Eating Now: Arepas, Sashimi Bowl, Kingston Mule

An occasional collection of bites. Have you eaten anything good or bad lately, or seen a good scene while you munched? Send in your short bites to missionlocal@gmail.com. Full names only.

The arepas served at Mr. Pollo on Mission and 24th streets are quite large, closer to the size of a pancake than a biscuit. Although bigger than I’m used to, their flavor took me right back to the Lower East Side. The arepa was perfectly crispy on the outside, soft inside, and stuffed to the brim with melted cheese, salty pork, creamy avocado, and a mayonnaise-garlic-cilantro sauce that could bring Samson to his knees. It dripped of a certain authenticity that can only be found in hidden, no-frills restaurants where the chefs have had this style of cooking ingrained since childhood. At a whopping $6.50 for a completely satisfying dinner, it’s one of the best deals in San Francisco. Read more about Mr. Pollo’s arepas here. — Kelsey Elliot

If you’re feeling more adventurous, Mr. Pollo also offers a $15 chef’s tasting menu, which Manny creates ad hoc every night. From fried plantains to spot prawns, specialty arepas or steak, anything is possible; since it’s created on the spot, neither the diner nor the chef himself knows exactly what’s coming next. But rest assured that whatever it is, it’s gonna be good. Read more about the tasting menu here. — Kelsey Elliot

Don’t know if it was because I hadn’t eaten all day and it was past 4 o’clock, but a pastrami pesto sandwich on Dutch crunch from Mr. Pickles was the best thing I’ve eaten in a while. I’ll definitely be back for it soon — this time before I feel like I’m starving. — Lisette Mejia

The gin and tonic at Mission Bowling Club (MCB). Disappointingly small and tasted more like tonic than gin. — Lydia Chávez

MCB’s Kingston mule cocktail, which includes vodka, ginger beer and lime, pleased some of us at Mission Loc@l and disappointed others.

I was disappointed by the size of the glass, but thankfully the spiciness of the ginger made it worthwhile. — Andrea Valencia

I loved the mix of ginger and lime, and considering that it was my second cocktail, the size was good. I wanted to love the food at MCB. I mean, I love Anthony Myint’s Mission Chinese Food, and figured if the food here came anywhere near that, it would be great. Maybe I was expecting too much from fried chicken, but the meat was so-so. However, the home fries were good, and the harissa-type sauce that came with it was even better. — Hélène Goupil

Sashimi bowl, edamame, peanuts and Chinese chicken salad at Rice Broker. I can’t believe this place doesn’t get more press. Maybe food critics aren’t talking about it because the food is so good, they don’t want to let you in on their secret dining place. Whatever the reason, you should go. The dishes we tried were a great mix of fresh ingredients and flavorful spices. On top of that, we ate by the large windows and got to watch the rain and lightning outside. I’m sad this place has to go (condos are slated to be built there), and hope the restaurant moves to a permanent spot. — Hélène Goupil

Grilled vegetable salad with aioli and fried padrón peppers at Esperpento. The space here is tight, and I’m sure the table right in front of the door is illegally placed, but the warm food and low lights make it all the more cozy. This “salad” is actually a hot platter of grilled (mostly summer) vegetables in olive oil, and the salty fried peppers complement the fresh juiciness of the veggies really well. The dish actually called the vegetable platter (stewed zucchini, cabbage, spinach bechamel and battered cauliflower) was not as impressive. My partner thought the olive oil on the salad could have been richer, like in Spain, but I’ve never been, nor are we there. We’re in the Mission. Therefore, I’m completely satisfied. — Molly Roy

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