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Finding a parking place south of Market Street, San Francisco is never easy. But luck was with me the other day when I slid into a spot on 19th Street near Valencia. I was on my way to Borderlands Books, 866 Valencia Street, SF’s science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and horror bookstore, to drop off copies of Drop Dead Red and Dead in the Water.

The bookstore is hosting a holiday party for Sisters in Crime/Mystery Writers of America, Northern California, Saturday, December 9th at 2:00 pm. Local writers, including yours truly will be on hand to talk writing and sign books. Hope to see you there!

Now back to the parking spot I had the good fortune to find after only two times around the block. What caught my eye, when I left the car carrying bags of books was the cheery turquoise exterior of Media Noche,

Chris delivering one of the popular bowls.

a little counter-service style restaurant serving Cuban sandwiches, known as Cubanos. Think tasty sandwiches and bowls you might find in southern Florida.


I am not a food writer or a restaurant expert, but I know what appeals to me. And Media Noche does just that. While pork and melted cheese are standard Cubano ingredients, this is San Francisco. I ordered the Gloria, a crispy eggplant, coconut slaw, avocado sandwich and a Mexi-Coke, to go. While waiting I had a chance to talk with Rene, who works the counter. (Below: Rene (l), Chris (r))

“We’ve been open nine months,” he said in between a steady lunchtime stream of customers.

I liked everything about the bright interior from the turquoise and pink tiled floor to the black wrought iron used throughout the small space. I really appreciated the music of the Buena Vista Social Club playing in the background. And the Gloria? Really good. It reminded me of the Cubanos I had in Tampa a few years back.

No place is perfect. So, you need to know parking can be a problem and it is a little on the pricey side for lunch. My Cubano and Coke from Mexico came to $17 with tip close to $20.

But that won’t stop me from going back. I’ll be ordering the Celia, an island fried chicken with coconut slaw Cubano, after the holiday party at Borderlands on Saturday!

Media Noche is located at 3465 19th Street, San Francisco.

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