Top Chef veteran Preeti Mistry has a pop-up lunch spot in San Francisco called Juhu Beach Club. Pop-ups are temporary guerilla-style dining spots that take over an existing location, and Mistry’s is located in the front part of a liquor store that has a deli and sells lotto tickets. I’ve yet to check out a Sassy Lassi or Bizarre Love Triangle from the Club, but I’m intrigued by the chef’s description of her food.
Mistry told SFoodie that “a lot of it is the expression of an experience that a lot of Indian Americans my age probably have.” She grew up eating both Indian and American food and got inspired during a recent trip to Mumbai, her first in 20 years. She enjoyed the street food snacks of Juhu Beach like pani puri but admitted to 7X7 that it would be logistically difficult to offer it at the pop-up.
Is the Chowpatty Chicken Sandwich on her menu, described as having ingredients like cilantro, turmeric and ginger, and topped with a cabbage slaw, authentic? What is authentic anyway? The chef shares her thoughts in a brief interview with 7X7.
It’s not authentic, but it’s my version of authentic. I grew up in America eating hamburgers and Indian food, you know?
The idea of authentic is a pretty fleeting one, if you think about how cultures and tastes change over time anyhow.
Yeah, my sister was just talking about that. She was like, ‘You know, when Mom was growing up in Mumbai there was no vadapav–which is essentially a potato sandwich. There was no Frankie–which is kind of like a kati roll that you get at Kasa. Those are relatively new street food foods in India. Things evolve. For this pop-up, I’m going to make what I like and what makes sense in San Francisco. (7X7)