Food Review: Mr. Pollo

I hate soup! Argh.

Mr. Pollo is a 10-seat, no reservation, cash-only restaurant in the Mission that has been getting a bit of press lately. They base the menu on ingredients found at one of the local farmers markets that day. They do a $20 fixed price, 4 course meal. You can add on arepas and dessert. Arepas are like quesadillas but with more substantive ingredients so it’s kinda like a sandwich. You can also buy beer or pay the corkage fee if you bring wine.

Course #1 was a fresh arugula salad with tomatoes, nuts, and fruit, lightly seasoned, letting the freshness speak for itself.

Course #2 was a green soup. Ick.

Then we had the arepa which was good.

Course #3 was a prawn with potatoes.

Course #4 was a hearty soup. Ick.

The dessert was a caramelized pear. Hated it.

The menu changes daily.  I could see myself going back, but was not happy with 2 courses of soup.


Food Review: Saigon Sandwich

Saigon Sandwich in the heart of the ‘Loin is apparently ‘the’ place for bahn mi sandwiches. I made a detour today to check it out. It’s located across from the Phoenix Hotel on Larkin between Eddy and Turk.

I got there at 11:15am. No line, but while I was eating at the 2-person counter, a line started up about 15 minutes later. I surmised there were a good number of people who work in City Hall or one of the municipal buildings in that area.

Sorry, but I am not a fan. I got the roasted pork bahn mi for $3.50 and was quite disappointed. It lacked flavor. Nor did I care for the mango custard. I took a couple bites, then tossed it. Fresh Brew Coffee at 882 Bush Street makes way better banh mis in a much nicer neighborhood.

Mission Chinese: the Good, the Bad, and the Yummy

I don’t have good recall, but I vaguely remember writing how much I love Commonwealth. It must be divine intervention that my new favorite restaurant is one apartment building over. Any budding restauranteur would be wise to open up shop in the retail space sandwiched between Mission Chinese and Commonwealth. Cha-ching!

I don’t know about y’all, but I’m not really a fan of chinese food. The only time I get a craving for honey walnut prawns is when this piggy forgets to eat, throws back the cocktails, and wakes up to a pig pen of a day. Completely shot and wasted.

Not in the mood for food, but knowing that grease makes it better, I drove us shell-shocked at 2pm on a Saturday afternoon to the Mission.

“This place gets mixed reviews,” I told Dean. “Let’s check it out.”

Over a year old, the place retained the sign of its predecessor Lung Shan with Mission Chinese written in sharpie on a piece of 8×11 paper taped to the front door. Despite the lack of formalities–including seating yourself–this joint ain’t no dive. A dive is Tu Lan on 6th and Market. A dive is Cordon Bleu on California. Mission Chinese is like the downstairs area of R&G Lounge! Cmon, people, quit saying Mission Chinese is a dive. It even has one of those long, sparkly dragon puppets strung up on the ceiling.

The service is regimented–a whole gamut of non-English speaking and American-born asians who aren’t into feigning friendliness.

Our soda cans arrived on our table like they’d rolled out of a vending machine. What you see is what you get. No extra glass, no ice, no straw. I was having major doubts until the food came.

A tea cup of well-spiced szechuan pickles–which was more napa cabbage than pickles.

The tiger salad should be renamed fresh spring rolls. Not sure why they called it a salad. This was too minty. Use half the mint, please. But so fresh. I guess it was too fresh for my hungover taste buds.

Salt cod fried rice–the god of all fried rice. So light, fluffy, and tasty. Best fried rice of my asian life.

Pork belly. Ok, I already said the fried rice was the best. Do I also have to say the pork belly was the best? I must. That was the crispiest, yummiest pork belly in all my years of dreaming of fried pig parts.

A little over $30 including the tip plus leftovers for later.