El Pípila's Authentic Guanajuatan Food at The Hall on Market Street + Launch Party & Food Recap (San Francisco)

I was introduced to El Pípila, a catering company that serves authentic Guanajuatan food, for the first time last year at La Cocina's San Francisco Street Food Festival Media Preview. I fell in love with Guadalupe Guerreros' cactus sopes after my first bite. I've been a fan since and was thrilled to hear that El Pípila was opening up at The Hall on 1028 Market Street. If you haven't visited The Hall yet, you're in for a treat. A step inside reveals a comfort food paradise with delicious and affordable food options that will keep you returning week after week.

El Pípila's preview launch party was last Sunday, a day before the official opening, and I attended with my friend Sandy who writes Foodhoe. We had a wonderful time stuffing our faces with some of the best sopes, enchiladas, guacamole and salsa we've ever had. Guadalupe also invited Aztec dancers to "bless" her plates and that was fun to watch while we sipped on wonderfully refreshing housemade piña agua frescas. It was a cheerful celebration with many heartfelt moments. 

El Pipila SF - The Hall

Michelle Fernandez of La Cocina says, "Guadalupe's Guanajuatan recipes are inspired by her hometown of Acámbaro and her mother. The space at The Hall will give her an opportunity to serve her smoky tomatillo, chicken, and bacon pozole verde, her sopes topped with nopales and picadillo, as well as introduce some new items like tacos de carnitas, enchiladas, tostadas, and even a sope salad. Plus, she gets to share her Guanajuatan food 7 days a week."

EL PÍPILA'S STORY - THE LONG JOURNEY

Guadalupe poses with her daughter, Brenda. Guadalupe relies heavily on her two daughters for marketing support and responding to catering requests and applications in English.

"When I was working at the taqueria I was supporting my kids. Now that I own my business, I'm working with my kids (Brenda and Alejandra). They're my friends and my business partners and I'm growing this business for them."

It's been a long journey for Guadalupe Guerrero, chef and owner, of El Pípila.  Can you imagine leaving behind your two daughters and your entire life in Acámbaro, Mexico in hopes of finding work and a better life to provide for your family?  In 1998 Guadalupe ventured off alone to the Bay Area without any knowledge of English and worked 12 hour days, 6 days a week for twelve years at a taqueria in Berkeley. In two years, she was able to earn enough money to send for her children and bring them into the states. 

In 2005, she met Alicia Villanueva of Alicia’s Tamales los Mayas, who told Guadalupe about La Cocina. After several years of working for someone else, Guadalupe decided it was time to pursue her dream of opening up her own food business. 

Guadalupe started off with nothing and built her business from the ground up with the help of Women’s Initiative and La Cocina, a non-profit food business incubator that provides affordable commercial kitchen space and technical assistance to low-income and immigrant entrepreneurs who are starting, launching or growing food businesses. 

"It's hard to think that when I arrived in the U.S. all those years ago I had nothing. I had a hard time believing that I would ever own my own business, much less open a spot where people can come everyday to try my sopes and pozole using my mother’s recipes. It's a dream."

Guadalupe's food embodies her strength, passion and devotion. Her food is packed with bold flavors and spices that is sure to transport you to Mexico.

EL PÍPILA'S LAUNCH PARTY AND fOOD RECAP

El Pipila SF - The Hall

Guadalupe's family, friends and supporters came out to celebrate the opening of El Pípila at The Hall. When you combine delicious food with people who love to eat, things can't possibly go wrong. 

El Pipila SF - The Hall

Holy enchiladas! I've never been a huge fan of enchiladas until now. Each tortilla is filled with shredded chicken and the sauce is made with sauteed onions, tomatillos and cilantro. It was incredibly flavorful; I am completely hooked. 

El Pipila SF - The Hall

These mini tostadas were very addicting, topped with shredded stewed chicken. 

El Pipila SF - The Hall

It's so hard to nail down a favorite dish from El Pípila, but if I had to choose it would be the nopales sopes, which are savory corn cakes topped with a cactus salad with chile negro and tomatillo. The thick corn cakes are really nice and the nopales is like a cross between okra and green beans. Very scrumptious!

El Pipila SF - The Hall Pozole

Pozole is a very popular stew in Mexico. This smokey bacon-chicken-tomatillo pozole recipe belongs to Guadalupe's mother. It's rich, flavorful and super comforting. I loved the intensity of oregano in each bite. I'm personally not a fan of white meat, but aside from that this pozole rocks. 

We ended our feast with cucumbers, jicama, and watermelon skewers sprinked with chili powder. 

We were mesmerized by the energetic Aztec dancers' outfits, feather hairdresses and dance moves! It was beautiful to watch them bless the place and pay respects to the Ohlone people and mother earth. 

Thanks so much for having us, La Cocina and El Pípila! I look forward to eating more Guanajuatan food and seeing your continued success.


VISITING EL PÍPILA at The Hall

Location

1028 Market St. San Francisco, CA 94102

Website

www.elpipila.com

El Pipila SF Menu - The Hall SF

Phone

510-684-9456 

Hours

  • Monday - Friday: 11am - 8pm

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Blissfully Good Eggs Benedict - Iron Pan Review (Oakland)

Iron Pan Review - Oakland

I am on an endless quest for the perfect eggs benedict.

Iron Pan, a casual American restaurant/cafe, recently opened, replacing the former Aunt Mary's spot, on Temescal. I went to visit on a weekday morning with my heart set on what they call a Shamrock Benedict. I was excited to see that Iron Pan serves eggs benedict everyday until 3pm, unlike many places that offer it only on the weekends or as a special. 

The menu is listed on the walls and you order at the counter. The service was efficient and friendly. I absolutely love the faintly colored wood walls. The overall decor choice was a bit random and all over the place. 

Iron Pan Review - Oakland

Shamrock Benedict (11.95)

Two poached eggs, grilled brisket on an English muffin topped with hollandaise sauce & served with fruit or house rosemary potatoes.

The plate arrived and my eyes bulged as huge as these gigantic poached eggs. The egg was poached perfectly. The hollandaise was piled on thick. I can never get enough hollandaise, so more is better to me. The sauce had just the right amount of lemon juice and the butter tones down the acidity a notch. 

Iron Pan Review - Oakland

The thin slices of grilled brisket were tender and juicy. The only thing I didn't care for were the potatoes, which were too bland for me. Next time, I'll have fruit as a side instead.

Iron Pan is a friendly casual restaurant with a lot of comfort options. It's worth checking out if you're in the neighborhood. They recently started to serve fried chicken and waffles, so I'll be back soon. #friedchickenslut


VISITING Iron Pan

Location

4307 Telegraph Ave. Oakland, CA 94609

Website

www.iron-pan.com

Phone

(510) 922-1726

Hours

  • Monday: 8 am - 9:30 pm

  • Tuesday: CLOSED

  • Wednesday: 8 am - 9:30 pm

  • Thursday: 8 am - 9:30 pm

  • Friday & Saturday: 8:00 am - 10:30 pm

  • Sunday: 8 am - 9:30 pm

Iron Pan on Urbanspoon

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A Brilliant California & British-Inspired Brasserie - The Cavalier Review (SoMa, San Francisco)

The Cavalier SF Review- Bites & Bourbon

The Cavalier is the type of place you go to after a nice fox hunt to enjoy a hearty meal and a proper Pimm's Cup.

The Cavalier SF Review- Bites & Bourbon

This London-inspired brasserie is the third restaurant from the owners and creators of Marlowe and Park Tavern, Anna Weinberg, James Nicholas and Chef Jennifer Puccio. I won a photo contest thanks to Flavour, a new restaurant discovery app, so Patrick and I were able to enjoy dinner on the house.

The Cavalier SF Review- Bites & Bourbon

A step inside this hunting lodge themed restaurant and I was instantly charmed. It was cozy, yet sophisticated. During this visit, we were seated close to the bar area, which was a bit too crowded and loud for our preferences, but that didn't stop us from having a great experience. I'll have to request a more intimate seating arrangement next time. 

The overall service at the restaurant was superb and our waiter was helpful, friendly and knowledgeable. The cocktails are excellent. When it comes to the food, it's bloody brilliant. It's almost like California and London had a love affair.

The Food

The Cavalier SF Review- Bites & Bourbon

Tartare of Angus Ribeye ($18)

We started with a very rich ribeye tartare that graciously melted into our mouths, filling each bite with capers and a refreshing gentle spiciness from the horseradish. I would go back for this dish alone. 

The Cavalier SF Review- Bites & Bourbon

Roasted Beef Marrow Bones ($14)

I can never resist ordering bone marrow when I see it on a menu. These delightful garlicky marrow bones are served with thick buttered toasts and a lemony herb salsa verde. It was very rich, flavorful, and fatty. 

The Cavalier SF Review- Bites & Bourbon

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Cabbage ($8)

Overall, a very nice vegetable side dish with hints of lemon and mint. 

The Cavalier SF Review- Bites & Bourbon

Grilled Sturgeon, Crispy Sweetbreads, Winter Greens, Brown Butter Jus ($28)

A lot of thought and creativity is put into this flavorful sturgeon dish. The crispy sweetbreads have a creamy flavor that will please any offal lover, along with its firm, tender and smooth texture. I only wish there was more. The winter greens and brown butter jus provided a great contrast.

The sturgeon was cooked two different ways: grilled and smoked. It was a wonderful way to highlight the star of the dish. The beautifully grilled sturgeon is meaty with a delicate mild taste.  When it's cured and smoked, the texture changes to resemble bacon. Highly recommended. 

Passion Fruit Eton Mess ($9)

You know that feeling when you've put too much cotton candy in your mouth and it sticks to your teeth? A bite through the crunchy meringue reveals the taste and texture of cotton candy as it solidifies. We enjoyed the taste of passion fruits and huckleberries. The serving size is perfect for one person. You will not want to share this tasty dessert with anyone.

The Flavour App

If you haven't heard of Flavour yet, it's worth checking out as an alternative to Yelp. The design is sleek and elegant, easy to navigate. You can use Flavour to discover your city's best cuisine. It's curated by chefs, local experts, and publications to best represent a city's food scene. There are no stars, no sifting, just great spots. You can download the app here

Thanks so much for a brilliant dinner, The Cavalier and Flavour! 


VISITING The Cavalier

Location

360 Jessie St, San Francisco, CA 94103

Website

thecavaliersf.com

Phone

(415) 321-6000

Hours

  • BREAKFAST: Daily beginning at 7am

  • LUNCH: Mon - Fri from 11:30am to 2:30pm

  • MID-DAY BAR MENU: Daily from 2:30pm to 5:30pm

  • DINNER: Sun - Wed from 5:30pm to 10pm, Thur - Sat from 5:30pm to 11pm

  • WEEKEND BRUNCH: Sun - Sat from 10am to 2:30pm

The Cavalier on Urbanspoon

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