Location: San Francisco (mostly the Mission)
Distance: 6 miles
Entry fee: Tums, open mind, roll of toilet paper
All the craziness of a beer with the happiness of a taco ~jesse
With 9 people joining, this was our biggest hike to date. So to start off, I would like to thank everyone who joined and made it the raging, colon-cleansing success that it was.
First, some taco facts are in order:
- Tacos date back at least to the 1500s. When Cortez arrived he found Aztecs eating fish tacos
- Nobody knows why the Spanish called them tacos
- There is a main-belt asteroid called 14917 Taco
Our hike took us from the Western Addition to Upper Haight and down to the Mission (where we did most of our taqueria-ing.) There were a few rules:
- Only mexican beers, tequila, micheladas, and horchata can be drunken
- If we come across the bacon wrapped hotdog cart you have to eat one
- Free beer to anyone who spots the El Tonayese taco truck
First stop: Papalote on Fulton. Known for it’s burritos (not tacos) and tofu (obviously a higher-end taqueria), we decided to give the marinated tofu taco a try. Coupled with a few Coronas it was a nice, light, tangy intro to the night. Salsa at Papalote takes the cake, you can put it on anything.
From there we headed to El Balazo on upper Haight. Happy to find it up and running after hearing about the raids a few years ago, we really enjoyed the decor. The chile verde taco was pretty good with a nice kick to it, but the carne asada taco fell a little short with sub-par meat. Cabbage salad there gets two thumbs up.
So, with 2 tacos down, next on the list we were scheduled to meet Ferg at Little Chihuahua on Divisadero at 7:30…almost a mile away. Time: 7:15. Onward and upward!
After a brisk hike/light jog over to Divis, we met up with Ferg and found Little Chihuahua…completely packed. La Taqueria, a must-visit on our hike, was still 2.5 miles away and closed at 9pm. It was kind of a long way to go without further sustenance, but since we were feeling a little crunched for time we decided to skip Chihuahua and go the distance in one fell swoop.
So we booked it allllll the way down to the Mission (over 2 and a half miles) and got to La Taq at 8:20 where we met up with Summer, Ryan, and Mike and ordered….TACOS DELICIOSOS! (And one burrito…dammit Mike).
Ryan and Summer introduced us to the crispy tacos, which I now highly recommend. Words overheard: tendermoist; overstuffed; more bang for your buck; perfectly crispy; delightful.
After getting booted from La Taq at 9pm, we walked a few doors down (literally) to El Farolito. The super popular taqueria was packed, per usual, so we decided to check out El Farolito bar next door. Turns out, the bar isn’t quite as hot a hangout for hipsters or English speakers. AND, apparently top secret info, you can order food from the taqueria at the bar! Genius.
That aside, additional reasons El Farolito completely rocked include (but are not limited to):
- The custom “buy six beers get one free” beer special imposed by the bartender when seven of us ordered beers
- 7 tacos cost $12
- Tacos come with their own plastic cup of full jalapenos
- The amazingly enormous SUPER TACO (the result of some sort of miscommunication during the ordering process)
- The custom tequila special of double tequila shots for the price of one, also imposed by the bartender
- The tequila
- The bartender
And, according to Summer, the veggie tacos here beat out the ones at La Taq. It was hard to leave. But after we finished our tacos and jalapenos and beers and tequila (and after Summer, Molly, and I got hugs and kisses from the old dudes sitting by the front door), we did.
Feeling pretty stuffed from our one-two taco punch, we headed down the street and ran into our first…BACON WRAPPED HOT DOG CART! Rules are rules. Down the hatch.
Really stuffed at this point, we continued our walk along Mission when out jumped…ANOTHER BWHDC! Ryan, always a stickler for rules, got another one. The rest of us opted out. Rules are made to be broken.
We needed to get off of Mission immediately to avoid another hot dog sneak attack, so we veered into Doc’s Clock for a beer. Unable to finish his hot dog before we went in, Ryan put it in his pocket to keep it warm.
After a beer at Docs everyone was feeling pretty disgusting…but we had one taqueria left on the list. We made our way up Mission when, half a block in, I heard a shriek. Hidden behind a post on our side of the street…a third bacon wrapped hot dog cart. And Ryan, who had just finished the second one from his pocket, was buying one (but this one with no mayo).
We made it to our final stop, Taqueria los Coyotes where we finally met up with Jesse and Tierney and one girl who thought Los Coyotes was a great place for a nap.
Overheard during our final stop: hard to finish; good salsa bar; delicious produce; angry gigantic limes; soggy tortillas; phenomenal meat; greasy.
Watch out for the habanera sauce.
24 tacos, 6 bacon wrapped hot dogs, 1 burrito, 6 miles, and innumerable jalapenos later, lucky Hike #13 was a raging success.
Best taco (based purely on taste and quality): La Taqueria (meat); El Farolito (veggie)
Best overall taco experience: El Farolito
Lessons Learned: get the crispy tacos at La Taq; meat sweats are not just an urban myth
Flora and Fauna: bacon wrapped hot dog