Monday, May 31, 2010

Blue Jay Cafe

Memorial Day Special: 2-fer-1 Limosas?

Memorial Day breakfast at the Blue Jay Cafe (which, despite what my auto-spellchecker thingy on Microsoft® Works Word Processor is making changes to, does not have the accent aigu on the last "e" ~ I see their software had no problem recognizing the word "Microsoft®", though). The Blue Jay Cafe is on Divisadero (in the No Man's Land between the Western Addition and the Haight, sorta).

There is also a very cool (but very tiny) backyard patio seating area. Next time I go there I will have to sit back there (Sun, weather, and available seating permitting).

Damn kids and their tagging! No place is safe any more…

They offer Weekend Brunch Specials normally, but as today is Monday ~ Memorial Day notwithstanding (and, as long and run-together as that word looks, it is not being questioned by Bill Gates' software Nazis) ~ so there were no real specials today; however, there are several items from which to choose on their standard weekday menu. Also, I was pretty impressed with their Beer selection (many different bottles and a few on draught, too).

I had the Eggs Florentine*. It came with lots of fresh, sautéed (now the auto-spellchecker automatically added the accent aigu on the first "e" here, and I am happy to oblige it) spinach and tomato slices, covered with Hollandaise** sauce, all on a home-made biscuit (which was very good, too). Their Hollandaise sauce was a pretty good version. Served with a nice portion of good, chunky, home-fried potatoes ~ which seemed baked/roasted to me, not fried; making them a lot less greasy.

They offer both fresh-made Limeade and Lemonade ~ I opted for the former. This was served with a "bendy" straw, which is always fun.

The last time I ate there (it was a Saturday) and they had their normal weekend drink special of "2-for-1 Mimosas". I really wasn't in the mood for an orange juice-Champagne drink. So, I asked if I could have a drink made with their Limeade and Champagne instead. There is no real mixology term for this drink so I came up with "Blue Jay Cafe Limosa"; and to make it even more interesting, I had seen a bottle of lavender syrup on their bar and asked to have a splash of that added to the drink ~ it was actually pretty tasty. If this idiotic combination ever takes off (hey, you never know, the Bellini was thought up by some stupid bartender in Venezia), I will take complete credit for it; if not, I have never heard of the Blue Jay Cafe.

Seeing as this is Memorial Day, here are a couple of links for which we should remember what Memorial Day is really all about (parades and the first barbecues of the Summer aside):

The article was written by Rick Francona. Rick is a well-known Military and Middle East analyst for MSNBC (and if his last name looks familiar to any Boston Red Sox fans, it is because he is Terry Francona's first cousin ~ just with more hair). Rick was a member of my old Air Force squadron back in Athens (technically, Ελληνικό), Greece (6916th ESS, "Ut Fiat Libertas"***, "Home of the Proud Professionals"); he was stationed there a few years before I got there, but we know a lot of the same people from back then (Rick just happens to also know hundreds of famous people: Presidents, Kings, Generals, Politicians, etc.).

The "Green Fields of France" is sung by the Boston (technically, Quincy) Irish punk band Dropkick Murphys ~ best known for their Red Sox anthem "Tessie".

I suggest reading the article while listening to the song. It really hits home. Just don't stand too close to your computer while doing so, I will not be responsible for any tears shed on your keyboard.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Eggs Florentine ~ 6.9; Limeade ~ 6.9; Rick Francona 'blog ~ 7.0; "Green Fields of France" ~ 7.0

*(Stupid cunning-linguist pointer #1:

Why are things that are made with spinach always called "Florentine"? Is
spinaci de Firenze of such a higher quality to the normal spinach from Italy or the World even?)

**(Stupid cunning-linguist pointer #2:

sauce Hollandaise" comes from the French word for "Dutch sauce". I don’t know why the French chose to honour the Dutch with one of the five sauces of the French haute cuisine mother sauces, but it beats "Neverland gravy", I guess.)

***(Stupid cunning-linguist pointer #3:

Ut Fiat Libertas" is Latin for "Freedom Through Vigilance" ~ not "One Free Fiat", as many self-proclaimed humourists claim.)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Mel's drive-in

Solamente sin Ricardo Dreyfuss y Alicia Hyatt

For a little nostalgic breakfast repast, I went to Mel's drive-in (the one on Geary Boulevard in the Richmond District, not the one on Geary Street at the corner of Van Ness ~ why does this remind me of an old "Seinfeld" routine?). I sat at the counter to get the compleat diner experience.

I was fully expecting to just order eggs, toast, and home fries, but was pleasantly surprised to see some pretty good stuff on their breakfast menu specials. The rest of their menu is actually pretty diverse for a "diner", too ("Red Beet & Watermelon Salad"? That is pretty cool, and sounds very interesting). This ain't your typical greasy spoon any more, Richie Cunningham.

I had the Tortilla Scramble (this is also known as Chilaquiles if you order it at a Mexican restaurant) ~ "Strips of fried corn tortillas, green chilies, scrambled with eggs and Monterey Jack Cheese and served with grilled potatoes. (SPICY)" (I didn't think it was really all that picante, but it did have a lot of chilies in it). I complemented it with a side of corn tortillas. They have Mexican cooks working the grill, so it was pretty authentic (y muy sabroso). Their version was not quite Chava’s or Los Jarritos, but it is pretty good all the same.

They only have Tabasco® sauce as a fiery condiment, though (Cholula® would have gone so much better).

Their coffee was really nothing much of which to speak (that is grammatically correct, but reads so weird), so I made it into a typical Mexican style cuppa josé and added four creams and three sugars to it.

They still have the little jukebox selectors on the counters, so I popped a quarter in the one in front of me and chose (We're Gonna) Rock Around The Clock by Bill Haley and his Comets, figuring this is the perfect song with which to finish my last cup of coffee… only to be told by my waiter that they are not working right now. I am sure Fonzie could have easily fixed that, though.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Tortilla Scramble ~ 6.7; Coffee ~ 5.3

Secret Garden Tea House

No secrets, no garden, lots of tea though

Last Saturday, I had to take both my car and computer into their respective shops (Midas® and the Geek Squad®, I will leave it to you to determine which was which) for tune-ups and didn't really get a chance to have a "propa" breakfast or the chance to post anything new here (no computer anyway and not much time). I waited until Sunday morning to saunter over to the Secret Garden Tea House. I had attempted to go there a few weeks back but they were booked for a "Baby Shower" thingy; I was happy to see that they were open for business to the general public again (well, there were a few other tables that had made reservations for "Tea"; a couple celebrating her birthday and a table with two moms and their four little girls ~ all in matching dresses ~ doing the whole "High Tea megillah"). So, I am just catching up with a new post today…

The Secret Garden Tea House is over on Lincoln Way in the Sunset, near the 9th Avenue entrance to Golden Gate Park. Breakfast is only served from 10:00-11:45am; however, "Tea" is served from 11:00am-on. There really isn't a "Secret Garden" associated with the restaurant (I asked), but they do have another room around the back that can be reserved for special functions. They offer a large variety of teas and do most of their own blending. It is Japanese family-owned and -operated… but what the heck do Japanese know about a truly decent cuppa?!

I had gone there once before about a year ago and really liked their tea and breakfast. They used to offer a vegetarian version of the traditional Englishlander breakfast "Bubble-and-Squeak"* that was great. This was my main reason for going back there (and making two attempts to do so). For some reason, that is no longer offered on the menu, and they had only a few thing from which to choose in the "Breakfast" category.

Instead I had their "Secret Garden Full Breakfast": eggs, grilled "organic" (their term, not mine; though, I added the quotation marx, Karl) tomatoes, sautéed (they didn't say if they were "organic" or not) mushrooms, hash browns, fresh fruit ("organic", too?), and toast… but strangely, no baked beans ("organic" or not). They normally include two types of meat to the entire mess: bacon and sausage (luckily, "Blood Pudding" was not on the menu); in place of the dead decaying horseflesh, they added some sliced, grilled yellow peppers and grilled corn kernels for me, without even my having to ask, which was nice.

As for the "Tea" portion of the breakfast, I had their London Fog Tea, which is (according to their menu) a "British Breakfast Tea". It was a good, full-bodied tea. I probably should not have added the two sugars and milk before tasting it, as it really didn't need either. On subsequent cups I skipped both. I seem to remember I had their Earl Grey Tea last time I was there and it was excellent, too.

I forgot to take a picture of the whole breakfast, but remembered to take a picture of the tea setting (afterwards).

Again, if I had any sorta kompyuter-skilz, here is where I would insert a direct EweTube link to Breakfast in America by Supertramp. Sorry, but you will just have to settle for the ol' "cut-n-paste it yerdamnself" option:

I kinda felt like the proverbial "Bull in the Tea Shop" with my dirty ol' Baseball cap and worn (read: ripped/torn) jeans. And I did find it very hard to eat my breakfast with those tiny tea spoons.

I probably won't be going back to the Secret Garden Tea House any time soon with the exclusion of "Bubble-and-Squeak" and the minimal Breakfast fare, but I would recommend it to anyone that wanted to experience a nice "High Tea". This place is not exactly Bettys (not many are), but it wasn't that bad for an 'merican alternative.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Breakfast ~ 6.4; London Fog ~ 7.0

*(Boring cunning-linguist anecdote of the week:

From Wikipedia:
"Bubble and squeak (sometimes just called bubble) is a traditional English dish made with the shallow-fried leftover vegetables from a roast dinner. The chief ingredients are potato and cabbage, but carrots, peas, brussels sprouts, and other vegetables can be added. It is traditionally served with cold meat from the Sunday roast, and pickles. Traditionally, the meat was added to the bubble and squeak itself, although nowadays it is more commonly made without meat. The cold chopped vegetables (and cold chopped meat if used) are fried in a pan together with mashed potatoes or crushed roast potatoes until the mixture is well-cooked and brown on the sides.

The name comes from the bubble and squeak sounds made as it cooks. The name bubble and squeak is used throughout the United Kingdom. In parts of the country the dish may be referred to as bubble and scrape.

Bubble and squeak was a popular dish during World War II, as it was an easy way of using leftovers during a period when most foods were subject to rationing. In more recent times, pre-prepared frozen and tinned versions became available."

I also will point out that "Bubble-and-Squeak" is the Cockney rhyming slang for "Greek". I learned this the hard way back when I was living in Greece and one of the cute barmaids in downtown
Γλυφάδα ~ whom I was hot on and who was a London East Ender herself ~ was talking about her "Bubble-and-Squeak" boyfriend. She had to explain the whole Cockney thing to me.)

Sunday, May 16, 2010


… and Simple Pleasures Cafe again

First off, to get the breakfast part of the 'blog out of the way, I went to Simple Pleasures Cafe again and had the bagel (sesame), hummus and veggies, and a cuppa mighty fine coffee there. I stopped by there on my way to watch some of…

The running of the 99th Annual Bay to Breakers was held today. Simply put, this is one of the largest footraces in the World; it has about 500 "elite" runners (read: professional Marathon runners that use this little race as a Sunday morning warm-up) and 99,500 lunatics.

Most of the event is run through Golden Gate Park, which happens to be just four blocks downhill from my apartment. The race actually starts in downtown San Francisco, a few blocks from the "Bay", and ends at the Pacific Ocean, which would be the "Breakers".
I refer to this as "Bay-to-Beer!" because back in the early 90's they actually gave out free beer to runners (of age) that finished the race (this nickname was coined by the grandfather of a close friend of mine ~ "Hi, Amy!"). Then they changed that a few years later to $1.00 beers, then $2.00 beers, and then they stopped the beer booth all together for a while. I think Anheuser-Busch® is one of the corporate shills this year, and has a beer tent, so again there isn't any real beer.

Today's weather was pretty typical for a "Bay-to-Beer!"; it was chilly and foggy (and it isn't even Summer yet, Sam Clemens); but this makes it very comfortable while running (it just stinks when you are a spectator or after you finish and are standing around for a few hours). I remember one year it was 85° at the beginning of the race in downtown San Francisco, but by the time you reached the "Breakers" portion of the race it had already turned cold and foggy.

The "Bay-to-Beer!" is only a 12K (about 7.4 miles) footrace, so it is a pretty fun run/walk for people of all types. As well as the actual athletes, there are: Casual runners/strollers/walkers; Centipedes ~ a group of 10 or more runners that must be tethered together in some way; Costumed runners; and even Costumed-less runners (better known as "the Naked Guys"; I really don't understand why some guys would want to run 7.4 miles just to show everyone their shortcomings; there are some nekkid wimmen, too, but never enough for my tastes ~ they don't seem to have the balls to run nude).

At the end of the race they have a large party/event called "Footstock" where there are some freebies (like the "Beer!" used to be) and live music. In past years there have been major groups that would perform, such as Los Lobos (unfortunately, I only stayed for a short while that year as it was just too darn cold and foggy), Eddy Money (okay, he is not such a big name musician, but he is a local guy), War, and many others.

They also have local groups playing all along the route. These guys were playing at the Mile 6 marker this year:

I ran my 1st "Bay-to-Beer!" in 1993 (I am wearing the t-shirt today to prove it), and continued to run it every year until 2002 (I had to attend my 25th High School Reunion that year); I ran it again in 2003; skipped 2004; and ran it for my last time in 2005. Since then, I try to participate as a spectator at least. With next year being the 100th running, I may think about dusting off the ol' running shoes again… if the ol' dusty knees will allow it.

I have even gotten into the spirit a little (sorry, or thankfully, I kept my clothes on) and wore a baseball cap that I had attached a toy cable car (cut in half, one half in front and the other on the back) surrounded by cotton "fog" and my friend Amy ("Hi again, Amy!") made a very cool replica of the Transamerica Pyramid on top of another baseball cap, it was complete with a working blinking light at top even. Another year Amy ("Hi yet again, Amy!" ~ and I don’t think she even reads this stupid 'blog), another friend ("Hi, Teresa!"), and I wore capes throughout the run that read: "BAY" "TO" "BEER!"; I was the lucky one that got to wear the "BEER!" cape (still have it). We made sure to start and finish the race in the correct reading order, too. And another year, both Amy and Teresa ran as "fuzzy green dice" (aren’t you glad I didn't say "Hi, Amy!" again?); that seemed to have been pretty difficult as the costumes were large boxes that their arms barely stuck out from and they could hardly swing their arms to run.

By the way, here is a picture of this year's winner:

But only 'cause that darn Kenyan hare stopped to take a nap.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Bagel, Hummus, & Veggies ~ 6.2; Coffee ~ 7.0; Bay-to-Beer!~ 7.9

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Curbside Café

"All Omelettes Can Be Scrambled"*


I was going to try and have breakfast at the new location of Citizen Cake over on Fillmore Street; however, they still have not reopened yet. And from the looks of the construction going on, they won't be reopening until sometime in July (earliest) would be my guess. The "Opening in May 2010" sign that they have on their old location is not gonna happen (see my entry of April 24th). "Strike Two!"…

As I was already in the neighborhood (with legal, free, street parking for a few hours), I decide to go to Curbside Café** instead. I had eaten here a few years back and knew it to be a decent enough place. Another cozy (read: tiny) café with seating for 30 (barely), and another 3 small tables "curbside".

I had the Brie, Spinach, and Sundried*** Tomato Omelette. It was a nice Gallic-sounding combination and I was not disappointed. It was made with lots of fresh, not frozen, spinach; and their sundried tomatoes had to be homemade, as they did not look like they came out of a jar (you know the wrinkly, prune-like ones that are dripping in olive oil ~ which is not a bad thing, really) ~ I would guess they were actually "oven-roasted" more than "sun-dried", but what do I know, I ain't no Emeril Lagreasy…


The omelette came with home fried potatoes, which were just okay, but nothing really special. I did like the grilled French bread (or Dutch crunch?) that they served for toast; you could actually see the grill marks on the bread. Their house coffee (café de la maison?) was good and strong and they kept plying me with more (I may not get to sleep until Monday night). There was fresh cracked pepper offered and gladly accepted; although, only Tabasco® sauce was on the tables, but they did have two types: standard and the green, jalapeño style.

"Merde!", I completely missed the Chilaquiles on their menu or I probably would have ordered that. Chilaquiles are one of my favourite Mexican breakfast dishes. I guess it's okay, as I don't usually order French burritos at the local taquerias either.

(Boring) Linguistic (à propos of nothin') Anecdote of the Day:

I happened to notice there were a few transoms on the front of the restaurant: one above the door and a couple on the upper windows. (For those of you that don't know what a "transom" is, please watch any old Three Stooges short from the 30's. A transom is the little window above the door that Moe would always have Curly shimmy through to bypass a locked door.)

I was once told that the French word for transom is "vasistas". This word possibly comes from the German phrase "Was ist das?" (pronounced: "vas is das"), which simply means "What is that?".

As the apocryphal story goes… during the signing of the Treaty of Versailles after World War I, one of the German diplomats pointed up at a transom above a doorway and said "Was ist das?" never having seen one before (apparently in 1919, these were still a relatively new ~ if simple ~ means of ventilation in stuffy buildings). One of the French diplomats, not knowing the actual technical term for it either, took it to mean that this was what it was called and it seems to have stuck (the word, not the window, Knucklehead). (Sorry, but I don't know what the word for transom is in German. "Das kleine Fenster über der Tür", peut-être?)

I suppose I will just have to attempt to eat at Citizen Cake some other time after the All-Star Break.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Omelette ~ 6.6; Coffee ~ 6.4

*(Well, I should hope so! 

This was what they had written on their specials board. I always assumed omelettes were already made from scrambled eggs. "Naïf-moi!")
**(For some reason, there is no accent aigu on the name in their menu, but there is one on their business card. This is a French-owned place and I would expect it to be spelled "Café", so I went with the more common Frenchified spelling.)

***(This didn't look quite right spelled this way on their menu. I had to look it up to be sure, and found out that this can be spelled either as "sundried", "sun-dried", or "sun dried" apparently… but just on Saturdays, not Sundrays.)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Home Plate

"Slide into Home Plate for a home run meal!"*

Home Plate is a very "Safe!" bet for a nice morning repast. They are on Lombard Street** in the Marina/Cow Hollow area, right across the street from iHop (I spell it like that as I know that Steven Jobs is trying to purchase the restaurant chain so that everyone in America is forced to eat franchised pancakes while talking on their damn cell phones).

In keeping with their Baseball-y theme, there are lots of old Baseball photos along the walls:
two of Babe Ruth (one as a Boston Red Sox player and one with the D*mn Y*nkees); 2-3 of Willie Mays; a nice montage of Stan "the Man" Musial at the plate swinging away; and even one of some skinny Italiano kid named Joe "Di"-something or other.
There are also recent photos taken of some local places: Golden Gate Bridge, Muir Woods, and more.

I had the Greek Frittata ~ 3 eggs, spinach, tomatoes, Feta cheese, and "calamata"*** olives; which is served with two potato-carrot pancakes with a decent homemade Apfelmus (Steven Jobs/Apple, take note) and sour cream, and toast (I chose sourdough). (This is a minor point, as the meal had plenty of carbohydrates in it already, but they only give you one slice of toast, not the normal two slices.) And not to keep striking that deceased equine with a shoot of asparagus from last week, but this bad boy was Chock full o' Spinach, Feta, and Kalamata Olives (I have noticed that most places are really stingy when it comes to Kalamata olives). I thought that maybe red onions might have been a nice addition to the mix, but that is just me.

All breakfasts also come with a fresh-baked mini-scone and two types of their homemade jams: today it was apple-cinnamon butter (completely separate from their Apfelmus) and strawberry jam.

D'oh! I forgot to take a picture of the meal before "digging in and cleaning up at the plate"… I almost thought about asking the lady at the next table, who had also ordered the Greek Frittata, if I could take a picture of her meal; but that mighta been kinda strange… even for me. I had my camera with me, I was just too intent on enjoying the meal that I completely forgot. (And I just know how people are really enthralled by my exquisite photomographical expertise here.)

I had a cuppa the house joe and it was just standard, nothing really much of which to speak. They do have both Cholula® and Tabasco® already on every table. (The frittata was already tasty enough, anyway, but I still added a little Cholula® on half of it.)

So, "Slide on in" or just "steal Home" for an "All-Star" breakfast!

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Frittata ~ 7.2; Potato-carrot Pancakes ~ 7.1; Mini-scone ~ 7.0; Coffee ~ 5.8

*(This is their actual cornball slogan, but I couldn't have come up with a better one. I didn't have the heart to explain to them that if it were a "Home Run", sliding into Home Plate really wouldn't be necessary; unless it were an "Inside the Park Home Run", of course.)

**(Which is better know as "the Crookedest Street in America… west of Pennsylvania Avenue".)

***("Calamata" was their spelling of the word. A better transliteration of the Greek word "
Καλαμάτα" would be "Kalamata". It's really not that big of a deal, but I figured I'd point it out 'cause I can. I didn't take any points off for spelling, though.)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Park Chow

"The best laid eggs of mice and men… "

Park Chow was not my intended destination this morning when I headed over to the Sunset for breakfast. I was planning on going to Secret Garden Tea House; however, it was closed for a private party (a Baby Shower ~ Sheesh! When I was a kid, a damn bath in the sink was all we got, and we liked it. Now kids are completely spoiled and have to have some Earl Grey or Darjeeling before bathing?!). I had been there once before and really liked their breakfast and excellent tea. Maybe next weekend I'll try again.

I got there before Secret Garden Tea House opened (10:00am), so to kill some time, I wandered around Irving Street and grabbed a cuppa coffee at Beanery (a local coffee house on 9th Avenue). I probably shouldn't have had a cup of coffee knowing that I was also going to have a spot o' tea with breakfast; but, as it turned out, I didn't have to worry about that dilemma. I had their French Roast (again with the organic label); it was very strong and good. It took the chill off the morning while I was waiting for the restaurant to open.

Luckily there are many great places from which to choose in the neighborhood (there is more than one way to flay a feline); so upon finding I would not be eating at the tea house, I headed around the corner to Park Chow.

In addition to a large dining area, Park Chow has a heated outdoor patio, 2-3 indoor fireplaces, and upstairs dining ~ both open aired and enclosed. Right next to my table there was a little red wagon that was full of throw blankets and a large jar of dog biscuits. The waiter informed me that the blankets are for any patron that would want one if it was cold enough outside (they were brand new looking and didn't look like anyone had ever requested one); and the dog biscuits are for any canine visitor outside. (However, don’t try to dunk these in your coffee like biscotti ~ they are horrid… or so I was told.)

I had their Veggie Scramble: (crimini) mushrooms, pea greens*, (grape) tomatoes, and (Swiss and Cheddar) cheese. It was served with a large portion of home fries and a Semifreddi English muffin. I also ordered a fresh "squeezed" (Fuji) apple juice (their menu stated "JUICES SQUEEZED TO ORDER!!!"). The meal was great, even though I thought the portion was a little small (though not really for me, it was sufficient as I hardly ever finish a big breakfast anyway).

They only have Pickapeppa Sauce® and Tabasco® on the tables. I didn't bring any of my own as I was planning on going to the tea house and didn't figure I'd need any. I also noticed that they had something called a "Burger Royale" on their menu ~ of course, if they ever opened a restaurant in France, it would have to be called a "Quarter Pounder"… (the waiter got that joke right away and was duly rewarded for his patronizing laughter).

After breakfast I headed across the street to Golden Gate Park for a little morning sojourn through the San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum. The weather was perfect this morning to enjoy some outdoor time ~ the sun was out, but it was still a little cool, with a sweatshirt it was fine. Some points of interest were: a large 150 year old Cypress tree; the Garden of Fragrance ~ lots of good-smelling plants and herbs; and a stone wall made from the masonry of an 800 year old Spanish church. And it is all completely free to the public still. (Wasn't it Dorothy Parker that said: "You can lead a horticulture, but you can't make her think."?)

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Beanery Coffee ~ 6.7; Veggie Scramble ~ 7.0; Apple Juice ~ 6.8; San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum ~ 7.2

*(For which I added a few points to the GBS Rating, and there was a lot of them, too ~ no scrimping like last week's asparagus. I am not exactly sure what pea greens/shoots are, but I have had them before in meals, and I like 'em a lot.)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Red’s Java House

Baseball, (Veggie) Burger, Beer… and Free French Fries

 I belong to a little photographer group thingy (that is the actual technical term, I don't make these up) over on the funny pages of defacedbook. Everyone else in the group is pretty good at the photog deal; however, I just take pictures with a camera. This month's topic is "Main Street". Unfortunately, Main Street, San Francisco is right downtown and a pretty lame subject matter; it is also only 5-½ blocks long, so it really doesn't give much of an opportunity to get interesting pictures.

Where Main Street ends is right at the Embarcadero, over by AT&T Park. The Giants happened to be at home today and playing against the Colorado Rockies. I got over there right around the start of the game and felt a bit peckish, Gregory, so I stopped in to Red's Java House, which is just across the street from where Main Street dumps out onto the Embarcadero, figuring on getting something to eat, a beer, and watch a little of the ol' ballgame.

Behind the order counter there was a chalkboard that had on it: "Question of the Week: Which Marx Brother was married to Frank Sinatra's last wife?" Being a long-time Marx Brothers fan, it piqued my interest. I asked the guy behind the counter, what do I get if I answer the question correctly. He said, answer the question and then he'd tell me. Simple: Herbert "Zeppo" Marx, the youngest of the Marx Brothers, was married to Barbara right before she was married to Ol' Blue Eyes. Question answered (correctly, no doubt), I had my choice of free french fries or a soda. I almost felt bad taking the fries, as it was pretty much a gimme.

I rounded off the meal with a veggie burger and an Anchor Steam® Beer. The burger was nothing special, but it was served on a toasted sourdough roll, which is nice; the Anchor Steam was excellent, as always; and french fries always taste better when "free" (they were actually nothing special either, but there was a lot of them). They have outdoor seating right on the pier and a little bar tent in the back with a big screen TeeVee where the game was on, so I took my food outside and got some fresh air and settled in to watch some of the Giants game. (And to keep in the vein of this 'blog, Red's Java House serves breakfast, too.)

Today's Giants Pitcher was Jonathan Sánchez, who had a No-Hitter back on July 10, 2009 ~ a game at which I was lucky enough to attend. The funniest part about going to last year's game was I was pissed that Sánchez was going to be pitching that game because just the night before Timmy Lincecum had a No-Hitter going through six innings and I thought we were being ripped-off by having to watch a "scrub pitcher" instead of a bonafide Cy Young Winner.
Being at a historical game shut me up for good. I am now a big Sánchez fan, too.

I did end up getting a couple of okay photographs along Main Street after all, but the "free fries" more than makes up for the wasted trip downtown.

Unfortunately, the Giants lost today, 4-1. It's all okay, though, did I mention the free fries?

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Veggie Burger ~ 5.5; Anchor Steam® Beer ~ 7.0; Free French Fries ~ 6.0; SF Giants ~ 7.2 (this year, but only 6.0 today)

House of Bagels

… and Peet’s® Coffee

House of Bagels, located in the Outer Richmond along Geary Boulevard, is a nice local bagelery (which is not a real word, but it gets its point across). They have been making "NY-Style Bagels" (that is where the bagels are made in the "Old World/Brooklyn" tradition; and with the attitude that if you don’t like it, "Fuggedaboudit!") since 1962 in San Francisco. They not only offer 20 different types of bagels, but many other fresh-baked NY Deli goods: everything from Challahs to Rugalahs to Hamentashen*; as well as (for you "Seinfeld" fans) Marble Ryes, and Black and White Cookies; but, sadly, neither Chocolate nor Cinnamon Babkas

If any of you are wondering (as I was), the House of Bagels is not actually made out of bagels (I checked, and I will be writing a nasty e-mail to the owners as they will be paying my dental bill), as that would be foolish during the rainy season, and all of the local seagulls** would have literally eaten them out of "house and home" by now, too.

I went with a Cranberry bagel with butter AND cream cheese (plain ol’ cream cheese, as garlic or onion shmears would just be too weird on this bagel, nu?!) ~ it’s a little messier, but I am not preparing it, so what do I care; and an Odwalla® orange juice.

I had already bought my coffee at the Peet's® Coffee (since 1966) down the street. Ethiopian Fancy blend ~ nice robust flavour. They have good coffee at the House of Bagels, but I look at it this way, I don’t buy my bagels at Peet's®, so I don’t buy my coffee at bagel shops.

While doing my laundry at the laundromat ("What's wrong with this picture?… Wash day, right?!") next to the Peet's®, I enjoyed a little early Sunday morning sax: Boots Randolph*** and some Branford Marsalis (I am still in the "B's" on my iPod).

I had to pick up a few things at the Walgreens
® across the street while doing my laundry and found this to be very odd addition: they now have many everyday (and inexpensive) items under lock and key. Since when did toothbrushes (or is the plural "teethbrushes"?), disposable razors, and deodorant become such hot ticket items on the Black Market? (Sheesh! When I was a kid we were just happy to settle for shoplifting candy bars and Playboy magazines).

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Bagel ~ 7.0; Ethiopian Fancy ~ 6.9; Locked-up Sundries ~ 3.0

*(On their website they have the singular as "hamentash". I am neither fluent in Yiddish nor German; however, I think linguistically, as the plural is hamentashen, that the singular should be hamentashe. At least from what little German I know: "Ich glaube, Ihre Ente hat die Tollwut!" ~ "Thanks, Lowell!"; and from the best source of Yiddish I own: "The Joys of Yiddish", by Leo Rosten. But what the heck do I know: "Ich hatte meine Deutsch gelernt, in den Kneipen.")

**(Well, technically, as these aquatic birds are from the San Francisco Bay Area, they are know as "bay-gulls".)

***("Hi, Greg!" Is it just me, or does anyone else automatically think of Benny Hill lustily chasing after buxom women when listening to Boots Randolph?)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Rose’s Café

Ce n'est pas une fenêtre


Rose's* Café** seems to be a local neighborhood favourite (judging by the amount of people already there and the people waiting outside). It is in the Marina/Cow Hollow area, over on Union Street ~ in the upscale shopping area of that street.

The last time I ate here was several years ago now and I remember that I liked it and made myself a mental note to come back again soon… however, such is the case with "mental notes" with me that they tend to be more of "retarded messages" (with all due apologies to Rahm Emanuel as I really don‘t want to steal his bigoted spiel).

The place is normally packed, but I had gotten there before 10:00am and was seated right away. There is also bar/counter seating for singles and lots of outdoor seating (just ask my Uncle Al, whose last name happens to be Fresco) on sunny days/mornings. The décor is in a French bistro or Italian trattoria style. The centerpiece to the kitchen area is a big wood-burning stone oven ~ which is normally used for pizzas and such ~ but they were also using it to cook (reheat/toast/etc.) bacon and toast in it, pretty cool.

Outside in the patio area there is a painting on the wall of a
femme plantureuse, done in the French Post-Impressionism style, with the wording "Ce n'est pas une fenêtre.", which simply means en français "This is not a window." I don’t know if there is any deeper meaning to that in the French vernacular, I just thought it was a nice painting (of which even Hooters would have been proud). They use the same image on postcards that they give out with the checks at the end of the meal.


I had the Yukon Gold Potato Hash with asparagus, mushrooms, Cheddar cheese (do you think it is really necessary to add "cheese" after the word "Cheddar" outside the county of Somerset, Mom?), and "organic" poached eggs (I guess this means that the eggs were pilfered strictly in accordance with USDA guidelines). I rounded it off with a cuppa coffee and a Lavender Lemonade


My only critique would be that they were pretty skimpy on the amount of asparagus in the dish. It was in really thin slivers or chopped very fine. I estimated there was only about one complete stalk in the entire meal. They only offer a few items on their menu (which changes daily) and I had chosen this one specifically because it contained asparagus ~ one of my favourite fruits. Had I know it was gonna be that small of an amount, I may have opted for their Breakfast Pizza instead, which looked pretty good, too (Breakfast AND pizza? What could be wrong with that scenario?). All in all, I enjoyed the meal, but I would probably have liked it a lot more and given it a higher Glen Bacon Scale rating analogous to the amount of asparagus included.

I am also always wary of restaurants that actually have matching plates and coffee cups, though. Plus,
"la toilette" in this place was much nicer than even my living room. What the heck's up with that?


They only had Tabasco® on the tables, so I asked the (very cute) waitress (who kinda reminded me of Maggie Gyllenhaal) if they had any other hot sauces and she brought me out this HUGE bottle of an "organic" chipotle habañero (again with the "organic"?) sauce. She was then nice enough to put a small amount of it in a saucer for me to use (which was all duly noted in the amount of the tip I left her for "service above and beyond the call of duty" ~ whatever that standard is in the serving world. "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know…" ~ Carl Spackler, Caddyshack). It was pretty good, too; smoky with just the right amount o' heat. I had come prepared with a couple from my own stock, but always like to try new hot sauces whenever possible. This was not a brand I recognized or had tried before.

After breakfast, I wandered up and down Union Street "la fenêtre" shopping and basically lazying the morning away ('cause it’s the thing to do when there). I passed by lots of Pilates places ~ you won’t fool me twice with these places ~ they are not the place to learn to become an amateur aviator (and I am pretty sure that guy who liked to wash his hands after killing off Messiahs has nothing to do with them either). And don't EVEN get me started on the corporate rip-off known as "Yoga" shops ~ none of 'em offer any kinda flavours of frozen dairy products from which to choose (I asked).

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Potato Hash ~ 6.5; Lavender Lemonade ~ 6.5; Service ~ 7.2

*(I had to ask the maître d' "Is there an actual 'Rose' associated with the restaurant?" But, as is the case with most of my favourite restaurants with female nomenclature: e.g. Dottie's, Ella's, Boogalos… the answer was a resounding Gallic "Non." He explained that the previous owners just liked the name for a café. The same people also operate Rose Pistola in North Beach.)

**(Here is as good a place as any to address the great "Café" vs. "Cafe" distinction. Do
ttie's is a "Cafe", for some reason; Rose's is a "Café"; Chloe's is also a "Cafe"; and Baker Street Bistro is… well, a bistro ~ so never mind that one. I think it mainly has to do with how fancy a place wants to sound, or maybe the others just don't want to have to deal with the whole accent aigu/accent grave determination. It just Galls me to no end, of course.)