Saturday, June 26, 2010

Seal Rock Inn Restaurant

(bka IHOO* Restaurant®)

The Seal Rock Inn Restaurant is located at the end of Geary Boulevard (well, where Geary splits off and turns into Point Lobos Ave) just across the street from Sutro Heights Park
(which I think is now part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area) and up the road a bit from Cliff House. The location makes it a good, quick stand-by for me as it is less than 15 blocks from my apartment. It is a family owned/run place. I have been told the owners are of Greek descent, and some of the menu reflects this.

The inn and restaurant take their name from the Seal Rocks, which are just off the coast of Ocean Beach (and Cliff House overlooks them). They are populated mostly by California Sea Lions ~ like I can tell one Pinniped from another. Locally they are better known as "Bird Poop Rocks" (see photo for self-explanation). I actually heard several sea lions barking when taking this photo.

I had their Greek Omelette No. 1 ~ (with lots o' what I can only assume is πραγματική ελληνική) Φέτα cheese, olives**, bell peppers, onions (white, red would be better), and tomatoes. It is one of my favourites and I have had it dozens of times. It tastes just like a good χωριάτικη σαλάτα (and this is a very καλό thing) surrounded by eggs. It comes with decent hash browns and choice of toast (I have found rye bread toast pairs very nicely with this omelette). They also offer a Greek Omelette No. 2, with just Φέτα and (again, lots o') fresh σπανάκι, that is another winner.

They serve Peerless Coffee & Tea®; Which is generally a decent enough cuppa, but they don’t make it very good here… however, this didn’t stop me from getting a few refills. ("No thank you. No more coffee for me, I’ll be up all night!" ~ why is it that they do not ever seem to get this great joke?)

As for condiments, they only offer the Ubiquitous® ketchup (which I find much better than Heinz® or Hunt's® brands) and regular Tabasco®Sylvia's "Smokin' Hot" Hot Sauce to the rescue again (Thanks again, Sean!).

As for other "International Omelettes" that they offer: an Italian Omelette (not a frittata, though); a Spanish Omelette; a Mexican Omelette; and several other interesting versions. However, no matter how tempting it sounds, DO NOT try their Sunrise (Omelette w/no country) (after trying it, you will know exactly why no one would ever want to claim it as their own) ~ Banana, raisins, shredded carrots, low fat sour cream, topped with pine nuts. As hard as it may be to believe, it is actually worse than it sounds and really "completely 'orrible" (I was fully expecting it to be, so there was really no surprises there); I will try anything… once.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Greek Omelette No. 1 ~ 6.5 (with authentic
Ελιές Καλαμών this would be a 7.0 at least); Coffee ~ 5.2 (I make terrible coffee, but with a good blend of coffee: i.e. Peet's® or Bettys, even I make a decent cuppa that ranks about 6.0); Sylvia's® Hot Sauce ~ 6.0; Sunrise (Omelette w/no country) ~ is it possible to be a negative number on this scale?

*(International House of Omelettes: to get this corn-y joke see last weeks entry.)

**(They use just the standard black canned variety. This would be soooo much better with real
Ελιές Καλαμών; Cliff House used to have a great version of a Greek omelette, but no longer offer it, unfortunately.)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

IHOP Restaurant®

A Rootin'-tootin' Fresh 'n Fruitin' Free Birthday Breakfast

(I did not feel it necessary to include a photo of the actual restaurant. If you have never seen an IHOP Restaurant®, please go back to Albania or Papua New Guinea… what kinda International pancakes would they offer, anyways ~ smoked meats or cassowary pancakes?)

IHOP® offers a free breakfast (up to $8.99) to anyone that wants one on their birthday, you just have to register on their web-site (and be spammed ~ or pancaked ~ for the rest of the year because of it) and choose a location close to you. I went to the IHOP
® on Lombard Street in the Marina/Cow Hollow area, right across the street from Home Plate (see May 9th entry for lame reference). "Lombard Street ~ the crookedest street in America... west of Pennsylvania Avenue."*

I had the Rooty Tooty Fresh 'N Fruity (which is about the silliest name for a breakfast that an adult should ever have to order out loud), but substituted hash browns for the bacon and sausages. I added a large orange juice (which I had to actually pay for ~ the nerve!). Everything was good, and being free, it was even tastier. I was going to substitute their Rudy Tudy thingy for their Stuffed French Toast; but decided "when in Rome, do as the Greeks do… and put it off until

They offer two different brands of hot sauces: Tabasco® and Cholula®; I had brought (and finally got a chance to try) my own bottle of Sylvia's Restaurant® Kickin' Hot Hot Sauce (Thanks, Sean!). Sylvia's® is very similar to Tabasco®, but has a less vinegary taste. This may be because Sylvia's® ingredients list "Aged Red Cayenne Peppers" as the first ingredient, whereas Tabasco® lists it second, after the vinegar. Plus, Sylvia's® has "Xanthan Gum" as an extra added ingredient, and I am sure that adds a world of flavour… (and the Sylvia's® was a birthday present; again, free stuff always tastes better). I liked it, it was about as hot as a normal Tabasco® and complemented ("My, you are looking extremely pretty today, Mrs. Cleaver!") both the hash browns and eggs; I will look forward to using it again (however, Cholula® is still the best of the readily-accessible bottled lot).

As IHOP's® coffee is pretty typical (read: bland), I went to Peet's® afterwards (the shop over on Chestnut, a few blocks away). I did not take note of which blend they were offering today, but it really didn't matter, Peet's® is always so much better than IHOP's® any day.

Carpe syrupum!

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Free Breakfast ~ 6.0; Peet's® Coffee ~ 7.0; Sylvia's® Hot Sauce ~ 6.0

*(I have used this corn-ball joke before and probably will again in the future. My 'blog, my stupid jokes.)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Los J*rritos/SanJalísco Restaurant

From México with Love (o El Restaurante Sin Nombre)

One of my favourite Mexican breakfast spots is SanJalísco Restaurant in the Mission. They were formerly called Los J*rritos Restaurant, but due to some stupid large corporation sticking it to el pequeño, they were recently forced to change their name from the original name that they have had since they opened in 1988. The original name meant "little jugs" (juglettes?) en español, and they still use the theme throughout the restaurant as decorations.

Long story, short: J*rritos is a popular brand of Mexican sodas from a corporation called N*vamex (think Coca Cola de México). They sued the owners of this friendly, little, local, neighborhood place and the family had to change it to a less "well-known" name. Because of which, I will not be patronizing this company's beverages any longer; están muertos para mí (and hence the "J*rritos" and "N*vamex" bowdlerized sobriquets ~ à la St*rbucks, B*rnes & Ignoble, and W*lmart). The restaurants new name stands for San (Francisco y) Jalísco (which is the State in Mexico where the family is from ~ better known as the birthplace of Tequila). Let's just hope neither of these places decides to sue them for use of this name.

Their breakfast menu has many things from which to choose for una estúpida vegetariana like me. Today I went with the Huevos con amor ~ two large eggs scrambled with potatoes, onions, tomatoes, and chile peppers (three types of bell peppers, actually: green, yellow, and red ~ if there were a white bell pepper, instead of the yellow, it could have represented la bandera Mexicana, Antonio). Potatoes mixed right in the egg dish is always muy bueno. I have had their Chilaquiles and Nopales con juevos in the past and they are also both very good; but I think this is my favourite dish.

Their breakfasts come with homemade corn tortillas on the weekends and large portions of arroz y frijoles refritos. The warm tortillas are fresh off the grille and really make the meal.

When dining at a Mexican restaurant I usually like to drink my coffee like the locals, i.e. mixed with lots of cream and sugar (mucha leche y azúcar).

They only have Tapatío on the tables, but their homemade salsa is much better, anyway. It is made with fire-roasted tomatoes and chilis. Not too picante, but muy sabrosa.

Desayuno and World Cup Soccer (which was being broadcast on the large screen TeeVee at the end of the counter), what better way to spend a Saturday morning? ~ ¡Viva México y Los Estados Unidos!

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Juevos con amor ~ 7.2; Tortillas ~ 7.5; Salsa Fresca ~ 7.0; Café Mexicano ~ 5.5

Monday, June 14, 2010


The Lenny & George Back-up Plan

I got up this morning planning on going to the San Francisco Zoo and eating breakfast across the street at John's Ocean Beach Cafe (sans accent aigu, s'il vous plaît), but found out that they are closed on Mondays… how dare they close on a day of my vacation!

As I was already over by the Zoo and didn't feel like heading anywhere else to find another place for breakfast, I went to Java Beach Cafe at the Zoo (aussi sans accent aigu), which was just two blocks up the street ~ next door to the United Irish Cultural Center (feel free to supply your own humorous oxymoron jokes here) and across the street from the old Doggie Diner head.

Java Beach Cafe is your typical coffeehouse with a minimal breakfast menu. I had a (sesame) bagel sandwich with hummus and veggies (lettuce, tomato, onion, and sprouts) and an orange juice. I had stopped at Simple Pleasures Cafe on my way over there as I knew the coffee at John's is not really all that great; if I had known John's was closed, I probably would have either skipped the coffee from Simple Pleasures and gotten one at Java Beach, or just had breakfast at Simple Pleasures (their bagel with hummus and veggies is still better).

Some cool things about Java Beach: while sitting there eating my bagel sandwich, I heard a song by Peter Case* being played on their stereo (I asked them and they said it was on a digital radio channel), you never hear Peter Case songs on standard Rock-and/or-Roll radio stations; and they offer Ice Cream-Free Wi-Fi ~ which is great if you want to surf the World Wild Web and are lactose intolerant.

Unfortunately, I still didn't get a chance to use my brand new Sylvia's Restaurant® Kickin' Hot Hot Sauce, which I had brought with me and planned to use at John's. (Sorry, Sean, next weekend.)

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Bagel Sandwich ~ 6.0; Simple Pleasures Coffee ~ 7.0; Day at the Zoo ~ 7.0

*(Peter Case was the lead singer/songwriter in the 80's Power Pop group the Plimsouls; their one major hit was "A Million Miles Away"; but now Peter is mainly a Folk Rock singer. I have seen him play a few times in San Francisco. He is worth checking out if you get the chance. He only plays small clubs now-a-days, so it is always an intimate acoustic setting.)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Town's End Restaurant & Bakery

"Out here in the fields, I fight for my meals…" is not really necessary when having breakfast at Town's End Restaurant & Bakery as it is just over on the Embarcadero (a few blocks from AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants) and readily accessible; just bring your appetite and wallet.

All breakfasts start with a basket of mini-muffins and scones from their bakery. Today mine included: 2 blueberry muffins, 1 cranberry muffin, and 1 scone. This may not seem like much, but, in addition to the meal, I hardly finished what I had. Add to these their homemade jams, which are fresh and change weekly ~ this week it was raspberry jam.

I had the Frittata Burrata ~ fresh artichoke hearts, "organic" (they make a point of stating they use "organic" vegetables and fruits in their menu whenever possible; however, I really wouldn't know "organic" from "inorganic") asparagus, roasted (they did not specify if it was "organic") garlic, and Juliet "organic" (specified) cherry tomatoes & burrata mozzarella (whatever the heck that is, probably Italiano for "organic"). Thankfully, it was made with lots of "organic" asparagus, and the rest all made for an excellent combination in the frittata. I asked the waiter what they did with the rest of the artichoke, but he really didn't know.

All of their egg dishes and omelettes are served with a choice of potato-carrot pancakes (with apple compote & sour cream), grilled polenta, or fresh fruit. I chose the potato-carrot pancakes, as I have eaten here many times in the past and knew them to be good. I didn't think they provided enough of the apple compote for both pancakes, but this was no big deal, as their raspberry jam was excellent and better than the compote and went great with the pancakes.

They only offer Regular and Jalapeño Tabasco®. I used a little of the Jalapeño Tabasco® on the frittata, the potato-carrot pancakes did not need any spicing up.

This is really a good place for breakfast with their menu choices and their fresh-baked goods. If it were easier to get to from where I live, I would probably go there more often. I used to work just a few blocks away and would sometimes go there before starting work. As it is, I do like to go there and make an entire day of it when I go to Giants games.

Today's game was the final of the Intra-League series between the Giants and the Oakland AAA's: Giants 6, AAA's 2; WP Matt Cain ~ which made for a Sweep of the Bay Bridge Series. I think it is interesting to note that Matt Cain got the win exactly one year ago (Sunday June 14th) vs the AAA's, too: 7-1. Not that I was very hungry after the big breakfast, but it is not a Baseball game without eating junk of some sort. The foodstuff that I had at the game: a veggie dog with the works ~ spicy brown mustard, ketchup, relish, chopped onions, sauerkraut, and a little Chipotle Tabasco® sauce; an order of Gilroy garlic fries; and an Anchor Steam® Beer.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Frittata ~ 7.4; Raspberry jam ~ 7.3; Potato-carrot pancakes ~ 7.2; Mini baked goods ~ 7.0; Garlic fries ~ 7.0; Anchor Steam® Beer~ 7.0

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Nob Hill Grille

Nob Hill Grille
(which I think they missed the perfectly hokey opportunity and should have named the place Nob Hille Grille) is an upscale, local neighborhood hang-out in (where else?) Nob Hill. A lot of the customers that were there for breakfast seemed to be on a first name basis with the staff. It is right across the street from Saint Francis Memorial Hospital.

I sat at the counter and there was this pretty cool wall mural of San Francisco right in front of me:

I had the Build Your Own Omelette ~ Jalapeño (fresh, not pickled), Onion (white, but red would have been better), and Goat cheese; choice of toast: I went with tortillas instead of my normal sourdough choice. (Luckily it was the "Build Your Own", not "Cook Your Own" Omelette, as whenever I attempt to make an omelette, it just ends up being scrambled eggs with stuff in it.) The fresh jalapeño made all the difference; I probably should have picked another additive other than onion ~ avocado might have been better ~ but the Goat cheese worked nicely in this combination. Only one minor complaint, the home fries that come with the omelette were a little over-salted for my taste; but otherwise they were very good, not greasy at all.

Their house coffee is pretty good. They serve Capricorn Coffees, a local San Francisco roastery since 1963.

I had only eaten here once before (and, coincidentally, it was almost exactly a year ago). I had their French toast then. I seem to remember it was pretty darn tasty, too; but I felt like an omelette this morning (and I didn’t want to appear unfaithful to Baker Street Bistro).

For spicy condiments they just offer two types of Tabasco® ~ Regular and Chipotle (sorry, Sean, I hadn't opened your birthday present yet and didn't know that I had a brand new hot sauce to try ~ Sylvia's Restaurant® "Kickin' Hot" Hot Sauce, Harlem, New York ~ but am looking forward to trying it). They do have a homemade "chipotle aioli" that they serve with their sweet potato fries (I think I got those as a side dish last year with the French toast) which I could have asked for, I suppose.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Breakfast ~ 6.5; Coffee ~ 6.3

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Kate’s Kitchen

I’ll Have Another Cup of Coffee, Just No Cell Phones, Please

On my way to breakfast this morning at Kate's Kitchen, I was pulled over by a police car. I had no idea what I was being pulled over for, as I knew I wasn't speeding along Geary Boulevard (or, if I was, I was speeding slower than the rest of the traffic). The police officer asked me, "Do you know why I pulled you over?" It was too early in the morning to come up with a wise-ass reply, so I just told him no. He said for using a cell phone while driving…

Here is where I need to point out two things:
1) In the great State of Callie-Forn-Ee-Ya, it is illegal to drive while talking on a cell phone without a hands-free device;
2) I do not own a cell phone ~ I have never owned a cell phone, I hate 'em, I refuse to buy one, I plan on being the last person on the planet to ever have one (and if I was the last person on the planet, what the heck would I need a cell phone for, anyway?).

Apparently, the police officer saw what he thought looked like a cell phone in my hands. It was my pair of sunglasses that I had hanging from my shirt collar. Embarrassed, he said he wasn't going to give me a ticket, anyway; that he was just going to warn me. I thanked him for his diligence and told him the next time he pulls someone over for the same offense, he can feel free to give them a ticket. I continued to say that if he sees a pedestrian jay-walking while talking on their cell phone and not paying attention, to also give them a ticket. In fact, anyone that is sitting at a coffee shop with other people at their table and they are talking on their cell phone and rudely avoiding their friends, to give them a ticket, too. I think he got my point.

Anyway, back to breakfast and… Kate's Kitchen is a nice little place in the Lower Haight. They have a lot of good daily breakfast specials and several good things on their standard menu. I used to go there more often, and even had them in my "Rotation" of breakfast places once.* I am not sure if there is an actual "Kate" involved with the restaurant; I may have asked at one time, but forgot to find out today.

I had the Vegi Scramble: roasted Anaheim chilies, avocado, yellow squash, tomato, red onion, garlic, topped with salsa and Cotija cheese. Anaheim chilies are a little less spicy than Jalapeños, but slightly hotter than a Pasilla pepper. Cotija cheese is a Mexican version of Parmesan crossed with Feta. It was all very good.

They actually have a good selection of hot sauces from which to choose, which is nice (though I had brought a couple of my own with me just in case). They offer regular Tabasco®, Trappey's® Jalapeño Sauce, Mezzetta's® Hot Sauce, and Tapatio®.

And this morning, after I had already paid for the meal, the waitress actually asked me if I would like some more coffee. I declined as I had already had too many cups and didn't want to be up all night (or pulled over again for driving under the influence)…

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Breakfast ~ 6.5; Coffee ~ 6.3

*(I stopped going there regularly years ago after they pissed me off one time ~ and it had nothing to do with a cellular phone. They have really good coffee that has roasted chicory added to it ~ à la mode N'Orleans. I usually get a few refills while I am waiting for the food to arrive and while I am eating. They never have a problem with it as the coffee is free refills. Well, this one time I had finished my meal and paid for it and asked for a top-off while I was sitting there. The waitress informed me that it was their "policy" to not give any refills after the meal had been paid. I told her that if I had known that, I just wouldn't have paid until I had another refill. So, I stopped going there for over a year. Their breakfasts and coffee are good, but they are not that good.)

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Not Your Usual Suspect Coffee House

As my car was back in the shop this morning (new power steering pump being installed), I really didn't have the time (or mode of transportation) to check out a breakfast restaurant. Instead I walked a few blocks down Geary Boulevard* from the repair shop and went to a brand new, family-owned coffee joint called LOU'S CAFE (with no accent aigu, thank you very much, Captain Renault); they have been open for only a few months now and I have not had the chance to check them out. The place is named after the dad, "Lou".

They specify that they are "Proudly Serving illy®" coffee (it's not Tchibo or Eduscho ~ R.I.P. ~ but it was not bad; plus the beans already come ground for you so you do not have to spend half a Mid "grinding" them with a hammer… Hi, Dave and Greg!). They also offer free Wi-Fi ~ for all of you cheapo Intro-Net banditos out there (Hi, J.T.!).

Their breakfast selection is small: pastries, bagels, etc., but they do offer a Breakfast Sandwich: "Choice of bacon or ham, with Egg, American cheese, Hash Browns, on Ciabatta bread", which was very good. Let’s put it this way, it would make Rick Blaine forget all about that fickle tramp Ilsa…

The major (Strasser?) pluses were that it was served on fresh, toasted Ciabatta bread; it had the hash browns IN the sandwich (any sandwich with potato products already included in it is jake with me); and their "Lou's Special Spread" is great, too ("What is the 'Secret Sauce' at All-American Burger?"… ) ~ not sure what it consisted of, it was a cream cheese based one with some kinda chili in it, not too spicy but very tasty. My only (very) minor complaint was that this would be much better with any of the other cheeses that they offer on their deli sandwiches ~ Cheddar, Provolone, Swiss, Monterey Jack, or Pepper Jack (but no “f*cking, runny Camembert”… which the cat had already eaten, anyway). Next time...

Lou's, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful breakfast friendship…

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Breakfast Sandwich ~ 6.6; illy® Coffee ~ 6.0

*(Geary Boulevard ~ running about 2-¾ miles East-West in the Richmond District ~ has always been a pretty International boulevard. Case in point: in the several blocks I walked from the repair shop to breakfast and then on to my apartment, I stopped in at a Korean market ~ baked red bean cakes with chestnut, and banana flavoured corn snacks; an Armenia/Russian bodega ~ several interesting imported sodas, "
Квас, anyone?"; an Irish bakery ~ best Irish Cream scones around; and my local Filipino barber shop ~ "I said block it in back and put some MORE on top."; not to mention the dozens of Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Korean, Russian, Mexican, Indian, and Mediterranean restaurants along the way.)