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The Great Guac Hunt: Orale Orale

Taq_oraleI wasn’t expecting to have the first installment of the Great Guacamole Hunt so soon, but why procrastinate? I spontaneously pinged my friend Hugh for lunch today, as I was downtown. He’s been trying to get me to go to Orale Orale for some time now, and I finally capitulated. Provided we had guacamole, of course. Hugh knows from Mexican food, or at least he has a clear concept of what he likes. And he definitely likes guac, so he’s a suitable judge, with the caveat that he admits a bias towards this place.

Size
Hugh: 6 —  To be
honest, I didn’t pay attention to the price, but I’m always sad when
the bowl is empty, so I’ve gotta rate it low.  I always must. 
Sean: 9 — We got a small side of guac, but it was definitely enough for the two of us as a complement to our entrees. And at two bucks, that’s seriously poco dinero.

Consistency
Hugh: 9 — Love it.  It would be a 10 but it had a few stringy bits.  But it was a creamy, smooth guac.
Sean: 7 — The avo base was very smooth and not at all slimy or overwhipped, and there were a few pleasingly crisp flecks of red onion. But I like the occasional chunk of avocado to offset the creaminess a bit.

Whole Avocado
Hugh: 8 —
Not much to say.  I love Orale Orale.  It’s a basic taqueria, so my
expectations are low.  I wish they didn’t come around with the salsa
refill is a paper cup, but whatever.  The salsa’s great. The
line is long but folks are always happy to get a seat, so once you’re
on  your rear and amongst the lucky folks who are about to eat, all is
good. It’s crowded, but I don’t mind.  Everyone’s happy to be seated and eating/ready to chow.  I’ve been going here for years, so I really like the place.  It’s become second nature to me to eat the food. Service is fast – you’re in and out..but it’s lunch. 
Sean: 8 — It’s not fancy, and that’s OK by me. But it is clean, the service is efficient and even not surly (which can take some hunting in the FiDi). As Hugh notes, our salsa, um, gravyboat was plentifully replenished, the food came fast and hot, and we were out of there within a normal lunch break.

Overall Taste 
Hugh: 10 — I love avocados and this guac had a slight spice. But it’s basically a
tongue cooler.  The avo comes through and that pleases me.  Guac is all
about the taste of the alligator pear, so I love that it’s not covered
up. 
Sean: 9 — I thought it was very balanced and fairly nuanced. The avocado flavor was clearly the star, with evenly distributed supporting players in the form of onion, cilantro and heat. Best of all, it was not oversalted, which is so common. But I cannot extricate the flavor of avocado from the texture, so I had to ding it a little.

Final Rating
Hugh: 8.25
Sean: 8.25
It’s unanimous: Solidly good guac easily accessible on a lunch hour.

Oh, the salsa is quite good too, and our enchiladas verdes were quite agreeable as well. The best Mexican in the city? No, not by a long shot. But the best in the Financial District? You bet.

Orale Orale
113 Sacramento St (at Davis)

This Post Has 5 Comments
  1. Surely you can find — or introduce — stellar guacamole in Tuscany … you have access to the best ingredients in the world! I look forward to your exploits.

  2. did u go to Diptyque for the tea? I heard there wasn’t much left to choose. What did u end up getting if u did?

  3. As a Texas native and someone who spent 5 years of my life in Mexico, I’d love to hear what the best Mexican in the city is. From my experience in San Francisco, there’s got to be a distinction between “best” and “most authentic”. I’ve had lots of *good* Mexican, nothing really authentic, and nothing that’s truly knocked my socks off…so I’ll stay tuned.

  4. As a full-breed gringo from the Northeast, I am certain I cannot be the authority on the best or most authentic Mexican food in the city, but I have many friends whose palates are much more attuned to that than mine, so I look to them for guidance. I know what I like, though, so ultimately that’s what I’ll go with.
    It’s also worth noting that there is a huge gap between Tex-Mex and Cal-Mex, and for that matter all other dialectics of Mexican food. I lived in New Mexico for two summers. The food there is totally unique — and delicious. But I’ve never found similar fare anywhere else. So “authentic” may be a more subjective word that one might think.

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