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Jan 1, 2008 12:22 PM

Chilaquiles at Pastores: Go, go, go!

I'd read several reports, including this one from susancinsf ( recommending the chilaquiles served for breakfast at Pastores. A couple of days I've tried to go and found the restaurant closed, but today I was in luck. The food was great, and the service was entirely delightful.

I asked my server if any juices or agua frescas were available; she said they had agua frescas on the menu, but not ready that early in the morning. The chef saw my look of total defeat, which I can summon only after a night of too many Cold Duck toasts (and really, isn't one Cold Duck toast too many?), and said "We have a pineapple. Would you drink a pineapple juice?"

Sweet relief. They juiced the pineapple and brought me both the glass along with the extra juice in a pitcher (in total, it was about 3.5 glasses of juice).

Chilaquiles come two ways: either with steak or eggs. I ordered the egg version, and it was ready in a few minutes. The crisp, shredded tortillas were coated in piquant salsa verde and drizzled with a bit of sour cream. Two perfectly fried sunny-side-up eggs were placed on top. Alongside were a pile of warm rice and brown beans flavored with onions.

It promised to be the best hangover food ever, and it was. The only other version I've had is from Primavera at the Ferry market, which I thought was good, but this was better--I thought the sunny side up egg worked better than Primavera's scrambled eggs, though I did like the avocado served with Primavera's plate. When I return to Pastores with a heartier appetite, I'd want to try the carne asada version.

After I paid and left, I ran into the chef on Mission Street, where she was picking up supplies at the market next door. She stopped to ask me how breakfast was, wish me a happy new year, and hug me. I have never been there before and am a total stranger, but the great food, warm service and obvious pride the chef/owner takes in this little business will certainly bring me back.

Pastores Restaurant
3486 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

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    1. re: kare_raisu

      That's nice of you to say. Move back to San Francisco so you can try these exceptional chilaquiles; even the beans were quite good. In the meantime, I have to see a man about a cool compress.

      1. re: pane

        I have tried two times in the last week but they were closed. I thought they were open for breakfast.

        1. re: Lori SF

          I have called and verified their hours but each time I have gone (during the week) they have been closed.

          1. re: Lori SF

            Did you try the door? There has been mention here in the past that Pastores will look like they're closed (door closed, shades drawn, no sign), but, in fact, aren't.

            And if they really *are* closed, you may want to try Papalote's chilaquiles. They're definitely in a different style, and, personally, I prefer the Papalote version.

            1. re: jpancake

              the blinds were down and I went up to the door, nothing. The second time we went by shades were down and did not go to the door.

              We went to Al's instead the first time and a taquaria over on 24th and La Palma for tamales.

              Maybe we should get a pager phone ring and have someone sit in front untils they are open and page all of us, no? I am not going to give up, its a bit of a hike for me for breakfast.

              1. re: Lori SF

                That's not a bad idea! Or maybe a PastoresWatch twitter account or something could be created.

                It's odd that they close unpredictably, but are open on typically scarce holidays like Christmas morning (according to a thread) and New Year's (I passed by yesterday and, believe it or not, the door AND shades were open!).

                1. re: jpancake

                  In fear that we will be stalking them lets do an alert here when someone scores.

                  I have to say I like this about them it reminds me of my favorite places in Mexico.. you just keep trying until they are open.

      2. today i finally managed to eat at the elusive pastores. every single time i've walked down there in the past year, it's been closed, a problem well documented here. why didn't i think of calling them ahead of time? well that would just make too much sense.

        anyways i'm not sure that i have much to add about their chilaquiles, so think of this as an update. the tortillas sing in that fresh verde sauce and crema, with the same two expertly fried sunny-side eggs cradled on top. it seemed that the fried tortillas were ladled with the sauce rather than simmered in it, since some of the pieces were still sharply crisp, while others were still toothsome, yet soaked in sauce. i'm no expert on anything mexican at all, but i've never had chilaquiles in a green sauce before. these are really tasty.

        like others have mentioned, the sides of beans and rice are cooked with special care. in fact i dipped my fork into the beans (cooked whole, not refritos) and the fluffy rice before even touching the chilaquiles.

        unfortunately they didn't have any aguas frescas when i ate there at the awkward time of 4:30 PM, and i was also the sole customer.

        i know that a lot has been said about their chilaquiles. i loved every bite, and i'm going back for the carne asada version soon, and the rest of their blissfully simple menu... but i want to talk about those rice and beans, mainly because they almost always seem like an afterthought in so many restaurants. i live in a building with a lot of latin americans, and on weekends i sometimes wake up to the drifting smell of beans wafting through the windows or lingering in the hallway, and i want to pound on all the doors with a bowl, pretending to be oliver twist.

        plus apparently i can't cook beans to save my life. i used to snicker at people that say they can't cook rice. then i tried to cook beans. sigh. anyways! my chilaquiles itch has been scratched, and i thank all of you who have been singing pastores' praises all along. add me to the chorus.

        5 Replies
        1. re: augustiner

          Have you ever tried to cook Rancho Gordo beans? They usually turn out wonderful. Lots of beans you buy in the store are beyond old and don't cook up very nicely.

          1. re: Atomica

            there is a pack of rancho gordo "eye of the goat" beans sitting on my table right now, as a matter of fact. they will be my first batch of rancho gordo beans.

          2. re: augustiner

            She really is open most days (not nights). Weekend brunch or late lunch is an ideal time to go.

            Agua frescas are rare, not a regular item.

            1. re: Windy

              On Sunday, their posted hours are only until 6:00. And Irma will often close earlier.

              I was there on Saturday @ 12:30, and was pleased to see a lot of patrons (with little kids).

              We had chicken flautas (my 8 year-old's favorite), a special chicken mole (very, very, good) and pollo con rajas.

              Pollo con rajas is normally made with a pounded breast, but Irma's son had not yet come back from the store so she made it with dark thigh peices. A little on the spot improvisation that worked well enough.

            2. re: augustiner

              Chilaquiles are made with a number of sauces covering the entire gamut of light red tomato-serrano to crimson dried chile sauces... from light green tomatillo to opaque emeral Poblano-Creamy... as well as various types of Moles etc.,