The best burrito in the city is not in the Mission

UPDATE!!!  CUCO’S is now open on Saturdays!  Get thee there now!

There’s always a ton of bluster on the internet over the quest to crown the best burrito in the city, but somehow lost in the discussion among the heavyweights such as El Farolito, Papalote, and Cancun stands the family-owned and operated CUCO’S in the Lower Haight.  Here, you can find the greatest veggie burrito ever imagined, a fried plantain masterpiece that’s so good it’s even been known to force renowned carnivores to rethink their status.  Despite being one of the aforementioned meat-eaters myself (although my Okcupid profile might read “mostly vegetarian”), I have no qualms with stating that this burrito rivals a super al pastor from Farolito or mole-what-have-you from Papalote solely based on its own merit.  But don’t just take my word for it; check out what the experts at Burritophile have to say:

In no uncertain terms, Cuco’s plantain burrito is the best vegetarian burrito in the city. Maybe the world . . . If you’re really lucky, Mrs. Cuco will cook the fruit long enough for the edges to get carmelized — chewy, sweet goodness . . . The fruit lends an element of flavor and texture to the mix that you just don’t find in most grilled veggie burritos. The sweet, earthy taste of the plantains is a perfect match for the rest of the ingredients.

He’s also not kidding about the Mrs. Cuco part.  This is a real family-owned venture, with the Mrs. Cuco handling the plantains while her daughters help with the other stuff.  I believe I’ve even caught a glimpse of Mr. Cuco back there too.  The orders are always taken with a smile, and they take the time to make sure you get all the options right.  Mrs. Cuco will usually even offer a playful verbal jab if elect to go with the non-spicy salsa!  She’ll usually remember you as well, and will often inquire about the well-being of your friends or family if you come in alone when she’s used to seeing you with a specific group.  This might sound rather banal, but it really goes a long way to contribute to the family atmosphere of the place.

The price is also splendidly cheap, which brings us to the one drawback: the limited hours of operation.  Owing to the family-run nature of the place, you can only get a CUCO’S burrito from 12pm-9pm Monday through Friday, as the taquerestaurant is closed late night and on weekends.  Nonetheless, you’d be doing yourself a severe disservice to live in this city without trying the plantain burrito at least once.  I know what you’re thinking: “The best burrito in the city is a veggie burrito from Lower Haight?”

Well, yes, it is.  Now do it to it.

[Burrito photo by dapperdanj]

[Exterior Photo]

Sad hour under the Golden Gate Bridge

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When traveling to exotic locales (like Orange County), it’s always amusing to see what passes for adequate representation of your home. Thus it was with cautious enthusiasm that we ambled in to the Alcatraz Brewing Company to sample the fare.

Sadly, our misgivings turned out to be correct, as the menu featured the same basic sandwiches, salads, and sides that can be found at any surburban eatery, although I must admit that the sweet potato fries were quite on point (especially with the accompanying melted marshmallow cinnamon dip). But I’m not going to sit here and sneer like an entitled local; they did the best they could for how much they care.

What I can bitch about, however, is their very un-SF happy hour policy. We arrived just after 6 in the midst of a 4-7 happy hour but were told by the hostess that the happy hour section was full but that we could sit in the regular section. The only catch was that this was the “sad hour” area, as all of our drinks would be regular price.

“So lemme get this straight,” I said, “those folks in the table FIVE FEET away from us get their beers for $3 while ours cost $6?”  The hostess animatedly replied, “Of course, that’s how happy hour works everywhere! That’s how it works at El Torito!”

El Torito. That’s how it works at El Torito. Well then!

It’s good to be back.

A fistfull of Cold Beer dollars

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When trying to take advantage of the Dolores Park 2-for-$5 cold beer special, try to pay with smaller bills, as handing over a twenty will net you a most unsightly pile of gross, bunched up ones and fives from the cavernous pockets of Cold Beer (no water) himself, stuffed unceremoniously into your outstretched hand.

Let’s just say you wouldn’t want to insuffolate any substances through these babies…

Four Barrel exits the terrible twos tomorrow, celebrates with skee ball

Four Barrel is turning 3 tomorrow and just like last year there will be free coffee all day. Unlike previous years, there will be skee ball:

To celebrate three years of being in business, Four Barrel Coffee will be throwing their annual birthday bash on Tuesday, August 23rd, from 7am to 4pm.  As they do every year, they will be giving away free coffee and espresso drinks all day long.  To add to the fun, Glass Coat Photo Booth will be setting up one of their free photo booths from 12pm-4pm, there will be two Skee Ball units in the back for people to square off against one another, and they’ll be serving free slices of Tartine Cake at noon.  Plus the Pizza Hacker and Rosamunde Sausage Grill will be posted up outside if people want to buy a some lunchtime food.  It’s going to be a doozie.

No word on whether the skee ball units will be dispensing tickets for high scores, which can then exchanged for plastic harmonicas, mini squirt guns, and rubber goblin finger puppets. We’ll check with our source.

[thanks Nicky Koch]

Update: No skee ball prizes :(