Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Every city has them. In Kansas City, it's barbecue. Cincinnati has its chili, New York has its pizza. Prior to moving to San Francisco, I had given the Bay area chocolate. There's a lot of really, really good chocolate here, people, from my favorite and somewhat-well-known artisan chocolate maker Scharffen Berger to the lesser known, web 2.0-ey up and coming Tcho. (Full disclaimer: I am a tester for Tcho, but the fact that they send me free chocolate doesn't make me love it any more. Okay, maybe a little more.)

And then? Well, then I moved to the mission. Home of the mission-style burrito. People. San Francisco has BURRITOS. That's their thing!

The mission-style burrito is a thing of beauty. You have had something similar to them, most likely. The chain burrito craze hit a few years back and has since blown up, largely thanks to Chipotle. (Say what you will about Chipotle, San Franciscans, but be very careful. I eat your burritos now, but Chipotle burritos defined five years of college for me.) I remember eating New York Burrito in Salt Lake City back in 1999, but that was my first experience with burritos the size of my face. They are an art form here. You can get a regular burrito, but if you're smart, you'll go with the super burrito - which has, among other things, cheese and sour cream, my favorite parts of any Mexican dining experience. They'll run you around $6 and you can probably make them last two meals, depending on where you go.

I will not make any claims as to the "best" burrito, because I have only had a couple of them, and that would not be fair. There are more taquerias in the mission than there are anything else (they rival the number of bars, I swear). Supposedly the first super burrito came from El Faro at 20th & Folsom, a location I pass almost every day but have never gone to. It's a San Francisco tradition, and I'm incredibly excited to share it with my mother two weeks from today. Incidentally, I was the first one to take her to a Chipotle, so it's only fair that I show her where they came from.

What are your favorites, locals? I'll admit, I really like Cancun's food - I know it's kind of a standard answer, but they've been good to me. I didn't mind El Toro's (17th & Valencia), and I was recently subjected to one from Chavo's, which is totally not in the mission but was still a decent lunch. 

Oh, and since I've mentioned my San Francisco biases, it's only fair that I list the other three - get your pizza from John's on 44th when you're in New York, your barbecue from Arthur Bryant's on 18th in Kansas City, and your chili from the Ludlow Ave. Skyline in Cincinnati. You're welcome. :)

P.S. I just wrapped up one big on-site job and another small personal job, which means I have nothing to do. Expect more posts this week, including the "furnish your completely bare kitchen" post I've been working on for months.


Eric said...

I sort of have to agree with burritoeater.com that the Papalote in the Mission is the best. I'd rate Castillito higher than they do though. I think mabye it gets a bad rap b/c the Mission location is pretty skeezy. (Last time I was there a guy was screaming at his girlfriend to come out of the bathroom the entire time and also somebody tried to sell me a VHS deck?) At any rate, the more Castro-wise Castillito on Church is totally decent.

TK said...

This is like asking what the best movie of all time is. You're going to get a ton of different answers.

I think Papalote is bizarrely overrated, but some people love it.

I'm a big Castillito fan as well.

I've heard good things about La Corneta, but haven't tried it yet.

Most of the taquerias in the Mission all taste about the same to me, but I'm admittedly not a connoisseur.