On a Friday or Saturday night, a block and a half from Mission, near the corner of 16th and Julian, the open door and well-lit sign of Taqueria Los Coyotes in San Francisco shines like a welcoming beacon to the hungry, forlorn, and weary East Coast traveler starving for tacos in a city that's restaurants close far earlier than anyone back home would ever understand (La Taqueria closes at 9 p.m. on a Friday?!).
But it's not just the late hours that make Los Coyotes great. If it was, you could just go to the dirty and overrated El Farolito nearby that's open until 3 a.m. daily (why would you pervert your taste bud recall of a burrito at La Taqueria with inferior meat, flavor, and assembly at Farolito?).
It's the taco bar that makes Coyotes stand out. The five different salsas (including the renowned mango salsa); beautiful, fresh pico de gallo; whole roasted jalapeños; pickled jalapeños, onions, and carrots; lime wedges, radish wedges, and many kinds of hot sauces make this taco bar one of a kind. And for these reasons this dish made my list of most memorable meals of 2011.