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Salvadorean on lower Haight

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derek Jan 31, 2002 11:27 AM

I thought I might try the Salvadorean/Mexican place on Haight just east of Fillmore (N. side of St.) for lunch. Has anyone tried it? Is it worth going to? Other than papusas, what is good eats in a Salvadorean Restaurant? Thanks,Derek

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    Rochelle McCune RE: derek Jan 31, 2002 07:06 PM

    When I first moved into the 'hood 14 years ago, I used to eat there because it was cheap and filling. As I recall, they didn't have much in the way of Salvadorean food and was really just a burrito joint. Their burritos were mediocre (but cheap and I was poor). While the place never looked particularly clean, I never got ill from eating there.

    I stopped going when the couple running the place had a full-on screaming, throwing things fight while making my burrito, including the man taking the menu board and slamming it on the glass partion in front of the woman and causing all the dusty, icky letters and numbers to go flying all over the place, including on my unrolled burrito & in the open food containers. Eeeew!

    After that I started going to Maya (on Church) for my burritos. Their ingredients are fresher, their salsas are better and their tomatillo-guacamole rocks! Now I go there or the hippie burrito place by The Top, they're kinda expensive, but they have a nice shredded spicey cabbage slaw that they put in their burritos.

    If you check the Haight burrito joint near Fillmore, let me know if things have improved.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Rochelle McCune
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      derek RE: Rochelle McCune Jan 31, 2002 07:23 PM

      Eeeew!!! I'm skipping that place, thank you very much! Maya sounds good though, Church and what?I did have a nice lunch at Ali Baba on lower Haight...Shwarma platter (good lamb, juicy and crunchy edges from the fire...just okay hummus, but very good fresh falafel. Would I go out of my way to seek it out if I didn't live close? No, but I will go back again 'cause it is in the neighborhood.Thanks for the heads up. (where is the Top?)

      1. re: derek
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        Rochelle McCune RE: derek Jan 31, 2002 07:31 PM

        The Top is a bar in the middle of the 400 block of Haight Street.

        1. re: derek
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          Rochelle McCune RE: derek Jan 31, 2002 07:36 PM

          Maya is the burrito place on the third block of Church - the same block as Chow, just past the bookstore.

          1. re: Rochelle McCune
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            derek RE: Rochelle McCune Jan 31, 2002 08:06 PM

            Thanks Rochelle, How does the burrito compare with Butano (sp) also on lower Haight?

            1. re: derek
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              Rochelle McCune RE: derek Feb 1, 2002 11:29 AM

              Butano is the hippie place I was talking about. Their burritos are smaller & more expensive (their prices just went up) than the typical Mission-log but I like cabbage slaw they put in their burritos. I go to Butano when I am too lazy to walk to Maya, when I'm craving their slaw or when I feeling the need to eat moderately (as opposed to wanting to pig out).

              Maya does your basic Mission burrito - they are good, big and cheap. There are three burrito joints on Church Street at Market - what distinguishes them for me?

              1st Joint (Closest to Duboce) - Wins the "Soupest Burrito in SF" Award. Maybe they have gotten their act together, but the two times I have gone there, I got drippy, messy burritos. Eeew! Burrito soup rolls don't taste as good, and really, who needs bean juice and salsa running down their arms and onto their clothes?

              2nd Joint (at the J-Church stop) - this place is fairly new, its in the location where there was a pizza place that burned. I have gotten good nachos there. I've gotten one burrito there, which was missing ingredients that I asked for and had other things in it that I didn't ask for. But I will give them another chance sometime soon.

              3rd Joint (Maya) - standard Mission burrito joint. What do I like about them? They are within walking distance of my house! They assemble a well-balanced burrito and they have little touches I like - extra cilantro, good fresh salsa that doesn't have too much (or bitter) onion, a guacamole salsa with tomatillas that is excellent and a well-made hot sauce. I generally get either a carne asada or a veggie burrito. Maya's carne asada is a nice, solid rendition. Their beans are nicely spiced and a good vehicle for the salsa/guac/cilantro that join them in the veggie burrito.

              Rochelle's burrito philosophy - "The perfect burrito is a sum of its parts!" So each the parts need to be the best they can be AND be in the purportion to the other ingredients. Even if only one thing is wrong - too much or bitter onion, bad salsa, nasty guac, wet beans, tough carne asada or whatever - the burrito suffers and I'd rather throw it away than eat it.

              1. re: Rochelle McCune
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                dixieday RE: Rochelle McCune Feb 1, 2002 04:52 PM

                Isn't that place on Church near Chow called Azteca, not Maya? Maya was the big, never-busy place on 16th and Guerrero that's now Andalu. I used to live at Church and 17th and went to Azteca every so often--somehow the vibe of the place always seemed kind of sad and edward hopper-ish, and I don't remember the burritos being that great. But the guac/tomatillo salsa sounds tasty.

                1. re: dixieday
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                  Rochelle McCune RE: dixieday Feb 5, 2002 02:09 PM

                  Oops. you're right. Maya and Azteca were run by the same people and I got them confused.

                  I've never noticed a weird vibe at Azteca but then I've found that vibes are generally subjective. I went in to Andalu soon after it opened, turned around & walked out because the young, white PIB vibe creeped me out but I'm sure others would (& do) consider it hip.

                  In my previous posts, I was explaining the differences between the burrito joints within near walking distance of my home (& Derek who lives close). If I was taking a out-of-towner for "THE SF burrito experience", it would probably not be Azteca but one of several great joints in the Mission.

                  To me, Azteca is a solid choice if you're in the 'hood and feel the need.

                2. re: Rochelle McCune
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                  derek RE: Rochelle McCune Feb 1, 2002 05:32 PM

                  Rochelle, You are a treasure! Maya it is!!

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