The population of San Francisco seems to double when the sun is out. While the thick fog and a constant temperature range of 55 – 65 for most of the year add to the charm of hilly city, hot sunny days are fully embraced by every San Franciscan. Blinded by the sunlight, people flock out of their mole-like dwellings to get their dose of vitamin D in the local parks, making sunburns are a common occurrence in the office on Monday mornings. When a day like this comes around, I head down to Mission Cheese on Valencia Street, where the front of the shop opens up to the street – a perfect location for a glass of chilled rose and hipster watching.
Chalked on the wall as you enter the front, Mission Cheese’s menu is designed to showcase American cheeses (not the one individual wrapped artificial orange stuff) and California wines and beers. The cheese tasting plates are divided up into various regions; California, Midwest and Vermont. Not sure what to order? The folks, behind the brightly tiled green bar, really know their way through the cheese isle and are more than happy to give recommendations. We ordered the pickle jars (constantly changing depending on local produce), the California cheese board, and the mac and cheese. The mac and cheese is not just one of those trendy additions to the menu that seems to be sweeping across the country. Mission Cheese knows how to do it real well. Flavorful, semi sharp but not overly rich this mixture of cheese and noodles still feels light. No need to hop on a green juice detox after this one.
Mission Cheese is just the right amount of cozy for a hot winter day or a chilly summer afternoon. Always the opposite in San Francisco. It makes for a great place to catch up with old friends or meet news ones. No pretentious cheese mongers here, just friendly people obsessed with the good stuff.