Sunday, August 1, 2010

Colombian Dreaming & Mr. Pollo

Colombian food in San Francisco is somewhat rare, but I’m a determined foodie warrior,
and have not given up having my share. Fortunately, I discovered Mr. Pollo, On Mission Avenue.
After a long day of shopping, I had hit the golden coffers of Colombian Food. I had heard of this place, through my foodie network. Websites had been exchanged, rumors had abounded about this
Colombian chef who took it upon himself to buy the whole animal from the butcher and
use every part of it. I was impressed already.

It was a small place, with “the chef” catering to all customers. On the menu, I found a
small item called “empanada” as appetizer. These palm size delicacies were deep fried,
but don’t be weary, they were flash fried, so they did not have a heavy greasy taste.
Outside, a golden yellow half moon of corn was a delight to crunch into. Inside, the
empanada was filled with potatoes, minced beef, and a hint of cumin and oregano. I was
transported already. I ordered a drink with “maracuja” a tart tropical fruit, blended with
water to such perfection, I mean the perfect amount of raw sugar, that I could imagine the
bounties and sun of the equator with every sip.

The chef chatted with me and with his penetrating gaze, uncovered my secret foodie.
I watched as he sliced off a piece meat from another, with such grace and delicacy. It
was true, he was an old world chef, caring not to waste a single piece of the animal.
The cooler had all parts of the animal ready to be cooked. I watched as he carefully
seared my steak on the grill, dressed my beans with spices, fried in a pan some fresh
plantains, and hand pressed an “arepa” made from hominy with both his hands. I was
mesmerized. How often do you get to watch your meal prepared in front of your eyes by
the chef. As he served me the main platter of “Carne Asada” with sides, I let the smells
of this “Bandeja Paisa” linger on my senses. This was a traditional Colombian meal,
as served in the region of “Antioquia” the region of Medellin, where my ancestors had
come from. What a joyful meal! A true foodie shares his/her experiences, so we can all
celebrate in the wonders of sustenance in all we labor and eat. .

2823 Mission St
(between 24th St & 25th St)
San Francisco, CA 94110
Neighborhood: Mission

(415) 374-5546

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