Gourd-Sesame Horchata at La Santaneca

Categories: Eat This

Sweet and cinnamon-dosed, the horchata most taquerias serve is just one variety of many: Spain's tiger-milk horchata, for example, introduced to the Iberian Peninsula by the Moors and still made around Valencia. In Mexico, you can find rice-milk horchata with melon seeds and lime floating on top, as well as almond-rice drinks tinted pink with mashed prickly pear. And La Santaneca de la Mission, one of the city's best pupusa spots, sells horchata made with sesame and morro, or gourd, seeds ($2). 

Morro seeds.
Served in a yellow plastic tumbler, the horchata ― which is made with water, not dairy milk ― looks just like the kind you usually get, if a bit dingier in color. There's a whiff of cinnamon to it, too, but not so much that it screams apple pie. Take a sip, and you find the horchata has a lovely toastiness to it, as well as a tinge of tahini or black-sesame paste. Once the frisson of novelty subsides, you'll find horchata de morro goes down just as easily as the horchatas you've always drunk.

La Santaneca de la Mission:
2815 Mission (at 24th St.), 285-2131.

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