At an age when quantity definitely tends to trump quality in most pursuits (see: alcohol, ramen, squalid affairs with grungy musicians), the more you fill your belly with, the better, generally speaking. Who knows, as a broke-ass, when exactly you may eat again.
With this in mind, I’ve started eating like I’m at a cocktail party, all the time. My grocery basket is full of half-price crudités fixings – celery, carrots, cauliflower – and too impoverished for dip, I dunk the veggies in old nutritional yeast my ex-roommate left behind. The whole situation is so budget-friendly I can eat as much as I want to last me till my workplace’s free bagels.
But you can’t subsist on hors d’oeuvres and stale bagels alone. Which is why tonight I was thrilled to fill my belly with more fish than I’ve eaten in the past five years. Somewhere between 50 and 80 little striped creatures, curled up in tiny, oily death, presented themselves in a ramekin at the Inner Sunset’s Manna, an aptly-named Korean restaurant heavy on the pre-dinner freebies. I can’t in all honesty say I’d ever seek out the appetizer on my own, but ding-dang it if I don’t eat what’s set in front of me till there isn’t anything left.
Manna, a crowded spot on 10th and Irving with windows streaked by cooking steam, hosts a big portion of the Inner Sunset dating crowd eager to slurp noodles and rub chopsticks provocatively in front of each other over really, really good food. The bibimbop, a sizzling stone bowl full of alternately soft and crunchy rice, tons of vegetables, and a gooey egg on top, is hard to beat, and makes you feel in its bellywarming heartiness as if you’re never too broke for nourishment.
845 Irving St.
Photo from Natasha H.