The Racing Honda is flying at warp speeds across the Bay Bridge to the Mission District in the City (San Francisco) for a special burrito lunch. Papalote Mexican Grill is a tacqueria that has been featured on numerous television shows and makes the ‘Best of’ lists regularly. Papalote is the Spanish word for kite that coincides with the restaurants philosophy. They would like you to experience a family Sunday afternoon birthday picnic in Mexico City sharing food, fun and flying kites. I feel warm and fuzzy inside already. Papalotes also wants to promote a healthier more upscale type of ‘Mission’ style burrito. This is evident by a signature salsa, burritos served on real dinnerware and beans made with no-lard. Ms. Goofy is concerned because she loves; I mean really loves beans made with lard. Hold on to your arm rests because the Racing Honda slows for no burrito.
Is it divine intervention or Karma? Whatever the reason we are on a parking roll provide by a legal non-metered spot one half a block away. We are in the Mission district which is heavily decorated by murals. This colorful wall welcomed us to the entrance of Papalotes. Inside is a small dinning area with kites (papalotes) hanging from the rafters. You place your order at the counter to receive a small number marker to bring to your table. Immediately a server brings a small bowl of chips and a tiny (2 ounce?) portion of their signature salsa. This salsa is very tasty. It is a mixture of roasted onions, tomato’s and peppers. It is blended with some oil and spices. This salsa was very good. It was mild with great vegetable flavor. It was rich and creamy from the addition of blended oil. I ate the whole small serving with just a few tortillas chips. I had to have some more and would of liked some more heat. I went to the counter to inquire about a hotter sauce. They did have a hotter salsa but it was for sale only for 7 dollars. What? Okay, how about some more mild please? Papalote will charge you 50 cents more for a 2 ounce taste. Our burritos arrived on nice Fiestaware plates.
Those of you that are familiar with ‘Mission’ style burritos know there is an art and procedure to eating a burrito without making a huge mess. Burritos are normally wrapped in aluminum foil. You peel the foil from one end and attack. The burrito is held upright to hold in all the burrito juices. As you proceed down the tube of meat love the foil is peeled back. At Papalote a knife and fork are provided. Ms. Goofy and I both ordered the carne asada. (Grilled steak). The steak was very flavorful and tender. The filling of rice, beans, signature sauce and meat formed a very satisfying lunch. I dosed my burrito with the little signature sauce that I had purchased. No knife and fork for this professional burrito eater. I picked it up with my meat paws and went to town. This rendering of ‘Mission’ style burrito was not very juicy with burrito love so it was not a messy operation.
Papalote makes a wonderful signature sauce/salsa. The burritos were tasty and filling. I can understand why they are popular and generate so much publicity. They have stretched the boundaries of what a ‘Mission’ style burrito is. Plates, knives and forks are usually not provided for this type of food. Charging for extra salsa in my opinion is blasphemous. Sure the restaurant is in the business of making money and I would expect to pay for salsa to-go. But to require you to buy a bottle of a hotter style sauce seems wrong to this Chilehead. Even so this was a fun burrito adventure. We enjoyed our lunch. I do not think we will return because there are so many more ‘Mission’ style tacquerias to explore.
Papalote Mexican Grill
3409 24th St,
San Francisco, CA 94110