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There’s no better way to spend a day than walking in the San Francisco Mission neighborhood. We especially like the burritos, coffee and street art.
After a somewhat gluttonous yet delicious breakfast at Brenda Leong’s B. Patisserie, we were ready to move.
Burritos were on our afternoon agenda – Mission burritos to be exact. According to Google Maps, the distance was about four miles. Despite the unseasonal rain and the parked rental car, we chose to hoof it.
We like to walk and not only for the exercise. This is essential considering the food that we eat on our trips.
Many people may view this as somewhat crazy, but walking is integral to our way of travel. When traveling, we take public transport or cabs only if there is a time issue. In cities like Tokyo, we choose to use subways because of their utter convenience.
However, on this recent Sunday, we wanted to see San Francisco from the ground level. We wanted to, if only for a few hours, experience the city as only a local could experience it. On our feet.
SoMa StrEAT Food Park
We began our walk in Pacific Heights, drifted around the edges of Japantown, sailed through the Western Addition and passed by the Lower Haight. We then wandered past Market St. into SoMa and then down 11th Street.
We were about to cruise under the 101 when, to our surprise, we stumbled upon what looked like an abandoned lot filled with a dozen or so food trucks. In a serendipitous turn, we had literally walked into the SoMa StrEAT Food Park.
The SoMa StrEAT Food Park is a permanent food plaza that opened in 2012 and features rotating food trucks of all varieties and ethnicities.
Food trucks are typically open seven days a week, including the day of our mission walk.
There is music, restrooms, a beer garden and even two Skee-Ball machines. But food trucks are the main event.
We could have happily eaten our faces off, but we settled for sharing one luscious carnitas taco from the Tacos El Tuca truck.
The taco cost us $1.75 and included sliced radish, pickled jalapeños, cilantro, salsa and a lime wedge.
Our appetites were whetted, and we were ready to roll. But first – Skee-Ball!
San Francisco Mission Street Art
We continued on our San Francisco trek moving south on Bryant, walking past eclectic street art as we edged deeper into the diverse yet gentrifying neighborhood. These are some of our favorite walls:
La Palma Mexica-Tessen
We passed many restaurants and bodegas along the way before finally arriving at La Palma Mexica-Tessen.
La Palma is a grocery store chock-a-block full of all kinds of Mexican foods, both imported and freshly made to order.
Since it was our “mission”, we ordered a super burrito to share. The burrito was served on a homemade tortilla and was stuffed with our chosen meat (chicharrones), rice, beans, guacamole, sour cream, cheese, cilantro and onions. All of this cost us under $6.
La Palma doesn’t have any inside seating, so we were lucky to get spots at one of the two outside pub tables. We unwrapped the burrito, cut it in half and dug in.
It was good that we shared the super burrito, as it was a solid mass of food. A solid, tasty mass. Perhaps the chicharrones could have been crisper, and perhaps the salsa could have been spicier.
Overall, the excellent tortilla wrapper and the mingling of fresh ingredients worked. Plus, as a bonus, it was big enough for two mildly hungry burrito fans.
La Palma Mexicatessen is located at 2884 24th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA.
**Important Update – Sugarlum Coffee Bar Has Permanently Closed**
Before doing the reverse walk back to our hotel, we needed a break to chill and reflect on our day’s adventures. We didn’t have to go far before we found ourselves at Sugarlump, an organic coffee bar that serves drinks (hot and cold), snacks (sweet and savory) and empanadas. San Francisco coffee bars are awesome.
We normally order coffee when at a coffee bar, but beer was in order. We shared a Brother Thelonious beer from Fort Bragg’s North Coast Brewing Company.
The beer, named after Thelonious Monk, was a Belgian-style dark strong ale. With a 9.4% ABV, it was a good bottle to share.
We sipped on the beer, people watched and surfed the internet with free WiFi in the comfortable cafe.
Sugarlump was located at 2862 24th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA. It is now permanently closed.
Shopping in the San Francisco Mission
After the relaxing break, we ambled back to our room at the Kimpton Triton. We stopped in shops along the way and checked out the local goods. Daryl tried on funky glasses at Fine Arts Optical, a shop with an extensive collection of new and vintage glasses.
We eventually arrived back at the hotel ready for a rest before our late dinner reservation at Mason Pacific. It’s a good thing that we had worn comfortable shoes since we ended up walking about ten miles. Mission complete!
Plan Your San Francisco Stay
We stayed at the Kimpton Triton during our this particular trip and recommend it as a funky, relatively reasonable hotel near Chinatown.
Many businesses have revised their hours due to COVID-19. Some may close, either temporarily or permanently, without notice. Be sure to check websites for updated information.
About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.