A riot of colors with murals dotting every wall, the Mission and 24th is an eclectic mix of cafes, taquerias, art galleries and specialty stores selling fresh organic produce where some of the most famous chefs shop. Some of the shops on this beautiful tree lined street date back to the 1940’s and 1950’s and most of the food has a strong Latin influence. In the last few years Mission and 24th has become the hub for exciting new food as well as the best traditional food.
We took a fantastic San Francisco food tour through this district, hosted by Samir, a local foodie who loves to cook and also knows the people who cook some fantastic food in San Francisco. To document the entire, extensive and amazing food tour which lasted a good three hours would need reams of paper but we are going to give you a little sampler.
The tour started off with a delicious cup of Cappuccino at Cafe Venice served by Rami, blissed out and cheerful. And then it was time to get immersed in the food:
1. Phat Philly: Phat Philly serves Philly Cheesesteaks which have their roots in Philadelphia and are thin slices of beef served with cheesy goodness in a roll of bread.They ship the Amoros rolls all the way from Philadelphia. Phat philly has about 15 items on the menu and surprisingly 4 of them are vegetarian! We got ourselves one of their delicious rolls and the melting cheese, the crunch of the sweet cherry peppers and the absolutely delicious meat was a divine combination
2. Papalote: Next on the list was Papalote for their Salsa. We were a little surprised that we would head to a Mexican restaurant just to buy a bottle of Salsa. But when we dipped our Nachos in that roasted tomato salsa, we knew why. It is probably the best salsa in the world. The salsa is a little thicker than most other salsas that get served and the flavors are intense and deliciously complicated. They play havoc with your taste buds. Papalote’s website tell us that the Salsa embodies 50 years of tradition with a secret recipe by Miguel and Victor’s (the owners of Papalote) father, who was a famous salsa maker. A bottle of Papalote salsa made into the list of top 50 Christmas items to give in San Francisco.
3. La Loma Produce : With Samir walking us through the history of the Mission we reached an old mom n’ pop Mexican store and bought some Salvadorian Tamale. Salvodarian Tamale is a traditional dish which consists of meat wrapped in a cornmeal dough and then steamed in plantain leaves. This humble dish is steeped in history and can be traced back to the Anicent Mayans as well as the Incas. The Tamale that we had was delicious with the seasoned meat adding a punch to the melt in the mouth cornmeal.
4. Roxys Cafe: Owned by Manny Torres Gimenez, we g0t a sneak peak into Roxys Cafe which is yet to opened. The place promised to serve a 4 course tasting menu with the menu changing regularly. We met the sous chef as Manny was holidaying and what an experience it was. They let us make our own Pasta! We went on to make some Spaghetti Bolognese and the sauce was delicious and flavorful. Worth a visit when they finally open.
5. Taquerilla Vallarta: There are Taquerias and then there is Taquerilla Vallarta . A kaleidoscope of murals, there is a story in every mural right from how the street got its name to the famous 49 ers. The tacos here are served without rice and they have 11 meats from the plain and simple beef slivers to the strong flavoured tripe. Lather this with any of the sauces they serve and topped with pickled onions, it’s the tastiest and most satisfying meal. Simple but flavourful. Wash this down with a cold glass of horchata, a cinnamon flavored drink made with rice water. Absolutely fabulous combination.
6. Humphry Slocombe: There’s no better way to end a food tour than to eat an ice cream. We headed to Humphry Slocombe which serves house crafted ice creams with rotating flavors which included brown butter, salted caramel, Secret Breakfast. The Secret Breakfast flavor tastes so yummy with a strong taste of bourbon, a hint of vanilla and a crunch of cornflakes. If only our breakfasts everyday tasted like this! A quirky and super interesting ice cream shop.