Now that I'm back working up in the Levi's Plaza/Telegraph Hill/Nowhere area, I've been beleaguered by the same nagging lunch problems as before. There are about three places I frequent: RJ's Market; Il Fornaio's take-out counter and the take-out window of Piperade. Each has its merits. RJ's salad bar rocks, and their selection of convenience foods gives them an edge. The others are mainly sandwich portals; I like Il Fornaio's caprese sandwich, and Piperade's chicken avocado sandwich. As much as I like each of these things (and I really really like the chicken avo sandwich), you can only eat the same stuff for so long without wanting to throw yourself upon an unsheathed sword.
So imagine my thrill, envision the internal dance my alimentary tract did upon learning that one (at least semi-respectable) taco truck had pulled up stakes from SOMA and plonked itself down a few blocks from my office.
Now, many people I know are phobic about the idea of street food. (Still others, by contrast, are obsessed with it.) I'm in the latter camp. When I lived in Santa Fe, a place where excellent food, particularly its own strain of Mexican food, abounds at every turn, some of the best was at the taco trucks and drive-throughs. In particular, I loved the tacos (better yet, the tamales) at the truck that was permanently posted at the front of the Santa Fe flea market, which in itself was a completely wonderful way to waste a day.
And so I dragged my friend Matthew down to Pacific and Sansome to sample these mobile mouthfuls. Matthew, who is paradoxically both a finicky and adventurous eater, had never before partaken of taco truck fare, and so I popped his taco truck cherry. Myself, I had the burrito al pastor, spicy. Matthew got beef tacos with guac.
The verdict? I rather enjoyed my pastorrito, but that is at least in part because it was not a salad, which is what I eat three or four days a week up there. The meat was certainly done enough, really kind of leathery, and the sauce was rather greasy and pretty spicy. In other words, perfect. Plus, the burritos are about half the size of Mission-style burritos, which makes them more suitable for workday lunch fare. Matthew seemed to enjoy his tacos, though they are rather paltry in size. Next time he'll order four instead of two.
But hey, just to have some diversity from the standard yuppie chow that pervades this non-neighborhood is worth the price of admission. I predict I will work my way through their meager menu very quickly indeed.
Tacos San Buena
Pacific Street at Sansome Street