Mission Street Food, how I wish I was back in SF for one more meal

just had an awesome meal at mission street food w/ @steveportigal and partner Anne, menu attached

Yesterday I talked about my great iPhone map experience of not getting lost in SF because of technology. Today I thought I’d go in a different low–fi dinning experience direction. Searching for food online, looking at yelp or if you’re in NYC reading http://lunchstudio.blogspot.com can be helpful in finding unexpected places to eat. But if I look back at last Saturday night while eating at Mission Street Food in SF, I doubt I would have come across it via a technological mean. Thankfully I’m friends with Steve Portigal who was the one that suggested that we meet there. He had never been before but had read about it online (I think)—so there was the blog component, but again with out him it’s unlikely I would have come across it. The quick moral to this food story is that if you’re looking for a great food experience, look to a friend before going to search. Every time I’ve come across a great place it was through a personal connection.

Onto the actual food experience of Mission Street Food. I knew I was in for something a bit unexpected when there was a line up before six as I walked by an unmarked and caged up storefront. I couldn’t really see the numbers of the door so I was hopping that I was standing in the right line. I did find out I was in the right line but didn’t make it early enough for the first sitting so I ended up being one of the first for the next sitting. That ended up not being a big deal as I had a beer with Steve and his partner Anne at Lunna Park on Valencia St. After one beer’s time we strolled back and managed to get a table pretty quickly.

What made this dinning experience unique was A. the place had no lights on, B. the vibe was chill, and C. the food was unlike anything I’ve had before. It was a cross between low–fi homemade and high fidelity flavour. We started by splitting the PB & J in three, and later on got the cheese plate. For the main course I ordered the MSF Rice. It was the best duck and rice combo I’ve had. Between the MSF Rice and the PB & J I was seriously thinking about coming back after Steve and Anne took the subway home. I really wasn’t ready to say goodbye to that food. But like all great things they had to come to an end, but not before dessert. We ordered both the butter fried cornbread and secret breakfast ice cream. As with everything else those desserts exceeded my expectations by A LOT. I’m getting hungry just thinking about that meal which was almost a week ago. Sigh…

If you live in SF or plan to be there on a Saturday you will be rewarded for the effort of visiting. I would go in to the experience by taking off all filters of what you think food should be, and let yourself be surprised not so much by the surrounding environment but what is in front of your lucky tastebuds.

You can also read more about it’s history with SF Gate’s post titled Mission Street Food: low-down haute cuisine And you can always visit flickr to see people’s food experience at http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/missionstreetfood/interesting/

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  • http://www.portigal.com/ Steve Portigal

    Great review, Michael. Yes, I had read about Mission Street Food primarily on local blogs, like SFist and EaterSF. I *may* have also seen the Chronicle article, but it was certainly a phenomenon that I learned about online. Funny that in my head the low-fi nature of the event meant that I was pronouncing it Mission “Street Food” and only 12 hours later did I realize oh, it was “Mission Street” Food, as simple a name as you can get.

    They are also there on Thursdays, btw.