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In Excelsior Deo Pt.II

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Part II of Low End Theory's inexpert Excelsior musings. For the indigent Chowhound who MUNIs about - make sure you're heading South if you fall asleep on the 43. Far better to end up in the Excelsior than the Marina (a pox on Dragon Well and its ilk).

Salvadoran: Three choices.

Costa del Sol is the "high"-end place furthest north. Attractive submarine paintings hint at the house special - the seafood soup extravaganza common to many such eateries (7 Mares Sopa? And which seas would those be?). The plato tipico Salvadoreno is a good choice for the eclectic chowhound. Who can say no to pupusas and other fried things, the crisp starchiness of yucca and potato are perfect for those who typically eat two large meals daily. Not to be confused with the very similar Costa del Sol in the Outer Mission.

Los Guanacos is a little cheaper than Costa del Sol and is also popular. Don't forget salad on top of one's pupusas. Incidentally, what career could offer more long-term stability than cardiology in El Salvador? Too bad the median income precludes high-end health care. Low End Theory was overjoyed to find an exciting drink with his name on the menu. If the same thing happens to you, order it immediately! "Chan" is a bright red concoction (highly auspicious) with a hint of pamplemousse, oops - grapefruit. The critical ingredient is the gelatinous seeds which our waitron (female) was kind enough to display in un-rehydrated form. Less filling but more refreshing than the classic Pinoy halo-halo at Kadok's or Goldilocks - Kadok's wins on this count, ice-cream, shaved ice, sticky bright purple taro and mysterious fruits. Highly recommended at $3.80.

Ana's. Mission @ Excelsior? Low End Theory hasn't hit this spot yet, but his friend O Brasileiro and housemates swear by the "fried plate" - real name? - which of course contains pupusas and other things. Allegedly impossible for any one chowhound to finish. A major culture clash occurred when O Brasileiro tried to buy a gift voucher for a friend and ended up leaving $20 behind the counter. Not clear if it was ever "redeemed".

Hawaiian Drive Inn #28:

Mission @ Onondaga. What a great name, it's not a drive-in or an inn, and where are no.s 1-27? After the closure of the fine fine Punahele Island Grill, the highly hospitable Tita's Hale 'Aina in the Castro and this takeaway-style joint are one's only options for regular island fare in the city. Luckily both places are commendable for different reasons. Don't miss the haupia, malasadas or King Kamehameha platter at Tita's. Hawaiian Drive-Inn is ultra low-end with hamburgers under $3 on last visit, try the seafood combo for fried ecstasy. Saimin and teriyaki for the Hawaiian take on Chinese mee and Japanese fare. The piece de resistance must be the loco moco, a Brobdingnagian serving of rice and macaroni salad (yeahÂ…) with a giant hamburger patty smothered, yes smothered in beige turkey gravy. Pretty authentic from what Low End Theory has heard. For the lion-hearted only.

Bistro E Europe:

High end (by Low End Theory's standards) Gypsy/Hungarian (?) place, an anomaly in the neighbourhood. The reliable Limster and his lady friend thought it was OK and posted a while back.

Safeway:

Mission @ France. No Andronico's style treats which is probably just as well, but do try the Mexican ice cream! Crumbly Mexican chocolate chips and a heavy hand with the cinnamon, quite unique and worth a trip. One of the finest desserts in the 'hood and not found in the Sunset or Church branches of this grocer.

Gung Hey Fat Choy!

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  1. thanks for your continuing efforts to shed some light on the mysterious Excelsior district.

    4 Replies
    1. re: gordon wing
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      Zach Georgopoulos

      Speaking of the Excelsior, has anyone tried "Beep's Burgers" out on Ocean? It has a great neon Sputnik sign (Sputnik went "beep beep beep," don't ya know) and is one of those classic '50s walk-up burger joints (kind of like Whiz in the mission, and a place in SSF which may not be there anymore and the name of which I can't remember anyhow). Anyways, I've always been curious about this place, but never hungry when I happen to be in the area. If no one has gone, I shall volunteer...

      1. re: Zach Georgopoulos
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        Rochelle McCune

        I've been. A few years ago, I stopped in a couple of times when I was taking an evening class at City College. Its a basic greasy burger joint. Decent but not stunning. I only had the burgers and fries, but I recall the owners had added some chinese dishes. Those may be really interesting.

        Its been a while since I've been there. You should go, check it out and give us an update.

        1. re: Rochelle McCune
          z
          Zach Georgopoulos

          Yeah, I didn't actually expect it to be particularly good -- it's just my usual affinity for basic grub joints with goofy names that makes me curious. I'll go by next time I'm in the area...

        2. re: Zach Georgopoulos

          My daughter (a 19-year-old chowhound) went to Lick-Wilmerding H.S., which is very close to Beep's. She didn't like it because she said the hamburgers (which she likes medium rare) were TOO rare -- almost raw. She said the shakes are pretty good, though.