El Frijolazo. (I promise you, there’s a bacon-wrapped hot dog buried in there.) All photos: © tablehopper.com.
La Llorona. The first few bites require some strategizing.
You know when you get a craving for something kind of dirty, and it’s all you can think about? (Note: I’m talking about food here, people.) Well, there’s this spot in the Mission, and, well, truth be told, they specialize in something that is rather phallic. And even the name sounds a little inappropriate. It’s ~LOS SHUCOS~, this awesome little Guatemalan hot dog spot that is very next level.
In San Francisco, we love our 2:15am bacon-wrapped dogs, loaded with grilled onions and pickled jalapeños and condiments galore. It’s some mighty fine street meat. It’s magic.
But these shucos are another beast, another unicorn. They’re almost a bridge between a super burrito and a bacon-wrapped dog, they’re that honking. And I love that the owner, Sofia Keck, is a super-slim foxy Guatemalan mama (who knows how she does it). She cares so much about everyone enjoying her food—it’s like she’s a shuco ambassador. Actually, she is. Everyone who works here is so friendly, and they are kind of like a matchmaker when they see you puzzling over which shuco to get, quick to advise you on which way to go.
My hands-down favorite is El Frijolazo ($6.95), a bacon-wrapped dog tucked inside a freshly and locally made and grilled-to-order bun (it has the airy texture of some of my favorite torta rolls), which is totally spackled with black refried beans, fork-smashed avocado, their “mayo maya” (it’s thinned with Mexican crema), and topped with queso fresco. It’s a total challenge to eat daintily—you just gotta get in there. It’s a hefty bun, but you need something to contain all that goodness. I kept squirting on the feisty green chile sauce as I worked through it (kind of like what you do with a super burrito). Hunger, gone (for hours and hours). Hangover, abolished. Weird dirty craving, sated.
The El de la Foto ($7.95), whose name means “The One in the Picture,” is another monster, you’ll see it on the menu and website, and when you see it, you’ll want it. This one skips the beans and highlights the special “salsa chapina,” a bright sauce with a whisper of garlic that Keck brings back from Guatemala, and repollo (lightly pickled cabbage, or as we tend to know it, curtido), plus the avocado and mayo maya. It sings because of that acidic touch of the repollo—if you like a little acid in your food (I’m not talking blotter, folks), this is the one for you.
La Llorona ($5.95), the “weeping one,” is closest to a traditional bacon-wrapped dog with its golden onion and classic condiments setup, because hey, sometimes it’s just what you want. There’s also a locally made chorizo option instead of the snappy all-beef frank, which turns up in El Huevón ($6.95), because what’s not to love about sliced chorizo with scrambled eggs, cheese, avocado, and mayo maya in a bun? Dios mio, it’s so good. There are seven shucos in all, and you can also get a vegetarian dog.
Another charming thing (well, I think so) about this place is the setup. It’s totally bare bones, with a couple of chairs inside, a window ledge, and some milk crates you can pull up for some ad hoc seating. You’re all in there together, waiting for your shuco, and then getting your grub on. It’s a social and very street food vibe, even if it’s technically indoors. And it’s totally spotless.
What I love is that each time I have come by, there are always at least a few Guatemalan guys in there, happily communing with their shucos (obviously such a taste of home), and let’s be honest, flirting with Sofia. Meanwhile, I had a blissful night sitting on the outside bench, listening to their awesome soul selection, watching people go by, but really, just chilling with my shuco (and praying no one I knew came by and saw me with all that sauce on my chin).
They have late hours on the weekend (until 2:30am Fri-Sat), but have been known to run out of some things, so come with a, uh, flexible mind. And look at that, the name “shuco” means dirty dog. I am so not surprised. And I am also not surprised to see how popular this place keeps becoming—can’t wait to see this female-owned business take off with multiple locations, mark my words.
This review was based on three dinner visits.