Archive for May 2010
Twin-ham and I took a much-needed trip to San Francisco last month, to celebrate my dear friend’s wedding to the man of her dreams. While the wedding was the primary reason for our visit to the “other coast,” we naturally took this opportunity to partake in the many lovely things San Francisco had to offer. In other words, we ate. And ate. And when we were done, we ate some more.
Right after checking into our hotel and freshening up, we immediately made our way to stop #1 on our itinerary: the Mission District. Known for its abundance of Mexican taquerias, it is often said that you’ll be hard pressed to find better Mexican fare north of the border. (And yes, that includes New York.) Naturally, we had to taste this for ourselves.
Our taxi driver dropped us off at the corner of 17th and Valencia, and we were immediately drawn to the bright lights coming from the sign that read, “Taqueria La Cumbre.” Locals may say that this place is terribly touristy–especially after it was featured on an episode of Man vs. Food–but we were more concerned about the food than looking like clueless tourists. However, a peek inside confirmed that the joint was packed with people who decidedly looked like locals. Then again, nothing could’ve changed our minds after we saw the gorgeously-huge menu on the wall.
Rather than diving into a legendary Mission-style burrito (we were actually having dinner about an hour later), we each opted for some “light” tacos. I couldn’t say no to the Baja fish tacos, and Twin-ham naturally went for the lengua en chile rojo.
I’ll be honest: I went into this thinking that Mexican food in San Francisco couldn’t possibly taste any different from the Mexican food I had had in Manhattan, Brooklyn, or anywhere else for that matter. I took a bite of my fish tacos, and while it was one of the better fish tacos I had tried in a long time, I decided that I was right to think that SF Mexican was just like the NYC stuff. Then I took a bite of the lengua. And my head exploded.
Call me crazy, but I swear my taste buds began doing the boogie the second that lengua touched my tongue (no pun intended). The meat was incredibly tender, the sauce had the perfect amount of heat, and the accompanying salsa effectively cut through the richness. While the red plastic basket and aluminum foil were decidedly no-frills, the dish definitely had complex layers of flavor. Twin-ham and I were officially hooked on SF Mexican!
Our tacos were polished off in about ten minutes, and we headed to Foreign Cinema for our dinner reservation (but not before dropping by Nombe for a plate of spicy chicken wings). While dinner was lovely, we went to bed with one question in mind: How soon could we get more Mexican?