenda’s, John’s Grill, and Tadich Grill. He also recommends the Comstock Saloon for its deconstructed hangtown fry appetizer. Enjoy!
JUST FOR YOU
732 22nd Street @ 3rd Street
San Francisco, California 94107