Monday, October 8, 2012

Some Thoughts On San Francisco Mexican Food

I'm going to have to sadly report that La Taqueria is declining in quality. The prices have gone up, and I didn't love my burrito de carnitas con todo the last time I was there. It was a little dry and strangely both salty and flavorless, as if they had over salted to compensate for the lack of seasoning on the meat (or the quality). The tortilla was drier than it should have been, and I felt that the portion was too small for the ten dollars I paid. Since in the past every element of their burrito has been perfect, including the tortilla, this was a major disappointment.  I haven't found a burrito that I like as much as I used to like theirs, but I have SF homies keeping an eye out. As for other things Mexican, I do have some suggestions.
For nachos and pozole, I'd recommend Zapata on 18th and Collingwood. For great mezcal and tequila I'd recommend Tacolicious/Mosto. The bartenders at the one on Valencia know what's up and will pour you something you'll love if you let them. For shrimp, La Corneta still owns it. Their garlic or chili camarones are delicious with tortillas and guacamole. El Huarache makes awesome quesadillas de cecina and huaraches. I think they're usually at the Alemany farmer's market on Saturdays, and probably at other markets around the Bay.

I'd love a Del Maguey right now to burn all the sickness away. If anyone knows where to get good mezcal in Rome do let me know.

Belly Fat

I'm currently quite sick and yet swamped with work. I scraped up the energy to make a pot of caldo de pollo with chayote, yellow corn, zucchini and carrots, otherwise known as the Mexican cure-all (even more so than Vicks, which I am also using).
However, in order to make myself feel truly better and able to do the things that need to get done, I've decided to turn to the ultimate weapon: experimenting with pork belly.

I bought a small piece of uncured pancetta (pork belly) from my friendly neighborhood pork butcher, and I'm going to cure it. I haven't yet decided if it will be air cured, Italian style, or oven cured, bacon style. I don't have a smoker, but the internet authorities are clear that one isn't necessary.

It'll be a week before any results come in, but just beginning the curing process is making me happy. In the mean time, I've got caldo...and roommate's mom's lasagna.

The cure:
Salt (no curing salt, which means it won't be as pretty when I cook it later but is plenty safe in this case. I'll be ordering curing salt ASAP)
Chili flakes
Brown Sugar (and a bit of Honey)
Cumin (just a touch)
Crushed Garlic
Whole Cloves
Fresh Sage

We'll see what happens with this little test run...if it is successful, the pork butcher is going to be seeing a lot more of me.

In other news, the owner of my local Korean restaurant told me where to find the Korean market. My roommates have no idea what lies in wait for them once I have my hands on some doenjang and gochujang (and hopefully homemade tofu).