Mi Lindo Yucatán

This weather just sucks. Everyone's talking about how sucky it is. Since all the complaining in the world won't change it, you just gotta suck it up. A few weeks back I was sick, it was rainy (of course), and it was Monday night. A three-fer of total lameness. I was fortunately meeting up with some ladeez for dinner at ~MI LINDO YUCATÁN~ in the Mission, and it quite simply couldn't have been a better night for some Southern Mexican home cooking. We're talking Mayan roots, folks, which in my book makes for a serious historical precedence of home cooking.

We started off with some tasty tacos de cochinita ($2.50), which is a traditional recipe of roasted pork served with achiote sauce and pickled red onions on homemade corn tortillas. Why is it I can never turn down tacos? Munch munch. We also attacked a couple fried empanadas ($1.95) stuffed with ground beef and topped with tomato sauce—not the best empanadas I've ever had, but they still hit the spot. We also tried a panucho ($1.95), which is a fried tortilla stuffed with black beans, your choice of grilled chicken or turkey (there's a LOT of turkey on the menu, and yes, lots of fried things as well), cabbage, some out-of-season tomato, and avocado. Toss some salsa on and you're set. (Sidebar: panucho feels like a good word to call someone who's being a chump. Try it.)

I totally dug the sassily named chilindrina ($2.50), which was like a Mexican Hot Pocket, a crisp brick stuffed to the gills with hard-boiled egg and spinach, topped with some tomato sauce and a crumbling of cheese. It was dense and delicious, but beware the chilindrina if you live with someone. My friend and I admitted that thing fully attacked later. Someone open a window.

Okay, so on to a more pleasant topic: have you noted these prices? Exactly. The place is dirt-cheap. But not that dirty, which is nice. The walls are brightly colored, in yellow, purple, and red, and the place draws hungry guys just off of work and Mission couples who have a hankering to commune with authentic bowls of stew (and hopefully not too many chilindrinas). On the weekend Mi Lindo Yucatán offers some traditional weekend stew-y specials (all around $9.50), like pozole, mondongo (made with tripe), and one called puchero (another good candidate for name-calling). It was Monday, but lucky me, I was able to order some pozole. You toss tortilla chips and iceberg lettuce into the large bowl (well, I did) of spicy chicken, pork, and hominy soup, and you are healed. And you get a nice face steaming in the process. Ahhh, you can breathe.

We also ordered the cochinita pibil because that sole cochinita taco earlier on wasn't enough. What comes is a big bowl of pork marinated in a savory achiote sauce and wrapped in a banana leaf. You place hunks of it in a taco, along with the pickled red onion and some salsa. It's hearty for sure. Now, I've heard that El Yucateco on Geary has some seriously knock-your-socks-off cochinita pibil, but we're not there tonight, we're getting all pretty with Mi Lindo Yucatán. Actually, it's not on the prettiest corner, or the prettiest food, but you can eat like a little porker and get out of there for less than $20. It's humble food, it's hearty food, and is a nice break from the taqueria. Everyone who works there is friendly and warm. Like the food, which seems to be getting all the more popular lately. Behold, the new Peruvian. Check out some Yucatecan food and be ahead of the curve.

I didn't make it to dessert—I was definitely set after my pozole. For those who wish to investigate, the menu has four choices, including some omnipresent flan ($2.25) or arroz con leche ($2.25).

A couple notes: first off, beware the thermonuclear small ramekin of hot salsa. Hot is not even remotely strong enough of a word for it. The regular stuff they offer is fine, but you even dare to scoop more than a dollop of the hot stuff and suddenly your face is on fire like a Kuwaiti oil well. Seriously. Now, put a little of this in the bowl of the milder salsa and it becomes your friend.

There is also a second location in Noe Valley, at 4042 24th Street that is supposed to be a little spiffier décor-wise. I haven't been, so I can't say if the prices are higher, which I imagine they would be, or if the food is different, which is possible. People seem to like it.

Mi Lindo Yucatán
401 Valencia St.
Cross: 15th St.
San Francisco, CA 94103

Mon-Sat 11am-11pm
Sun 11am-10pm

Apps $1.95-$6.50
Entrées $8.75-$12.95
Desserts $2.25-$2.75

This place is now closed.

401 Valencia St. San Francisco
(at 15th St.)