ox cafe, 19th & south van ness, san francisco
Ox Cafe is a new family owned/operated hole-in-the-wall coffee shop at 19th & South Van Ness (if you've been to Bender's in the last few months you've likely noticed this popped up across the street). This location means that Ox Cafe is now the closest coffee shop to my house, and since I am a supremely lazy person (hello first blog update in 2 1/2 months!), I was very hopeful that I would have a new place to go when I don't want to travel more than two blocks to get food. The menu seemed interesting: in addition to standard ham+cheese style sandwiches, there were a few very intriguing tortas on their sandwich board. Since I'd run out of coffee at home and wanted to spend the morning (read: afternoon) lazing around my apartment playing New Super Mario Brothers on the ol' Wii (thanks Nicole!), I figured today was the day I'd pop over to Ox Cafe, grab some coffee and a sandwich, and get back home with a minimum of human interaction. I decided to start at the top of their menu and picked the Cochinita Pibil torta, a sandwich made with slow-roasted pork made in the Yucutan style. I think. I didn't write down any info from their menu, so I'm going by memory (or what "sounds about right"). At any rate the pork was cooked in banana leaves or something and had a bunch of spices. Also on the sandwich were pickled onions, and that's it. And honestly, with the exception of perhaps some avocado, this sandwich really didn't need anything else. It was delicate, flavorful, unique, and very satisfying. Even the side salad, despite its sparsity of ingredients, was tasty when submerged in the surprisingly vinegary dressing. The coffee was (as I had anticipated) bitter and burned and terrible, but I wasn't expecting Blue Bottle or anything. Maybe next time I'll try a Mayan Mocha instead of their regular coffee, because I definitely see myself returning to try the rest of their tortas in the future.