The last stop on this mammoth trip is a 3 week road trip around the west coast of the USA. I watched The OC and The Parent Trap religiously when I was a teenager and have wanted so badly to come to California since. I’m a giant cliche and fan girl. What of it.
Anyway, we’ve been in the USA for just over a week now and so far we’ve lost a lot of money in Vegas, hiked in the Grand Canyon and been snowed out of Yosemite Park. We rolled (or rather, confusingly zig-zagged) into San Francisco on Monday not quite knowing what to expect…
San Fran reminds me so much of London in that there’s always something going on – something different to try, new food to eat and new places to go. Everyone is somewhere between totally chilled out and batshit crazy and the city just reeks of different cultures, characters and personalities (and also a little bit of weed, good work California).
I know a few people from SF and have even met some local SFers on the travels (looking at you, Trish!) so have had so many recommendations thrown at me it will be impossible to try everything! I knew, however, that I couldn’t come to San Fran without getting stuck into the Mission District.
Now, saying that I’ve ‘been to the Mission District’ is like a tourist in London saying they’ve ‘been to Portobello/Camden/Soho’ – yeah you went there but in reality you barely scratched the surface. It would take numerous visits to really suss this place out and sadly, we’re only in town for 4 days.
Anyway, we went for a recommendation from, well, everyone I’ve met who’s been to/lived in San Fran – La Taqueria (which, after a short mishap and a detour to Oakland*, we finally managed to find)
* accidentally ending up in Oakland whilst looking for 16th and Mission is like wanting to go to Tooting and ending up in St Alban’s… yup.
You know when you have a vivid picture in your head about what a person or place would look like? Well my picture of La Taqueria was completely different to how it is. The queue spiralled round the restaurant (always a good sign) and the staff barked orders at each other in Spanish whilst customers crowded round the tables munching down on tacos, burritos and quesadillas.
There was a large choice of meat (including intestines which we did NOT go for) then you could add avo, cheese, sour cream, salsa & hot sauce. We ordered a beef burrito, a beef and a chicken taco w/ extra avo & cheese (DUH) and hot sauce (DUH) and nachos + salsa to share.
^ taco porn.
The tacos were wicked and absolutely stuffed to the brim. The hot sauce was amazing (it actually tasted of something rather than being here purely to blow your face off) and the meat fell apart in your mouth. Minimal chewing win.
The burrito – I have to agree with Chris when he says this – didn’t live up to the hype. Don’t get me wrong, it was really, really nice but I honestly reckon that they do better at Mission Burrito in Oxford. Maybe it’s their ‘Subway’ style way of making it (as in you can say ‘more guac, more guac, MORE guac, MORE GUAC’ until they run out of guac, whereas at La Taqueria you eat what you’re given). Burritos are like burgers; they need to be balanced – burgers need pickles, burritos need coriander. If you have too much avo & cheese in an already meaty burrito then it can be overwhelmingly rich and filling; there needs to be fresh flavours in there to balance it out and to make sure you can eat more. Let’s face it, that’s the most important thing.
Also have to take a mo to mention the salsa. Honestly couldn’t be fresher if I’d made it myself and the perfect mix of tomatoes onions chilli and coriander. Epic stuff.
^ at the top in red we have fire, and in the green we have more fire.
After La Taqueria, we headed down the road for more Mexican grub at Taquerias El Farolito. I went for more tacos but this time had marinated pork but sod that OMG THE QUESADILLAS!!!! Chris has a Super Suiza Quesadilla with steak and cheese and hooooooly quesadilla-ing goodness it was schaMAZING!! Gooey cheese, tender steak and all the Mexican goodies stuffed to the brim in crispy tortillas. If it wasn’t so hot we could have demolished it in 3 bites each.
^LOOK AT THE GOOEY GOODNESS!
So yeah, that was our first night in SF. The Mission District is very cool (if a bit terrifying) and I can’t wait to explore even more of this amazing city.