By Hannah Milgrom

Eating out in San Francisco can be tough. Aside from the long waits and the serious indents into our already thin wallets, there is the likelihood that you won’t understand the menu.

So, in the interest of shortening the “what, huh?” question and answer portion of your evening, we’ve compiled a list of the most bewildering items currently populating SF menus.


A Japanese egg custard made with Ginkgo seeds … totally. Seen at: State Bird Provisions, Nojo.


A green herb that tastes like something in between fennel and celery. Other uses include second level slang for lovin’, i.e. “Are you ready for my sweet lovage?” Seen at: AQ, Commonwealth.


A fancy word for cheese crisp. Also, a “close-call” instigator for almost not ordering my favorite thing ever because, what the hell is a frico? Seen at: SPQR.


Also known as a green spring onion; not that other thing that helps me avoid the stairs. Seen at: Flour + Water, Frances, Bar Tartine, Range … the list goes on.


Corn smut, or a fungus that grows on the outside of corn. I’m sorry I shared. Seen at: Verbena, Nopalito.

All photos from Thinkstock except frico, by Annie Witcamp