On Sunday, the missus and I took advantage of the fleeting sun to join a group of food lovers and food writers for a Mission Street Food Dishcrawl, hosted by the lovely and effervescent Tracy Lee of Battledish, a delightful little venture aimed at getting food lovers out exploring their city and taking part in exciting foodie adventures.
Our day started at sunny and windswept Precita Park in San Francisco's Bernal Heights to sample a few of the plethora of amazing street food carts our city has to offer, as well as offerings from Terra Savia Olive Oils and gluten-free baked goodies from Zest Bakery. From there we were off, an army of foodies tromping through the Mission to our first stop: Mission Pie.
Luckily, Mission Pie was all but empty on this Sunday afternoon, so we kind of had our run of the place. After perusing the delicacies behind the glass, the missus and I decided on the pluot frangipane tart with a little dollop of whipped cream. So simple, so delicious. Gone in a matter of bites. Mission Pie has without a doubt the most delicious pies in The City, and it is always a treat to get to stop in and enjoy a slice. Oddly enough though, on this day we ate pie before we ate anything that resembled dinner. Oh well.
After pie, we mozied down Mission Street to Rosamunde Sausage Grill, a local favorite that somehow I had never heard of before. The recommendation from those in the know was to get the beer sausage, so we ordered one to share with grilled onions and sweet peppers. While one of the least exotic items on a menu that includes chicken cherry, duck, and pheasant, the beer sausage hit the spot. A smoky spiciness from the beef and pork sausage, sweetness from the onions and peppers, and a little heat from the mustard added up to a perfect snack before moving along to our next destination deeper into the Mission.
I might have mentioned this before, but I love Mexican food. Love it. Cannot get enough of it. And if you are on the hunt for great, real, uncomplicated Mexican food, the Mission is where you go. Pretty reliably, you can walk down 24th street on any given day and be hypnotized by the wafting aromas of carnitas and carne asada, lulled in by the sounds of sizzling meats on a grill and too-loud soap operas blaring from wall mounted televisions. This isn't your financial district fancy, sit down, cloth napkin Mexican food, my friends. This is greasy paper plate piled with tender meat and warm tortillas, juice dripping down your hands, use ten napkins by the time you're done Mexican food.
And one of the best places to find that kind of Mexican food, the best kind in my humble opinion, is at Taqueria Vallarta, a deceptively large eatery along 24th that boasts it's own taco cart separate from the main counter. Pull up a bench in the dining room and enjoy the colorful and whimsical murals covering the walls. For a buck and a half per taco, you have your choice of a variety of meats, including the standard carnitas, pollo, carne asada, lengua, and al pastor that sizzle in a round bowled grill being constantly tended by the frantic cook behind the glass. Tell the man the meats you want, he slaps them into warm tortillas, then you toss on fresh chopped onions, cilantro, radishes, a squeeze of lime, and a little salsa. Pay the nice lady, and you are ready to chow.
I tucked into a carne asada and a carnitas taco, and honestly couldn't stop thinking about them for the rest of the afternoon. I truly could have sat at that table stuffing my face with those tacos until closing time. But we had a schedule to keep, and a few more stops to make before the evening was done.
Around the corner to Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream, where we all sated our sweet tooths with some of San Francisco's best and most creative ice cream. A crowd favorite was the olive oil ice cream, a strange combination of sweet and savory that really just worked. Some of the more original concoctions are secret breakfast (a mixture of bourbon and little flecks of corn flakes) peanut butter curry, cinnamon brittle, and the bizarre Jesus juice, a mixture of red wine and Coca-Cola.
To exacerbate the sugary caloric intake, we had a visit from Cindi Fleischer of the Anticupcake company, maker of deliciously diminutive personal sized cheesecakes. Cindi brought along a small cooler packed with her mini cheesecakes including dulce de leche and and s'mores, two exceptionally creative flavors that wowed the group. My one sweet weakness has always been cheesecake, and these little treats were first rate.
One more stop just another block up 24th street to La Victoria Panaderia. A great neighborhood bakery that has been a part of the Mission for over 60 years makes some of the most delicious pan dulce in The City. The hour was getting late and our appetites were flagging, but a walk through the Mission is never complete without a stop at La Victoria. While the remaining members of our Dishcrawl group waited patiently for an empanada, the missus and I grabbed a few delicious looking pastries for the road and left to nurse our food comas.
The Dishcrawl was a great day out and about, enjoying the sun, great food, and fantastic company. It was fun to see some familiar faces and to get introduced to new ones. Thanks to Tracy Lee for setting up this Sunday afternoon foodie adventure, we cannot wait for the next one. For more info on the next Dishcrawl and whatever mouth-watering adventures Tracy has planned next, visit the Battledish website and sign up!