Image: Amber Ambrose

Problem: Saturday, 3:30 p.m., too late for lunch and too early for dinner. Snacking would seem to be the only viable and civilized option, and as the weather is partly cloudy and 78°F, it would be a crime to snack anywhere but outside.

Solution: Boheme Cafe & Wine Bar at Fairview and Taft—with an ample and interesting outdoor area, an affordable and approachable wine list, and a fascinating snack selection that includes such inspired creations as Vietnamese fries!

This is no casual snacking. This is serious snacking. Are the fries hand cut? Absolutely not. And there's no reason they should be. The little sticks of empty calories are reminiscent of the McDonald's variety—skinny, golden and perfectly crisp on all four sides—a marvel of salt, sugar and fat manipulation that excites the inner caveman in each of us.

Inner caveman smiled deeply (and so did I) as the 3/4 pound tray of fries made a soft landing on the wooden patio table. Piping hot and drizzled artfully with the contrasting hues of hoisin sauce, sriracha, garlic mayo, and topped with flecks of green cilantro and crushed peanuts, there was no time for thinking. Instinct prevailed as the silent shoveling began. 

Several napkins and a few sips of pinotage later, the fries were reduced to a few smudges of brown, red, and white ... and perhaps a tiny hint of regret. (After all, it's not wholly successful bar food if there's no regret.)

Inner caveman smacked his greasy lips and contemplated placing a second order.

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