Taqueria Pancho Villa (Or: A Mission for A Mission Burrito)

After the refinement and excitement of Thomas Keller, where do you go for lunch? The modest, hardworking people of my stomach wanted a revolution–

–not every meal has to be hoighty-toighty, they said. It’s time for real food, basic food, cheap food. It’s time for a San Fransisco staple: a Mission burrito.

Following the comments from my initial San Francisco announcement, I chose Taqueria Pancho Villa:


Walking inside, I instantly knew I made the right choice. See the people behind the counter? They’re not punk kids working after school jobs at Chipolte, they’re actually Mexican!


The meat is cooked on a grill, as you can see here:


And look at the authentic decor:


Here’s what the place looked like from my table:


And here’s what I ordered. A watermelon drink called Sandia:


It was truly awesome and instantly refreshing.

And then my burrito. Here it is in foil:


At first I ordered the carne asada but, seeing that the beef looked a bit dry, I quickly changed it to the roast pork but then reading the description on the board, I wanted the marinated pork instead so I changed–again–to Al Pastore. It was an excellent choice, as I soon discovered, biting in:


Look at that burrito, filled to the brim with rice, beans, pork and (because I got the super burrito) sour cream, cheese, and salsa. Phew. I didn’t get very far:


I left more than half. But people ask how come I don’t gain 1,000 pounds eating what I do, and that’s the answer. I don’t eat it all.

And because of my restraint, the revolution in my stomach quickly ended. The people were happy and they prospered.

7 thoughts on “Taqueria Pancho Villa (Or: A Mission for A Mission Burrito)”

  1. I’m having great fun watching you wander around SF…what you drank is called an agua fresca — sandia is the Spanish word for watermelon. :)

  2. I don’t blame you for leaving half – I always have to split that with someone if I get it. Or have it again for dinner a few hours later.

  3. You should hang out in the Mission after dark. The lowriders, pimps, ladies of the night, cops….a real symphony of humanity right there before your eyes. Or maybe things have changed since the 80’s?

  4. The Mission District has changed considerably since

    the 80’s. It is now a trendy area -due to the tearing down of the Valencia Garden Housing Project. I grew up accross the street from the Taqueria Pancho Villa and the fact that it has been around this long is a true testament to the quality of the food.

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