The historic Mission District is home of the city's oldest standing structure, Mission Delores (built in 1791), and is where a substantial number of immigrant cultures settled when they first arrived from countries such as Ireland, Germany, Italy, and Poland. The heart of the Mission District is Mission Street; it’s the longest street in the city, spanning over seven miles (north to south) from Downtown to Daly City. After the 1906 earthquake and fires destroyed most of downtown San Francisco and neighboring communities, displaced families of all different cultures looked to The Mission to start their lives over — young Victor Jules Bergeron, Jr. (the Trader Vic's founder) and his family were among them.
Surprising to many is that the Mexican community didn't begin moving into The Mission until around 1935. And it wasn’t until the 1980s and 90s that Central and South American cultures settled into the community. Today, Mercados (traditional Mexican markets) are found throughout The Mission. Significant to this region are some of the businesses on 24th Street.
La Palma Mexicatessen opened in 1953, and is famous for their produce and food items. They’re especially known for their homemade masa (dough made from corn) that is used for corn tortillas and tamales, and prepared foods such as Carnitas and Chile Verde, which are sold individually and by bulk.
On 24th Street, La Victoria Panaderia has been around since 1951, and has been frequented by locals for years. With the influx of a younger, trendier population moving into the neighborhood in recent years, new patrons are discovering why La Victoria has been such a sweet destination for so long.
The Mission District also has an important role in the evolution of the burrito. There are no claims of the burrito being invented in San Francisco; but rather that a unique type of burrito was invented here. Simply named, the invention is called the San Francisco Burrito, or the Mission-Style Burrito. This little donkey, which means ‘burrito’ in Spanish, is said to have originated at La Cumbre Tacqueria on Valencia Street, in 1969. Other claims have been made, but the second most popular is from El Faro tacqueria on Folsom Street, who affirms they made the first San Francisco Burrito in 1961. All that distinguishes this burrito from others is that it's quite large and is served tightly wrapped in aluminum foil. Any variation of ingredients can be used, but lots of rice and beans are common. The only requisite for making this burrito authentic is to use a large flour tortilla.
San Francisco's Culinary History: Part 1 of 12
The Iconic Foods of San Francisco; San Francisco’s Culinary History: Part 2 of 12
Culinary Institutions; San Francisco’s Culinary History: Part 3 of 12
Fisherman's Wharf; San Francisco’s Culinary History: Part 4 of 12
North Beach; San Francisco’s Culinary History: Part 5 of 12
The Mission; San Francisco’s Culinary History: Part 6 of 12
Nostalgia; San Francisco’s Culinary History: Part 7 of 12
The Creme de la Crème; San Francisco’s Culinary History: Part 8 of 12
Asian Influence; San Francisco’s Culinary History: Part 9 of 12
The Veggie Scene; San Francisco’s Culinary History: Part 10 of 12
Ice Cream Goodness; San Francisco’s Culinary History: Part 11 of 12
Food Forward; San Francisco’s Culinary History: Part 12 of 12
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