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Restaurants & Bars 5

Second Visit to Pastores: Yup, Still Good.

pane | Jan 8, 200802:59 PM

Last night I was dying for ceviche, but when dinnertime rolled around at 7:30 I would have roasted squirrels in Golden Gate Park if I thought they tasted good with salt. In short, I needed something close to my home and fast. I thought about Inka's, which Windy recommended as having excellent ceviche, but wanted to avoid the slow service I experienced during my first visit. Instead I popped into Pastores.

I went once before, on New Year's Day (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/475075). The chef (who was also the server this time) greeted me and remembered what I had ordered before (chilaquiles). She asked me if I liked them (I loved them!) and I told her I was starving.

She assessed the situation like a master strategizer: "You like sopes? You like enchiladas? You like mole?" I never even saw a menu. In a flash she brought me a hot, fat little sope, sprinkled with cheese.

You know how you can taste the handcrafting of really good pie crusts, as if something in the baker's hands went into the dough? The tortilla here was like that. It tasted like something won of hard work. I loved the rich corn taste of the fried masa, which was slicked with refried beans and then topped with cotija and some chopped onion.

The owner chatted in Spanish with two guys eating at counter while I dove into the rich, chocolately mole enchiladas stuffed with chicken. The mole was fantastic: deep, complex flavors that sang on the plate and had a nice kick of spice. The plate included refried beans and rice.

I knew she would ask me if I liked my dinner; not being a speaker of Spanish, I fiddled with the translation application on my BlackBerry before she stopped at my table. "It is," I declared, "el mejor." She cackled on her way out to pick up some produce next door.

As for the hours, they've been less predictable than I'd like. I recommend calling ahead and asking if they are open ((415) 642-5385).

If you happen to travel by hoof or wheel, you can check to see if the "Open" sign is lit up (you'll be able to see it even if the shades are drawn); sometimes there is a placard on the sidewalk when they're open.

Pastores Restaurant
3486 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

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