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The People's Guide: Burrito Justice Tells Us About La Lengua

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The People's Guide is Curbed SF's tour o' the nabes, lead by our most loyal readers, favorite bloggers, and other luminaries of our choosing. Have a piece to say? We'll be happy to hand over the megaphone. This week, we welcome Burrito Justice.

[ photo via Burrito Justice]

Neighborhood: La Lengua

Tell us something we don't know about La Lengua? It's not Bernal Heights. And it's not the Outer Mission -- that's next to Daly City. And it's not Noe Valley, despite all the strollers. La Lengua is like New Jersey or Korea -- trapped between bigger and more famous neighbors, but scrappy, proud and resourceful as a result.

It's bounded by history. The odd intersections of Mission/Cesar Chavez, Mission/Valencia and San Jose/Guerrero were largely determined by the old stone wall around José Cornelio Bernal's adobe homestead and the road from the Mission Dolores to San Jose. Our northern border is the old Southern Pacific railway line, hints of which can still be seen today, and the Bernal Cut continues to be the way south. There were once multiple streetcar barns in the neighbourhood. It has always been a transportation gateway to San Francisco, but only now has it developed its own sense of identity (but it's not SoCha, dammit!)

Local customs of note: We don't have proper parks, but we like green things. So we plant green things wherever we can -- the Guerrero median planting, the San Jose Ave Parklet, the Tiffany Ave/29th St Friends of the Urban Forest sidewalk greening. These weren't centrally planned. Scrappy neighbors doggedly made it happen -- uppity La Lengua Libre Rebelistas throwing it down and just doing it.

Hidden gems in La Lengua: We have a shocking amount of good food, perhaps the highest density of deliciousness in the city. It's not just taquerias and pupusas -- there's a rather incredible diversity of cuisine, a mirror of La Lengua. Come eat! Front Porch, Locavore, Blue Plate, Anthony's Cookies, Pi Bar, Zante's Pizza, El Zocalo, Emma's, Ankor Borei. Come drink! El Rio, The Argus, The Knockout, The Royal Cuckoo, 3300 Club. Come shop at Caffeinated Comics and Secession!

Are your neighbors "rotten neighbor" worthy? If so, dish. If not... well, why not? The frequency of cars doing u-turns in the middle of 29th at Tiffany is dangerous (though they probably aren't neighbours).

Bernalwood is kind of a pain in the ass -- while we are doomed by topography to live in their shadow (at least in the morning), we do like drinking with them at night.

Inflate the bubble or burst it: What's not-so-swell about your "perfect" neighborhood? St. Luke's Hospital should be a much stronger resource in the community. It's such a wasted opportunity, and the proposed reconstruction plans are not ideal. We'd rather have more doctors' offices than an ugly new building not very well integrated with the new and improved Cesar Chavez.

Our public transit infrastructure isn't great, especially when you consider that every mode of transportation already runs through our neighborhood. (We miss the 26-Valencia.) We can hear BART, but they never gave us a stop. So we'd really like that 30th St infill station. For $500 million, it's a steal, and it would be a godsend to South Bernal as well. Just dig the damn hole!

The final word on La Lengua: We are a Venn Diagram, we contain multitudes. And we are in an expansionist welcoming mood for huddled blocks yearning to be free -- southern Mission, eastern Noe, western Bernal, give us a call.
· The People's Guide [Curbed SF]

El Zocalo

1633 El Camino Real, South San Francisco, California 94080 650-992-1482

Secession Art & Design

3361 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110 Visit Website