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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Don't Ask Michael Bauer Where to Eat Mexican. Ask Us

Posted By on Thu, Aug 5, 2010 at 1:08 PM

click to enlarge Antojito sampler at Haltun in the Mission. - JOHN BIRDSALL
  • John Birdsall
  • Antojito sampler at Haltun in the Mission.
On his blog this morning at Inside Scoop, Chronicle critic Michael Bauer misses the Tex-Mex combination plates he devoured in his Dallas days ― and bemoans the fact he can't find a good Mexican place in the Bay Area ― which seems tantamount to failing to see a blade of grass in Golden Gate Park.

In response to a reader's query about where to find some good Mexican food, Bauer leads with a bold quote ("I've always said if I was going to open a restaurant in San Francisco it would be Mexican because the cuisine is underserved"), but fails to convince us he's done enough research. Inside Scoop reader, if you're out there? Here's our advice:

The Mission and Oakland's Fruitvale District positively bristle with vivid, excellent riffs on Jaliscense, Oaxacan, and Yucatecan food, to name only a few of the regional cuisines that consistently crop up. Saying you like La Taqueria is like saying babies are cute. Try Taqueria Vallarta's street-side tacos ― small tortillas cupping bits of chorizo and grilled onions ― El Metate's chile verde pork, and La Torta Gorda's squash blossom quesadilla. Across the bridge, over on International Boulevard, eat ceviche at Mariscos La Costa and a sauced-drenched pork sandwich at Tortas Ahogadas Mi Barrio.

There are also fantastic "sit-down" restaurants far less tony than Nopalito or Mamacita, two places Bauer big-ups. Try Poc-Chuc and Haltun on 16th and 21st Streets respectively, each turning out delicious achiote-roasted pork and black beans smoother than crema. Or head to Gallardos or, in Oakland, El Huarache Azteca, warm, family-owned establishments brimming with birria, menudo, chilaquiles, and plenty of tables and chairs.

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