There’s a stretch of 21st St. that might be one of the best group of blocks in The City. Beginning at 21st and Folsom Sts. and ending at about Bryant St., there’s an amazing array of interesting delights.
The first great thing you come across on the left hand side is El Cachanilla, an awesome taqueria with a window where you can buy $1.50 tacos. Yes, it’s true that they sell eyeball tacos, and no I’m still not fucking with them.
Continuing up 21st on the right side you will come across DoÃ±a Tere’s little food cart on the corner of Alabama. It’s got a blue tarp over it and is parked right in front of the Boys & Girls club. Despite the sign, the lady working it isn’t actually DoÃ±a Tere. We’ll meet her further up the street. The food here is just as good as the prices, and the only draw back is that everything comes on styrofoam plates.
A block up things get even better. At the southeast corner of 21st. and Florida is Pirate Cat Radio. Broadcasting in low frequency awesomeness on 87.9, Pirate Cat is unlicensed and therefore can play whatever the fuck it wants (which it does). Since there’s also a cafe on the premises, the station often has live shows and ends up being a bit of a local hangout. My man Rick Abruzzo has his show Baghdad by the Bay on Thursday nights from 8-10 and it’s all about local bands and interesting local people. According to Mission Mission, when Anthony Bourdain was in town he stopped in to try a Pirate Cat’s famous bacon maple latte.
Directly across the street is another street food spot run by DoÃ±a Tere (seems like she’s got the block on lock). While inside is a regular bodega where the DoÃ±a herself works and holds court, outside you’ll find a girl making papusuas and bacon dogs. Can there be anything more divine than the idea of chasing a bacon dog with a papusa? I think not (my arteries beg to differ).
Back on the Pirate Cat side of the street and a bit further up the block you’ll come across 2773 21st St. If you’re there in the daytime you’ll notice the garage door open and oodles of soccer paraphernalia for sale inside. According to this Mission Local article Jose Guzman started selling soccer equipment out of his garage 15 years ago. What’s great is that he does it not to make a huge profit (he sells the gear nearly at cost) but instead so that all the neighborhood kids can afford to have good and affordable equipment to play with. Now that’s a good neighbor! Hats off to you Mr. Guzman.
That ends our little tour of 21st St. What’s your favorite little micro neighborhood in your city? Tell us all about it in the comment section below. If you’ve got a really good one we can post it here on the site.