La Palma Mexicatessen San Francisco

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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

As you walk toward the back of La Palma Mexicatessen you’ll start to hear the rhythmic patting of practiced hands working the soft masa dough that will soon become freshly cooked, toasty corn smelling pupusas. They also sell tortas, tacos, bunuelos, carnitas and birria—all prepared right there and great for a quick lunch.

For the home cook, La Palma offers plenty of other treasures. Start with their housemade flour or corn tortillas, so fresh, they’re often still warm when you pick up the package. In the bulk section they have really good prices on bulk dried chiles. You can acquire a big bag of pasilla, guajillo, negro or New Mexican chilies for just a couple of dollars. You can buy enough dried hibiscus flowers to make 4-5 batches of Agua de Jamaica for $1.50.

Grab a quart of their freshly rendered lard in the refrigerated case. So much better than the chemical ridden commercial type (though they have that too) and easier than doing it yourself. La Palma also stocks husks for tamales, (and freshly made masa) beans, whole hominy and a variety of canned and bottled sauces and salsas. They’ve got basic produce like onion, garlic, avocados and cilantro and fresh, cut to order Mexican cheeses. Pretty much everything you need for an authentic Mexican or Central American feast. Pick up a bag of their amazing homemade corn or potato chips on the way out.