May 10, 2007
New kid on the block.
Back when I lived on the East coast, far from the pupuserias and taco trucks that now signal I’m almost to my block, I made a few attempts at home-cooked Mexican food. I propped my Diana Kennedy and Rick Bayless cookbooks open, making haphazard substitutions and best attempts. I’d like to tell you that every meal was a slam-dunk, dear reader, but truth is we ate a lot of bland pinto beans and lame versions of “carnitas.”
But there were some bright spots. I bought a tortilla press. I chased down a bag of masa. And I made a superb (if I do say so myself) batch of gorditas, which I liken to Mexican pita sandwiches. The tortillas poof up magically when fried, and you tuck a savory filling in the pocket. They were a big hit in my house. For some reason, though, I don’t know of any places in SF that make them. I’m sure they’re out there, but until yesterday I didn’t know where to get them.
Well, that’s all changing, because a mere block from my house, Tortas El Primo (22nd Street, between Mission and Valencia) has set up shop. With bright yellow walls, big windows and friendly staff, El Primo is poised for big success. Why, you ask? One word: Gorditas. Three more: Many different varieties. Will their version cause me to renounce my La Taqueria chorizo crispy tacos? I doubt it. But still, I say, welcome to the neighborhood, El Primo. I sure am glad you’re here.
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