We live in an era of rising global temperatures, under a government that wages secret drone wars, and in a society that denies equal rights to citizens based on their sexual orientation rather than whether or not they watch Two and a Half Men. (You should not be allowed to get married and have a family if you watch Two and a Half Men. Just kidding! You should be sent to Guantanamo if you watch Two and a Half Men.)
So naturally the most hotly debated topics on any San Francisco media outlet are where to get the best burrito, $1 Pabst at Pop’s vs. $16 Manhattans at Hog and Rocks, and whether or not going to Tacolicious constitutes gentrification of the Mission/terrorism.
The very last thing this world needs is one more amateur food writer’s opinion on these matters, so HERE IS MINE! These are the ten best things to eat in the Mission. I don’t eat meat, so they happen to be vegetarian. Dietary restrictions aside, you won’t regret eating these (unless you’re vegan). Next week I’ll tell you all about why I quit Facebook and this hilarious thing I overheard on Muni.
10. Mike’s cheese dip from Tacolicious
People love to hate Tacolicious because it’s the home for wayward Marina douchebags who needed a place to go after Medjool closed. But the food is too good to let the popped-collar crowd claim it all for themselves. Yes, I DO want another basket of chips, thank you, and no, I’m not leaving this bar stool soon.
Can’t we just eat some fucking tacos without having an argument about gentrification? No? Okay, well go ahead. I’m totally listening.
9. Spicy marinara pizza with pepperoncini and olives from Beretta
Terrible photo stolen from Jennifer Y on Yelp. Thanks for nothing, Jennifer Y!
There’s a lot of good pizza in the Mission, especially if you’re a fan of waiting two hours for a table. Beretta is no different, but at least they have great cocktails, so you can kill that two hours by waiting two hours to get the bartender’s attention.
As for the spicy marinara pizza, shell out the extra five bucks to get burrata on that fucker and it’s STILL cheaper than the cheapest pie at another Mission pizza joint that shall not be named. (Farina. It’s Farina. That fucking place is overpriced even by my standards and, as we’ve established, I’ll shell out eight bucks for glorified Cheez Whiz. Fuck Farina.)
8. Mexican chocolate soft-serve from Bi-Rite Creamery
The regular ice cream at Bi-Rite is delicious, but that line can get ridiculous. I don’t care if you serve ice cream topped with candied unicorn bacon; no ice cream is worth an hour of my time. And trust me, my time is worth very, very little. Also the vegetarian thing.
The soft-serve is just as delicious and conveniently dispensed at an express window that seldom accumulates a long line. With a hint of cinnamon and just enough chili to leave a little burn, the Mexican chocolate is pretty much what I imagine it’s like to have sex with Diego Luna. Is that racist? I hope not, because I was going for sexist.
7. Smoked trumpet mushroom Reuben from Wise Sons
I couldn’t find a picture, so here’s a drawing from some kid’s deviantART page. Classic move, putting your smoking mushroom in tall grass so you don’t have to draw its feet.
I never really imagined getting excited about rye bread until I had this sandwich. Is it weird to order a sandwich on rye with a side of rye toast? Don’t answer that.
6. Vegetarian BBQ chicken sandwich from Rhea’s Deli
Vaguely decent photo stolen from Jennifer L on Yelp. At least she didn’t use a flash. Take note, Jennifer Y.
The Internet probably doesn’t need any more words about Rhea’s, right? Let’s talk about something else. Can you guys believe this new pope business? Richard Simmons was robbed.
5. An omelet from Foreign Cinema
Foreign Cinema’s brunch is always amazing, particularly whatever omelet they’re serving that day. Truffled potatoes? Spectacular. Champagne mushrooms and fines herbs? I don’t actually know what that is, but sure. Pears with pilsner and fontina? Uhh, okay, I guess I trust you guys to make that work. Weirdos.
And you might as well throw in a cocktail and one of their house-made fruit pop tarts because WHY NOT? You’re already spending $16 on an omelet. Obviously you’re no financial genius. MAKE IT RAIN [CHAMPAGNE COCKTAILS]!
4. Vegetarian Burrito from Taqueria Cancún
Burritos really don’t photograph well, so here’s a recent Mary Worth strip instead
I haven’t been to that many other taquerias in the Mission, because everything disappoints in comparison to Cancún. Farolito makes the second worst burrito I’ve ever had. (The worst was a truly terrible burrito I had in Antioch. How do you even get beans, rice, and cheese to taste that bad? That was the day I found out my mom had cancer and I still think the burrito was maybe the worst thing that happened to me that day.) And El Buen Sabor puts carrots in their burrito. What?
Cancún always delivers. One time I ate a Cancún breakfast burrito and then felt so good that I walked all the way to the top of Twin Peaks. But most times I eat a Cancún breakfast burrito and then just go back to sleep. Wait, maybe the Twin Peaks thing was a dream? Shit.
3. Potato langos from Bar Tartine
Sometimes I feel like my time would be better spent if I started a foundation that works to convince death row inmates that no, you do not want a bucket of KFC Original Recipe and a two-liter Coke for your last meal. You want whatever they’re making at Bar Tartine. I’m not sure how this project would advance the greater good, and the staff at Bar Tartine would probably get tired of stopping what they’re doing so they can make dinner for convicted serial killers, so I guess you could say I’m still working out the kinks.
A chewy, deep-fried potato flatbread with sour cream and dill, the langos is just one of many brain-explodingly good dishes at Bar Tartine. Last time I was there for lunch I had a pickled mushroom sandwich that was insane and a romaine salad with buttermilk dressing that was so good it made me want to cry. A fucking salad! I order salads so I can feel virtuous. This salad made me feel like I should punch a baby and then check into rehab.
2. Satan’s Philly Cheese-Fake from Bender’s
My own photo. Those iPhone food photography classes at the Learning Annex are really paying off!
Bender’s is the only place outside of Tijuana where I’ve seen a cook have to shoo a wandering dog out of the kitchen. I have no idea who they pay off to get away with so many obvious health code violations, but whatever. If I witnessed the chef use his bare foot to nudge a family of rats out of the dishwasher, I’d STILL go to Bender’s for the seitan cheesesteak because fuuuuuuuuuuuck. I don’t even know what seitan is. Is it meat? Probably. Whatever. Comes with tater tots.
1. Breakfast sandwich from Rosamunde
I love Rosamunde. They have outdoor seating and wine on tap. And I just think it was really nice of them to give Dick Butt a job as their mascot after his fall from superstar meme status. Maybe Ryan Gosling can work the register there after all the 14-year-old girls of Tumblr have moved on to something else. Actually that would be great.
But nothing is as great as their breakfast sandwich. Much more than the sum of its parts (ciabatta roll, hard-poached egg, melted cheddar, arugula, and country sausage that you can sub out for vegan apple sage), this sandwich is the perfect food and I hope to god no one ever tells me how many calories are in it. Because then I might feel bad about having it with fries. And a Stella. And a nap. And then who has the energy to go grocery shopping and make dinner after all that? Let’s just go to Bender’s.