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Seeking: 1.Best Mexican food & 2.Good Espresso in SF

Melbourne, Australia
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Seeking: 1.Best Mexican food & 2.Good Espresso in SF

Dear Trip Advisors

We're visiting from Australia (arrived in New York just after the storm to find the city beautifully covered with snow) and heading to San Francisco shortly. We would greatly appreciate advice as to good Mexican restaurants (good ones are rare in Australia). Can be basic or fancy, as long as it is the real thing. Also seeking advice on finding Italian-style coffee, which we hear is not that hard to do in SF (unlike NY). We're staying near Market & 4th Streets.

Regards

John S

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1. Re: Seeking: 1.Best Mexican food & 2.Good Espresso in SF

there are several places you can find a Mexican taqueria; casual restaurants are best, go to 16th & Valencia and choose from Pancho Villa www.panchovillasf.com or La Cumbre on 515 Valencia www.burritophile.com/place.php?id=35 or El Toro on corner of 17th and Valencia www.eltorosf.com . Valencia Street from 16th to 22nd is good for shopping. sfgate.com/neighborhoods/…shopping (Paxton Gate www.paxtongate.com and 826 Valencia are great stores www.826valencia.org/store/shop.html )

coffee: if you want a scenic or an historic area, Caffe Roma www.cafferoma.com, Caffe Trieste www.caffetrieste.com and Caffe Greco www.caffegreco.com, but really any (chain) Peet's Coffee will brew a cappucino or whatever espresso style coffee you could have ever wanted at whatever strength. If you are in the Mission, go to Ritual Roasters www.ritualroasters.com/ or

Muddy Waters Coffee House www.muddywaterscoffeehouse.com or Revolution Cafe sfweekly.com/locations/revolution-cafe-17328/

Starbucks is measured out in their machines so I stopped going to them. Two shots are usually strong enough to newcomers, but if you are not used to strong espresso, start small and start early in the day if you want to sleep at a regular hour and not be awake all night. NY has coffee bars doing good espresso, where did you go that didn't know how to do espresso right in NY?

Edited: 02 January 2010, 06:10
San Francisco
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2. Re: Seeking: 1.Best Mexican food & 2.Good Espresso in SF

The best coffee hands down, is Blue Bottle: http://bluebottlecoffee.net

They've a full service cafe not too far from you at Mint Plaza, and the original kiosk is in Hayes Valley. You can also find them at the Ferry Building.

For Mexican food (taqueria style, to-go is the better option), head to the Mission District. I prefer El Farolito. Try their super quesadilla suiza, which is like a burrito but better. :)

For a sit down restaurant near you, check out Tropisueno. http://www.tropisueno.com

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3. Re: Seeking: 1.Best Mexican food & 2.Good Espresso in SF

I like Pancho Villa in the Mission! Excellent burritos built the way I like them (especially the carne asada burrito). Their salsas are great. I also like El Farolito and Taqueria La Corneta. La Corneta has great quesadillas and their agua frescas are delicious.

http://www.elfarolitoinc.com/

http://www.lacorneta.com/

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4. Re: Seeking: 1.Best Mexican food & 2.Good Espresso in SF

I agree on Blue Bottle. I'm in Civic Center neighborhood frequently and stop at their kiosk in Hayes Valley (a garage in an alley between Hayes and Fell just east of Gough). Their website describes as "odd but convivial" ... which is just about right.

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5. Re: Seeking: 1.Best Mexican food & 2.Good Espresso in SF

For a fancier Mexican meal, you might consider Maya (http://www.mayasf.com/) which is on 2nd between Folsom & Harrison. Otherwise, the places mentioned in the Mission are the places to go. I'd definitely avoid the two Mexican restaurants near the Ferry Building if you happen upon them. Not to my liking at all.

San Francisco...
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6. Re: Seeking: 1.Best Mexican food & 2.Good Espresso in SF

I'm not an expert by any means... and I'm not sure if I've ever had "Real" Mexican food. Would most consider taqueria food "real" Mexican food?

Don't get me wrong, I like burritos, (heck I even like Panda Express... even if it's not real Chinese food), just not sure about their "authenticity." But, if that's what the OP wants, all the recommendations so far are very good.

I used to go to Mom is Cooking on Ocean, and thought that was pretty "authentic." But sadly they're closed. Since I moved to the Richmond, I've been going to Tommy's Mexican on Geary. It's good. I also think El Toreador on West Portal is good. These are not tourist spots by any means, but if you want to get out of the usual spots, both are worth a trip out IMO.

Melbourne, Australia
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7. Re: Seeking: 1.Best Mexican food & 2.Good Espresso in SF

Thanks for those suggestions, folks, and always love the debate that ensues from these queries. ObsidianSnow & MisterChinn - I agree that there are often no "right" answers because the questioner brings so much subjective meaning to words like "good" and "authentic". Coffee is one of the most contentious issues. Australia has gone the Italian way (with our own local modifications of course) and we never really adopted "American" coffee (or large sizes, or franchises - Starbucks has closed most of its Australian cafes). For us, good coffee usually means strong espresso; cappuccino/latte etc made on fresh milk; small cups; recognised brand of beans (or house roast); and usually a dedicated barrista. We got that at some places in New York, but had to look for it (best coffee we had was cappuccino at Ninth Street Espresso at Chelsea Market). Re "real" Mexican, I guess I'm mixing "feels authentic" (since even the most traditional things adopt contemporary influences) and "food I liked" (since "good food" is largely in the eye of the beholder). By the way, best Mexican we had in New York was at Dos Toros, a tiny taqueria at 137 4th Avenue. Apologies for getting a bit philosophical here - we'll just sift through the suggestions, and perhaps let you know how we went. Thanks again. John S

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8. Re: Seeking: 1.Best Mexican food & 2.Good Espresso in SF

super steak quesidilla at el farolito! theres a few locations in sf.

9. Re: Seeking: 1.Best Mexican food & 2.Good Espresso in SF

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