If you knew how much Mexican food I ate in San Francisco’s Mission District during my visit earlier this summer, you’d either be jealous or concerned for my well being, or maybe both. A very long day of eating started on the amazing 24th Street. Our plan was to try some tortas (for breakfast?), but our first stop was La Palma, best known for their homemade potato chips. They’re also known for selling out, which is what happened when I first visited a couple of years ago.
This time we were early and got lucky — the best $1.55 I’ve ever spent. They’re perfect in their simplicity, light, crispy and flavorful. Even if I made potato chips at home, I doubt I could do better.
We stopped by some of those old-fashioned-looking Mexican pastry shops along the way, which I always love. The best treats are the light and flakey ones, covered in sugar. These came from La Reyna and La Victoria.
Next stop, La Torta Gorda for the “enchilada torta”. The place is charmingly retro, and the sandwich is like heaven with that tender meat. Of the two spots we tried, this was my favorite. Seriously, I’d like to be eating that right now.
Onto Tortas Los Picudos for the carnitas torta. Jen preferred this one. “Loved” is more like it. She devoured this thing. The meat was fantastic, and it was nicely spicy. Highly recommended.
La Taqueria on Mission is just steps from the train station and always a must-visit. Try the chorizo taco, trust me. Your mouth will never be the same — this is very intensely flavored food. There is an article on the wall quoting Mario Batali as saying this place has the best tacos in the country. I might have to agree, but only if you like bold food.
At some point a couple of hours later we made it to Balompie for the pupusas. By the time we arrived, the place was packed with a crowd waiting for a table, so we took these to go. They give you the toppings in a separate container so your pupusas won’t get soggy before you eat them. These cornmeal cakes were filled with seafood and cheese — hard to go wrong with that.
A couple of days later, we returned to the area to find the famous taco trucks of the Mission District. We were too early to try the famous Dona Tere cart on 21st… very disappointing. We did find the trucks on Harrison though. One is at about 18th, and the other around 22nd, and I’m not totally sure, but it seems like they’re run by the same guys. (Check here to read more, in case I’ve got it wrong.) We tried the carne asada, al pastor, and carnitas — all fantastic, and of course they were dirt cheap. All I can say is that if a taco truck this good opened in NYC, the line would be 5 blocks long.