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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tacos from Taqueria Vallarta

Posted By on Tue, Apr 27, 2010 at 12:29 PM

click to enlarge Tiny, saucy, and grease flecked. - MIKE BARISH/FLICKR
As a daily windup to the Weekly's Best of S.F. 2010 on May 19, we've teased out 92 of our favorite local dishes that taste like here. All the tasty details after the jump.

Number 16: Tacos from Taqueria Vallarta When we lived near General Hospital, Taqueria Vallarta, the slightly disheveled joint on 24th near Balmy, was a reliable late-night way station between bar and bed. Of course, we rarely thought of the taqueria as "Vallarta" then, just "roadside's," on account of the sidewalk taco cart positioned outside the restaurant. As a matter of fact, we ate at Vallarta for years before we ever ventured inside. The taqueria has closed and opened again a few times, succumbing to health code violations perhaps (so we once heard), changing owners, or both. The cart has since moved indoors; the bowl-shaped grill now sits behind a glass shield and a makeshift salsa bar just inside the front door. The tacos, however, have remained the same ― that is, the best on 24th Street. Tiny, saucy, and flecked with grease, Vallarta's tacos have little in common with the supersized, rice-heavy, lettuce-crowned specimens common at some taquerias ― you know, the "fancier" ones with clean floors and stylish paint jobs. The meats all congregate along the sides of the grill, sharing juices, mingling with tangles of grilled onion. A paper plate-full (three fit comfortably) runs $4.50 ($1.50 a pop), and diners can customize with fantastically smooth and piquant red and green salsa, lime wedges, radish slices, raw chopped onions, and cilantro. For snackers, one chicken ― dark, chewy crumbles, heavily spiced and salty ― does the trick. If you go for four, let pastor, suadero, and lengua join up and ― like benevolent stomach-shoring horsemen ― spirit you home. Taqueria Vallarta 3033 24th St. (at Balmy), 826-8116 Hungry for more? Click on the links in our countdown so far:


No. 92: Cracked Half Dungeness from Swan Oyster Depot No. 91: Pastrami Sandwich from Orson
No. 90: Coconut Bun from Out the Door on Bush
No. 89: Brown Sugar-Black Pepper Biscuits from Little Skillet
No. 88: Spit-Roasted Porchetta Sandwich from Il Cane Rosso
No. 87: Indian Pizza from Zante
No. 86: Tamales from All-Star
No. 85: Chilaquiles from Nopalito
No. 84: Poc Chuc from Poc-Chuc
No. 83: Chocolate Beignet from Arlequin Cafe
No. 82: Scallop Crêpe from Ti Couz
No. 81: Gin and Tonic from Pizzaiolo/Boot and Shoe Service
No. 80: Quesadilla from Rico Pan
No. 79: Turkey Kati Rolls from Kasa
No. 78: Emperor's Pancake from Suppenküche
No. 77: Lasagna from Zuppa
No. 76: Chicharrones from 4505 Meats
No. 75: Langka Ice Cream from Mitchell's
No. 74: Bacon Potato Chips from Who's Your Daddy
No. 73: Lamb Dumplings from Kingdom of Dumpling
No. 72: Chile-Braised Carnitas Sandwich from Bento 415
No. 71: Chili from Mission Burger
No. 70: Croissants from La Farine
No. 69: Xiu Mai Banh Mi from Saigon Sandwich
No. 68: Creme Brulee from Sweet.
No. 67: Limon Cebiche from Limon
No. 66: Chicken and Waffles from Brown Sugar Kitchen
No. 65: Brioche Bread Pudding from Tartine Bakery
No. 64: Turkish Salad from Old Jerusalem
No. 63: Ribs from Bruno's
No. 62: Prupisceddu in Umidu (Stewed Octopus) from La Ciccia
No. 61: Hot and Spicy Beef Jerky from Marin Sun Farms
No. 60: Pozole from Chilango
No. 59: Lobster Roll from Sam's ChowderMobile
No. 58: Dry-Fried Chicken Wings from San Tung
No. 57: John Campbell's Scones from Lovejoy's Tea Room
No. 56: Prahok from Angkor Borei
No. 55: The Garden-Fresh Pie from Pizzetta 211
No. 54: Pata Negra Ham from Contigo
No. 53: Stone Bowl Bibimbap at Han Il Kwan
No. 52: Green Papaya Salad from Green Papaya Deli
No. 51: Egg Puffs from Shanghai Dumpling King
No. 50: Cactus Tortillas from La Palma
No 49: Thai Barbecue Chicken from Manivanh
No. 48: Salt and Pepper Crab from R&G Lounge
No. 47: Aztec Chocolate Cupcakes from Mission Minis
No. 46: Octopus Tostada from Mariscos La Costa
No. 45: Pan con Chicharron from El Perol
No. 44: Burmese chicken-noodle soup at Yamo
No. 43: Roast Duck from Cheung Hing
No. 42: Rotisserie Bird from Goood Frickin' Chicken
No. 41: Franklin's Teleme Cheese
No. 40: Pho Dac Biet from Turtle Tower
No. 39: Sea Salted Dark Chocolate Caramels from Hooker's
No. 38: Dottie's Famous Pancakes from Dottie's True Blue Cafe
No. 37: XXX Chocolate Cake from Baker and Banker
No. 36: Carnitas Burrito from La Taqueria
No. 35: Little Fried Fish from Nopa
No. 34: Marlowe's Burger
No. 33: Crispy Pata from Patio Filipino
No. 32: Jam Thumbprints from Piccino Coffee Bar
No. 31: Slow-Cooked Egg from Commis
No. 30: Pulled Lamb Sandwich from Wexler's
No. 29: Cornmeal-Cherry-Rosemary Doughnut from Dynamo
No. 28: The Rising Sun from 15 Romolo
No. 27: The Cholle Bhature from Vik's Chaat Corner
No. 26: Plant Burger from The Plant Café Organic
No. 25: Stuffed Pasta from Flour + Water
No. 24: Potato Vareniki from Katia's Russian Tea Room
No. 23: Tokyo Ramen from Suzu Noodle House
No. 22: Margherita Pizza from Tony's Pizza Napoletana
No. 21: PB&J from Mission Street Food
No. 20: Sam's Sundae from Bi-Rite Creamery
No. 19: Timballo di Maccheroni from Quince
No. 18: New Orleans Iced Coffee from Blue Bottle
No. 17: Xiao Long Bao at Yank Sing

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