The Lower East Side of the Mission District (this would be East 24th Street) is blossoming. I’m sure the gentrification whistle blowers are up in arms, but personally I love it when a neighborhood starts mixing it up. (And my money is on the fact that the whistle blowers are the exact hipsters that frequent Pops, anyhow.) Stagnancy is not what thriving cities are made of: Sushi, tortas and gourmet donuts located within a one block radius are.
I was there on a late Sunday morning for what I’d consider an ideal Mission moment:
• Grabbed a Four Barrel coffee and a salted caramel donut at Dynamo Donut. Waited in line ogling the shiny La Marzocco espresso maker. Chatted with owner Sara Spearin for a moment who said things are coming along, if slowly, for Dymano’s sit-down restaurant. (Workers were inside painting as we spoke.)
• Waltzed right by the bevy of the hipsters that were probably at Pops the night before, now waiting, hungover, in line for breakfast at St. Francis Fountain.
• Took note that the soon-to-be-open Sushi Bistro now has official signage up. I’m not a fan of the Sushi Bistro out in the avenues, but I’m pretty sure SB is going to kill it in this location. I suppose it’s cheap and cheerful—especially when you’re drunk on a sake bomb.
• I pondered stopping into La Palma Mexicatessen for my latest favorite thing: their amazing blue-corn tortilla chips (they’re almost black they’re so blue). I didn’t, but I should have because I wish I had a bag of them right now.
• Then I ducked into my top tortas joint, La Torta Gorda, where there’s never a line, the service is great and the food is too. I had the always-delicious junior torta with enchilada filling topped with the super-spicy salsa they gave us in a squeeze bottle and forced Joe, an avid fan of the tortas (especially the tortas at Pancho's on Geary and Arguello), to admit that La Torta Gorda is superior. Joe, meanwhile, feasted on the huevos rancheros, which I’ve now deemed one of the best in the city. Almost rivaling Pastores'. Almost.