3 More Lunches Midtown Needs from SF: A Roli Roti Porchetta Truck, Meat Cones, & Tongue Tacos

I was in San Francisco this past weekend, and discovered three more things that Midtown really needs to add to our lunching repertoire (to go along with the five Bay Area lunches I posted about back in March.)


We’ll start with the thing I was most excited to discover: a freakin porchetta/rotisserie chicken truck!  Holy mackerel.  Parked at a Street Food Fair thrown by Foodbuzz (as part of their First Annual Blogger Festival),  the Roli Roti Truck has been around in San Francisco for almost ten years, serving up rotisserie chickens and porchetta sandwiches made from sustainably farmed meats that are roasted on spits right on the side of the truck.  This thing was a pure feat of engineering genius, and we need one in Midtown… like… yesterday.  It can fit a couple of hundred rotisserie chickens, but the real star (for me) was their porchetta, which gets sliced hot and sold in sandwiches (crispy skin and all!).

Check one of these bad boys out, after the jump…


The meat is rolled up with a mixture of spices and wrapped with a layer of pork fat before getting roasted crispy on the spits. Lemon juice gets squeezed over the porchetta during the whole process,  which gives it this great tang- and after the meat gets sliced it’s topped with greens and carmelized onions that have been cooked on the flat top just below the roasting meats (you might say the secret ingredient is dripping pork fat.)  You get roasted potatoes on the side, which are also cooked below the meats and seasoned by the drippings.  Needless to say, it was freakin’ unbelievable- and even though you can go down to the EV and get something similar at Porchetta, there’s is something about seeing the meat roasting on the side of the truck that takes this sandwich to the next level.


You can find the Roli Roti truck on Saturday mornings at the Ferry Building Farmers Market in Downtown San Francisco, where they serve up the chicken and pork sandwiches until 2pm (but they usually run out of the pork by 12:30pm, which is why by 10:30am there was already a long line.)  The owner Thomas, who is originally from Switzerland where his father is a master butcher, custom built the truck for over $100,000 and has always been reluctant to franchise fearing that it would hurt the quality of the food.  As much as I would love to see one of these in NYC, I can totally respect that.

While by far the most exciting thing I ate over the weekend was that sandwich, there were two other things worth mentioning real quick.  While at the Ferry Building I had a chance to swing by Boccalone, the fairly new pig-centric meat market by Chris Cosentino (chef of the amazing restaurant Incanto).  I immediately snatched up a package of head cheese and a brown sugar & fennel salami, but the impulse purchase (for me and everybody else who walks into this place) was their “meat cone”.  Yeah, you heard me right.  Meat, served in cone form.


Sure it’s gimmicky, but if you’re like me this is far more appealing than ice cream!  And their house made charcuterie is pretty delicious.  Murray’s Salami might want to take a page out of the Boccalone playbook…

Finally, I was hoping to hit up La Tonayense Taco Truck in the Mission- but rain forced us indoors to La Corneta, where I tried one of their tongue tacos (which came highly recommended by my friend Carolina, who makes jam around the corner from the taqueria.)


Giant chunks of tender, perfectly stewed tongue, in a red tomato based sauce topped with black beans and spicy pico de gallo.  Amazing.  (I heard El Rey del Sabor is serving tongue tacos, but I can’t imagine they’re as good as these.  Might have to put that to the test this week… )

Roli Roti, Check website for location
Boccalone, Ferry Building Marketplace Shop 21, San Francisco, 415-433-6500
La Corneta, 2731 Mission Street, San Francisco, 415-643-7001

Special thanks go out to the Foodbuzz festival for the Roli Roti introduction…


  • moving to SF now.

  • Look at all that poultry. Zach, you are such a cock tease . . . a roasted cock tease.

    I will definitely have to remember this when I visit my sister for the Holidays.

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    Confirming Las Poblanitas makes great tongue tacos (38th b/w 8th and 9th)…pretty much go there every Friday for dos tacos de lengua.

  • I had the porchetta sandwich from that truck a year ago & the flavors were unforgettable. When I revisited this year the first thing I had, for breakfast mind you, was that same juicy sandwich redolent of rosemary & with the cracklins mixed in, mmmm…… porchetta…..

  • Zach, it’s way out of Midtown Lunch territory, but Zaragosa Deli on Avenue A and 13th has some excellent tounge tacos – although it’s hit or miss whether they’ll have them, as their menu changes often.

  • Ooh you did get the shot of the truck/rotisserie! I gave up. The pictures are making me droooooool all over again!

  • I imagine Zach sniffing too close to that rotisserie contraption, getting pulled in and twisted along it’s rollers as if were a scene taken out of a Tom & Jerry cartoon. Glad to see he kept at bay… hey “bay”… like San Francisco’s Bay… wordplay genius!!! (i’m hungry)

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