Eat Stinky Cheese & Shop for Stuffed Mice in San Francisco

San Francisco‘s Mission district is a unique section of this incredible town, a mix between artsy, edgy and trendy. A place where you will discover stylish boutiques next to dive bars. My kind of place.

Where else can you find the stinkiest cheese shop and stuffed rats on the same street?

Peter and my mission in the Mission was to get pre-dinner wine and a flight of cheese. After parking at the Mission Barlett garage we strolled down Valencia towards Mission Cheese. With that name, they must have hunks of fromage.

We passed an intriguing shop along the way, Paxton Gate, and the unicorn in the window enticed me to enter. Unicorns get me every time.
Unicorn at Paxton Gate

Paxton Gate is a shop filled with treasures and oddities inspired by the garden and natural sciences.

After the unicorn, I was hit with a capybara skull for $325. Okay, this store could be interesting.
Capybara Skull at Paxton Gate

There was also a nice selection of glass eyeballs, framed bugs and animal skeletons. Even with the aforementioned list of oddities, the item that captivated me most was the taxidermy mice.

Maybe because I was heading to get cheese?

The taxidermist must have had plenty of Barbies growing up, because these critters were dressed in the cutest outfits. There was even a pair for a wedding cake topper. How romantic.

Who owns one of these…any why?
Paxton GateSan Francisco Paxton Gate
Stuffed Mice at Paxton Gate

I began to wonder if they were some sort of sign to not eat cheese today. Or were they stuffed for cheese safety, prevention of holes in my queso? Either way it was ruining my appetite.

But, these little critters weren’t going to keep me from the reason I am on this road…CHEESE.

Mission Cheese is a specialty cheese shop in Northern California with a quaint wine selection. It is reminiscent of the tiny enotecas I fell in love with in Italy.
Mission Cheese Shop

You can order your flight at the counter by category; California, New York or Midwest. And then there was the Monger’s Choice…for the adventurous cheese eater.

I’m adventurous. I ordered the Mongers Choice.
Mission Cheese Shop Menu

The first question after the order was placed was “are you okay with stinky cheese?”

Apparently, stinky is the adventurous part. Bring on the stink.

The monger came over to explain the selection, the first being the Inverness from Cow Girl Creamery, made with organic jersey cow milk. I’m certain that mouse would have loved this one. Too bad. The next was the Fat Bottom Girl from Bleating Heart Cheese which was completely created in the North Bay Area of California. This sheep’s milk cheese was mild and I ate all of it.

Lastly, was the stinkiest of them all, the Haystack Mountain Red Cloud.

“With its punchy, barnyard aromas tempered by hints of toasted nuts and freshly-cut grass, this complex, washed rind round is likely to appeal even to those who fear the funk.” Haystack Mountain
Stinky Cheese at Mission Cheese Shop

It was so potent I had to push it to the other side of the table where it could not reach my nasal passages. If no one was sitting at the next table, it would have taken home over there.

I took the tiniest sampling of the stinky cheese and Peter ate all the rest, just as he did the time I ordered lamb brains and lambs tongue. He makes for a good garbage disposal.

Would you ever buy a stuffed rat? Have you had stinky cheese?


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2018-12-20T00:14:37+00:00August 22nd, 2012|Categories: California, FOOD, North America, QUIRKY, TRAVEL|Tags: , , , |


  1. Stephanie August 22, 2012 at 10:55 am - Reply

    Haha! When I first read the title of this post I thought that you were going to be munching on rats stuffed like a green pepper! Knowing your culinary adventures, I wouldn't have been too surprised! I was relieved to see that they were taxidermied instead! That shop looks awesome. I love little unique places like that.

    • Annette | Bucket List Journey August 22, 2012 at 2:16 pm - Reply

      LOL! You know my taste buds well 🙂

  2. Juliann | Browsing the Atlas August 23, 2012 at 3:38 am - Reply

    We have a rubber rat at work that we hide in each other's cubicles. We always know when someone has suddenly stumbled upon it by the screech that we hear.
    I love San Francisco. You can find anything there.

    • Annette | Bucket List Journey August 23, 2012 at 5:58 pm - Reply

      That’s funny!! I love office humor 🙂

  3. Erik August 27, 2012 at 6:31 pm - Reply

    Simple answers: No and yes 🙂

    • Annette | Bucket List Journey August 28, 2012 at 3:57 am - Reply


  4. Margaret August 28, 2012 at 9:44 am - Reply

    I would love to go to a cheese shop that had cheese flights. What a great way to learn about different cheese. 

    • Annette | Bucket List Journey August 28, 2012 at 10:58 am - Reply

      The cheese flight is a great concept and Mission Cheese really knows about the products they serve!

  5. Gregory Urbano August 28, 2012 at 1:18 pm - Reply

    great post, i am heading to sf in oct now i have some places to visit!

    • Annette | Bucket List Journey August 28, 2012 at 8:18 pm - Reply

      There are so many other quirky and fantastic places in San Francisco! Have fun!

  6. 50+ and on the Run August 31, 2012 at 6:37 am - Reply

    OK, Mission Cheese is definitely on my list now. If only I had a disposal like that, lol.

    • Annette | Bucket List Journey September 1, 2012 at 7:09 am - Reply

      Haha! I am very lucky to have a disposal 🙂

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