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La Taqueria, Miguel Jara's Beloved Taqueria and Burrito House - Mission and 25th Street in the Mission District


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A few years ago, Don helped me get in touch with Eric Ziebold, who in his vast culinary background once worked for Thomas Keller at the French Laundry. I was going to San Francisco and wanted to know where the chefs go to eat in their time off. La Taqueria was one of those places.

I hit it again on my most recent visit this past week, and the beef head (cabeza) quesadilla was as good as it was when I first tried it a few years ago. The beefy flavor was intense and wonderful, beating the heck out of any ground meat that might find its way into a typical beef quesadilla. 

The line to get in is a testament to the place's reputation, and the lunch counter ordering and minimal seating have not dissuaded the multitudes from descending on some of the best fast-Mexican food in San Francisco. 

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I live two blocks from La Taqueria.  A few things I've learned over the years:

  • It's important to have a firm time limit in mind when going to LT.  If you show up and the line is out the door, just walk a couple blocks over to Taqueria Guadalajara.  It's not the same thing at all, but the carnitas is some of the best in the city.
  • They are cash only.  There's an ATM in the back.
  • The cabeza and lengua are definitely the best meats at LT.  The rest are fine, but the cabeza in particular is outstanding.
  • Regardless of your preference for tacos (correct) or burritos (less correct), you'll want to order them dorado which means they'll be crispy.  For tacos this means they shallow fry the tortilla on the flat top.  For burritos in means they go into a panini-press type mechanism.
  • If you're getting tacos, you don't need all the toppings.  Most of the time I just get cheese on my cabeza dorado taco.
  • The at-table hot sauce is very good, but I also usually ask for the taco itself to be spicy too.
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