Update: This place is now Poc Chuc.
Lunch hour in the Mission is full of options. Why have carnitas or tripitas at one of the excellent taqueries everyday when you can throw in some regional variations from time to time? That is why I returned to Popol Vuh, a Yucatecan place on 16th and South Van Ness near the Jeep dealership. On my first visit with A, we sampled the panuchos. I asked for one with turkey, a traditional panucho filling, though it was not on the menu. The very friendly server (who seems like he's the owner) was happy to oblige. I found the panuchos to be as good as any I have eaten in SF. The menu states that the tortilla is handmade, I could definitely taste the difference. I'm sure that they hand make theirs on the premises. The pickled onions atop the panucho were bright and fresh and it seemed that the cook takes pride in her cooking. The second time I went, I peeked in the kitchen and was delighted to see a 60-ish year old Latino woman at the stove. She bore some resemblance to the server, so I'm guessing it's a family operation. Mom in the kitchen and son at the counter. No wonder they take such care with each dish.
This time I ordered the Escabeche de Pavo which was a simple home style preparation of turkey in a meaty broth topped with some pickled onion and accompanied by pickled jalapenos. This was comfort food at its best, simple and warming. I felt really guilty about wasting the stack of beautiful handmade tortillas they set in front of me. So I immediately indicated that I wouldn't need them. Next time I need to try the Mondongo.
16th at South Van Ness