Mexican food in Frisco

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Richard Brooks Alba
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Mexican food in Frisco - Fri, 07/11/03 4:33 PM
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quote:
Here in Fresno, CA, we have a plethora of authentic mom & pop Mexican food places.. there are actually 4 of them within a half mile of my house! Not all the new places that pop up, survive, because even though one is "authentic", one has to be top notch because you are competing with others just as "authentic". Some of the best include:
Mario's on Divisidero. Home of the kitchen sink nacho plates. House made chips smothered in Chili Verde, housemade salsa, guacamole, mexican sour cream, Jack cheese, and some sort of secret "chili sauce".
Robertito's, a Fresno legend. A popular local chain with homemade tortillas and awesome burritos of every stripe. Watch out for their 5 alarm chile verde! Open 24/7.
Alberto's, another local chain with the most succulent carne asada around.
Don Pepe's. A little hole in the wall joint with ice cold cerveza and great tortas (Mexican sandwiches). This place is full to the gills every lunchtime. Favored by the local Fire Dept. Don't forget to visit their condiment bar!
All the places I've mentioned have drive thrus except Don Pepe's. Don's is indoor eating and takeout, Robertito's and Mario's have limited outdoor and indoor seating. The Alberto's on Willow not only has ample indoor seating but a large children's play area!
And this is just the beginning.. there are dozens more, where you'd swear you'd crossed the border!

A sad fact in S.F.: we have lots of places, a great majority of them in our Mission District, that serve food that is supposed to be Mexican. In truth, most of it is merely 'Mexican-styled' food. The most famous example of this is the "Mission-style" burrito (in the deluxe version, a flour tortilla filled with w/ everything but the kitchen sink: beans, rice, meat [or vegi equivalent], cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa cruda, sour cream, guacamole, & "hot sauce") that is growing more and more popular across the country. Like pretty much any other popular Mexican food here, this is a concoction that was developed to accommodate the tastebuds of non-Latinos. We have "taquerias" in name only - to a one, they sell many more burritos, or nacho platters, than tacos. This has come about because many Mexican families have moved from San Francisco [to buy homes elsewhere], replaced with Central American families who can sustain their own cuisines for themselves, and broader-minded others, in their restaurants - but also have a ready market of folks who still want to buy their "Mexican" comfort food. This is the epitome of absurdist humor to my relatives when they come to visit here: to see "Mission-style" burritos being marketed outside of California as the 'logical' extension of a quasi-Mexican foodstuff made by non-Mexicans for other non-Mexicans in our ostensible 'taquerias' of San Francisco. (For me, it goes one additional step: actual Mexicans trying out the offerings at Taco Bell, with or without its "Run For The Border" campaign... [but only because there's ANY connection at all between 'Mexican' and 'Taco Bell'])

There is still a way to navigate our taquerias to see if they're worth trying: count the number of possible fillings available for your burrito/taco/torta - if they only have like "beef," "chicken," "pork," and "cheese," move on to the next place. The more possibilities, the better the chances that they actually pay attention to the distinctive features of each filling. Even if the possibilities are fillings you wouldn't eat yourself (tongue, brains, cactus paddles, etc.), they mean that you're just that teensiest bit closer to authenticity.

If I had my way [and decent backing], I would open a real Mexican restaurant - and not serve a single burrito....
Buen provecho,
Richard
San Francisco/SF, CA

Lone Star
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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Fri, 07/11/03 4:42 PM
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I recently had lunch at a Mission burrito place, and I thought it was awful. Yes, everything was very fresh etc... but I could not get past the rice in the tortilla. I believe the Chipotle chain is the same thing.

Luckily in Houston, we have many, many carcinerias where you can still get good tacos, and barbacoa (usually on on weekends) and you can buy your own skirt steaks fresh from the butcher counter in the back to cook at home.

Now , I am certainly not going to say that I do not love my Tex-Mex ( #38 for me please), but I know that is just what it is, Tex-Mex.

I hope I never get taken to another one of those burrito places, ever!

1bbqboy
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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Fri, 07/11/03 5:28 PM
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Richard, your thoughts are an extention of the previous "hispanic" thread. I was interested in your views as a native Californian because this post echos what I've experienced in my travels and times through california. It can be good, but californian first. Is there any place you treasure in the bay area, that you would take people to? What do you think of joe's taco lounge in Mill Valley? As far as use of Latino, I understand what you were saying and it has opened my eyes as to the origins of culture in mexico, central america, and the carribean. My thoughts were centered on food because, well, this is a food site.But to your first point, I'm wondering if more recent mexican immigrants are moving past the largest cities and onwards to smaller burgs where work is available. One of the interesting aspects of the last census was the penetration of latino culture far beyond what's normally associated with them. For instance the movement of Beef packing plants to small towns has resulted in a sharp rise in immigrants to those areas in Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska. Here in southern oregon we have many hole in the wall mexican cafes, grocery stores, a bustling tortilla factory and the community to make them successful. Maybe people just get absorbed in a big city. bill

Richard Brooks Alba
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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Mon, 07/14/03 5:24 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by bill voss

Richard, your thoughts are an extention of the previous "hispanic" thread. I was interested in your views as a native Californian because this post echos what I've experienced in my travels and times through california. It can be good, but californian first. Is there any place you treasure in the bay area, that you would take people to? What do you think of joe's taco lounge in Mill Valley? As far as use of Latino, I understand what you were saying and it has opened my eyes as to the origins of culture in mexico, central america, and the carribean. My thoughts were centered on food because, well, this is a food site.But to your first point, I'm wondering if more recent mexican immigrants are moving past the largest cities and onwards to smaller burgs where work is available. One of the interesting aspects of the last census was the penetration of latino culture far beyond what's normally associated with them. For instance the movement of Beef packing plants to small towns has resulted in a sharp rise in immigrants to those areas in Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska. Here in southern oregon we have many hole in the wall mexican cafes, grocery stores, a bustling tortilla factory and the community to make them successful. Maybe people just get absorbed in a big city. bill

Bill [et al.],
I actually think that recent Mexican immigrants can still make it to big cities - including San Francisco - but the difference is in the competition for resources. If a city has a strong web of suburbs, but a decaying core, I could see an urban renaissance of development with immigrants having the opportunity to build a solid middle-class. In San Francisco, the competition for housing is fierce, so established Mexican American families have moved down the peninsula or over the hills into Contra Costa or San Joaquin county, where their house-buying dollar goes further. What they left behind was not only a still-ravenous market for "Mexican" food, but also the restraints of that market - that is, if they can start fresh out in the valley [or wherever], they can break free from the same ol' burritos & nachos grind....
Hasta pronto,
Richard
San Francisco/SF, CA

EdSails
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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Mon, 07/14/03 5:56 PM
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One of my favorite places-------and well-reviewed here in Roadfood----is La Super Rica in santa Barbara. No----there is not one burrito on the menu. I agree completely------if I don't see sesos or buche on the menu-----even though I eat neither one-----I know I'm in a decent place. If there is any type of food that has been more corrupted by mainstream America it is Mexican food. Yes, Richard-----I guess I was fortunate in April that since I eat so much Mexican food here (at least once a week) when I was in SF in April I looked for other types of food to enjoy. Down here, of course------my choices are many. I know the best places for cocteles and posole. But it still amazes me that when I work with people who should know better then I because of their heredity that they talk about going to Taco Bell for lunch. Maybe that's what is needed is more people to open the authentic places-------but not in the Hispanic sections. Instead, open a "real" cafe in areas where people can appreciate authenticity. I hope you can do it, Richard-----------it would open a lot of eyes!

capnhank
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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Wed, 09/10/03 3:27 PM
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Originally posted by Lone Star
I believe the Chipotle chain is the same thing.


To make it worse, Chipotle, like Boston Market, is owned by McDonald's. If that doesn't make your skin crawl...

Yes, it's a sad state of affairs when some of the best Mexican food here in San Jose is from roach coaches in front of the Pick'n'Pull or the flea market.
And Senor Alba is right when he says that the more unsettling the meat options the more authentic the food. You'll never see cabeza at Chipotle, that's for sure!

Lone Star
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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Wed, 09/10/03 3:44 PM
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Here in our small office, we all take turns picking where we are going to have lunch. Unfortunately, one of my co-workers simply loves Mission Burrito.

I advise you, if you ever find yourself in one of those places, to order a bowl of the tortilla soup and a order of "Picas", what they call stuffed and fried jalapenos. They are actually very good and I was pleasantly surprised that they used fresh whole peppers instead of the usual pickled kind.

Gator
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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Wed, 09/10/03 4:07 PM
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Huh, well I lived in the Mission District for five years, and I ate Mission-style burritos not because I thought they were muy autentico or would enhance my ethnic street cred (I'm white), but, rather, because they were an tasty, inexpensive, convenient way to eat a relatively balanced meal. I also ate at some of the excellent Salvadorean restaurants in the neighborhood.

I think sometimes people get a little uptight about purity and authenticity. The fact that different cultures borrow from each other's food ways can be a good thing (Texas barbecue culture) or a not-so-good thing (Tex-Mex, IMHO). El Azteca in my neighborhood, over here on the East Side of Austin, serves a Chicken Fried Steak with Salsa Verde, and I think that's great.

capnhank
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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Wed, 09/10/03 5:06 PM
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Good point, Gator. I grew up eating Mission-style burritos and have nothing against them. It's a great meal-on-the-go and cheap, too. However, too many people here think that that's the norm. I've taken friends to little taco stands and they complain about the size of the food, having expected a gigantic Guadalajara #3 or whatever. It just sort of screws with the American image of Mexican food, IMHO.

ExtraMSG
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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Thu, 10/9/03 2:55 AM
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Gator does make a good point. I've toured the Mission District's Latino food joints, though, and I think they're better than Richard gives them credit for. There's a lot of standard taqueria food -- carnitas, al pastor, carne asada, etc -- along with the burritos. There are also a good collection of Salvadorean places that, of course, serve some Mexican and Mexican-American dishes as well. But you can also get some excellent pupusas and other items.

However, the best Mexican food -- at least at the taqueria level -- I've found in the Bay Area is in Oakland in the Fruitvale area. Great taquerias where you can get freshly made quesadillas con huitlacoche or flor de calabaza, huaraches con tinga, soups, and tacos with excellent carnitas and the like.

SF doesn't seem to have as good a selection of regional Mexican restaurants as Chicago or LA -- or many southwestern cities -- but they do have good Mexican and there are some very good Mexican restaurants like Dona Tomas.

Richard Brooks Alba
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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Tue, 10/14/03 2:29 PM
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I got nothing against burritos, per se. But while some of my pals were apoplectic at the "wrapp" phenomenon, I thought it was more intellectually honest to offer this new 'concept' [name] to the marketplace, with less of the ostensibly Mexican identity. I can't think of anything cooler than just dropping the Mexican pretense, and calling this 'Mission-style' - as long as folks don't go confusing it with architecture or furniture....

I would agree with ExtraMSG about the Fruitvale - the prime reason it is so, and can stay so, is that there are fewer Yups/Anglos there, upsetting the balance of culinary authenticity. As to good Mexican in the City - I'm not sure where it would be found. Casa Aguila out in the Sunset District was a keeper, but I believe they're gone. Tommy's [Yucatecan], out in the Richmond, tastes OK after a bunch of tequila, and Reed Hearon's place, Cafe Marimba [Marina District] might come close to Dona Tomas for some moles (that he imports from Oaxaca and/or Puebla), but is otherwise Yup-central.

I got no problem eating inauthentic cuisine - I just hate having my food misrepresented or misidentified, or my experiences invalidated by folks who act as if being without roots or ties to a community is a virtue - and by false logic, that having such roots is a vice. (For EdSails, I don't see the same culinary imperative for where such a temple to authenticty would be located - it would HAVE to be in the barrio/colonia/'hood because I would want it to be more than a passing fancy for foodies, I would want there to be buzz on based on the cooking - not buzz based on the scene, and I would desperately need the feedback from folks who grokked what I was trying to say [even if their kids were elsewhere eating 'Enchurritos' or 'Chalupas']!)
Buen provecho,
Richard
Berkeley/SF, CA

marberthenad
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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Mon, 11/3/03 6:12 AM
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A great restaurant in the Bay Area is Vive Sol, located on El Camino Real in Mountain View, CA. Cuisine is Pueblan, and is delicious. Service is family style. Restaurant is cheerful and well priced. I miss it now that I am in DC, and have to settle for more traditional Mexican "style" restaurants. Vive Sol has a sister restaurant in Palo Alto called El Sol, but I prefer the Mountain View location.

tiki
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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Mon, 11/3/03 3:20 PM
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A question for Richard Alba Brooks---yrs ago--many many yrs ago--i used to frequent a mexican place in Berkeley that was surrounded by factories and shops and full of old hippies and working guys---Juans Place---they didnt serve Mission style burritos--just good home style cooking of the region that Juans family was from--cant remember where that was but the food was great and the atmosphere wqas very defiantly "Road Food"---can you tell me if it is still around?

Richard Brooks Alba
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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Tue, 11/4/03 6:02 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by tiki

A question for Richard Alba Brooks---yrs ago--many many yrs ago--i used to frequent a mexican place in Berkeley that was surrounded by factories and shops and full of old hippies and working guys---Juans Place---they didnt serve Mission style burritos--just good home style cooking of the region that Juans family was from--cant remember where that was but the food was great and the atmosphere wqas very defiantly "Road Food"---can you tell me if it is still around?

Tiki,

Here you go:

Juan's Place
941 Carleton St
Berkeley, CA 94710-2636
Phone: (510) 845-6904

I hadn't heard of it, but I'll try to drop by for a visit/review!
Buen provecho,
Richard
Berkeley/SF, CA

tiki
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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Tue, 11/4/03 11:09 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by Richard Brooks Alba

Here you go:

Juan's Place
941 Carleton St
Berkeley, CA 94710-2636
Phone: (510) 845-6904

I hadn't heard of it, but I'll try to drop by for a visit/review!
Buen provecho,
Richard
Berkeley/SF, CA


Wonderful!---looking for ward to it!

Rick F.
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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Wed, 11/5/03 3:03 AM
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Question from a former East Bay resident: Is it ok now to call SF "Frisco"? When I lived there it was always either "the City" or "San Francisco." Calling it "Frisco" marked you as a tourist trying to sound like a native. I'm not trying to be picky, I'm just curious. (I lived in Castro Valley, 1959-1966, sort of.)

tiki
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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Wed, 11/5/03 6:49 AM
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I wondered the same thing actually--i know in the 60,s through the 80.s the term "Frisco" pegged you right away as NOT from Northern Calif---as a matter of fact it made you suspect of being one of those nasty from people from that evil empire that seperateed "Us" from Mexico--sorry to our Southern Calif roadfooders--no offence meant--its not your fault you where born there!

capnhank
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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Thu, 11/6/03 5:12 PM
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I grew up in Berkeley and no locals ever called SF "Frisco". That was a cardinal sin. San Francisco was "The City" and downtown Berkeley was "Downtown". Period. However, the Internet explosion has brought such an influx of non-natives in the last decade that it doesn't surprise me to hear "Frisco" from time to time. It makes me a little sad, but no surprise. Herb Caen would probably never stop projectile vomiting if he could ever stop spinning in his grave.
Juan's Place is excellent, BTW. I used to go there for lunch when I worked in that fine neighborhood. I think they're trying to gentrify West Berkeley lately (like all the other industrial areas in major metropoli), but a few high-rent lofts and a farmer's market won't take the "industrial" out of the area. Speaking of that neighborhood: Does anybody know if Nadine's is still open? It was a super high-class restaurant in a screwed-up looking building at San Pablo and ...(Haste? Channing?). One of the finest meals I've ever eaten in one of the most unexpected places.
Oddly enough, I was just talking about Juan's with a coworker today. We were discussing Berkeley Mexican food and Juan's popped up right alongside La Fiesta, Manuel's Super Burrito, Celia's and La Tolteca (long gone, but top-notch). So many memories!

Rick F.
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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Thu, 11/6/03 5:31 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by tiki
. . . that evil empire that seperateed "Us" from Mexico--sorry to our Southern Calif roadfooders--no offence meant--its not your fault you where born there!
Ahem. Is it possible to offend those who live beyond the pale? Besides, it is too their fault! Everything is their fault! (Pardon me: I get a bit testy when reminded of those. . . persons.)

1bbqboy
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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Thu, 11/6/03 5:46 PM
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thin ice alert! thin ice alert! uh rick....those of us in the OTHER 48 states blame California for ALMOST everything. The stuff we don't blame on Ca., well, I'm afraid that everything else IS New York's fault. Sure, I know there's a few of you out there that just had the misfortune to be neighbors of the trumps, but we don't have time to sort 'em all out. Basically, EVERYTHING is either california's of new york's fault. Sincerely, bill, in no-fault oregon

Rick F.
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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Thu, 11/6/03 5:49 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by bill voss

thin ice alert! thin ice alert! uh rick....those of us in the OTHER 48 states blame California for ALMOST everything. The stuff we don't blame on Ca., well, I'm afraid that everything else IS New York's fault. Sure, I know there's a few of you out there that just had the misfortune to be neighbors of the trumps, but we don't have time to sort 'em all out. Basically, EVERYTHING is either california's of new york's fault. Sincerely, bill, in no-fault oregon

Bill, I left CA in '66 and nver looked back! But now I live in LA, the state that gives almost everybody except AR and MS somebody to feel superior to.

Pwingsx
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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Thu, 11/6/03 5:54 PM
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In Colorado, we blame everything on:

California
New York
Texas

and believe it or not:

Michigan

love, Pwingsx

Oh, ahem, not ME personally......bwahahahah...

1bbqboy
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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Thu, 11/6/03 6:02 PM
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is it the pasties? or ted nugent? hmmmmmm....

Richard Brooks Alba
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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Wed, 12/3/03 2:01 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by tiki

quote:
Originally posted by Richard Brooks Alba

Here you go:

Juan's Place
941 Carleton St
Berkeley, CA 94710-2636
Phone: (510) 845-6904

I hadn't heard of it, but I'll try to drop by for a visit/review!

Buen provecho,
Richard
Berkeley/SF, CA


Wonderful!---looking for ward to it!


Tiki, et al.,
Went to Juan's & here's my 2 cents: on a scale of 1 [run for your life] to 10 [MY last meal on death row would be catered by this place], I'd give Juan's a 3. And that's only because the staff was so personable.

I made the mistake of ordering one of the nightly specials - ribs. I was fully anticipating Mexican-style braised ribs in a savory sauce - something that had been properly cooked for a long time. To my consternation and disappointment, I was brought a plate full of bbq-styled ribs, plainly boiled, and finished in a tinny-tasting sauce. (Now, when was last time any of you got a tinny barbecue sauce?). I ate 'em because I was hungry...and because I half hoped that there would be some smidgen of savory-tasting meat somewhere on them bones. The rice was decent, the beans like lead, and the salsa? Not exactly a character-filled concoction - sorta like salsa-flavored tomato sauce. This meal would have been sad even in some chain joint like Chevy's or Carlos Murphy's or any of those other franchises that are dream-based and not cuisine-based.

I looked at the other dishes being served up, and none of them captured my fancy - if I should ever go back, it would only be for research's sake: just to verify that I didn't get some statistical glitch of a meal, and perhaps find out that the other stuff is better than it looks.

I feel less bad about the food in the Mission* - for what that's worth....
Sorry,
Richard
Berkeley/SF, CA

* we've had a number of Yucatecan places open up with the recent wave of Mayas arriving in the City, and I even scored some fine 'panuchos' [like a tostada made with a delicate bean-filled tortilla] in a coffee shop just yesterday.

P.S. I'm not sure what to make of the confusion between the pro- and anti- 'Frisco' factions...there seems to be a fundamental problem of understanding history and the importance of location to naming conventions. Here are some reminders:
- San Francisco has been called 'Frisco' for over 150 years now - the name isn't going away.
- San Franciscans, whether locally born or 'adopted' sons & daughters, have been insecure about their city's reputation for nearly as long.
- Herb Caen [the late 'local' columnist & bon vivant], the leading voice against calling this burg 'Frisco,' was from Sacramento.
- No one who lives in San Francisco generally tells anyone outside the region that they live in 'the City' - but that's [generally] what they tell others here in the region [and, logically following that practice, South San Francisco is known, locally, as 'South City'].
- Because of their insecurity (and/or their inability to cope with multiple names for the same place), the not-necessarily-newly-arrived have dutifully followed, and repeated, the admonishment of civic booster Citizen Caen to not call it 'Frisco' as proof of their being locals in this city - a city that would boot out those critical ones who would disagree with the sentiment that this is the best city in the country/world/universe.
- an additional tweek: Spanish-speaking locals often call this place 'San Pancho'....

tiki
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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Thu, 12/4/03 7:40 AM
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Well thats dissapointing--it was once a neat place and i dont ever remember any ribs on the menu--wonder if the tamales are just a memory? Thanks Richard---even it it was a dissapointment.

capnhank
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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Thu, 12/4/03 6:18 PM
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Yes, that's very bad news. It's been well over a decade, so they must have fallen into a state of disrepair since last I visited (or, more likely, changed ownership).
Ribs?!! Juan's was never the sort of place to serve ribs, as far as I can recall. If I want ribs in Berkeley, I'll go to Flint's or E&J. Juan's was better known for tiki's tamales and the wet burritos of my youth. Something is rotten in Berkeley, to be sure. I drove past what used to be Nadine's on Thanksgiving, only to discover that it is a salvage yard.
I guess I should just stay here in the South Bay for Mexican food. There's a little market around the corner on 13th St that makes an excellent chile relleno and a place in Morgan Hill that makes about the finest tamales around. Too bad about Juan's. Looks like Berkeley is better for Indian food nowadays. Or Top Dog. There's always Top Dog! Oh, wait, they're opening one next to SJSU in another month. I guess I'll just stay here.

Also, Richard, thanks for the detailed cultural anthropology lesson. I didn't realize that Caen was from Sacramento. However, as a fourth generation Bay Area resident (my great grandfather was working at SF General Hospital during the 1906 Earthquake) I can attest to the locals' distaste for the term "Frisco". Maybe it's insecurity or, more likely, self-righteous indignation ("Only a tourist would call it 'Frisco'! Hmmph!"), but the older citizenry love to peer over their pince-nez at the late arrivals and bemoan their uncouth use of "Frisco". Hmmm... I wonder what my elitist grandmother would think of "San Pancho".
Oh, don't think for a minute that the irony of this elitism is lost on me. As your last post implies, you are well aware of San Francisco's history and know that her founding fathers (if you will) were anything but elite. However, I guess a couple of generations on Nob Hill will make all the diference in the world, eh?

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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Sat, 04/10/04 1:40 PM
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I know I'm jumping on this thread a little late, but for anyone in the Bay Area, check out a little place over in Oakland on E.14th (International) near 10th St. call "Jalisco". The sign has a cartoon pig similar to Porky pig on it. Pretty much the only thing offered here is pig in various forms. There's a counter with a glass front displaying the various "cuts" offered from carnitas (lean or fatty), pig skin (buche), ears & tails, etc. I think they are only open Friday, Saturday & Sunday, but if you are in the area, well worth a stop. For the non-Spanish speaking, the staff is really friendly, even though not much english is spoken, so pointing and nodding will work just fine.
Also, tons of taco trucks up and down East 14th serving up cabeza, lengua, sesos as well as al pastor and carne asada. You can also find a variety of seafood trucks there too.

BT
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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Mon, 07/5/04 6:54 PM
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quote:

I actually think that recent Mexican immigrants can still make it to big cities - including San Francisco - but the difference is in the competition for resources. If a city has a strong web of suburbs, but a decaying core, I could see an urban renaissance of development with immigrants having the opportunity to build a solid middle-class. In San Francisco, the competition for housing is fierce, so established Mexican American families have moved down the peninsula or over the hills into Contra Costa or San Joaquin county, where their house-buying dollar goes further. What they left behind was not only a still-ravenous market for "Mexican" food, but also the restraints of that market - that is, if they can start fresh out in the valley [or wherever], they can break free from the same ol' burritos & nachos grind....
Hasta pronto,
Richard
San Francisco/SF, CA


There are rare examples of fairly authentic Mexican food in SF. Unfortunately, my favorite spot, Casa Aguilla on Noreiga, has closed. I despair.

Otherwise, I pretty much agree with Richard. The food called Mexican in SF is different--often blander--than that closer to the border, say in southern California and I have attributed that to the fact that the cooks are often Salvadorean, Honduran--anyway, not actually Mexican.

But still, I want to speak up for the Mission-style taqueria. Elsewhere, someone here mentioned La Cumbre as an example and I had to chuckle because actually, La Cumbre may be the closest to "real" Mexican and least "Californicated"--hence, most atypical--burrito parlor in town. But the others, say "Can-Cun" or El Toro or any of many others, serve something that, while not in any sense Mexican, is delicious IMHO. And besides, generations of youthful newcomers to SF have lived on them and that is a social good I think.

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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Tue, 07/6/04 4:15 PM
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BT, I think you are exactly correct. I always loved La Cumbre cuz it was tasty and not what I grew up with, but the Mission has always been a Latino melting pot, and now has changed in the 21 years I've been going there. It's not good or bad, just an American expression of the influences these groups have experienced, and the experiences they have added. As a native midwesterner, plunging into California has always been something different and unique for me. No matter which ethnic group you're talking about, the influence of California on the folks who have come there is at least as great as where they came from. That's not true of a lot of other places where groups of people have moved. The sheer agricultural bounty available year round just inspires something new. I'm not sure people even know they're taken over by it, but it happens.

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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Wed, 07/7/04 1:59 AM
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quote:
Originally posted by bill voss

BT, I think you are exactly correct. I always loved La Cumbre cuz it was tasty and not what I grew up with, but the Mission has always been a Latino melting pot, and now has changed in the 21 years I've been going there. It's not good or bad, just an American expression of the influences these groups have experienced, and the experiences they have added. As a native midwesterner, plunging into California has always been something different and unique for me. No matter which ethnic group you're talking about, the influence of California on the folks who have come there is at least as great as where they came from. That's not true of a lot of other places where groups of people have moved. The sheer agricultural bounty available year round just inspires something new. I'm not sure people even know they're taken over by it, but it happens.


You're right, of course. My favorite example, though it may be off topic, was a place that used to be on Stanyan that claimed to serve "Memphis Style BBQ"--but they made their cole slaw (having lived in NC I ALWAYS put slaw on my BBQ pork sandwich) with RED cabbage. Never saw RED cabbage in Dixie.

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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Wed, 07/7/04 2:10 AM
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quote:
Originally posted by tiki

I wondered the same thing actually--i know in the 60,s through the 80.s the term "Frisco" pegged you right away as NOT from Northern Calif---as a matter of fact it made you suspect of being one of those nasty from people from that evil empire that seperateed "Us" from Mexico--sorry to our Southern Calif roadfooders--no offence meant--its not your fault you where born there!


Here's a hint on how to tell "us" from "those nasty people from that evil empire". Ask 'em the best way to drive to LA. If they say "take THE 5", they are nasty. If they say "Take 5" they are homies. Got it?

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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Wed, 07/7/04 2:15 AM
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quote:
Originally posted by Richard Brooks Alba

<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<div style="border: 1px #999999 solid; background-color: #DCDCDC; padding: 4px;">This is the epitome of absurdist humor to my relatives when they come to visit here: to see "Mission-style" burritos being marketed outside of California as the 'logical' extension of a quasi-Mexican foodstuff made by non-Mexicans for other non-Mexicans in our ostensible 'taquerias' of San Francisco. (For me, it goes one additional step: actual Mexicans trying out the offerings at Taco Bell, with or without its "Run For The Border" campaign... [but only because there's ANY connection at all between 'Mexican' and 'Taco Bell'])

Buen provecho,
Richard
San Francisco/SF, CA

BT
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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Wed, 07/7/04 2:22 AM
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quote:
Originally posted by Richard Brooks Alba
This is the epitome of absurdist humor to my relatives when they come to visit here: to see "Mission-style" burritos being marketed outside of California as the 'logical' extension of a quasi-Mexican foodstuff made by non-Mexicans for other non-Mexicans in our ostensible 'taquerias' of San Francisco. (For me, it goes one additional step: actual Mexicans trying out the offerings at Taco Bell, with or without its "Run For The Border" campaign... [but only because there's ANY connection at all between 'Mexican' and 'Taco Bell'])

Buen provecho,
Richard
San Francisco/SF, CA


LOL! I divide my time between SF and southern Arizona (about 30 miles north of the border at Nogales). I have always been astounded by the site of Mexicans--actual Mexicans, not Mexican-Americans--eating at Taco Bell when there is a perfectly respectable outlet of a local "Mexican" fast food chain called Rigoberto's, that serves much better food, just across the street. In fact, I have trouble understanding why anyone eats at that particular Taco Bell (other than the fact that it's only steps from the door of the local cineplex and you actually have to cross a busy road to Rigoberto's).

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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Tue, 07/13/04 9:56 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by bill voss

thin ice alert! thin ice alert! uh rick....those of us in the OTHER 48 states blame California for ALMOST everything. The stuff we don't blame on Ca., well, I'm afraid that everything else IS New York's fault. Sure, I know there's a few of you out there that just had the misfortune to be neighbors of the trumps, but we don't have time to sort 'em all out. Basically, EVERYTHING is either california's of new york's fault. Sincerely, bill, in no-fault oregon


Funny thing...Those of us born and raised here in CA and are multiple generation Californians, we blame everything on those folks that came from another state!!!

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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Wed, 07/14/04 2:03 AM
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quote:
Originally posted by Chef Susan

quote:
Originally posted by bill voss

thin ice alert! thin ice alert! uh rick....those of us in the OTHER 48 states blame California for ALMOST everything. The stuff we don't blame on Ca., well, I'm afraid that everything else IS New York's fault. Sure, I know there's a few of you out there that just had the misfortune to be neighbors of the trumps, but we don't have time to sort 'em all out. Basically, EVERYTHING is either california's of new york's fault. Sincerely, bill, in no-fault oregon


Funny thing...Those of us born and raised here in CA and are multiple generation Californians, we blame everything on those folks that came from another state!!!


Well, gosh, on behalf of those born elsewhere, we're really, really, sorry. Mmmm-kay?

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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Wed, 07/14/04 2:50 AM
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you know, it's interesting here on Roadfood to see these threads last
a year or more. I noticed that remark of mine when you revived this thread, BT. I was used to participating in forums where the banter was lively and pretty acidic, but gone the next day. I hope I'm a kinder and gentler Bill Voss now than when I first started posting on these forums, for you're never quite sure when some offhand comment will come to bite you in the butt. Over the course of a year I feel I've gotten to know most of the people posting through the thoughts, ideas, and experiences related.It's friendly and gentle most of the time-
(R.I.P. Clothier), and I actually thought about deleting that smart ass remark, but it was already embedded in other's posts. That said, I did have an ancestor who came west to the Gold Rush. We have a tremendous letter describing what he was experiencing, and he eventually chose to return to Missouri. I love California because it's continually evolving and proclaiming a new identity in a way that other states can't, and don't want to; Kansas and Missouri, where I grew up, for a vivid example. I grew up right next to the Santa Fe and Oregon trails and always wanted to go west, young man. So now I've ended up here in Southern Oregon, but Roadfood is a connecting point for the sum of all those experiences... I promise I'll just visit every once in a while, Susan. My guess is, the continual flow of people seeking their fortune in the Golden State has brought a lot of good things that you enjoy too. I had a great discussion last year with our grade school's Spanish
Teacher after that first exchange with Richard, for our teacher is actually from South America. Very enlightening to a suburban midwestern boy like me. Bill

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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Sun, 07/18/04 11:23 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by BT

Well, gosh, on behalf of those born elsewhere, we're really, really, sorry. Mmmm-kay?
No, no, no. You may well be regretful, or in rare cases even regrettable. But not all of you are sorry as well!

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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Tue, 07/20/04 2:05 PM
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Haveing worked in the Mission District of S.F. for over 4 years, I have found that there is a big difference in the quality of different vendors.

Usually most are average to above average in taste, but there is one at Mission and 24th st. Taqueria San Jose. They have some of the best Carne Asada and El Pastor I have ever tasted. Chavez's is also very good.

The only Mexican food I found better for me was in Oaxaca. Also here in the bay area the church suppers are a diverse smorgasbord of different Mexican,Central and South American plus Asian,African and European Cuisines. These are great places to find nice people and excellent home cooked food.

As a former New Englander/Kansan, just give me the great diverse California foods.

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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Tue, 07/20/04 6:23 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by axvawe

Haveing worked in the Mission District of S.F. for over 4 years, I have found that there is a big difference in the quality of different vendors.

Usually most are average to above average in taste, but there is one at Mission and 24th st. Taqueria San Jose. They have some of the best Carne Asada and El Pastor I have ever tasted. Chavez's is also very good.

The only Mexican food I found better for me was in Oaxaca. Also here in the bay area the church suppers are a diverse smorgasbord of different Mexican,Central and South American plus Asian,African and European Cuisines. These are great places to find nice people and excellent home cooked food.

As a former New Englander/Kansan, just give me the great diverse California foods.


The food guy from the Bay Guardian always claimed the best "El Pastor" came from Tacqueria Can-Cun (the one in the Mission, NOT the one on Market St.).

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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Tue, 07/20/04 6:27 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by axvawe

Also here in the bay area the church suppers are a diverse smorgasbord of different Mexican,Central and South American plus Asian,African and European Cuisines. These are great places to find nice people and excellent home cooked food.

As a former New Englander/Kansan, just give me the great diverse California foods.


Then, when it comes to church suppers, don't ignore GREEK. That Greek Orthodox church on Valencia has a Greek food festival one weekend a year that's fab and I think there's a similar event at a Greek Orthodox church in Oakland.

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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Wed, 07/21/04 12:20 PM
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Thanks BT, there is also a very good Greek Orthodox one in Belmont Ca. One of the best meals I have ever had was at the Greek Orthodox church in Kansas City Mo. My daughter is Orthodox and we went to Easter service. After the service, Oh the lemon soup, roasted lamb,roasted potatoes, deserts, coffee these were fantastic.
Also Armenian Othodox bazaars and festivals.

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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Wed, 07/21/04 12:48 PM
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the Greek festival in KC is one big wing ding. I loved going each year. The thing I miss most in our little valley here in Southern Oregon is a real gyros place/ Greek cafe. If any enterprising guys or gals want to go west, we're waiting with mouths watering.
As far as the Mission, it's so multi-ethnic, that the idea of all the eateries being "authentic" is kind of humorous. California really is a world apart.The mixture of eveyone is what gives that neighborhood vitality.

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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Wed, 07/21/04 3:21 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by tiki

I wondered the same thing actually--i know in the 60,s through the 80.s the term "Frisco" pegged you right away as NOT from Northern Calif---as a matter of fact it made you suspect of being one of those nasty from people from that evil empire that seperateed "Us" from Mexico--sorry to our Southern Calif roadfooders--no offence meant--its not your fault you where born there!


It is still an offensive term. I can't believe any self-respecting San Franciscan would say the "F" word!

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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Wed, 07/21/04 7:27 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by bill voss

The thing I miss most in our little valley here in Southern Oregon is a real gyros place/ Greek cafe. If any enterprising guys or gals want to go west, we're waiting with mouths watering.


Next time you're in the Bay Area, then, I suggest you try Gyro King on Fell near Market (across the street from the main library). It is run by a family of Turks (not Greeks). Papa mans the cash registers, the younger men cook and make the sandwiches etc. and the women wait on the tables. Truth be told, the gyros are good but not the best things on the menu. The best things, in my opinion, are all the Turkish pastries (pizza-like things and so on) they bake fresh every day. Anyway, it's all yummy and the place is suitably crowded at lunchtime with office workers from City Hall, the Federal and state office buildings, all nearby. I usually go before 11:30 or after 1:00 if I can. They don't open at dinner time.

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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Wed, 07/21/04 7:29 PM
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Come to think of it, I'm going to start a gyro thread under "sandwiches".

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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Sun, 07/30/06 12:53 PM
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Enchiladas Verdes At Juan's Place - yum. The mole poblano one's are good also. And authentic or not, the flour tortilla chips dipped into either the delicious red or green salsas at each table are an excellent foil for a cold Negro Modelo.

I agree with the take on the specials - they seem universally mediocre.

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RE: Mexican food in Frisco - Fri, 10/6/06 12:18 PM
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I think Burritos are more of a representation of San Francisco cuisine than any authentic Mexican cooking. Nost of our culinary culture is based on that anyhow, adapting other traditions to our own tastes to end up with a real American product.

I'd always thought that the more seemingly authentic places in small agricultural towns in the Central, Coastal Valleys (populated almost entirely with Mexican immigrants) had blander food, but who knows? Maybe they just changed the dishes accordingly in light of my complexion.