Thursday, May 10, 2012

San Francisco: Rocco's Cafe & Taqueria Cancun

"I can't be bothered with any of that shit, I just want to focus on my art!"

We walk ten or so blocks down to the Mission. Spanish is the main language spoken here. There's hobos walking down the street talking to themselves and yelling declarations to whoever is willing to listen. We pass colorful street art in the form of graffiti, whole wall murals that colour a somewhat dirty neighborhood. Poverty and misery are the two prominent words that spring to mind. Every third or so person I pass is homeless.

People's clothing is quite monotone, not much colour. A lady rides past on her bike, another straddles her stationary bike in protest proclaiming to the dude behind the caged jewellery store she just wants to focus on her art.

The land of dreams, the land of milk and honey. It has nothing much to offer these poor souls with broken dreams.

We land in San Francisco late in the morning. We drop our shit off at the hotel, take a shower with a change of clothes and head to Rocco's Cafe recommended by the concierge for lunch.

I have a bad feeling about this. Amidst my jet lag I am unsure if Chris asked the concierge where she eats, or where it's nice to eat? There's a significant difference between the two. I'm positive we're headed for a tourist palooza and my fear is confirmed when at an intersection we see three other tourists, bewildered, pacing circles around each other looking up to find the street signs, they ask us if we know where Rocco's is. Fuck me, I'm looking for an exit strategy fast but at the same time I'm intrigued to see what classifies a "great" place to eat at in the concierge's mind in comparison to mine.

Long withstanding family-diner style Americana. Italian American of course from the North of Italy. But the menu resembles any generic Italian American diner although I see a couple of dishes with polenta ...but I'm still not convinced not do I become convinced the rest of the meal.

I order angel hair pasta with tomato, fresh basil and Parmesan. I figure the simpler I go the better and less chance of me spending the rest of the night on the toilet.

Chris orders the chicken Marsala, which comes with a side of steamed vegetables. It's surprisingly delicious and moorish, I make a note to look up a recipe and kill it when we get back home.

The service, as with anywhere in the United States, is fantastic. I also order a micro brewed beer - pale ale which looks more golden than anything, but I smash it as it goes down too easy after a 14 hour flight. This puppy will help me get to sleep.

The cooks all look Mexican or Puerto Rican. Chris demands Mexican for dinner (as we never ate it last time in the States) and asks the waitress for a recommendation. She asks one of the cooks and scribbles a name and address down for us.

After a three hour nap we wake up groggily refreshed and head out to the Mission.

Taqueria Cancun is busy, we join the line and when our turn is up we order beef enchiladas for $6.99.

And their specialty the beef Mojado with the lot for $5.99.

The ingredients are fresh and we don't wait long to get our food. Although not visually too appealing, the meals are delicious and they certainly hit the spot.

These guys pump put a lot of volume. The crowd is varied: from Latino to Asian to African American and Caucasian. There consistently seems to be a line up for ordering.

The decor is bright, like a Mexican parade exploded in the room. I notice the statue of the Virgin Mary and the offerings of fruit left at its altar. Even the Virgin knows what's important. I give thanks for the meal we enjoyed and step back out to Mission St.

We hit up Amnesia on Valencia St for drinks, open mic comedy and live music. We get back to the hotel around 1am... Not a bad effort for having flown in that morning.

Rocco's Cafe on Urbanspoon
Taqueria Cancun on Urbanspoon

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