San Francisco

Venezuelan goodness hits the Mission

Ah, Venezuela: it's hard not to marvel at the seemingly endless array of exports this South American land has to offer -- shortstops, outfielders, middle relievers, first base coaches...even third base coaches! Proving they're also not bad at cooking, Pica Pica.

From a Venezuelan sister/brother/papa team, PP is fun to say, and a compact showcase for their home country's corn-heavy grub; it seats just 30 on dark, stained elm benches that're boxed in by both breezy, street-side windows and walls of orange tile and zebra-wood veneer, which is pretty much the only grill Paul Wall will wear on safari. Dishes range from starters like Pasapalos (Yuka fries with choice of dipping salsa), to mains like Pepeada chicken salad with tomatoes and creamy avocado, and shredded Pabellon skirt steak with sweet plantains, black beans, and cheese -- so delicious, it'll be the only way you end up chasing more skirts. Entrees come flanked with one of three magical corn-coctions: grilled corn Arepas (flour cakes), sweet corn pancackes called Cachapas, or the Maize'wich -- basically a sweet corn bread grilled cheese, which is nothing short of amaize-ing... yep, that's maize right in the middle there.

Washing it all down're five familiar beers on tap (e.g., Firestone and Speakeasy), sangria pitchers, and an agave-wine-infused Guarapita cocktail -- drink 'em all, and prepare to be deluded into thinking you're the designated hitter.

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