An occasional collection of bites.

My very favorite tamales in the Mission are from La Espiga de Oro at 2916 24th Street. It’s a tiny little red and yellow storefront tucked next to Casa Lucas. Maybe you’ve seen their chicharrones in the window in the orangey glow of heat lamps?
Those are the mothers of all chicharrones — more like deep-fried pork belly, really. Salty and meaty and so wrong but so right. But what I always get are their tamales and champurrado, which is basically a corn-thickened hot chocolate. You know how some tamales are dense and dry? La Espiga de Oro’s are the opposite — the masa has just enough lard to make them fluffy and moist without being greasy. I like the huarache tamal: beans, jalapenos and cheese. It really feels like Mexico — bright oilcloth on the tables, couples canoodling, workers with dusty boots, the pat-pat sound of women torteando — patting masa into pupusas in the back.  — Bridget Huber
The vegetarian arepa at Pica-Pica (401 Valencia Street) — so delicious!! It has plantains inside!! The yucas are great too! I love that place! — Claudia Escobar
An all-natural orange and carrot juice at 8 a.m. on a Sunday from La Torta Sabrosa on 24th and Mission. Accompanied with a torta de huevo DF style. — Andrea Valencia 

The worst: When you can taste the aluminum in a burrito after you unwrap it only to discover it has a metallic taste. *unlike*. — Andrea Valencia

Salted bread sticks at Arizmendi (1268 Valencia Street). And everyone loves the bread at Tartine Bakery (600 Guerrero Street), but how many of you know that it still tastes good after a week?  — Lydia Chávez
Eat anything good or bad, or see a good scene while you munch? Send in your short bites to missionlocal@gmail.com. Full names only.

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