Friday, February 03, 2006

Pancho Villa

Unfortunately my cold is getting worse. However, after a long morning meeting my appetite was healthy and I swung by Pancho Villa in San Mateo. Pancho Villa is on B Street (map) and they have a more famous location in SF in the Mission (website).

Pancho Villa is everything a taqueria should be. The ingredients are ultra fresh and each burrito is custom made. The menu is more extensive than just burritos, but I seldom stray from the Carne Asada or Pollo Asada.

The ordering process is efficient: pick your tortilla (red chile and spinach are offered as well as the normal flour); select your size (baby or regular); decide on a meat (seafood and vegetarian options are provided too); choose your toppings (either a la carte or packaged in Super, Deluxe and Special bundles); and, select your salsa. The normal spicy is a pico de gallo packed with jalapeno goodness.

Your burrito manufacturer then hands you a ticket for the cashier and then produces one of the best burritos in the bay area in record time. Often a server is attempting to deliver your meal to you before you have cleared the extensive salsa bar and grabbed your seat.

As good as the burrito is, though, the best part comes as you work your way along the counter and reach the cashier. There, right in front of you, is an oasis of aqua fresca. Pancho Villa has a record-setting number of these addictive juices in almost every imaginable flavor. They have watermelon, cantaloupe, melon, strawberry, lime, tamarind and mandarin. They also have horchata.

As is my custom I ordered mandarin. At first I was a watermelon fan. Then mango. But orange stole my heart. Smooth, sweet, delicious and highly recommended. When you go, don't miss the guacamolito salsa. It looks like a salsa verde, but is creamier and a bit spicy. Very unusual and excellent.

Pancho Villa San Mateo 365 S B St, San Mateo, CA (650) 343-4123
Pancho Villa Mission 3071 16th St, San Francisco, CA (415) 864-8840