Nopalito & Humphrey Slocombe

by janet on October 23rd, 2010

“Janet, what is your favorite restaurant in San Francisco?” people always ask. I usually respond “HA! HA! Yeah, did you know how funny lolcats are?” Or, if that fails to change the subject, “HEY! Well! My favorite part in Elf is when Narwhal says ‘Bye, Buddy! Hope you find yer dad!'” and the one-two punch randomness of those statements usually buys me time.

Because there are SOOO many restaurants, great ones, in SF. I recently posed this question to R2 and he said King Foot Subs. I have mocked him for this but (don’t tell him) good god, they do make a mean motherfucking meatball sub.

I don’t even LIKE meatball subs but this one keeps me up at night with lust. The bread is stellar, and the meatballs are SO soft. And, it doesn’t even need to be saucey to be juicy. GOD it’s good. Good choice R2. [Note: don’t get seduced by the kalbi sub, which sounds great but is mediocre.]

But anyway, I would like to announce that I now have a go-to “favorite,” even though that is WAY too difficult of a question. If I had unlimited funds, it would be Fleur de Lys. Bang for buck would be Saigon Sandwich at $3 a pop. But the resto that (a) is consistently awesome; (b) reeks of foodie cred; (c) could ostensibly be any SF-ite’s favorite  is Nopa. I just checked our search field and apparently I have not yet blogged it. That should be remedied!

This is not that post.

This post is about Nopalito, Nopa’s offshoot that opened in the past year. When Daniel was visiting, the two of us with R2 went for lunch. I had very. very. high expectations, because people all over the place were saying they liked Nopalito more than Nopa.

I realize now that these people were just saying that to be hipster cool, and that objectively there is no way that anyone can actually think that.

Because what Nopalito is is: a cute place that serves above-average, very fresh Mexican food. Pictured top is the seasonal Gazpacho Estilo Morelia – a salad of late summer melons, orange juice, queso fresco, chile, and hot sauce. Not sure if it counts as cooking, but I really liked the contrasting sweet/salty/sour/spicy thing that was happening. But any fool with a melon baller could make this (though, perhaps, not conceive of it).

Along with my gazpacho, I had one Taco de Pescado al Pastorseared fish in adobo, chile ancho, orange, onion, cilantro and salsa de morita y tomatillo. Such a fresh, simple three bites! I loved it. The Pac-man looking thing in the back is a Gordita Campechana – a fried tortilla pocket, braised grass fed brisket, chorizo, cabbage, onion, cilantro and salsa taquera de tomatillos. I was a bit concerned when, instead of shattering under my knife like I expected it to, it squishily bent and oozed out oil. When I took a bite, however, it was not stale-oily but satisfyingly meaty and brightened like the sun with a hit of lime. Yum!

Note: When you are there, you must go to the bathroom. Don’t be sketched by the fact that you have to go out of the restaurant and halfway down the block to get to it. It’s the nicest bathroom evar, and hanging above is a cool sculptural piece made of dozens of chocolate stirrers for the mole (you rub the stick end in your palms).

Next, we went next door to the schmancy grocery store, the back of which was DeLessio’s Market and Bakery, which carried Humphrey Slocombe ice cream. I always know when I am catching a cold because I start to crave sweets. I was on the tail end of the cold I caught in Minneapolis, and ice cream sounded amazing to me (!) not to mention blogworthy, so I sidled up to the counter and got the weirdest flavor I could find.

This moody-looking ice cream is LEGIT. It’s called Secret Breakfast. I thought I was being all foodie-brave and cool by getting it, as it contains cornflakes, bourbon, and butter, but apparently it is their most popular flavor. Being-counter-culture fail on my part.

The little gristly, gritty bits of stuff in the almost gelato-ey melty (bc of the alcohol perchance?) were just! so! scrumptious! I thanked the billions of virus/bacteria that were staging a coup in my body for letting me, for once, appreciate ice cream – normally a food that makes me shudder. The coolness soothed my throat, the flakes made it seem more healthy, and the bourbon provided a nice buzz as I drove myself home, sick, in a teeny car, in the rain.

Nopalito & DeLessio
306 Broderick | SF

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