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24th Street Gems?

  • m

I'm compiling some info on 24th St for a friend. So far I've come up with the following recs, some of which I have personal experience with, others I have no idea if the info is even current. Any updates or particular menu recs?

- El Delfin (pretty much everything)
- Tortas Los Picudos (carnitas, egg/chorizo, avocado/queso fresco)
- La Torta Gorda (pollo milanese)
- Philz Coffee
- St Francis Creamery
- Roosevelt Tamale Parlor (possibly no longer good)
- Chava's (soups and handmade tortillas)
- Taqueria San Jose (tacos pollo adobado, al pastor, chorizo)
- El Toyanense (tacos)
- Mr. Pollo(grilled chicken and arepas)
- El Nuevo Fruitilandia
- La Gallinita Mexicatessen (albondigas)
- Planes de Renderos (pupusas)
- La Palma (pupusas)

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  1. You've got Taqueria San Jose twice.

    Mr. Pollo is the place with Colombian arepas. La Santaneca is Salvadorean and a great place for pupusas (I always ask for extra curtido).

    3 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Corrected it, thanks. Went to La Santaneca last week and I thought the pupusas were OK, but not amazing, and the curtido looked old. I thought the prices here seemed higher than other comparable spots, too, but on the other hand they got a really high health inspection score so maybe that's the reason for the price differential! I thought Balompie was much better but it's been a while since I've been there.

      1. re: Maya

        Santaneca's curtido is old, is the sense that it's pickled or fermented, something like sauerkraut or kim chee. Some people prefer it more like cole slaw.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          No, I like it fermented myself, but this was spotted and looking way past its prime.

          Had the Los Picudos carnitas torta for lunch the other day, and it was awesome.

          Anything else to add to this list?

    2. The best thing at La Palma is the fried chicken. I wasn't crazy about their pupusas.

      Isn't it St. Francis Fountain? You're there for the mounds of potatoes.

      1. Most of the Mexican bakeries are not very good, but La Reyna bakery on 24th St is worth a mention on your list. I think it's a block away from El Tonayense on the same side of the street.

        1. I finally made it out to Tortas Los Picudos after Maya posted a link to this thread to another thread I started a month or so back.

          I had a carnitas torta with queso fresco. The meat was tender and moist with nicely crispy bits, quite good but not as good as Taqueria San Jose. The toasted bun (which could have been a bit more toasted, IMO), was slathered with butter and mayonnaise, then topped with onions, jalapeno slices, lettuce and tomato. Even the lettuce was good: crispy and fresh, unlike the produce I've eaten at other places on 24th.

          Attached is a pretty crummy cameraphone picture of the torta, which is about twice the size of my head. It could easily be shared between two people who like small portions of delectably fatty food.

          1. La Palma Mixicatessan's tortillas hechos a mano, aka handmade tortillas, are wonderful and usually hot off the grill. They are thick and have a few dark spots from the grill. I never make it home without opening the package, especially with a bit of the queso fresco that they keep by the cash register.

            1. there is a tamale lady (not THAT one) who sits outside the 24th st. bart station on the west side of the street. she sells (salvadorean?) tamales for a buck each. they're skinny, wrapped in banana leaf and parchment paper, slick with delicious grease, with such tender masa you almost have to eat them with two hands. they're a bit skimpy on meat, but the pork ones i bought today were so tender and flavorful, with chunks of what seemed like roasted green and red chiles strewn throughout the masa.

              i can't really describe her very well, as there are sometimes other people selling inferior (to me) tamales. she squats by the entrance to the bart station with a fold-up wheeled cart, and has pork, chicken, and cheese. i've only had the pork. i'm hardly knowledgeable about tamales, but these are far from the dense, flavorless, dried out specimens i tend to run into.

              4 Replies
              1. re: augustiner

                Yup, right beside Carlos's (the commuter bar). I only see her before 9:00 am on my to work. She isn't there everyday and I have worried about outing her but if you happen, to run in to her, buy a tamale. In general, I have found that I prefer a Salvadorean tamale over a Mexican version because, as you state, they, are moister. She is subtle and stands right at the corner. Very lovely...

                There's another older man that roams the neighborhood occassionally with a cooler. But he is so random that there is nothing really to report. Too hard to track. But nice as all get out.

                1. re: augustiner

                  I went to look for her today at 11:30 AM and she was not there. Walking home along 24th St, I ended up buying two tamales at Casa Lucas at 24th and Alabama....one pork and one sweet tamale. Both were pretty good, not great. The pork one had several other vegetables, and it was pretty moist. The sweet tamale was much bigger, but not as moist. It could have probably used a bit of steaming at home.

                  Looks like I'll have to wake up early to get the good tamales at 24th St. BART.

                  1. re: Dave MP

                    Gee, I am sorry! But she is so hit or miss and she isn't there every day either. Next time I see her, I'll let you know.

                    1. re: Dave MP

                      not necessarily earlier. like chaddict says, she's not there every day, and i would say i usually see her in the early to mid afternoon. she's sort of elusive.

                  2. You're missing Taqueria Vallarta. Their tacos are spectacular! I like them as much as El Tonayense, maybe more, and their salsas are much better. Open really late, too (until 3 or so).

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: sweetdreamsoffood

                      Is it still as good since they reopened? Haven't been since the closure.

                      1. re: sweetdreamsoffood

                        I stopped in there briefly a few days ago, but didn't try anything. It was 11 PM and they were very busy. They're open late - at least till midnight every day, on weekends later (1 or 2?)

                        What kind of tacos did you have?

                        Dave MP