It’s easy for me to get stuck in my comfortable rut of favorite neighborhood spots, so when Negra Modelo invited me to join them on a food tour of the Mission district with Top Chef Master, James Beard award-winning, killer mustache brandishing, Mexican cuisine aficionado, Chef Rick Bayless I was game!
The Mission is home to a vibrant Mexican community, and is therefore also home to a host of authentic culinary gems. We hit up three hometown favorites on our little food tour – learned a lot of food history, ate some killer carne asada, satisfied our sweet tooth, and of course, washed it all down with some great beer. Here’s a look at our day in the Mission:
We started out at a “Mexicatessen” that is known for making some of the finest tortillas in the city. This local treasure has been making them the same way since they opened their doors in 1953 – by hand, from scratch. Every day, starting at 2 am (!!!), they grind fresh masa. They start by cooking dry corn with an alkaline lime solution – this process is called nixtalmalization – which results in what’s called nixtamal. The nixtamal is then ground with a bit of water, which makes masa, the cornmeal dough that is used for tortillas and tamales.
I was enthralled with how fast these sweet ladies could pat those tortillas out. Apparently, each person can make about 20 dozen an hour! Whoa, mamacita.
And of course, we got to sample the goods. Here are some of the huaraches we tasted – the tortilla is stuffed with cheese and zucchini, then topped with juicy carne asada, cotija, and lettuce.
Our bellies warm and full of goodness, we headed to our next stop, a meat market, where we met Salvador Vazquez. Salvador and his family have been running this meat market since 1965. Here he is, showing us a cut of “flap meat”. These days flap steak is a popular cut, but years ago, many American butchers relegated it to the meat grinder since it was mostly unknown outside of Mexico (where it was commonly used for carne asada). Salvador regaled us with a story of how this humble meat shop single handedly popularized the cut (i.e. he showed the cut to a guy from a big American meat processing company and the rest is flap meat history).
Salvadore served up some carne asada, naturally. It was delish, but I couldn’t help but be totally distracted by this:
Holy chicharrones. I’ll have to go back to sample those in the near future!
Now for dessert! We headed to La Reyna Bakery, which has been operated by the Gutierrez Family since 1965.
We met this third-generation baker, who gave us the scoop on the some of the panaderia’s most popular goodies – the bread pudding, pan dulce, cheesecake are all cult favorites.
But I’m a sucker for sprinkles!
After the bakery stop, I unfortunately had to head out, but from the looks of it, the blogger fun continued! The crew headed onward for more food and beer fun as the put Rick Bayless to work.
I’m sad I missed out on Rick’s cooking with Negra Modelo demo, but thankfully, there was no shortage of talented food bloggers around to capture it all:
Amy of Amy’s Healthy Baking
Amy of Cooking with Amy
Amy of Very Culinary
Anita of Dessert First
Annelies of The Food Poet
Beth of OMG Yummy
Cassie of Ever in Transit
Gabi of Brokeass Gourmet
Irvin of Eat the Love
Jane of This Week for Dinner
Jasmine of Simply Real Moms
Kimberly of Bake Love Give
Sara Deseran, food writer and restaurateur
Sean of Hedonia & Punk Domestics
TerriAnn of Cookies & Clogs
Trish of Mom On Timeout
Thanks, Negra Modelo, for letting me play tourist in my own city!
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Negra Modelo, but all opinions stated are my own. Check out Negra Modelo on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or follow #ThePerfectComplement for more ideas on how to pair Negra Modelo with food!