If you ate out much in San Francisco a year or two back, Mission Chinese Food chef Danny Bowien has probably amazed you. Me, I remember hitting up the deli counter at Duc Loi, a sprawling urban market in the Mission, to eat the monumental burger Bowien engineered with Mission Street Food’s Anthony Myint. That burger was brilliant and a little frightening (its successor is in revival at Myint’s Mission Bowling Club).
One day, as I waited across the counter from him for my burger to cook, Bowien mentioned he and Myint were planning to open a takeout Chinese food business. I thought: Yeah, cool. Also: These guys are fucking crazy.
But that improbable idea turned into Mission Chinese Food, then Mission Chinese Food in New York City, where Bowien’s nearly as famous as David Chang. He’s returning to San Francisco, though, for at least one night. This Thursday, September 13 (6 to 9 p.m.), Bowien is appearing at SF’s brand-new UNIQLO store, for the UNIQLO Pop-Up Experience. He’ll be on a panel called “UNIQLO Talks Food,” with Chef Jason Fox of Commonwealth, Brandon Jew of Bar Agricole, and Chad Robertson of Tartine Bakery/Bar Tartine. It’s free, though you have to RSVP (21 and over only)—reserve a spot here.
Thursday’s panel topics include figuring out what makes San Francisco a unique food city, how social media fits into the city’s food life, and—in the words of the event press release, which incorporates UNIQLO’s tag line—“how our superstar chefs are ‘Making Life A Little Bit Better’ through their craft.” Expect some tasting, drinks, and DJs. Also: the chance to tell anybody sitting next to you that you ate Bowien’s food before it belonged to the world.