Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Apr 29, 2009 10:50 AM

Leavenworth/Ellis new Tenderloin Yucatecan?

Cabbing in from the airport this morning I spotted a big banner draped over the faded signage of an existing cafe/bar(?) at the southeast cornet of Leavenworth and Ellis proclaiming GRAND OPENING: COMIDA YUCATECA. I've been out of town for the past month, so I may have missed some intelligence on this venue, but I don't think there was any prior reference to it on CH.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You sure you don't mean Eddy & Leavenworth?

    Tunisia Cuisine Comida Yucateca Tekaxena
    403 Eddy St, San Francisco, CA

    1. Here's an initial report,

      Dona Marta
      499 Ellis St, San Francisco, CA

      6 Replies
      1. re: Melanie Wong

        is this same place as twin cafe? if so, are they different folks from the old ones that were running it just awhile ago?

        if this is the same place, it got slightly gussied up in the last 6-12 months, right? but a little before that it was shared half-half yucatec & american-run-by-ethiopean (kinda like a shared kfc/ taco bell). there was a stockily-built very young guy (early 20's) with goatee and a frisco accent and mannerisms working, and 2 or 3 women in the back who didn't seem very english fluent, at that time i recall that the nicely greasy empanada stood out to me.

        post-gussy up (fall 2008?) tried to order taco de pavo, but they said they didn't have it YET and offered tacos de pollo at that time. the guy that was taking orders and handling money was thin built, younger guy (20's/30's), with very light spanish accent. is this place a different lineage now?

        is there any word the ethiopean owner from before, abe? every time i came for kitfo he kept telling me he was going to start making ethiopean stuff on fridays - still need to try his kitfo.

        1. re: ken ivorous

          Yes, different than any of those. The last iteration you mention was La Cabanita, owned by Rodolfo Licea and his wife. He had been a sous chef at several places, mostly Italian and French, around SF and the state and was quite talented.

          The current owners have been in place less than a month.

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            mdub, did you ever get to try mr licea's cochinita pibil? i remember that when i asked about it they said they were not ready to start serving that either. did he end up moving on somewhere else? and is abe still involved this current incarnation?

            pb, a bit hard to 'splain it - as it would be trying to explain what a song sounds like, or successfully describing, say, a queensbridge accent. it would prolly best be absorbed by doing a bit of participant-observation in the city's public schools. it's just shorthand to refer to a somewhat blurrily demarcated subset of san franciscans; mostly native, mostly working class, primarily public school alums, mainly nonwhite (as anyone who's ever tried playing find-the-caucasian-kid in an sfusd school can attest, which is otherwise quite diverse). the words "hella", "mainy", "errrrry" may figure sparsely to frequently in one's speech. this subset of frisco residents don't generally find anything objectionable about the word "frisco" (an aversion that generally marks those san franciscans of a certain class, and different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds). well ricky, hope that helps lol.

            1. re: ken ivorous

              Thanks KI, it was the label "frisco" that created the disconnect in my mind, since I'd learned from a young age to never use it or San Fran to refer to "The City". Down here in the central valley the expanding ethnic makeup has resulted in a culinary mecca over the decades along with new phrasing and idioms. Has it been a part of SF culture for a long time?

              "ever tried playing find-the-caucasian-kid in an sfusd school "

              LMAO, we have over 102 languages represented in the district.

              1. re: ken ivorous

                When I noticed that La Cabanita seemed to be closed during a time one would expect it to be open, I called the phone number and it had been disconnected. So, no idea where Sr. Licea might be.

                Yes, I did have a taste of the cochinita pibil and carnitas in salbute and panucho form. Here's the picture of Licea's art:
                The little plastic container of habanero sauce (xpenic) was enough to detonate the whole block. Second only to Poc Chuc of all the Yucatec places I've tried in the City.

                Even more glorious, his version of DF-style chilaquiles made almost like a tortilla soup with an intense chicken stock base, crispy fried-to-order tortillas chips, and delicate shredded chicken. Set off beautifully with a well-crafted salsa verde served on the side.

                La Cabanita
                499 Ellis St, San Francisco, CA

            2. re: ken ivorous

              >>> with goatee and a "frisco accent and mannerisms" <<<

              OK that's a new one on me... gonna have to 'splain me Lucy. ;>P