When Life Gives You Limón Rotisserie

Red Wine Sangria ($30 pitcher)

Red Wine Sangria ($30 pitcher)

Ceviche Mixto

Ceviche Mixto ($12.95)

Kyoko’s Palate

Limón Rotisserie is a rare San Francisco gem that you can enjoy an incredible experience with a date or friends without burning a hole in your wallet, which is exactly my kind of digs! The restaurant has a sophisticated energy and an immediate sense of warmness and culture that makes you feel as though you are part of the restaurant – an ambiance that executive Chef Martin Castillo wanted to create. I first fell in love with Peruvian food when I lived in Japan (of all places), because there was a wonderful presence of Peruvians and Brazilians in the city that I lived. The influence from immigrants from Europe, Asia, and Africa fused with the traditions and culture of the indigenous people, give Peruvian cuisine a synergy of delicious flavors and uniqueness that coexist and make it one of my absolute favorites.

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“One of the best foods I’ve had since I moved to the U.S.” – Clément

On this crumby adventure, we brought our friends Clém and Graeham with us who are roommates and basically a dream team if you ask me. Clém is from France so naturally, he has a very refined palate unlike my hooligan ways. It’s also great to have him around when I need a humble reminder that no matter how much us Californians rave about Napa or Sonoma wineries, the grapes are always better in France (despite him really loving the sangria).

The moment we were seated, our waiter Erik was very amiable and treated us to the finest service the whole night. If you fancy seafood like myself, the ceviche is an absolute MUST. Our waiter recommended the Ceviche Mixto, which was mouthwatering. The fusion of flavors, citrus, and freshness was a symphony of perfection that I never wanted to end. And when I didn’t think it could get any better, the waiter brought us the bowl of Camote Fritos (sweet potato chips) and it gave it the perfect crunch to put a dollop of the cured fish atop. We also ordered the Picante de Marisco, which was heavenly. It was a medley of seafood and potatoes cooked in this cream sauce that comes with a side of rice and it was the most terrific combination.

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Trio of aji sauces that come with the rotisserie chicken

Pollo a la Brasa ($13.95 half-order)

Pollo a la Brasa ($13.95 half-order)

Alright, enough about the seafood, let’s talk about the restaurant’s biggest celebrity: the marinated free-range rotisserie chicken. This chicken is slowly roasted over open flame giving it a subtle smoky flavor and arrives at your table with a trio of aji sauces that vary in heat. The meat was moist and seasoned to perfection. Just as a precaution, it will most likely put any other rotisserie chicken that you have after this to utter shame! We also ordered the Carne a la Parilla, which is another one of their specialties. It is a marinated skirt steak over roasted chimichurry baby yukon potatoes, and finished with a red wine & demi glaze. It was a marvelous combination of salty and sweet.

When I asked our waiter Erik what was one of the best aspects of working at Limón, he replied instantaneously, “The diversity. Because the restaurant is Peruvian, it brings a lot of different people here and it’s great.” His remark was absolutely spot-on. Just taking a glance around our table, that consisted of a French guy, a Vietnamese-American, a British-American, and a Japanese-American, I couldn’t help but feel extremely grateful to not only be surrounded by a diversity of great friends but also to live in such a beautiful place that is rich in color and experiences.

In the words of our waiter Erik Vega who has worked at the restaurant for over a year, Limón can be described as a place to “live, love, and relax.” Until soon… xx, Kyoko

Picante de Mariscos ($16.95)

Picante de Mariscos ($16.95)

Angie’s Take

The Mission has easily become one of my favorite neighborhoods to eat and play. Among many great restaurants, Limon Rotisserie does not disappoint because it has great service and equally great Peruvian food.

On this adventure we decided to bring Gramz (who also joined us at Wayfare Tavern – see previous post) and our French friend, Clement, pronounced Clee-moh, or as I like to call him, “Cement” or “Clemmy-Bear” because it drives him up the walls. He was a great asset in this tasting (and will also be a great asset in future tastings) because he is a self proclaimed food critic, being French and all.

Now let’s get to business. I asked Erik V., my favorite waiter by far, to help us order because we wanted to try some of his favorites. Here’s what he suggested and its corresponding verdict: Ceviche Mixto, Arroz con Mariscos, Carne a la Parrilla, and Pollo a la Brasa with veggies and a salad as sides.

Ceviche: Came highly recommended by Erik. It’s made with all types of perfectly cooked seafood in a mildly citrus juice. The first person to comment out loud about the food was my favorite Frenchie, who exclaimed it was delicious! For once we agreed on something! It was so delicious that for a minute we uncharacteristically didn’t have anything to say to each other, focusing on more important things.

Ceviche atop a sweet potato chip

Ceviche atop a sweet potato chip

The next plate was the Arroz con Mariscos, a Peruvian style paella. It was made with various types of seafood in a mildly spicy and creamy “sauce”, which I think was more like a thick broth. The white rice came on the side, separate from the seafood. This dish was so tasty, the sauce reminded me of Mom’s and Grandma’s Thai curry, a compliment which is highest of highs! Anytime a dish brings me back home, I’m donezo, it has me.

Carne a la Parilla, a perfectly grilled skirt steak with a sweet-ish glaze served with potatoes. I mean, c’mon, judging by the previous two dishes I wouldn’t have expected anything less. If you are a red meat type of person, you will love this.

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Carne a la Parilla ($16.95)

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Yukon potatoes

The Pollo a la Brasa, number 56 on the 7×7 list, and the reason for visiting this restaurant, was a knock-out. It was exactly like how I imagine a delicious rotisserie to taste like: tender and fatty and all the other delicious things in life. You can order a whole, half, or quarter and it’s served with two sides. We picked the veggies and salad, our futile attempt to slip something nutritious into the meal. If I had it my way I would have ordered the fries. But hey, you win some you lose some.

Like I mentioned, our waiter Erik V. was my favorite waiter by far because he was so attentive, talkative, and seemed happy to be there! Don’t you just love waiters like that? They make the dining experience so much more fun. Erik, if you are reading this, thank you for everything! I asked him a series of questions about Limon and here are two of my favorite answers:

1. If you had to sum up the experience here in a few words, what are they? “Live, love, and relax.”

2. Would you bring your family here? He smiled and responded with a very genuine “of course”.

So if you are looking for a fun and trendy place to eat yummy delicious food in the Mission, Limon Rotisserie is a must-try. Also, if you can help it, ask for Erik V.

Thank you again for reading, we have been LOVING the encouragement and positive feedback! We are so excited that some of you have been visiting these places after our posts. It motivates us to keep the information flowing!

Until next time! xx, A.

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Gracias Madre for Sunflower Restaurant

Butternut Squash Tacos from Gracias Madre

Butternut Squash Tacos from Gracias Madre ($13)

Angie’s Take

This morning Kyoko and I decided to visit TWO restaurants off the 7×7 list, Gracias Madre for butternut squash tacos and Sunflower for the vermicelli. Two birds one stone!

Butternut squash tacos- very great vegan dish, the butternut squash was perfectly sweet paired with a sauce that was nicely salty, all sat comfortably in a thick corn tortilla. Spoon some of the beans on top and you have yourself one fantastic healthy taco. This restaurant is perfect for big and small groups because there are plenty of big tables along with bar seating. It’s also great for indoor or outdoor dining because of the heated porch. I would visit again the next time I’m in the mood for Mexican with a healthy twist.

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Vermicelli with five spice roasted chicken ($10.95)

Vermicelli – let me preface with the fact that I am an incredibly-credible-Vietnamese-food-critic. My resume goes something like this: I am Vietnamese so I grew up on this stuff, my veins are filled with both blood and fish sauce. Moreover, I just returned from a month-long hiatus throughout Southeast Asia, including two weeks in Vietnam where I ate everything I could get my hands on. Back to the task at hand, the vermicelli at Sunflower was definitely not the best I’ve ever had (I mean, nobody can beat mom’s and grandma’s home made vermicelli and fish sauce dynamite), but definitely worthy of a B+. I would have preferred some bean sprouts and herbs in addition to the lettuce and carrots that were already waiting at the bottom of the bowl. Also, I would have liked more chicken, but nothing a simple request (and of course an extra charge) can’t fix. The restaurant is on the “run-down” side, exactly what you would expect from an older Vietnamese restaurant in hipster-town, or the Mission if you want political correctness. I wouldn’t want to have my vermicelli in any other environment, porcelain plates and authentic Vietnamese cuisine don’t exactly mix in my humble opinion.

Vietnamese coffee – damn it, I forgot to drink some of Kyoko’s while she was in the bathroom, guess she will tell you all about it. Thanks Koko for spending the day exploring San Francisco with me! I really can not get enough of this city and can’t wait until my next post. Stay tuned! xx, Angie

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Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk

Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk

Kyoko’s Palate

As Angie and I hopped off the bus, landing feet first in the Mission, our stomachs aching with hunger and excitement, we began to walk quickly towards our destination. Naturally, it took us a solid 5 minutes to realize we were actually headed in the opposite direction but it turned out to be a good thing because we passed Gracias Madre and decided that we might as well sneak in some tacos while we were there. So gracias to our poor navigation skills, that actually led us to two destinations instead of one!

Gracias Madre is one of those rare all-vegan restaurants where the food is so hearty and delicious that you seem to forget it’s actually really healthy for you too. Those are the best kind of restaurants, right? I’ve been there a couple times prior to today and it has never let me down. The air is welcoming, the music festive (at times there is even a live mariachi band playing), and the tables arranged family-style. We ordered two butternut squash tacos and one platanos taco. I’m a huge fan of butternut squash and it was roasted to perfection, topped with herbs and cashew cheese, atop a homemade corn tortilla. I spiced it up (but not too much – I’m rather weak) with a little verde sauce that made it absolutely perfect! The platanos taco was more of a dessert but it was the perfect bite to end our little meal. I also ordered the horchata which was not too sweet and absolutely refreshing. It definitely prepped me for our next pit stop.

Having traveled to Vietnam on a soul-o adventure and eating my way through the entire country (no shame), I naturally have high expectations. To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of vermicelli and am more of a pho-kinda-chick but I thought it tasted pretty standard to my previous experiences with vermicelli. I enjoyed the chicken, crisp on the outside and tender and juicy in the inside. They smothered that baby up with spices and it gave the dish a savory kick in the butt, I mean bowl. It wasn’t a life-changing dish but it was certainly yum. Also, like the standard coffee addict that I am, I ordered an iced Vietnamese coffee, which was coffee-sighing-good. I don’t know if it was good because I needed a caffeine boost desperately, or because I just love slow-drip coffee, but I was grateful that they didn’t drown it in a muddle of condensed milk. The waiter was surprisingly cheerful and enthusiastic and said something like, “Oh you LOVE coffee?” which I appreciated because I felt like he got me. And I liked that.

All in all, it was a fun and successful 1st day of our challenge in the Mish (like the hep-cats call it) and was the perfect ending to another lovely weekend in the Bay. Like they say, eat big, or go home. xx, Kyoko