Restaurant review: Nick’s Tacos at Underdog, plus your weekend plans!  »

Underdog is a sports bar that serves Nick’s Tacos, located in an area of San Francisco I like to refer to as the Mid Sunset. Not quite Outer, not quite Inner. Technically, what is 19th and Irving? I have no clue.

Nick believes in slow food, fast, which I guess I love. I don’t respect the Slow Food movement so much, as it tends to be super meat-heavy/hypocritical. Unless we are talking about cooking dinner in my apartment! My old roommate Vanessa said I am a great cook, but she can’t wait two hours to eat. What?! I like the flavors to meld—and I cook on low so I can check Facebook every two seconds.

I went to Underdog’s on a whim last year with two friends, as one of them knew the bartender and we NEEDED to make it for beer-and-taco happy hour. Taco happy hour, by the way, is only for ‘street-style’ meat tacos, but Nick’s is so inexpensive, you won’t stay too mad about that. Perhaps they will make the street tacos sans meat, I’ve never asked.

Drinking and tacos are two of my FAVORITE THINGS! I could tell I was gonna like the food as soon as our chips and salsa came. SO COLORFUL AND FRESH! I mean, really? In a bar? I was not expecting this.

That first time, I ordered the vegetarian tacos, which come Nick’s Way in a crispy corn tortilla wrapped in a soft flour tortilla. YES AND YES.

The second time I visited UnderNick’s, I had the taco salad. SO AMAZING. The best part is that it is a vegan entree, so I didn’t have to waste time asking for no cheese or sour cream and then stress out it’s going to come with those condiments anyway. Cilantro-lime vinaigrette? Done. Fresh tomatoes and delicious guacamole? Done. The best part, other than how it tastes, is that it doesn’t come in a heavy, fried tortilla shell, the part of the salad I always try to abstain from and then demolish in 30 seconds flat. Instead they decoratively top the salad with tortilla curls!

The first time I went to Underdog’s, my friend informed me of second Underdog up the street (different place of business completely). So after gorging on chips, salsa and tacos, I found room in my stomach for a vegan sausage dog with sauerkraut. And then went home and made seitan (while checking Facebook constantly).

Here’s your itinerary for this weekend (whenever your weekend is. Mine is Mondays and Tuesdays, holla!). Go to Ocean Beach, try to stay warm and work up an nice appetite/beer buzz on the sand, and as you are heading back to the city stop at Nick’s. Scarf down your food so that before your stomach can register it’s full, you can demolish a vegan sausage dog down the street. Sounds like a perfect day to me!

Underdog Sports Bar and Grill is located at 1824 Irving between 19th and 20th Avenues in the Sunset. It can get pretty bro-y on game days, so I’d avoid it at all costs then. Here’s the menu [.pdf]. [Ed.: I’ve heard that on Fridays during happy hour, they have $1 margaritas. Girrrrrrrl…]


Sunset Two-fer: Underdog and Trouble Coffee!  »

Sometimes a girl just has to take a break. Sure, it would be great to head to Costa Rica or Tokyo, but sometimes all you have are $15 and an afternoon, in which case I recommend the beach, with a couple of important stops:

1. Underdog
Underdog is just as cute as can be! This tiny little space seats maybe eight people, including the little bench outside. What it lacks in seating, however, it makes up in vegan sausage options! On the day of my visit, they had no fewer than seven vegan sausages (including such stars as Field Roast Apple Sage and Tofurky Italian, and also what appeared to be a homemade variety). You get your choice of white or whole wheat bun, and then you load it up with classic, all-organic toppings. Oh, and did I forget to mention sides? Underdog has both Tater Tots and vegan potato salad. Also, everything is cheap! Like, $3.69! Or less! And there is a great selection of organic sodas and juices, vegan chocolate chip cookies, and vegan ice cream. The icing on the cake is the super-cute and nice person who works at the counter and calls you nice names, like honey, which is just what I needed. Thanks, Underdog! [Ed.: Underdog was originally reviewed on Vegansaurus last year but this adds to the convo so we put it up because we like to add to shit.]

2. Trouble Coffee
Now, I’m normally a bit hesitant to recommend a coffee place that doesn’t offer any vegan food options, but in this case, I feel an exception is warranted. So, while Trouble Coffee doesn’t offer any vegan pastries, it does offer a cooler full of whole coconuts, which they will expertly whack the tops off of and give to you with a straw and a spoon. They also have great coffee (De La Paz) expertly made, and they use Wildwood soy milk, which I think is nice, and they know how to make it foam up real nice. No overly-milky soy cappuccinos here! This tiny little place is four blocks from Ocean Beach on Judah Street and is, like Underdog, super-duper cute. There’s only seating for about six or seven people inside, with a bench outside.

The girl working the counter was a bit, um, aloof, and when I asked her about vegan food options, she picked up her cell phone and started texting before answering me with a vague, distracted, “Not right now, but we’re thinking [mumble] we have grapefruit juice, though….” She sort of indicated that they were maybe thinking about getting a vegan item or two, though Trouble is one of those places that only really has two or three food items, so who the hell knows. Maybe if someone can get hold of the barista’s cell phone number, we could all text her about it.

Anyway, it’s a nice place close to the beach with good coffee and WHOLE COCONUTS, so I recommend it. It’s also right by Other Avenues, so you can pick up something to soak up that caffeine on your way home.

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