Sunday, July 27, 2014

Brenda’s ~ French Soul Food

"When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other." 
~ Eric Hoffer (or Frank Caliendo, I always get those two mixed up)




http://frenchsoulfood.com/


Place: Brenda's ~ French Soul Food
Location: 652 Polk Street (at Eddy Street)
Hours: open for breakfast Monday-Friday at 8:00am; open for "Brunch" Saturday & Sunday at 8:00am
Meal: Two Eggs Any Way You Like 'Em ~ with potato hash or grits, plus toast or cream biscuit; a side of Three Granny Smith Apple Beignets[1] ~ sweetened with cinnamon honey butter; and a cuppa Community Coffee® with chicory

http://www.communitycoffee.com/





(There is really no juxtaselection with today's EweToobular songs, I just recently discovered Lake Street Dive and like their sound. Plus, in the first video, I think it is so cool to have the sheer audacity of filming a video in an actual playground in front of a buncha loud, obnoxious, indifferent rug-rats, which is just sheer awesomeness.)


A sunny Sunday morning? Half the city is cut-off by the San Francisco Marathon, anyway? What better destination than to head over once again to Brenda's ~ French Soul Food (see last 'blog-entry from June 17th, 2012). Even though they call the early morning meal "Brunch" on their menus, any place that opens up earlier than 9:00am is breakfast with me, Jake.




There are several items on their standard printed menus that are good for both stupid vegetarians and those that partake of the dead, decaying animal (particularly of the porky persuasion) flesh, and there were a few other good ideas off the weekend Specials chalkboard (which I would like to point out is an actual chalkboard, not one of those new-fangled, fake "dry-erase boards"): Bananas Foster French Toast (w/ warm butter-rum sauce; I had this the last time I ate there, and it was excellent, but I opted for something where I could also enjoy their excellent beignets, too); or Muffaletta[2] Sandwich (w/fries or slaw; the sandwich isn't really stupid vegetarian- or Vegan-friendly, though); additionally, they had a Guava Mimosa as a weekend drink special.




Apparently "I like 'em" over-medium. For a change, I went with the grittier choice of sides ~ and they were nice and buttery, too. I had the cream biscuit (which I can only assume is some version of a buttermilk biscuit) as my bready side. Why would anyone not choose this over plain ol' toast? And this is not insulting plain ol' toast in any way, but fresh-baked always trumps out of a loaf bag any time. When taken as separate pieces of an entire breakfastary puzzle, there really wasn't anything overly exciting with each component (over-medium eggs ~ okay; grits ~ good; cream biscuit ~ very good); however, when you add all of them together, it was truly very tasty. 

Now here is probably as good of a place as any to mention their outstanding homemade jams (I couldn't wait to do so in the condimentary supplementation area). There were two different types on the tables today: strawberry and peach. The peach happened to be on my table and I am very glad of that as I might have missed it otherwise. It was extra chunky and made with cinnamon and cloves in it (I asked the manager/maître d'-guy; my palette ain't that discerning). I generously used a good amount of it (seriously, I thing I used up half the jar) on my cream biscuit. I also saw fit to use a good dollop (or three) on one of my beignets.




I only ate one of the beignets before/with breakfast ("Brunch", whatever), and took the other two home with me to enjoy later in the day. I really liked this N'Awlins version of a jelly doughnut. ("Ich bin ein Louisiana Krapfen."?!) I have had them a few times now there and knew them to be very good. I wonder what a banana beignet might taste like. They don't offer that particular choice at Brenda's, but it is a standard flavour in N'Awlins. Plus, it's just fun to say "banana beignet"; go ahead say it ten times fast, you know you want to.

The cuppa Coffee really turned out to be more of a small bowla Coffee if you ask me, which didn't stop me from getting a few refillas all the same. What is the opposite of "Demi-tasse"? A "Bruce-bol"? (And I know that an "Ashton-bol" would be more current, but Bruce Willis is still much cooler than Ashton Kutcher any day.)

In addition to the abovementioned homemade jams, naturally, Brenda's has Crystal® Louisiana's Pure Hot Sauce on all of the tables. I just used some of my own Nando's® Extra Hot Peri-Peri Sauce (Thanks, Kerry!) in with the grits, and some Hula Girl Chipotle Habanero (Thanks, Jim!) liberally all over the eggs.


Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Two Eggs Any Way You Like 'Em ~ 6.2 (with their homemade peach jam factored in ~ 6.4); Granny Smith Apple Beignets ~ 7.2 (with their homemade peach jam factored in ~ 7.4); homemade peach jam ~ 7.5


1. Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day:

"Beignet" comes from French, from Middle French "bignet", from Old French "buyne/buigne" (meaning "bump" or "lump").

2. I had to ask my waiter-server guy if a "Muffaletta" meant a sandwich made with a slice of black bread and a slice of white bread.

Actually, this can be spelled several different ways: Muffaletta, Muffuletta, Muffoletta, Muffiletta, Mufullettc. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muffuletta

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Squat & Gobble Cafe & Crepery

"Everybody makes mistakes, and a mistake is, after all, Nature's way of telling you you're an idiot." ~ Vaughn Meader



http://www.squatandgobble.com/


Place: Squat & Gobble Cafe & Crepery 
Location: 1 West Portal
Hours: open daily at 8:00am (all locations)
Meal: Zorba the Greek (savoury crêpe) ~ Cheddar & Feta Cheese, Onions, Spinach, Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Roasted Eggplant, & Kalamata Olives, Served with a Cucumber Yogurt Mint Sauce (Served With Your Choice of Our "Famous" Rosemary Garlic Potatoes, French Fries, Mixed Green Salad, Fresh Fruit, or Chef's Soup of the Day); and a glass of Lemonade


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XU4MzWOfE90

(Today's EweToobular juxtaselection is mainly from the title of the song. For some reason it is not letting me embed the actual video like I have been able to do in the past, so you will have to do the ol' cut-and-paste if you wish to listen to the song while reading along here.

The video portion was put together by a very close and old friend of mine, Skip Way. ~ Hey, Skip! ~ He takes pictures that his sister Andrea has photographed and makes them into a video collage with music by some of his favourite musicians ~ well, those musicians that have been nice enough and given him 100% permission to do so.)


It had been some time since I last ate breakfast at a Squat & Gobble Cafe & Crepery (see last 'blog-entry from March 5th, 2011), and this includes any of the four locations in San Francisco. The West Portal shop has just recently (as in since March of this year, recently) reopened after having been closed since a fire demolished the entire building (and several others on the block) back in October 2012. The good news is that the brand new building has a second floor added to it which doubles the capacity of the place. The new size of the place probably makes it not only the largest of the Squat & Gobble locations (the Marina spot might rival it a bit with its backyard patio), but probably one of the largest crêpes joint in San Francisco now, too. It is now much more upscaley than your typical crêperie in San Francisco, which fits in perfectly with the more upscaley West Portal neighborhood, anyway. The new interior décor is all pastelly and high-ceilinged. 




I still think that Squat & Gobble is a horrible-sounding name for a restaurant, though (if anyone wishes to disagree with me, I submit doing your own Google search for the term "squat and gobble", then get back to me if you still feel like disagreeing with me… or ever have an appetite again for honey, or potato chips, or turkey). And I hate to sound like such a grammar critic, but I wish they would spell crêpes[1] with the correct diacritic; plus, the correct spelling of a place that sells crêpes is a "crêperie" (again with the diacritical mark and ending in "-ie", not "-y"). And I won't even go into the whole "Café" versus "Cafe" debate again (it don't cost ya nuthin' extra to spell it avec accent aigu ~ another diacritic, by the way, Monsieur Êbêrt).

D*mn St*rbucks mini-rant Interlude

Speaking of overly pretentious upscaliness, it's bad enough that there is a d*mn St*rbucks joint already in the West Portal neighborhood, but now there is a brand new d*mn La Boul*nge Bakery (which has been owned by d*mn St*rbucks since June 2012 ~ Thanks for the heads-up on that one, Mrs. Blankenship!) located right across the street from Squat & Gobble in the spot that once housed the old Walgreens for many years. And like d*mn St*rbucks and any restaurants that have stupid parklets in front of them, I have place all d*mn La Boul*nge Bakeries on my (ever-growing) "Do Not Patronize These D*mn Bastages" list. I was equally appalled that the d*mn joint was packed with idiots this morning when I walked by, too. (So, there, Doc Estes!)

Anyway, back to the breakfastary part of this d*mn 'blog-thingy. 

Squat & Gobble not only serves crêpes (both of the savoury and dessert kind), they also have other categories on their Daily Menu: Omelettes, Scramblers, and Breakfast Specials. Some of the other dishes that I was debating on this morning were: Veggie Fajita[2] (a savoury crêpe; Caramelized Peppers, Onions, Mushrooms, Roasted Corn, Cilantro, Black Beans, Jalapeño Sour Cream, & Pepper Jack Cheese, Topped with Homemade Ranchero & Tomatillo Sauce & Crispy Tortilla Strips); Whole Thing (a dessert crêpe; Fresh Bananas, Maple Glazed Walnuts, Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, nutella® Chocolate, Powdered Sugar, & Whipped Cream ~ which I would have gotten with a side of Their "Famous" Rosemary Garlic Potatoes); or Castro (an omelette; Feta Cheese, Tomatoes, Spinach, & Kalamata Olives). Like most crêperies and coffehouses you order at the front counter, pay first, and then get a number to take to an empty table and they bring out the food when it is ready.




I liked this crêpe a lot. What was not to like? It included a lot of my favourite ingredients: spinach, eggplant, Kalamata olives, and Feta. My one minor complaint would be that there was not enough Feta in it for my liking (of course, this is generally my complaint with a lot of places that have Feta as an ingredient). 

Of course, a "Cucumber Yogurt Mint Sauce" is better known as Τζατζίκι (see 'blog-entry from July 17th, 2014). Their version was made with diced pieces of cucumbers, I like the shredded cucumber version better, but this was still a decent one. It probably could have maybe used a little more garlic in it, but I think that is true with most things.

Of course, I chose Their "Famous" Rosemary Garlic Potatoes for the side. Who in their right mind would choose a plain ol' mixed green salad or fresh fruit??? Even I can cook those at home. The roasted potatoes were very good on their own (and had not the least trace of being oleaginous at all), but were even better with the small tin of Τζατζίκι dumped on top. Technically the Τζατζίκι is meant to be dumped on top of the crêpe, but I have known for many years (decades) now that Τζατζίκι pairs very well with potatoes of any kind. Let's face it, potatoes are great and Τζατζίκι just makes them taste even greater still.

From what I could see, Squat & Gobble offers just Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red) and Tapatío® (See? This company has no problem using a diacritical mark over the "i".) for condimentary supplementation. I used just a soupçon (See? I used the "ç" there, and while it is letter and not really a diacritic, I was not charged any more for doing so.) of my Fat Cat® Strawberry Serrano Hot Sauce (Thanks, Cindy & Greg!) on top of the crêpe. Plus, as mentioned above, I utilized the Τζατζίκι to its potentially fullest on Their "Famous" Rosemary Garlic Potatoes.


Glen Bacon Scale Rating[3]Ζορμπάς ο Έλληνας ~ 7.0; Τζατζίκι ~ 7.2


1. Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day, numéro un:

"Crêpe" comes from French, from Latin "crispus", meaning "curled", "uneven", or "wrinkled".

2. Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day, número dos:

"Fajita" is a Mexican (or Tex-Mex) diminutive and comes from the Spanish word "faja", which means "strip", "band", "sash", or "belt". 

3. File this under: "You never know what you might find when searching on the World Wild Web". 

I happened to mention the "GBS Rating" to someone last week on defacedbook and they didn't get my reference to the obvious "Glen Bacon Scale Rating" here. So just for the h-e-c-k of it, I did a quick Google search of "GBS Rating" and found this information:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9386985

Apparently the "GBS" here stands for "Gottfries-Bråne-Steen", and has nothing to do with anyone named "Glen Bacon".

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Bistro Restaurant at Cliff House

Insanity is in the mind of the beholder.



http://www.cliffhouse.com/bistro/index.html


Place: Bistro Restaurant at Cliff House
Location: 1090 Point Lobos (at the end of the Earth/Ocean Beach)
Hours: open for breakfast Monday - Saturday at 9:00am and Sunday at 8:30am
Meal: Farmer's Breakfast Scramble ~ Scrambled Eggs, Ham, Potatoes, Green Onions, Cheddar Cheese (All Egg Entrees Served with Fresh Fruit and Roasted Potatoes); a glass of orange juice; and the act you've known for all these years… so let me introduce to you, the one and only… (World) Famous Cliff House Popovers(!)






(The first EweToobular song is just because I stumbled across it earlier in the week and thought the combination of Queen [or what remained of them], Elton John, and Axl Rose was completely bizarre. The second song should be self-exploratory with the strange Jehovah's Witness interlude in today's 'blog-entry; not only is this song one of my All-time Favourite Rock-and/or-Roll Songs of All-Time, it might quite possibly be The Ultimate Rock-and/or-Roll Song of Ultimately All-Time, too. Are you an experienced Jehovah's Witness?)


And finally to close out the summer workout of my Breakfastary Starting Rotation, I ended up back at Bistro Restaurant at Cliff House (see last 'blog-entry from April 26th, 2014). In case you have never heard before, they have (World) Famous Cliff House Popovers(!) there! I think that they may also serve other food, too.

Actually, Bistro Restaurant's breakfastary menu is a very limited one for stupid vegetarians. Other than this morning's meal, there really are only: Classic Eggs Benedict (which is a pretty boring choice, and it would have to be ordered without the dead, decaying porky bits); Joe's Special Scramble (which would also have to be ordered without the grounded up dead, decaying bovine flesh); Sautéed Vegetable Scramble (which would not need any subtractions, unless you happen to have a strong aversion to fungi); and Thick Sliced Sourdough French Toast (again, not that exciting, and I don't think I have even ever ordered that one there). Several years ago, they used to offer a Greek Scramble (made with real Kalamata olives and lots of Greek Feta); it was truly one of the better versions in San Francisco, too. The real irony is that the restaurant is owned by a Greek family and I have no idea why they stopped offering it on the menu.

Sorry, there are no shots of the Hollywoodland autographed photos on their walls this morning. I think that I may have chronicled their entire display by now. So, in lieu of any pretentious bastages from filmdom, here are a couple of photos of anti-skateboard thingys (that is the actual technical term; really) that are out front on the steps/benches.





I got there about fifteen to twenty minutes before they opened this morning and had just planned on walking around the building and watching the ocean scenery until they opened up. Well, I was completely rewarded by my decision and was pleasantly surprised with a great show put on by about a dozen dolphins (plenty of porpoises?)[1] swimming just offshore around Seal Rocks. At first, I wasn't quite sure if they were actually dolphins or porpoises, until I saw a couple of them do the Flipper thing and jump about five feet out of the water. There were also about twenty to thirty surfers just about 100 yards away along Ocean Beach. Do you think little dolphins get all excited when they see surfers? "Mommy, Mommy, look! There are those silly people that like to dress as sea lions and act as shark bait. Can I go play with them? Can I? Please?" As I was leaving, I made sure to ask my waitress-server lady if there was no extra charge for the aquatic show.




Of course, I ordered the Scramble without the ham. It was pretty decent as always, but nothing extremely awesome. As the potatoes are already an ingredient in this meal, they don't serve a side of potatoes with them. Pity, I can never get enough potatoes. As for the (World) Famous Cliff House Popovers(!), there were three in the basket, but they always ask if you'd like more, anyway. Have I ever told you how fantastic the (World) Famous Cliff House Popovers(!) are?!

This morning's fresh fruit: cantaloupe, watermelon (a botanical berry), honeydew melon, grapes (another botanical berry), and a strawberry (not a botanical berry, though).[2]

For condimentary supplements, Bistro Restaurant has just Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red). I used some of my own Mama Africa'sZulu Sauces Chili Mint (Thanks, Kerry! And that successfully killed off another brave soldier. At this rate, I may finally use up all my bottles of hot sauces by sometime in '15 ~ of course, that would be 3015.) on half of the scramble mess and some Big Papi En Fuego Hot Sauce Off The Wall Triple Hot (Thanks, Kerry! ~ no relation to that other "Kerry") on the other half.

Strange Jehovah's Witness Interlude

Now this was very weird (even for San Francisco standards). Yesterday afternoon as I was walking back to my apartment I passed a lady in a car handing out "Watchtower" flyers from the open window, and she asked me If I would like one. Don't these damn Jehovah's Witnesses even have the common decency to come to your door and have it slammed in their faces any more?

Anyway, after breakfast this morning, I took a little stroll up to Sutro Heights Park (I had parked in the little lot just downhill from there). High atop one of the larger Cypress trees, I saw a fledgling Red-tailed Hawk squawking his head off waiting for his mother to come back with his breakfast, too. Sorry, little buddy, I already ate all of the (World) Famous Cliff House Popovers(!).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sutro_Heights_Park


Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Farmer' Breakfast Scramble ~ 6.5; Red-tailed Hawk ~ 7.5; Dozens of Dancing Dolphins ~ 7.8; (World) Famous Cliff House Popovers(!) ~ 8.2



1. Actual Terms of Venery:

"a Pod or School of Dolphins"
"a School of Porpoises" 
"a Gam of Whales"
"a Board of Surfers"

2. Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day:

Just because I felt like it, here are today's fruits (frutta) in Italian:

Cantaloupe ~ cantalupo (see, sometimes this stuff ain't chirurgia del cervello)
Watermelon ~ anguria
Honeydew melon ~ melone (and it doesn't necessarily have to be scienza missilistica, either)
Grapes ~ uva
Strawberry ~ fragola

Saturday, July 19, 2014

grindz

Reality is: knowing that there is a central truth, not being able to explain it, being afraid to search for it; thus, we die unfulfilled… so why not lie?



http://www.grindzrestaurant.com/


Place: grindz 
Location: 832 Clement Street (between 9th and 10th Avenues; or, if you happen to be of Israeli or Arab descent, between 10th and 9th Avenues) 
Hours: open for "Brunch" Friday, Saturday, & Sunday at 9:00am 
Meal: Apple Banana Pancakes (2 stack) ~ apple, bananas, coconut crème anglaise[1], crushed Macadamia nuts ("How do you piss off a local Macadamian?"); a side of Plantation Potatoes; and a cuppa Bicycle Coffee co (and a coupla refillas, too)


http://www.bicyclecoffeeco.com/





(Today's EweToobular mix is basically because: 1) like most Saturday mornings during a San Francisco Summer, there really wasn't any noticeable sunshine today; and 2) they are normally playing some form of Reggae music at grindz whenever I have eaten breakfast there. 

Mr. Palmer is not technically a Reggae singer, but the original song was by Toots and the Maytals. I also never knew that he was a West Yorkshire lad ~ by way of Batley [just south of Leeds and off the M52 a piece], Mr. & Mrs. Kipe.)


Finishing up with the summer workout of the restaurants in my Breakfastary Starting Rotation, I went back to grindz (see last 'blog-entry from April 20th, 2014). I know that I had stated the last time that I ate there I would be moving grindz out of the rotation, but, due to the unforeseen closure of Q Restaurant and Wine Bar last month, grindz has seen a reprieve from being DFA'd. They still really only have four different "Brunch" choices for stupid vegetarians, though: this morning's meal; Kalaua Benedict (which is really a very nice take on plain ol' Eggs Benny, and was the first meal that I ever had there and prompted their being placed into the rotation initially); Veg N Eggs; and French Toast (which they do with a nice Hawai'ian twist, bra'). Which all works out nicely for me, as I probably don't go there more than four times a year, anyway. And I really like the local locality of the joint for me, too (it's actually close enough to walk to ~ that is, if I ever feel like walking twenty blocks both ways).




I opted for the smaller portion "2 Stack" option of pancakes because I wanted to make sure that I had room for their excellent Plantation Potatoes; if I had gotten the "4 Stack", it may have been a little bit too much food. The pancakes were a nice apple-banana partnership (just as the name implied) and I did get more of the coconut crème anglaise this time (than I did the first time that I had this dish), but I still would have liked just a little bit more of it, though; it really is a pretty tasty sauce (I didn't find it necessary to lick up all the last bits of the sauce, but I did, anyway). 

I ordered the side of Plantation Potatoes because I could, and they are always very good. They are made with lots of celery slices, (red) bell pepper slices, and (white) onion slices in the mess. It ended up being  just the right amount of food for my appetite and was a nice savoury-sweet breakfastary combination.

Again, Bicycle Coffee co is really one of the better local commercial Coffees available in the Bay Area.

grindz only has Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red) for bottled condimentary supplementation; however, they do make their own Hawai'ian Ketchup (plastic squeeze-bottles are on each table) and it is very good. I used some of the Hawai'ian Ketchup on half of my potatoes and some of my own Serious Food… Silly Prices Chunky Habanero Hot Sauce (Thanks, Mr. & Mrs. Kipe!) on the other half of the potatoes (which effectively killed the last of that brave soldier… leaving me with only 15-16 bottles of hot sauces in my refrigerator now).


Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Apple Banana Pancakes ~ 6.4; Plantation Potatoes ~ 7.1; Bicycle Coffee co ~ 7.2


1. I would just like to point out that they had the "crème" spelded correctly (avec l'accent grave) on their menu, which is always nice. However, I didn't feel it necessary to make this a stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day. And it's just much easier to provide a hyperlink from our friendly friends at Wikipedia than for me to try and explain exactly what it is:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creme_anglaise

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Tzatziki


"I opened up a yogurt, underneath the lid it said, 'Please try again.' because they were having a contest that I was unaware of. I thought maybe I opened the yogurt wrong… Or maybe Yoplait® was trying to inspire me… 'Come on, Mitchell, don't give up!' An inspirational message from your friends at Yoplait®, fruit on the bottom, hope on top." ~ Mitch Hedberg


I just wanted to do a quick 'blog-entry on one of the World's Best Condimentary Supplementations ever invented in the World ~ nay, one of the World's Best Foods ever invented in the World: Τζατζίκι (Tzatziki)! I had done a previous 'blog-entry on the merits of Curryketchup over "the vile white goop" ~ also known as the national anthem of France: "Le Mayonnaise" (see previous 'blog-entry from June 10th, 2012), and I figured that Τζατζίκι more than deserved its very own 'blog-entry (much like Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee did).

Stupid, Useless Cunning Linguist Pointer of the Day:

"Τζατζίκι" derives from the Turkish word "Cacik" (pronounced somewhat like "djadjik"). "ژاژ (jaj)" in Persian, and "cacix" in Armenian and Kurdish, refers to herbs like dill, mint, parsley, thyme, etc. (sorry, no sage or rosemary that I know of, Art and Paul); the added suffix "-ik" comes from Turkish.

Most people only know Τζατζίκι as the white sauce that is usually on top of gyros (or souvlakis) or döner kebaps, but in Greece and Turkey and many other countries in the Middle East, Τζατζίκι is generally served as an appetiser/side dish/dip. This was how I was first introduced to it ("It is so very nice to have made your acquaintance, Ms. Τζατζίκι!"). Τζατζίκι was one of the first Greek dishes that I ever had when I first moved to Greece; it was presented as a dip to be used with some fresh-baked peasant bread (ψωμί), pita bread (πίτα), or (the best use of all) with some French fried/steak fries (πατάτες τηγανητές).

There are many different versions of Τζατζίκι or Cacik found throughout the Middle East (mainly due to the Ottoman Empire's influence), and the Indian dish of raita is also very similar. The Greek version of Τζατζίκι is my ultimate favourite. It is made with strained yoghurt (usually from sheep or goat milk), mixed with cucumbers (diced or shredded and then drained/strained of most of their excess water), garlic (a friend's wife used to crush it in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt to get it to the right consistency of paste), olive oil, and a little acidity/flavour from fresh-squeezed lemon juice. The Turkish version of Cacik will usually have most of these same ingredients, but with the addition of either dill or mint (I prefer neither extra herb, but it is still pretty good with them added in) and with or without the cucumbers (the cucumbers really add a nice texture to it, though). Greek Τζατζίκι will usually be a lot thicker and dippier than Turkish Cacik

I once had a roommate when I was going to school at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California that liked it so much that she would eat it for breakfast even. (Hey, Pam!) One morning before class, I caught her sneaking a few spoonfuls out of the batch that we used to keep in the refrigerator (both myself and our other roommate ~ Hey, Jordan! ~ had been stationed in Greece together and had introduced her to this most excellent dish). However, after Pam explained it to me, it all made perfect sense. What is not to like about Τζατζίκι for a breakfastary repast? It has yoghurt in it ~ very healthy and good for you (and a breakfastary staple with a lot of people); cucumbers ~ very refreshing (and while not a normal breakfastary item, it is technically a fruit); olive oil ~ another healthy and very tasty ingredient; and, last but not in the very leastest, garlic (which probably deserves its very own 'blog-entry one of these days, too). So, who am I to argue with such indisputably sound ratiocination?

Also, while living in Berlin (the one in Germany, not the more famous one in Massachusetts), I introduced another old Air Force buddy (who we shall just call "Doug DePraved" for informational purposes) to Τζατζίκι. We were out on the weekend in what was then called West Germany (or "the Mainland" to those of us that were living on the "Island of Democracy" of West Berlin). Doug let me choose the place for dinner the first night in Celle. I happened to notice a Greek restaurant just around the corner from where our Gasthaus (basically Deutsch for "bed & breakfast") was located. Now, there are two things you need to know about Herr DePraved: 1) he had never had Greek food before (or he wasn't very familiar with it, I don't exactly remember which), and 2) he was a very persnickety eater. As was my normal custom when eating Greek food, I ordered some Τζατζίκι to start the meal with. Doug took one look at it and sneered, saying, "What the heck is that junk?" So, I explained to him it was just a yoghurt, cucumber, and garlic dip. To which he replied, "I hate yoghurt… and garlic." But he tried some all the same (maybe he really liked cucumbers). Well… apparently he didn't hate yoghurt and garlic as much as he thought he did, or maybe the combination of both negated out his hatred for each other (♪ "Put da lime in da coconut…" ♪ ???). He ended up loving the junk and made us go back the next night for dinner at the same place and ordered his own side of Τζατζίκι, too. Ever after that, Doug would bug me at least once or twice a month to go out for some "Greeky food", as he put it.

Τζατζίκι, it's not just for breakfast any more, Pam…


Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Τζατζίκι ~ 7.5-8.5

Monday, July 14, 2014

Eats

(Sunday, July 13th, 2014 ~ you can blame the delay in posting this 'blog-entry entirely on one Glen Bacon[1]


"Did you ever get the feeling that the World is a tuxedo and you’re a pair of brown shoes?" ~ George Gobel




(No official web-site. Still.)


Place: Eats 
Location: 50 Clement Street (on the corner of 2nd Avenue); phonicular contact: (415) 751-8000
Hours: open Monday-Sunday at 8:00am (or at 8:05am if the restaurant clock is running five minutes slow)
Meal: Spinach Portabella Feta Benedict ~ (sv) Hollandaise, potatoes or salad; and a glass of Refresher ~ cucumber, pineapple, romaine


(Sorry, there is no/are none EweToobular juxtaselection/s today. And as much as I would like to blame this all on "one Glen Bacon", too, it is really just due to my laziness and not being able to come up with a decent song/video.)


An actual panegyric is not necessarily expected when I write about one of the restaurants in my Breakfastary Starting Rotation, but most visits to any of these particular places usually deserve one. Today's meal at Eats (see last 'blog-entry from April 13th, 2014) was certainly no exception as it turned out to be one of my favourite of the recent dishes that I have had there.

I had arrived just a few minutes before 8:00am and there were already several people/groups aimlessly milling about waiting to get in (see above photo). Apparently the "official clock" in the restaurant didn't agree with what most everyone else knew to be the correct time (you know how iffy the "exact time" can be with those pesky smart phones getting their input from the Intro-net and all). No biggy, I put my name on the dry-erase board waiting list outside and was about sixth in line, anyway; so I was still assured to get in with the first wave of the hungry horde. 

It was still a bit chilly and overcast yet this morning (hence the ubiquitous Mickey Mouse hoodie, Mrs. Morin), but apparently it was warm enough and a bit stuffy inside the restaurant as they had the front window transoms open to help out. (If a semi-opened door is "ajar", can a slightly opened transom be called "aramekin"?) Knowing that this place is owned by the same people that also own Burma Superstar, I could only think to myself: "How do you say 'transom' in Burmese?"[2]




After going here several times a year for the past few years now, I have almost gone through all of their options for stupid vegetarians (or as they have it designated on the menu: "(sv)"), which should give you a good idea of the extent of items that they have to offer. I have repeated a few dishes, but they do change the menu seasonally, so I am always playing "puréed tomatoes condiment" there, anyhow. Here are a few of the remaining items left yet for me to try: Spinach Tomato Feta Scramble ((sv) garlic and fresh basil); Vegetarian Egg Sandwich (arugula, Cheddar, tomatoes, spicy aioli, over easy egg, Ciabatta, potatoes or salad); or the always altogether alliterative-sounding Two Tofu Tacos ((sv) zucchini, bell peppers, Hungarian peppers, corn, Pico de Gallo, cabbage slaw, avocado, beans, grilled tortillas, potatoes or salad).




I may have had this same "Benediction" at Eats before (just in a slightly different incarnation) as it seemed very familiar. It had lots of spinach and Portobello (Portabella, Portobella, Portabello, mature Agaricus bisporus ~  whatever) in it. I was picturing this with an entire mushroom cap under the poached eggs; however, the Portobello (Portabella, Portobella, Portabello, mature Agaricus bisporus ~  whatever) was actually in nice bite-size slices. I would have liked to have seen just a little more Feta in it (but I always want more Feta). The English muffin base was not your typical one that Mr. Thomas might normally supply; it was much thicker and less nooks-and-crannier. 

I really can't imagine anyone stupid enough to go with the option of "salad" when there is a choice of Excellent! Roasted Home Potatoes. There were only three cloves of roasted garlic in the Excellent! Roasted Home Potatoes, but it was still very good (and no GBS points were taken off due to this slight omission). 

I discovered another new, interesting flavour combination by accident this morning. Some of the fresh (roasted) rosemary leaves (sprigs? stems? whatever?) from the potatoes got onto the slice of watermelon garnish and I figured I might as well try it like that. It actually ended up being very good; I could see a nice rosemary-watermelon drink (or maybe even basil-watermelon drink) being made.

The Refresher ~ good taste, verdantly ugly colour, though.

Eats offers the full San Francisco Triumvirate of Hot Sauces (of course, this is know in the culinaristic vernacular as SFToHS) for condimentary supplements: Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red); Tapatio®; and Cholula® Hot Sauce. I used some of my own Dave's Gourmet® Ginger Peach Hot Sauce (Thanks, Jim!) on the potatoes and some Fat Cat® Surprisingly Mild Guajillo Ghost (Thanks, Cindy & Greg!) on top of both eggs (to kick the Hollandaise sauce up a bit). The Ginger Peach Hot Sauce really pairs well with Excellent! Roasted Home Potatoes (especially when there is a good amount of fresh rosemary and roasted garlic in the mess) and I really am enjoying all of the Fat Cat hot sauces ~ and this one really is pretty mild for having the wicked hot Ghost chilli in it.


Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Spinach Portabella Feta Benedict ~ 7.0; Refresher ~ 6.7; Excellent! Roasted Home Potatoes ~ 7.5


1. Please note: this "Glen Bacon" is no relation to the eponymous "Glen Bacon Scale". This was the "Glen Bacon" famous as one half of the olde Vaudeville team of "Glen Bacon & Stanley Eggs" ~ known more colloquially as "Glen & Stanley", of course.

2. Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day:

Unfortunately Google Translate does not offer an English-Burmese option; so I really have no idea what "transom" would be in Burmese. However, in Thai it would be "หน้าต่างกรอบวงกบ" (pronounced much like it looks), and in German I believe it is called "Qu'est-ce que c'est?"*


*(To get that stupid little joke, you would have to hearken back to an earlier 'blog-entry where I posted about the [possible] word origin of how to say "transom" en français. See 'blog-entry from May 15th, 2010.)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Baker Street Bistro

"Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination." ~ Mark Twain




http://www.bakerstreetbistro.com/


Place: Baker Street Bistro 
Location: 2953 Baker Street (at Lombard Street)
Hours: open at 9:00am for "Brunch" on Saturday & Sunday
Meal: Pain Perdu (A brunch favorite!) ~ French Toast, fresh fruit, strawberry coulis & crème fraîche; a side of homefries; and a cuppa Café (and a few refillas)



(There is no real juxtaselection for today's EweToobular choice. I just recently discovered the Felice Brothers and like their music.)


To one with my perspicacious tastes, no summer workout of my Breakfastary Rotation would be complete without going back to Baker Street Bistro (see last 'blog-entry from April 12th, 2014) for their ultimate Pain Perdu. I actually flipped a coin this morning to decide whether to order the Pain Perdu yet still once again (I had it earlier this year, too) or Oeufs Florentine (Spinach, poached eggs, English muffin, Hollandaise sauce): "Heads" it would be Pain Perdu (mais bien sûr) and "Tails" it would be Oeufs Florentine ~ well, "Heads" won fair and square.

It was a bit cool and overcast this morning (Cool and overcast in July? In San Francisco? Who ever heard of such a thing? ~ insert that other standard quote by Samuel Langhorne Clemens here), but I still sat outside on the sidewalk patio café area (and only one other idiot saw fit to also sit outside while I was there).

the Wild Parrots of San Francisco Interlude

On my way over to the restaurant from where I had parked over by the Presidio and also while sitting outside while eating, I saw and heard about ten to twelve of the Wild Parrots. They always sound as if they are laughing while flying overhead. The Parrots are probably laughing at a joke that us stupid humans would never understand: "Q: Why did the human cross the road? A: To contemplate why life always has to be so difficult." Additionally, I saw a lone coyote in the Presidio on my way over to Cow Hollow; it was along the steep downhill part of Arguello Boulevard (not to confuse anyone with Arguello Street in the Richmond, though). I thought this was pretty cool; however, he moved away too quickly for me to pull over and get a shot with my camera, though.




I really don't know what other praises I can say about this awesome meal that I haven't already said many times before ~ Simplement, c'est le meilleur Pain Perdu du monde! (Well, definitely the best French toast in San Francisco and possibly the entire U.S. of America.)

Today's side of fresh fruit: cantaloupe, pineapple, grapes, oranges, watermelon, and apples.

The potatoes were a little en retard (I was more than half done with the rest of the meal), so  Chantal said they were "sur la maison".  Free potatoes always taste the best; and these were very good, anyway. (Liberté, Egalité, Pommes de Territé?

As I have become accustomed to doing when eating at Baker Street Bistro, I took the mint sprig garnishment and put it into my Coffee (à la mode de Turquie). When it came time for a refilla, the poor Mexican busboy (South of the Border municipal transportation-person? Whatever.) saw the mint leaves in the bottom of the cup and thought that some leaves from the overhanging tree had fallen into my cup. He was very apologetic and offered to get me a clean cup. I explained to him that it was just the mint from my meal. (Okay, so maybe I do it not only for the flavour, but to mess with people, too.) Not everyone is a mint fan, though. Did you ever wonder why they don't make toothpaste or mouthwash in other flavours for adults? I know that Chocolate- or Coffee-flavoured ones would be a big hit with many adults… Ooooh! or Beer-flavored toothpaste and mouthwash!

For condimentary supplementation, Baker Street Bistro only has Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red). I used some of my own Pickapeppa Sauce (Thanks, Amy!) on half of the potatoes and some Florida Gold Premium Habanero Hot Sauce (Thanks, Kerry!) on the other half. I also discovered that a combination of both was very good; the Pickapeppa Sauce tempers the habanero heat a bit.

Shameless Promotion of a Good Cause for an Old Friend

This Public Service Announcement is mainly for anyone that lives in the Medway, Massachusetts area (I really doubt anyone from my local San Francisco neighborhood will attend, but you never know). An old high school friend is suffering from Alzheimer's Disease. His daughter has scheduled "a concert event to raise money for Alzheimer's Disease research" to be held on Saturday, August 23rd, 2014. If anyone would like to attend, or just read more about it, here are three links for the charity event:

http://www.musicformemoriesmedway.com/

https://www.facebook.com/musicformemoriesmedway

https://www.facebook.com/events/1489205171316146/?ref=2&ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming


Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Pain Perdu ~ 8.2; the Wild Parrots of San Francisco ~ 8.5