Where the Pain Perdu is truly a great find*…
I had breakfast this morning (because breakfast at night is really called dinner) at a nice little French bistro** called Baker Street Bistro located in the Cow Hollow/Marina area, over on Baker Street (hence the name) by the Lombard Street gate to the Presidio.
I had the Pain Perdu, which is not only the best non-egg variety breakfast I have ever had in San Francisco, but just possibly the best French toast I have ever had ("A votre santé!" not withstanding). I have had this dish several times before and it is what I always come back for.
As described in their old menu:
"Two Slices Of Our Panned Pain De Mie with homemade crème fraîche, fresh fruit & orange/cinnamon syrup - our yummiest specialty!"
It really was "yummiest". The bread is thickly sliced (at least ¾-1" thick) and it is served with fresh fruit on the side: watermelon, cantaloupe, orange slices, pineapple, and apple slices (all seasonal; one time during the Winter they had honeydew melon instead of watermelon and spiced pears in place of the apples). It's hard to do justice to their orange/cinnamon maple syrup, but it should be bottled and sold separately; plus, the inclusion of the crème fraîche with a strawberry coulis really puts this dish on the map…
I have always wondered: What do they call "French Toast" in France? Is it simply called "Toast"? On one visit, I asked the waiter, but he was from Peru and told me that en español "French Toast" is "tostada francesa" ~ not much help there. The best I could come up with from a Babel Fish search was: "pain grillé français". Last year when I ate here the menu read just "French Toast". The owner happened to be eating a few tables away from me and I jokingly asked him what the French call "French Toast" ~ "simplement Toast"? He then explained to me that it is actually called "Pain Perdu" en Français, which translates as "lost bread". Now, the menu actually states "Pain Perdu", I would like to think that I was responsible for this savvy change… but, more than likely, it was just a coincidence.
I also had a side order of house potatoes ~ nicely roasted red potatoes with fresh rosemary (and some other dried herbs ~ herbes de Provence, peut-être?) and lots of garlique. I know this may seem like a lot of carbohydrates, but what do I care, pretty much all I eat are carbohydrates. Plus, as I have stated before, it really ain't breakfast without potatoes on the side. I once ordered a potato hash with a side of home fries at another restaurant just because I could.
The coffee they serve is also first rate ~ very strong and thick (my fork stood straight up in it with no wavering, and when I pulled it out, it was melting). I asked what brand they use, but really couldn't understand what the waiter said (Damn fuzzy li'l ferners. Cain't they learns to speak 'merican like the rest of us'n?!). I remember he said it was a local coffee roastery, though.
The other major plus of going here for breakfast is the close proximity to the Presidio of San Francisco (one block westward on Lombard Street). There is a small dog park that is surrounded by several eucalyptus trees that are home to one of the flocks of Wild Parrots of San Francisco. I think it is pretty ironic that these non-native birds roost in trees that are also not indigenous to California. Unfortunately, by the time I had finished breakfast, they were already up and gone this morning to other parts of the City. One visit here, I saw about ten of these pigeon-sized birds fighting off a much larger hawk. These mini-parrots are a pretty feisty lot and very territorial.
For more in-depth information check out this website:
Baker Street Bistro has this listed as "Brunch" officially on their menu, but they open at 9:00am and that is early enough for me to forgive them for their "fancy-shmancy Frenchified" ways… did I mention the Pain Perdu?!
You really can’t spell "breakfast" without "Baker Street Bistro" ~ well, you could, but it would only read "..…fa.." ~ Bon appetit!
Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Pain Perdu ~ 8.2; Potatoes ~ 6.6; Coffee ~ 6.5; Wild Parrots of San Francisco ~ 8.5
*(This is not their official motto, but ought to be. And I expect 100% credit if ever they decide to use it… a free breakfast of Pain Perdu will serve nicely as payment.)
**(There are a few different explanations where this word comes from. The one I like the best is that it comes from the Russian word "быстро" ~ pronounced "BEE-stra" ~ which means "quickly". Perhaps the Russian Cossacks relaxing during the off-days of the Napoleonic Wars would try to hasten the "lazy Parisian waiters" at outdoor cafés with shouts of "Quickly! Quickly!" and it stuck.)
9 hours ago