Review: El Metate! »
El Metate is a solid choice for a vegan burrito or taco. They don’t make me walk into light poles so hard I’m knocked nearly unconscious because I’m so preoccupied with their deliciousness (like an El Farolito burrito MAY or MAY have made me do once) but they’re very good. One thing they have going for them is the best Mexican rice in town. It’s just magical deliciousness…tomatoes and bay leaves and onions—perfect. The veggie burrito has actual pan-fried broccoli, carrots, and zucchini in it. It’s kinda like a Chinese stir-fry burrito. If Amy Tan had a baby with Juan Valdez, this is what it would taste like.* It’s really good but you have to be in the mood to eat a whole community garden worth of roughage. Which, to you, might sound either amazing or kinda gross. For me, it’s a place I have to be in the mood for. See, El Farolito, like with sex/drugs/rockn’roll/whining/bitching/eatingcookies/complaining/blamingmyparentsforallofthemisfortunesofmyexistence, I’m always in the mood for it.
Some things to note: El Metate is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day of the week. The watermelon fresca is fucking delicious, refreshing and light! Stay away from the corn chips and go with the flour ones instead. The owner couldn’t be more friendly and adorable. He’ll most likely tell you that you look like some ridiculous celebrity. Depending on the day, it might be Lindsay Lohan or Danny Devito. Whatevs, I’ll take it!
*like Amy Tan would do it with a dude who wasn’t white?! If there’s one thing I learned from The Joy Luck Club it’s that Chinese women be marrying white men. And that Chinese men are mean and/or weak. And also, the importance of understanding one’s heritage. That’s why I’m taking a trip to HomeTown Buffet today. It’s important to remember your roots.
[photo via yelp]
Unexpected vegan finds! »
A few places in town that are surprisingly vegan-friendly.
1. Pork Store—two locations: one in the Haight; one in the Mission. This is how much San Francisco wants you to be happy: it gives you a diner called the Pork Store and throws a really nice, garlicky tofu scramble on the menu, the “Vegan Delight.” From my numerous times sitting at the counter at the Haight location, I can tell you they use different pans for the tofu.
2. Q—One of only a few places on Clement Street to get non-Asian food, Q is an adorable restaurant: good for brunch, good for dinner, good for dates, good for anything. For brunch they have a tofu scramble, which they call “Hippy Heaven” and for dinner/lunch they have a grilled vegetable cornucopia called the “Ultimate Vegan Grill.” They also, quite notably, serve tater tots.They have an amazing wine list and serve sangria, so if you really don’t want to eat, you can always just get drunk. None of us will judge you (too much).
3. Casa Mexicana I (in the Castro) and II (in Noe Valley)—we love burritos at Vegansaurus! If you can’t take the greasiness of El Farolito or the long waits at Papalote, Casa Mexicana is a local taqueria chain (I’m certain they’re affiliated with some other taquerias in town, but have no evidence) with some tasty vegan options including lard-free beans, vegetarian rice and tofu ranchero; blocks of tofu covered in wonderful red sauce. Here’s what you do: you get a tofu ranchero burrito with refried beans, add avocado. You go to to the salsa bar, you add roasted tomato salsa and more cilantro. You love everything about life right at that moment.
[photo via yelp]
Review: Papalote! »
Most burrito places have only one vegetarian option (helpfully labeled “vegetarian”). Papalote has a staggering six (count em! six!) veggie options, and all are also available as tacos (why would you order a taco? Why?): rice and beans; potato carrot mushroom; grilled eggplant and zucchini; grilled tofu; soyrizo; and molé tofu! The correct answer is molé! Order this, I will not steer you wrong! Seriously, where else can you get vegan molé anything? Somebody tell me. Refreshingly, all of these are vegan by default—you actually have to opt in for cheese and sour cream, and pay extra. This is called the “idiot tax.”
Also, they have the best, most unique and delicious-tasting salsa in the city. I have heard that the secret ingredient is pumpkin seeds, and I am willing to believe, because pumpkins make everything better. You can ask for extra salsa, but they will charge you, because they know how valuable it is. This is called the “precious commodities tax.”
Pro tip! Ask for a punch card when you get your burrito. They probably won’t offer you one! Buying ten burritos equals one free one, and you’ll probably blaze through that in a week, right?
There are two Papalote locations, one in the Mission and one in Western Addition. They also have vegan nachos, fajitas and a molé tofu entree on the menu. But again, why? None of these count towards your punch card! Prioritize!
Do yourself a favor and call ahead with your burrito order and then pick it up in 15 minutes. They have a second cashier line dedicated to pick up orders, and you will happily skip the always-out-the-door line, and jockeying with the crowd for free tables. This means, additionally, that Papalote is not a great date spot. You’ve been advised.
*A charming mental image!
[photo via yelp]
Review: El Farolito! »
I believe this is the best burrito in San Francisco. This is, of course, a hotly debated topic and honestly, I don’t care what anyone else has to say, they’re all a bunch of fucking morons. El Farolito is the best, even if it comes with a side of hep C. And it does. Seriously, this place is not the cleanest. AND WHATEVER YOU DO, DO NOT USE THE BATHROOM. I can’t say anything more but I’ve seen things. Things no man should have to see. I was in the shit, if you will. And I mean that. Also, watch them when they make your burrito to make sure everything is prepared away from and free of meat and cheese products—these fools already think you’re insane for not ordering a taco with a TONGUE in it so you know, do not trust them. In fact, that is a good lesson in life. Trust no one. Except me. Trust me. I would never steal your identity and sleep with your man. By the way, this is you writing from in bed with my man. Hi!!!!
Anyway, El Farolito is the rare place where the food is just as good when you’re sober as it is when you’re drunk. That being said, I would never dine in. I’m a lady and this is no place for a lady. That being said, I’m the drunk redhead in the back most Thursday nights.
DIETER WARNING: one $4.95 super vegetarian burrito (the rice, the black beans, and the whole pinto beans are vegan!) sans cheese and sour cream add extra avocado is your entire day’s caloric intake. This means for the rest of the day, you will be forced to eat celery (THIS IS THE RARE FOOD THAT BURNS CALORIES WHEN YOU ARE EATING IT OR SO I’VE BEEN TOLD I HAVE NEVER REALLY DONE ANY RESEARCH I JUST BLINDLY CHOOSE TO BELIEVE IT!) and your own fingernails. Delicious. Please note, it is entirely worth it.
Three taqueria locations in the Mission: one on Mission Street at 24th Street; one on 24th Street between Alabama and Harrison Streets; and one further out on Mission Street at France Street, in an area called “Mission Terrace.” There is also one in South San Francisco and one in Oakland! Most locations are open crazy-good hours too, from like 10 a.m. to 4 a.m. everyday. Actually, some locations might be until 2 a.m. but I think that’s right. In a city where late-night dining options are harder to find than Bruce Vilanch in a woman’s vagina, that’s pretty awesome. Actually, I guess it’s hard to find Bruce Vilanch doing it with a dude either. I mean, fool be lookin’ like 15 Fraggles stapled together! I love this guy but I worry about his love life.