location: Nopalito (San Francisco, CA)
1224 9th Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94122
After spending a nice day in SF, we came here for dinner. We had to wait about an hour to get a table, so in the meantime, we went grocery shopping. A good way to pass the time. To start the meal, they give some complimentary garbanzo beans to start. They are kind of dried out (like corn nuts), so they are crisp and light in texture and a bit spicy. That’s a theme throughout, a hint of spiciness in all the dishes.
You can order a variety of beverages - here’s some persimmon-almond horchata. I’m not a huge fan of milky things, but this was okay. You definitely taste the cinnamon spice and persimmon.
As a starter, totopos con chile, which are tortilla chips with salsa, cotija cheese, crema and lime. These were quite good. The salsa is coating each of the tortilla chips, but they are thick cut, so the outside has salsa, while the inside remains crunchy. The salsa has a nice spice to it, and is balanced out by the cheese and crema. The chips towards the bottom were a little soggy, but perhaps that’s inevitable.
Next, the taco de pescado al pastor, which comes with seared fish in ancho chile adobo, orange, onion, cilantro and salsa.
The fish was slightly dry (could have been more tender and juicy), but had a nice spice to it (though could have used a touch more salt). The orange was a nice fruity, sweet contrast.
Here, the quesadilla roja con chicharron, which comes with a mulato chile-corn tortilla, crispy pork belly, salsa, cheese, onion and cilantro. The tortilla itself was really flavorful and had a nice texture.
The crispy pork belly isn’t so crispy, but it is tender. Opening it up, you can see all the ingredients inside. Looks a little scary. But it’s good.
They also give some little cookies in the end. A nice small bite to finish the meal.
overall quality: 8/10
desire to return: 8/10