SF: The Delish Mish and Castro

18 Oct

Best Gluten-free Sandwich I’ve ever had was in the Castro? Yes!

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Ike’s Place (which just recently moved across the street from it’s original location) is the hippest, funniest, delicious, most popular sandwich stop in all of SF—and my personal favorite in the sandwich books. I had heard about this place from friends and was weary until I saw that they have homemade GF BREAD, from their own kitchen! Dreams do come true.

When I went there, there were no tables, just chairs to sit and wait until your order was called. You can see the hip youngsters making each sandwich fresh in the back. If you have a severe allergy to gluten or dairy, they ask if you would like the counters cleaned and wiped down to ensure that your sandwich isn’t compromised by cross contamination. That’s customer satisfaction at it’s finest, right?

Each sandwich comes with your choice of Dirty Potato Chips (salt and vinegar are my favorite, though these are made with a dairy “binder,” which they informed me of after removing the cheese from my order. Impressive.) A large selection of old fashion sodas, juices, and water are also available for purchase.

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I tend to be a “Plain-Jane” when it comes to sandwiches, but it never disappoints. I ordered a Turkey Sandwich with crispy bacon (when in Rome), tomato, lettuce, avocado, and their secret, special dirty sauce (a homemade garlic aioli with a little kick). Along with all of their other options, this sandwich had a CRAZY NAME that I can’t even remember. I think it was named after a street or a baseball player. I told them what I was craving and they responded with “Oh yes, we have that and it’s called the “McGruber Slam Dunk”‘…or something like that 😉 They have over 80 sandwiches listed on there website and plus handfuls more that the “in the know” cashiers and frequenters can recite upon request.

Some of their sandwiches cracked me up:

The BackStabber: Halal chix, marinated artichoke, CAESAR dressing, provolone
Hot Date For Hire: slices of rib-eye and jalapeños
[Name Of The Girl I’m Dating]: Halal chix, honey mustard, avo, pepperjack
Jessica Rabbit: vegan breaded chix, stuffed jalapeños, franks red-hot, ranch OUCH!
Vegan Pilgrim: vegan breaded chix, cranberry sauce, sriracha, soy cheese
Vegan Sometimes I’m Vegan: grilled mushrooms, artichoke hearts, soy cheese

Check out Ike’s Place by foot, car, or muni– but expect a line every time. You can call ahead and wait in a different line to pick up your already made order. Wait or no wait, it’s worth it so don’t wait and hurry up and eat here already! 😉

GRACIAS MADRE! ME GUSTA TU VEGAN Y NO PAN MENU! LA COMIDA ES DELICIOSA!

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This restaurante was by far the most exciting find during my stay. Thanks to a referral from my fellow vegan cast-mate, my dietary restrictions and Los Angeleno demands for delicious mexican food were met and exceeded! The menu is organic, vegan, and non-GMO producing. Dishes are served with fresh vegetables like kale, butternut squash, plantains, and mushrooms, along with toppings of fresh cashew cheese, pepitas, guacamole, salsas, beautiful black beans, and more. Their stoneground heirloom masa tamales are fantastic! All their dishes are made in house, such as their incredibly conceptualized quesadilla with butternut squash, caramelized onions, cashew cheese, and pumpkin seed salsa wrapped in a freshly made corn tortilla.

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My favorite were their 3 tacos (choosing from 4 options). I picked the sauteed garlic mushrooms, grilled zucchini, and wilted, sauteed kale with cashew cheese and a side of guacamole. It was everything I hoped it would be: fresh, delicious, and full of flavor. They provide every plate with their own duo of salsas (a mild verde and red chipotle) and accompany almost every main dish with a side of their phenomenal black beans. Probably the best black beans I’ve ever had, aside from my own that I make 😉

THE BEST MARGARITA I HAVE EVER SIPPED (and I mean SIPPED slowly to make it last!):

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It seems that I am repeating myself often with the phrase “best thing I’ve ever….” Yet it is TRUE! This is the freshest, most succulent, and artificially-absent tasting margarita I have ever ordered at a restaurant! They are prepared with house-made syrups, fresh agave, and soju (a korean liquor similar to vodka– made from rice). It is the perfect pairing to a perfect meal. If you don’t mind a pack of crowded hipsters in a sketchy area in the mission, enjoy or DISFRUTA!

LAST BUT NOT LEAST, THE QUAINT MARKET WITH THE STELLAR ICE CREAM, LOVELY PRODUCE, DANITY DELI, BEAUTIFUL WINE, AND YUMMY SNACKS: BI-RITE MARKET!!!

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I literally stumbled across this market while walking from Gracias Madre to the muni stop by Dolores Park. I didn’t put two and two together until I saw their famous ice cream flavors stacked in pints in their modest freezer section.

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Beautiful bouquets of flowers line the front doors that open to a lovely array of organic, local produce, herbs, and meats. Along the right wall is an inexpensive, moderately priced wines selection. I was listening to a saleswoman explaining in great detail what the customer would enjoy in addition to her love of chardonnay. I may not have recognized a single wine displayed, which is always exciting.

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It was so refreshing to see a local market on the skirts of the quite cement-enclosed, destitute Mission where Gracias Madre sat. It truly warmed my heart with my love of local businesses. The surrounding blocks were booming with quaint and modern eateries, shops, and art. The mission was incredibly eclectic and extremely versatile with every corner turned.

Ike’s Place
3489 16th St (btw Dehon & Sanchez)
Castro
SF, CA 94114
415.553.6888

Gracias Madre
2211 Mission St (btw 19th & 18th)
Mission
SF, CA 94110
415.683.1346

Bi-Rite Market
3639 18th St (btw Guerrero & Oakwood)
Mission
SF, CA 94110

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