I had long since given up on finding real, good Mexican food in the Bay Area. (Being Mexican gives me the right to be extra picky about it.) And yet here I am, humble, contrite, coming to you to announce I’ve found two places that have proved me wrong. They are both casual and un-pretentious and serve freshly made tortillas, still hot from the comal.
Mijita, inside the Ferry Building, is the first such place. My favorite thing to order there is an agua de jamaica, then ensalada de jicama y toronja with toasted pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top, and a vegetarian taco that consists of black beans, salsa, and the critical, aforementioned freshly made corn tortilla. I’ve mentioned this in a previous blog entry, but I’ll say it again: a freshly made tortilla with black beans and salsa is what I’d take on a desert island if I could only pick one thing.
The second Mexican restaurant to prove me wrong is Picante, in Berkeley. We discovered it in my Slow Food book and went there Saturday. We had sopa Azteca and tacos de rajas with just made tortillas and all I can say is I’d drive all the way to Berkeley any time.
Moving on from Mexican food, but sort of on the same subject, I also thought it would be fruitless to attempt to come close to Italian gelato. There is a place in Milan called Gelateria Marghera where they serve what I consider, after extensive field research, the best ice cream in the world. (In fact, I’m not sure if there is a heaven, but I’m sure that if there is, there is a Gelateria Marghera past the entrance on the right.)
But, what if you should find yourself close to heaven, but not quite there - say, in California - and must have really good ice cream? What do you do?
You go to Sketch, that’s what. In order to give my readers a well-rounded, thorough review, I tasted the sweet corn ice cream, the yogurt ice cream, the caramel ice cream and the chocolate ice cream (all swoon worthy) and finally settled on coffee granita. As soon as I finished it, I looked at Luca with what I hoped were soulful, irresistible eyes and we went back for another scoop: this time I picked Earl Grey ice cream. I think we might have to move to Berkeley – either that, or my friend Analisa will have to prepare the pull out bed.
Now, back to that desert island. If you could only pick one thing to eat, what would it be? Or, if you prefer, what do you think is served in heaven?