Considering that Adam took over 130 pictures of London restaurants we ate at, it was only natural that we start chronicling our thoughts and opinions about the food we eat. We've totally become accidental foodies. It all started out when Sheila started calling Adam "the human trash compactor"; since he eats almost anything. But somewhere along the way we started having discussions about food and seeking out culinary adventures when on travel. We bring a unique perspective to this arena as we're both vegetarians (no meat, poultry, or fish). I suspect we will both have varying opinions on the food, and hope to not only have a record for posterity, but provide some fun, useful if not amateur insight.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

papalote and soyrizo

The Mission, and for that matter all of SF, is a Mecca for great Mexican fare. I could pretty much each a quesadilla or veggie burrito from any one of the local joints and be happy. However, it's Sheila who has a discerning palate. So when our friends The Laffs took us to Papalote in the Mission, Sheila was withholding comments until after the meal.

Papalote recently shot into fame by being part of, and winning, and burrito episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay. In fact, the wait staff still wear shirt proclaiming their victory! The eatery is typical taqueria, order at the counter, get a number, and pick a table. The menu is unique and what jumps out is the soyrizo; Only in SF, right? It's a curious taste for a vegetarian, but I am hooked especially after having it in their soft tacos. Here's my scouting report -

(1) Salsa - Tastes like a mix of roasted tomatoes, queso, and chilies. It's got some kick but won't give you heartburn 30 mins later. It's so good that you can buy a jar from the counter. Bobby Flay even noted that it was the salsa that tipped the scale in Papalote's win. Simply the best salsa I've had.

(2) Soyrizo soft tacos - There is heat from the soyrizo, which is a soy gluten immersed with the flavors of canola oil, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. The two tortillas were thick, freshly made, and the perfect size. The tacos were topped with soyrizo, queso, lettuce, and pico de gallo. I ordered my tacos "super" with sour cream and guacamole to cut the heat. They are heavy so come along with an appetite.

(3) Watermelon agua fresca - a thirst-quenching mix of fresh blended watermelons, water, and sugar. For me the best aqua fresca is lightly sweetened allowing the fruits to naturally add the rest. On a hot summer afternoon, I could drink an entire container full!

It's a value meal of fresh Mexican food that has quickly become one of our places. Don't be scared away by the thought of soy in your Mexican food. I can't say it's for everyone, but I've become a fan. Make the trip over to the corner of Valencia and 24th. It'll be worth your while.

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