The Mission is simply teeming with excellent inexpensive places to eat.
It may look like a scruffy dive but Mission Chinese Food serves some of the tastiest and most inventive Chinese food in the country. The fiery Ma Po Tofu has inspired me to make lots of pork 'n tofu dishes at home. Next time it will be harder to get a seat in the small dining room beneath the paper dragon because the restaurant was just featured as #2 in Bon Appetit magazine's Top Ten Restaurants of 2011.
Lots & lots of choice for tacos. Grab a sidewalk table at La Taqueria and enjoy a carnitas taco with avocado.
Or a couple of tacos from the cart at Taqueria Vallarta. How about a lengua and an al pastor dressed with salsa, radish, onion, cilantro and a squeeze of lime?
Be sure to save room for cookies or a pastry at Panaderia La Mexicana.
Or are you more in the mood for a slice of pizza? Everyday Arizmendi Bakery features a different combination. Maybe summer squash, red onion, goat cheese and thyme oil. Or roasted fresh fennel, mushrooms, smoked mozzarella and garlic oil. Or spinach, red onion, Point Reyes blue cheese and balsamic vinaigrette...
Or if you just want a plain cheese slice accompanied by metal music there's Arinell.