For the past month or so I’ve been smoothing a path from work on Montgomery Street to the Ferry Building. Considering all the bounties that the Ferry Building has to offer — including warmer air than the chilly shade of tall buildings — that’s no surprise. But I haven’t been taking advantage of the Farmer’s Market or visiting my old pals at Cowgirl Creamery. I’ve been spending all my time at Out the Door, Slanted Door‘s new takeout counter.

When I was working at the Ferry Building full time, I drooled for the day that the much talked about takeout counter would open, but it never happened on my watch. Now it has. Now I’m hooked. I sit at my desk and count the hours until I can have the delectable chicken salad. The poached and shredded chicken is tossed with thinly sliced green cabbage and rice noodles in a so-light-you-can’t-believe-there’s-actually-oil-in-it peppery dressing and topped with scallions, basil, and a few bits of crunchy caramelized onions. For one who really loves their salads (and I do), that $8.00 gets me heaven in a bowl.

When tasting out any new ice cream or frozen yogurt place or company, I always judge their quality by their vanilla. With Vietnamese restaurants, I investigate their Imperial Rolls. Slanted Door didn’t let me down when I sampled the crispy rolls at the restaurant, and I’m happy to note that the quality of the rolls isn’t diminished in the least by their takeout status. For $7.50, you get the rolls packaged in a plastic box with the traditional accompaniements of green lettuce sheafs, mint, and rice noodles. The cup of nuoc mam is delicious enough to drink. Not that I did that or anything. The lemongrass pork and rice noodles ($8.50) and egg noodles and yellow chives ($7.00) are also quite nice and I would definitely be ordering them again if I wasn’t so completely hooked on the chicken salad.

San Francisco magazine just did a piece on the best takeout in the city and they mentioned something about Out the Door that I’ve never seen advertized on the menu: their “raw deal.” This is where you get meals disassembled, packed up, and ready to take home, so you can pretend you created the dish with your own two hands and wok. Considering the mag judges the disassembled Shaking Beef for $6.50 to be one of the “best bets,” I’m certainly going to ask about it next time I get my chicken salad.

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