Best Mexicatessen San Francisco 2001 - La Palma
Delicatessens have come a long way since they arrived here from central Europe, pickled herring intact, a century ago; today in the great American melting pot we have our French delicatessens, Italian delicatessens, Scandinavian delicatessens, even Chinese delicatessens. The Mexicatessen is a welcome Hispanic variant. At La Palma, a crowded, friendly, always busy venue in the heart of the Mission, a squad of artisans creates tamales, tostaditas, and tortillas out of preservative-free, freshly ground masa before your eyes. The deli counter serves up some of the tastiest tacos, quesadillas, and tortas in town. If you're in the mood to do your own cooking, all of the ingredients are as close as your outstretched arm: canned hominy, yucca chips, spices in bulk, cheeses and sausages, house-rendered lard, hibiscus syrup, several varieties of chili pepper, and coconut candy in red, white, and green. Be sure to pick up a sack of the unlabeled house-made potato chips as well -- they're thick, crunchy, and elementally good.