Sunday, August 5, 2007

Heaven, your way

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?


ben said...

I'd pick my delicious Pastel Azteca or my Mexican chicken lasagna. I do not want to be pretentious, but if I were god, that's what I'd serve in heaven.



sencho said...

i'd take a turkish döner kebap from berlin anywhere in the world (or heaven), it's just so good!

on the italian gelato - what i was most impressed with in italy is the consistency of quality in the gelato across the town. you don't need to drive 100 miles to berkeley to get the best scoop, most of the time it is less than 50 steps away :)

Miguel Cane said...


I'd take an endless supply of Manchego cheese (the real stuff) and purple onions, fresh bread and dijon mustard.

Heavenly sandwiches!

Much love,


Anonymous said...

In heaven they serve angel hair pasta.

Dushka said...

I love these! You're all making me hungry.

Tessitore di Sogno said...

The hablity to taste and enjoy from mixtures, colors and flavours in the endless variety of delicious food is a gift, please never lost that. I used to enjoy cooking but I can't stop thinking cooking is a wonderful activity that is more enjoyable when you are not alone. Very nice post!

Dushka said...


Carol Miller said...

I'm a simple soul and my wants are few. The dish I would take to heaven, or hope to find there, would be mamey ice cream from La Michoacana, and it wouldn't be fattening.

Marivi said...

Except for the tortillas, I find Mijita to be quite mediocre. If you are ever at the Ferry Building Farmers Market on a Saturday morning, try the Mexican breakfasts at the Primavera stall at the far end, closest to the Bay Bridge. The food is ridulously overpriced, but the tlacoyos, tamales and huevos rancheros are all to die for.

Marivi said...

As for ice cream, have you tried the salted caramel, dark chocolate or balsamic strawberry ice creams at the Bi-Rite creamery in San Francisco's Mission District?

IZ said...

quesadillas de queso oaxaca con flor de calabraza, en tortillas de harina integrales.

Dushka said...

I definitely need to hang out more with all of you. We could have a "everyone else's heaven" weekend!