food stall quick bite: panchita's pupuseria at spark social sf
I think we all know I'm addicted to the whole food truck thing. These days, it seems to be becoming more of a love hate relationship. I love discovering and trying new ones, I hate it's becoming harder to find new ones and sometimes they charge lots for not so much. Still, I persist in my endeavor to eat at as many as possible, when they are near, when I don't have to walk far, when I'm in the mood, when the weather is nice, when it isn't too crowded, when whatever.
It is the myriad of reasons I was so happy when Spark Social SF opened over in Mission Bay. It's close, it's there, I can always make a last minute decision since, so far, they are open pretty regular hours and thus relatively accessible to my food whims. Though, a couple times I've thought about going, walked by and wooboy! it's been way crowded and lots of children running around. Kids are great, just not when packs of them are running around mercilessly screaming while their parents sit there oblivious finishing their pitcher of sangria. Some things you just gotta draw a line at and manners is one of them.
Anyway, on this particular Saturday, it was busy, but not so much so I wouldn't be able to find a table or get my food quickly. I think this day's choice was pretty easy for me as I'd seen them on a previous visit and right now I was in the mood for something hot and cheesy. Which brought me directly to Panchita's Pupuseria. They are more permanent food stall than truck and it is an off-shoot of their restaurant. Since pupusa is in the name, it is pretty good bet, that is what they do best. Let's face it, I can't resist something made of cornmeal and filled with meat and cheese. We'll call these round Salvadoran hot pockets.
They have basic flavor choices like pork or chicken and then they throw in a veggie option because, San Francisco. Your choice is 1 for $4, 2 for $7 or 3 for $10. Guess which one I took!
Everything is made to order right in front of you. The lady is pounding out the dough, filling it up and slapping it on the grill. Almost like having it made by your grandma. Except the cook wasn't that old and neither of my grandmas would know what the hell pupusas were. But you know what I mean.
Fresh and hot on a plate in no time. One pork and cheese, one chicken and cheese and a spinach and cheese. From there you can get all the jalapenos, slaw and hot sauce you want from the serve yourself jars on the counter. Crispy on the outside, a little doughy on the inside and oozing with loads of melted cheese. I mean there isn't much I can say except, I loved 'em, thought they were great. The pupusas are pretty big and they certainly don't skimp on the fillings. The slaw is a house made vinegar affair of cabbage, carrots and bits of jalapenos. By itself it is okay, but really, you are meant to put it on top of each pupusa bite. The tangy slaw acts as a complement to the heavy richness of all that cheese. Plus, you can also feel like you are getting in a serving of vegetables for the day. If you are not into slaw, it is not really mandatory, but I'd say still worth a try as a different flavor bite.
For the size and price, it was a tasty and filling plate of food. I actually didn't even feel like I needed to track down some dessert to top off the meal. I know, crazy, right?! If you happen to get by Spark, Panchita's is definitely one of the ones worth checking out. Or, you can always go by their restaurant in the Mission and probably get the same cheesy goodness.
And after you are done filling your face full of pupusas, you could also do this at Spark Social:
That's right--life size Jenga for adults! Because that's exactly what you want at a spot like this. Drunk hipsters trying to un-stack large blocks of wood without the entire tower falling. Because when it does, it is gonna take out most anything near it--tables, chairs, glasses, plates, dogs, small children, um.....hmmmm, I think the less said about that, the better.