Hit the Deck
The one dish to order at El Techo
El Techo de Lolinda was made for afternoon drinking.
The view from the Argentinean steakhouse's rooftop deck, open for three weeks now, rivals that of Dolores Park. The wind may ruffle the clear plastic sheeting that protects drinkers from the elements, but within, it's warm enough to take off your jacket.
Order the smooth House Margarita ($8), made with Herencia tequila, rather than the brasher, mezcal-dosed premium version ($12).
To go with drinks: a platter of chicharrones ($12 for a half-pound; $18 for a pound), by far the best dish on El Techo's short, unevenly prepared menu. These aren't Mexican-style cracklings. They're chicharrones in the Costa Rican manner, golf-ball-size chunks of shoulder meat that are braised until you can pull them apart with your fingers, then deep-fried until the exteriors turn mahogany and crisp.
The final touch: a dusting of sugar, salt and cayenne.
Spoon refried black beans and a charred-tomato salsa into a chubby, freshly made corn tortilla and fold it around shreds of pork. Take another sip of your tequila. Stare out over the skyline. Remind yourself why you live here.
Even in the summer.
Our San Francisco editor, Jonathan Kauffman, dined unannounced at El Techo on May 25. By early evening, the patio was almost full, but we were able to snag a table, and food and drinks came quickly. We spent $45 on snacks for three people, not including drinks and tip. Check out Tasting Table's restaurant recommendation policy.