The Cherokee Street heyday came with the convergence of the electric streetcar lines in South City early in the last century. Since the trolley’s demise, the business district has had its ups and downs. But today the 12-block historic area has been revitalized with a number of restaurants, cafes, galleries, antique shops, art studies, and funky specialty shops.
My friend, Cyndy, and I wandered over to Cherokee to lunch at the fairly new Asian restaurant, Vista Ramen. We did so without checking to see if it’s open during the lunch hour. It is not. So we ate at an old reliable, long considered one of the best taquerias and neverias in town: La Vallesana on the corner of Cherokee and California. (A neveria is an ice cream shop.)
The mainstay of Mexican food for more than a dozen years has been transformed over time with expanded dining, that includes two patios and a gazebo. Today it’s a large, inviting space to chow down on a chunky burrito or their signature marinated pork taco al pastor with grilled pineapple, onion and cilantro. Whichever you chose, their house Mexican ice cream is a must and comes in many tempting, exotic flavors.
It takes about 25 minutes to get to Cherokee Street from where I live. Having come that distance, I usually peruse the antique shops or, at least, the bakeries, but it was mid-afternoon and I needed to make a Home Depot stop. No fear, I shall return and soon. Vista Ramen is still on must-try list.
La Vallesana, 2801 Cherokee Street. Open: Mon-Sun 10a-10p.