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Kitchen Sisters


Everything is covered in chocolate at Kika’s Treats, including honey cakes and homemade graham crackers.

I recently attended the open house for La Cocina, “a nonprofit shared use commercial kitchen and business incubator… founded to serve as a platform for low-income entrepreneurs launching or expanding their food business.” (Thank god for websites and their business mission statements.)

In terms of food, this might conjure visions about as appealing as a plate of over-steamed broccoli, but let me tell you, the women cooking out of this Mission District-based kitchen are producing some top-notch stuff. (Oh, and it just so happens that the cool and smart young program director of La Cocina has a duel life; he was voted as Best Waiter in 7x7’s 2007 Reader’s Choice Awards. See his photo in our April issue’s party pages.)

So, based on the highlights from a tasting I did recently at their open house for industry types, here’s your new list of to-do’s. I wish I could include even more.

1. Go to Pastores (3486 Mission St., 415-642-5385) located at the base of Bernal Heights. This sweet, under-the-rador spot, is run by Irma Caderon, a woman who makes a mean chile relleno—and caters to boot. With the help of La Cocina, Irma is closing for a couple weeks to renovate, so call ahead.

2. Reserve Saturday morning for brunch because you’re going to the Alemany Farmers Market—specifically to the El Huarache Loco booth. You’ll probably see me there at one of the little plastic tables, head down in one of their eggs with green chile sauce, sipping their sweet D.F.-style coffee.

3. For dessert? Truly, there’s too much to love—from Kika’s Treats (Brazilian honey cakes covered in chocolate? Yes, please.) to Claire Keane’s layered squares of chocolate, shortbread and caramel and last, but not least, the alfajores from Sabores Del Sur. Say your goodbyes now because one bite of these transcendental powdered-sugar-showered butter cookies, sandwiching dulce de leche, and you just might die and go to heaven. (All are available at La Cocina’s new Saturday morning Ferry Plaza Farmers Market stand.)