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Chilaquile Tour --> SF and East Bay.

After a mention of chilaquiles this morning on Facebook, I have some friends hankering for a chilaquile tour of the Bay Area to compare/contrast different iterations of this dish. What are the *must haves* that you would include? I'm thinking of splitting it into two days: SF and East Bay.

Here's what I have off the top of my head:

SF:
Pastores
Papalote
Primavera

East Bay:
Otaez on Fruitvale --> are they still good?
Tacubaya

Any good chilaquiles verdes that I can include, or interesting renditions?

Has anyone been to Roosevelt Tamale Parlor in the past year or so? They have good chips, and were doing an ok red sauce last time I was there.

Thanks.

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Tacubaya
1788 4th St, Berkeley, CA 94710

Otaez
3872 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94601

Pastores Restaurant
3486 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Roosevelt Tamale Parlor
2817 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

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  1. On Solano, both Fonda and Monteros have it. Fonda's (verde) was good; brunch in general is nice there. I'm not a fan of Monteros, but you might try it there, too, if you're in the area.

    15 Replies
    1. re: Glencora

      Pastores has my favorite (con Huevos) so you've got that covered.

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      Pastores Restaurant
      3486 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

      1. re: Calvinist

        Mine too but with carne asada and tomatillo salsa.

        SF is full of chilequiles with eggs made in a sauce pan. I'm still looking for oven-baked, made with chicken and tomatillo salsa.

        1. re: Windy

          I'm with you, Windy -- I pine for the oven baked salsa verde versions of my youth :-). I've even gone so far as to make them myself but we can't get the right kind of crema here to top them with. Would love to hear of any such in SF for our next trip.

          susan is right, we deffo enjoyed the chilaquiles at La Oaxaquena last trip, as they were a bit "sad" from having been pre-dipped in tomatillo sauce, and the egg was nicely cooked, though I'd skip the chicken as it was just a big ol' hunk o' breast meat. Sadly, our recent trip to this resto was rather disappointing, though we did not try the chilaquiles this time. The only saving grace was the pupusas which are not exactly Oaxacan... more on that and the rest of our meanderings when I get my computer back (currently using a half dead laptop).

          How much would I like to be part of a chilaquile tour...

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          La Oaxaquena
          2128 Mission St, San Francisco, CA

          1. re: grayelf

            you should have taken a bunch of crema back in your suitcase: I wonder if it would have lasted? :-)

            1. re: susancinsf

              Considering they confiscated mum's 4505 chicharrones, I doubt the dairy product would have made it back into Canada :-(.

            2. re: grayelf

              i don't think i really know what chilaquiles are supposed to be like. i tried the tomatillo and egg ones at La Oaxaquena yesterday. They were, as you said, tho i'd forgotten your post, "sad" - droopy almost soggy tortillas. the egg was like a little omelet - is that what it's supposed to be? i envisioned sunny-side up. the egg had been overcooked, showing brown spots on the underside. the tomatillo sauce had a nice amount of heat, tho.... but there was nothing in contrast to the dish's flavor. crema would have been nice. the dish was sprinkled with cotija. the rice was completely forgettable (unforgivable in Mexican food, to me), and the refried beans had a very strange - not totally unlikeable - funk to them! i kept thinking of a cabernet, of something with a little musk, even fermentation. i don't know if they were bad or what (i didn't get sick) but they were probably the best tasting thing on the plate. A man sitting at the counter ordered one of the chicken tamales wrapped in banana leaf, and it looked/smelled wonderful, but after a bite or two he called the waiter over, who tasted the chicken, and it was determined it had gone bad. So i'm glad i didn't get the chicken. Also, service was really slow. i waited almost 35 minutes for my chilaquiles. I also had a pina licuado, and something about that was off too - like they had used old ice, i.e., that flavor you get from ice when it's been in the freezer too long? All in all, I was disappointed in La Oaxquena. And now i want to find out what chilaquiles are really supposed to taste like! The baked version you guys speak of seem like they would be better, have more texture.

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              La Oaxaquena
              2128 Mission St, San Francisco, CA

              1. re: mariacarmen

                oh, no, IMO the eggs should NOT be like an omelet: either sunnyside up (so you can mix in the lovely yolk) or no egg at all..I haven't been to La Oaxaquena but nothing you are describing is making me eager to try it.

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                La Oaxaquena
                2128 Mission St, San Francisco, CA

                1. re: susancinsf

                  that's what i thought! the idea of a nice runny yolk to mix in is what drew me to order it. Ok, thanks then, it wasn't me.

                2. re: mariacarmen

                  My experience with chilaquiles is that they vary, even with same restaurant. In a lot of Mexican restaurants, they don't seem to have a single person who formalizes how each of the dishes is to be made. Instead, a lot of times dishes like chilaquiles -- which are basically home cooking/leftovers -- are made however the cook who gets the order makes them. It's kind of like the arguments about whether pad Thai or chop suey are "real dishes" with the answer being that they aren't in the formal sense: they're not based on recipes, they're based on what home cooks throw together from what they have on hand, including leftovers/scraps from other meals, which varies from day to day, cook to cook and household to household. Attempts to formalize home cooking-type dishes almost always produce results that are either disappointing or "not authentic" (because the authentic version isn't made from a recipe and served in restaurants).

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    FWIW the chilaquiles verdes I have had in days gone by while travelling in Mexico contained stale deep fried tortillas, salsa de tomatillo, queso of some kind, smallish chunks of chicken and crema added after they were removed from the oven. I don't recall ever having them with egg (but then again I used to hate eggs and wouldn't have ordered if they had 'em).

                    I'm sorry to hear they were so yukky as we really liked them in November, in fact preferred them to the ones at Los Pastores that we tried the next day.

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                    Pastores Restaurant
                    3486 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                    1. re: grayelf

                      See, Grayelf, that sounds like the tortillas would have been crunchier - so a nice contrast to the dish, instead of the soppiness i found. and crema! would have loved some crema. I was going to try Los Pastores next, but now I think I won't bother.

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                      Pastores Restaurant
                      3486 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                      1. re: mariacarmen

                        for mariacarmen: oh you should definitely try them at Pastores! I think they are the best in the City and the closest to my homemade ideal (but then, eating in Pastores in like eating in someone's home, more or less, so that makes complete sense), despite grayelf's experience and the fact that she and I almost always share the same taste...

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                        Pastores Restaurant
                        3486 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                        1. re: susancinsf

                          Oh! ok, then i will! i tried to go the other day for lunch, but they were closed. thanks!

                      2. re: grayelf

                        yes, grayelf your description matches my experience also. Off to Mexico again in a day or two, research called for... :-) (though the best ones were the ones my friend's mom made for me....)

                        but the egg I can handle if I can mix in the yolk. But scrambled or in an omelet: no....

                        1. re: susancinsf

                          mariacarmen, you should deffo try the chilaquiles at Los Pastores -- we only had them once and it could have been an off day. Plus it is a great place to check out as susan says but beware the whacky closing/opening hours as has been noted on many occasions here :-).

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                          Pastores Restaurant
                          3486 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

          2. Alot of people like El Taco Zamorano on Foothill in Oakland. I have not tried it there yet because I can push my son in a stroller to La Pinata in Alameda and I like their green version. But I love the Chile Verde at El Taco, so I'm guessing chilaquiles would also be good.

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            El Taco Zamorano Restaurant
            4032 Foothill Blvd, Oakland, CA 94601

            1. I haven't had the chilaquiles at the Fruitvale Otaez for a while (I always order the verde). The last batch I had at the Alameda Otaez was disappointing. Otaez can be very inconsistent. I get the impression over the years that since they're doing essentially home cooking they don't have "house" recipes -- whoever is cooking at the moment makes it the way he makes it, and sometimes it's great and sometimes it's not. Other places you might try in Fruitvale are La Gran Chiquita and Four Caminos (which is on San Leandro a couple of blocks east of the BART Station.

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              Otaez
              1619 Webster St, Alameda, CA 94501

              1. Grayelf had very good things to say about the chilaquiles at La Oaxaquena in October, and said she'd be interested in reports on them from other hounds, so that seems like a natural to put on your list (I haven't tried them, sigh).

                I like the chilaquiles at the stand at the Alemany Market (blanking on the name) better than Primavera, but then I like almost any better than Primavera (I appear to be in the minority on this one, however). If/when you try them at Primavera, they also have them, or at least used to have them, at Mijita in the Ferry Building. I am not a big Mijita fan, but my last visit there was better than prior, and it would be interesting to have the comparison.

                They also have a decent version at Mis Antojitos on Harrison in San Francisco, though made with red sauce (I prefer salsa verde).

                As has been said here and elsewhere, the chilaquiles at Pastores are the best I've found in SF and should be at the top of anyone's list.

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                Pastores Restaurant
                3486 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                La Oaxaquena
                2128 Mission St, San Francisco, CA

                Mis Antojitos
                2598 Harrison St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                Mijita
                Ferry Bldg Bldg, San Francisco, CA 94111

                1. I like the chilaquiles verdes at Mi Gruillense on Fruitvale (the restaurant and bar, not the truck), just east of International. They're wet but not runny. yummm...
                  http://www.yelp.com/biz/mi-grullense-...