Saturday, July 31, 2010


Minding your peas is up to you (not sure what this says about chayote*, though)

I have eaten at Q Restaurant and Wine Bar on Clement Street in the past and liked their breakfasts well enough; however, I must state that the breakfast I had there today is one of the best, most original, and imaginative that I have had in a long while (shades of the "lost bread" at Baker Street Bistro and the recently reviewed "Coconut French Toast" at Neighborhood Restaurant & Bakery).

Q has been on Clement for over ten years now and is a pretty nice neighborhood joint. They have a decent enough standard Breakfast menu and they usually have an interesting "Specials" menu, too. Some of the tables are works of art/kitschy tableaus. Today mine was made with lots of little kids toys/figures. My favourite table of theirs has a large, working "Willy Wooly"** that you can play with to your tonsorial delights while waiting for the meal to come.

I ordered off the "Specials" menu today (and, for which, was rewarded fully for my serendipitous choice) and had the Chayote Benedict. It is a variation on a standard Eggs Benedict, but only mucho, mucho, bettero. It comes with bacon (passed; you can have mine, Sean), avocado, tomato, and poached eggs ~ now here is the truly interesting/muy original part ~ served on slices of chayote (instead of boring ol' English muffins, cornbread, etc.) that are breaded and fried. I can't rave enough about this dish. It may not be for everyone, not sure of the chayote appeal to the masses, but I loved it. The only change I would make (if I ever actually cooked myself) would be to slice the tomatoes and avocados a little thinner as the whole thing was a bit unwieldy, but I seemed to manage okay.

Their Hollandaise sauce is a very good version, too. However, I preemptively added some hot sauces and spices (they have these little pepper-shaker thingys that have chili pepper flakes and sundry herbs and spices mixed in on each table) before sampling the sauce, so I am assuming it was even better before I messed with it.

Most breakfast dishes come with home fries ~ very good and a lot of them. I also ordered a "large orange juice" and was pleasantly surprised to actually receive a "LARGE orange juice" for a change, not the normal "large thimble of orange juice". It was only Odwalla®, not fresh-squeezed, but still nice to get a real full glass for a change.

The only bottled hot sauces offered table-side are: Original "Louisiana" Brand ~ the Perfect Hot Sauce (their claim, not mine) and Tapatío® Salsa Picante Hot Sauce; no worries, as I had brought two of my own: Trees Can't Dance Tree Fire Sauce (thanks again, Greg & Cindy) and Roland® Piri Piri with Lemon. Plus, Q's aforementioned pepper-shaker thingy was more than enough additional flavour.

I felt it necessary to mention to the servers how much I loved the meal and told them they really should have this dish on their standard menu all the time. I was told that this is generally on their weekend breakfast specials menu, anyway. Which is nice.

And, if this all wasn't reason enough to go back there again, when they bring the check, it comes with a mini Tootsie Roll® instead of the ubiquitous hard candy/peppermint. Hmm? I wonder if they make a chayote-flavoured Tootsie Pop®?

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Chayote Benedict ~ 7.7

*(Useless cunning linguist story of the day:
Chayote ~ pronounced to rhyme with "coyote", Wile E. ~ is a gourd/squash-like, pear-shaped fruit that is used in a lot of cocina mexicana. The word chayote is Spanish, borrowed from the Nahuatl word chayotli. There is a nice little Mexican restaurant I go to called El Toreador that has a really nice chayote relleno that I love to order, and it is just fun to say "chayote relleno". I happened to mention this one night while at dinner with some friends and the waitress overheard me and felt it necessary to "correct" me and said, "It is not pronounced 'CHayote', but 'coyote', like the animal. There is no 'CH' sound in Spanish." First off, she was only a gringa estupida waitress herself and her knowledge of la lengua españa was probably less than mine. Nextly, I hate being corrected ~ especially incorrectly ~ in front of friends, so I said to her, "I beg to differ, Chica, or is that supposed to be 'Kika'?!" She probably spit in my chayote relleno.)

**(Who hasn’t played with one of these magnetic toys in the past:

I even own a Grandpa Simpson one that was given to me as a gift years ago. Thanks, Kerry!)

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Redux (which does not mean twin water fowl, I looked it up)

An old Air Force buddy of mine from Berlin-town (and fellow 'blog-meister* and WWII Veteran), Jim Turner (J.T.), was in town on business (if you call getting to hike around Yosemite National Park during the best days of the Summer and getting paid for it "business") and he was forced into having breakfast with me at "the best breakfast place in San Francisco for your buck ~ bar none"™©®. I hadn't been back to Dottie's TRUE BLUE CAFE since I started this 'blog a few months ago and it was far time for a revisit.
(If we could have ever gotten my sister-in-law Kathy up before 9:00am two weeks ago during their visit here, I would have re-reviewed it then, too.)

We got there after 9:00am and had to indulge in the requisite 45 minutes to an hour wait in line, but we passed the time catching up on the past 25 years or so. As is the case with any trip to Dottie's, the wait in line can be half the fun. While in line, Jim smelled a familiar olfactory sensation wafting from behind us and made sure to point out that someone in line (or one of the many neighborhood indigenous populace hanging out on the corner) must suffer from Glaucoma and had to make sure to self-medicate (heavily and often, it seemed) while waiting… or maybe the person was just working up to a good appetite to be able to finish Dottie’s portions.

As usual, I forewent the standard menu and pointed Jim in the right direction to order off the weekend special's board. I had the frittata special which consisted of "Balsamic Portobello Mushroom, Tomato, Scallion, Pesto, & Feta" with toast and potatoes. This was a great combo. Anything with Feta or Portobello mushrooms in it is usually a good choice for me. They also had their "Zucchini Cakes topped with Poached Eggs & Spicy Marinara Sauce" (which also comes with toast and potatoes) on the specials board, but I had this earlier in the year on another visit and wanted to try something different. Don't get me wrong, the Zucchini Cakes would have been my first choice if I had seen any sign of "the vile weed" listed in the weekend special frittata. The Zucchini Cakes is a real winner, and their "Spicy Marinara Sauce" is very tasty. It is kind of an Italiano version of (vegetarian) Uova Benedetto.

Jim went with one of my other stalwart faves: Black Bean Cakes, which are served with two eggs (as you like 'em), grilled (fresh, homemade) cornbread, potatoes, and a nice pico de gallo. I can review this from heart, but Jim said he liked it himself. They do other variations on the legume-cakes that I have had and enjoyed before: Lentil Cakes and Black-eyed Peas Cakes (my personal favourite). The legume-cakes are made with beans and rice and are formed into patties. I explain them to people as vegetarian sausage patties.

As I stated on my very first review post here:
Get ye to Dottie's if you are either an Out-of-towner or a Localite!!!

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Frittata ~ 7.5; Black Bean Cakes ~ 7.1 (per J.T. ~ I had coached him very well on the intricacies of the Glen Bacon Scale ahead of time)

*(If you are interested in a good, Arcadian read ~ without having to travel to Ancient Greece ~ check out Jim's 'blog of his adventures in frontiersmanship and hiking in the "World Famous" Shenandoah National Park:

And, for this unsolicited plug, I fully expect Jim to reciprocate on his next entry!!!)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Ashley’s Breakfast Shoppes

Dorchester, Boston, MA (Sunday, 07/18/10)

My last breakfast review from "back East" was from a nice local, neighborhood place in Dorchester (Dot) called Ashley's Breakfast Shoppes (sic, apparently a single "Shoppe" is not good enough). I have eaten here in the past with my brother Kerry on the way to Logan Airport. This place has good home cookin' crossed with a bit of Soul food.

I had the Veggie Omelet: peppers, mushr
ooms, br*ccoli ("the vile weed" rears its ugly head once again ~ it was bound to happen and I figured it was just easier to keep the omelet as it was listed), onions, tomatoes, with cheese. I had the side of grits ~ also with cheese. Nothing exceptionally special with the omelet, it was just very good overall.

Kerry had the Banana Pancakes (no need to "pretend like it's the weekend" as it really was, Jack), made with bananas actually in the batter for a change (sorry, Sean). This comes with 2 eggs prepared how you like 'em and sausage or bacon. They actually offer a turkey version of both and Kerry went with the turkey sausage.

You gotta love a place that offers an O'Bammie Special:

I am sure that is more food than that skinny little dude could ever eat in an entire day. (They also offered a Palin Special, but it is all ham ~ no substance, and comes with a side of used teabags.)

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Veggie Omelet ~ 6.3; Banana Pancakes ~ 6.5 (per Kerry)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Quintal’s Crack O’ Dawn

Wareham, MA (Thursday, 07/15/10, and Friday, 07/16/10)

Part the First

The choices of breakfast places in my parents' hometown of Wareham, MA ("the Gateway to Cape Cod") are pretty slim pickin's. However, I did get the chance to go to one of the better places in town twice last week: Quintal's Crack O' Dawn (no risqué comments on the restaurant name please, this is a family 'blog). I talked my brother Sean into another breakfast sojourn with me.

I had the Nitty Gritty (from their POWER BREAKFASTS list): 2 poached eggs on grits w/bacon (Sean ate those) ham or sausage, homefries topped with salsa & corn bread. I really liked this idea of poached eggs on grits. The corn bread was very good and a large portion to boot; it was grilled to reheat it and that added another depth of flavour. The corn bread might have been even better if it had some fresh corn and jalapeños in it. The salsa could have used some work, though; it seemed to be straight out of a jar ("Made in New York City?!… Get a rope!"). Some fresh pico de gallo would have really been a much better bet. And the only thing missing from this meal was cheese ~ some shredded Cheddar in the grits or on the home fries (or both) would have been great, but that is just me nitty-gritty picking.

Sean had the Georgia Toast: French toast made from wheat bread with peaches and pecans. Again, the peaches were of the canned variety, but it still looked pretty good.

Sorry, no pictures available from this morning's breakfast… Sean forgot to remind me to bring my camera!

Nitty Gritty at the Crack O' Dawn just sounds wrong, but it was really pretty good.

Part D'oh!

Not to be outdone by Sean, my sister Sharon insisted on going out to breakfast again on Friday morning (which was a good idea before our little kayak trip around the beaches of Wareham).

This time from their POWER BREAKFASTS list I had the Skillet Breakfast: 2 eggs on home fries w/ham (skipped this) onions & peppers w/melted Cheddar cheese served in a skillet (hence the name). This was a lot of food and a good choice. It had tons o' green bell peppers and onions, and lots o' cheeses. Plus, I always like meals that are served right in the preparation vehicle ~ that’s how I eat at home.

Sean ordered from their GREAT AWAKENINGS list: 2 Farm Fresh Eggs served w/toast and homefries, and the PERFECT PARTNER of Ham.

Sharon had the Belgium (sic) Waffle w/fruit. The fruit in this case was from frozen blueberries and strawberries, and fresh bananas. This looked like it would be much better with all fresh fruits, tho'.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: the Nitty Gritty ~ 6.5; Georgia Toast ~ ?.?; Skillet Breakfast ~ 6.5; Great Awakenings ~ ?.?; Belgium Waffle ~ ?.?
(Again, I forgot to poll the table for their ratings. But what the heck do I care? I enjoyed my meals.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Linda Jean’s Restaurant

Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard, MA (Tuesday, 07/13/10)

No vacation to Massachusetts should be complete without a trip to Cape Cod or Martha's Vineyard. I was lucky enough to do both this time.

Joining me on this trip were my mother, my sister Sharon (see, I didn’t forget to mention you), and my brother Sean. An early morning ferry from Woods Hole took us to the town of Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard. If we had waited another 1:15 minutes for the next ferry, we could have disembarked in Vineyard Haven instead and had breakfast at the Black Dog, but that would have been almost lunchtime by then. As it was, we went straight to breakfast to Linda Jean's Restaurant in downtown Oak Bluffs. Linda Jean's is a decent enough place, it’s not the Black Dog, though.

I ordered "the Mess" (they added the quotation marks), just because it sounded like something I would order. "The Mess" is: 3 eggs scrambled with fresh spinach, onions and Swiss cheese, served with home fries, toast and coffee. There was a ton o' "fresh spinach" and lots of cheese, too. Their home fries are very good: just greasy enough and with a good amount of spices. I choose a homemade biscuit as my toast choice. All the food was great, but their coffee was just your standard restaurant/diner fare ~ nothing special.

My mother had the (boring) Number 2: "2 large eggs - any style - home fries, your choice of breakfast meat, toast and coffee." Mom went with poached eggs, bacon (which she gave to Sean), and the marble rye toast. She thought the home fries were too greasy; I thought they were just right.

Sharon had the Healthy Start: "We start by substituting Egg Beaters, then we scramble in a mix of br*ccoli, spinach, asparagus, mushrooms, tomato, peppers and onion. Served with home fries, toast and coffee." First off, again with the vile weed?! At least they also had the good taste to included spinach and asparagus. Secondly, who wants to order a healthy start to the day? (And exactly how healthy are those home fries?) It looked pretty decent; however, the photo I took of her meal didn’t come out very good. Sharon also opted for the marble rye toast; I liked my biscuit, but the marble rye looked pretty darn tasty, too.

Sean had the Other Fruit Pancakes. He ordered the peach variety and the pancakes were of the buttermilk type. Now this was a pretty disappointing dish. He had expected the peaches to be fresh and inside the pancakes. As it turned out, they were only canned peaches and served on top of the pancakes with whipped cream. They really missed the boat (or ferry) on this one; fresh peaches (and some fresh ground ginger) would have made this a real winner. At least there were four of 'em.


Glen Bacon Scale Rating: "the Mess" ~ 6.5; Other Fruit Pancakes ~ 6.0 (per Sean); Coffee ~ 5.2
(Oops! I forgot to poll the rest of the table on their ratings. Sorry. Besides, it's my 'blog. Let them write their own reviews.)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Neighborhood Restaurant & Bakery

Somerville, MA (Saturday, 07/10/10)

I was on vacation all last week in Massachusetts and was lucky enough to go out to breakfast a few times while there. My first stop was on the way back from Logan Airport when my brother Kerry picked me up at 7:00am from a red-eye flight (for which he stated that this was worth two normal "Airport Pickups"). He took me to a nice local place called Neighborhood Restaurant & Bakery in Somerville (a suburb of Boston next to Cambridge). They have a great outdoor breakfast patio covered with grape trellises providing a nice shady cover, which came in very handy as it was starting to be a scorcher already in Beantown.

I had their Coconut French Toast ~ dipped in coconut milk, and topped with coconut flakes and whipped cream. This would probably have been enough for me; however, most meals come with: a bowl of homemade cream of wheat, 2 eggs, sausage, home fries, coffee, and orange juice. I asked them to hold the sausage, and they substituted another egg in its place (without telling me). The French Toast was excellent; it is second only to the Pain Perdu at Baker Street Bistro (see entry from April 17th). Their cream of wheat is also a great starter; it has lots of flavour and lots of added cinnamon.

Kerry had the Garden Goat Cheese Omelet ~ with br*ccoli, mushroom, spinach, asparagus, tomatoes. This also comes with the requisite: bowl of homemade cream of wheat, home fries, coffee, and orange juice. I was going to choose this one and ask for it without the vile weed. It had lots of spinach and asparagus in it which more than made up for the d*mn br*ccoli.

Kerry knows of my penchant for hot sauces and provided me with a brand new bottle of Tropical Pepper Co. XXXtra Hot Habañero Pepper Sauce, which was a nice alternative to the ubiquitous Tabasco® Sauce. It was not nearly as hot as the XXX would imply, but it had a good kick and nice flavour.

I had introduced Kerry to Dottie's when he visited San Francisco three years ago, so this was a nice turnabout-fair-play.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Coconut French Toast ~ 7.6; Cream o' Wheat ~ 7.0; Omelet ~ 6.8 (per Kerry)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria

Cold Pizza, Warm Heart…

I know cold pizza is not your prototypical breakfast fare (well, it is when your last name is McGowan), but it is a great, quick breakfast for leftover pizza from the night before.

This discussion has been brought up a few times in my general (bizarre little) circle just this week. My brother Sean ("Hi, Sean!") has claimed as his defacedbook status that "Why does nothing in the world make as good a breakfast as cold pizza? And why haven't restaurateurs tried to capitalize on this fact? It should be right there on menus alongside omelets and hashbrowns." And on Friday afternoon, we were talking about the greatness of cold pizza at work where a co-worker ("Hi, Bill!") stated that he makes what he calls "cold pizza omelettes" the morning after. What this entails is either: 1) scraping off all the toppings and then cutting the crust/dough into bite-sized pieces and putting the entire mess into an omelette or scrambled eggs; or 2) just scraping the toppings off and adding them to scrabbled eggs, and as long as the crust/dough is still pizza-worthy, topping it with the egg-pizza mixture and then eating it hand held. I like the latter idea best and would try it one of these days if I either had the inclination to cook… or ever had eggs in my refrigerator with which to make it.

I had dinner last night with my brother Nick and his wife Kathy at Amici's East Coast Pizzeria* "A Taste of New York", the one located on Lombard Street. They make a very good pizza and state that their pizzas are "The Best Pizza West of New York...", which is a lofty claim, and, in my opinion, not entirely true: the best pizza in San Francisco has to be Tommaso's in North Beach ~ hands down. However, Amici's pizzas are a very decent pie; the wood-burning brick ovens make all the difference.

(And, by the way, it has only taken me three months or so to finally figure out how to get these hyperlinks done correctly. One of these day, I may even figure out the added videos thingy.)

I had ordered one of their small Pizza Margherita ~ Mozzarella, Tomatoes, Fresh Basil, and Olive Oil (Tomato Sauce Optional) (optional tomato sauce opted), and on the way to the table they dropped one slice (out of six slices) and insisted on making me an entire new pizza, but still giving me the 5-slice one for free. The five slices of pizza were actually more than enough for me to eat. So, I was forced to take the entire extra pizza home for breakfast this morning.

To complement the pizza ("My, you are looking extra tasty this morning, senorita Margherita!"), I brewed up some Bettys Applegrove blend coffee that I had just received in a care package from North Yorkshire ("Thanks, Cindy and Greg!").

Buon (freddo) appetito!

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Amici's hot pizza ~ 7.0; Amici's cold pizza~ 6.9; Bettys coffee ~ 7.0

*(Now is this word pronounced "PEET-sa-ria" or "PIZ-eria" in the Brooklynese/Italiano dialect? Take your pick… or fuggedabouditt.)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Bay Watch Restaurant

"Best frittata I have ever eaten!"
~ N.C.C. McGowan, 2-time non-Pulitzer and non-Nobel Peace Prize winning author

(and then IHOP® for lunch)


My brother Nick and his wife Kathy are visiting from Orlando (the one in Florida, just in case there is any confusion) and are staying in the Marina district. So for breakfast this morning, I kept it very local and we went to Bay Watch Restaurant (on Lombard just a few blocks down the street from where they are staying). And sorry to disappoint, but Pamela Anderson did not wait on us (much to the dismay of Nick). Kathy slept in as they did not get in until after Midnight last night/this morning, so it was just Nick and me for breakfast.

I had their special frittata of the day, which included spinach, pesto sauce, tomato, and Jack cheese. Nick had their Santa Fe Frittata: spicy chorizo, avocado, Jack cheese, diced tomatoes, sour cream and chives, and a side salsa. Nick stated unequivocally that this was "The best frittata I have ever eaten!" and then went on to say it was the only frittata he had ever eaten. I liked mine, but not quite as ecstatically as Nick.


Both of these meals were served skillet-style, and with home fried potatoes and English muffins. It was a lot of food, but I felt that they could have included a little more of the potatoes. I also got their house coffee, which was only standard, for which, I still felt the need to get a decent cup of iced coffee at Peet's® afterwards.

Later during the day, we had lunch at IHOP® which is also a few blocks away from their hotel. I had the Loaded Minion Taters, which are Tater Tots® topped with diced tomatoes, jalapeño slices, shredded cheese (a combination of Cheddar and Jack), some kinda pseudo-cheesy sauce, and sour cream; these came with two eggs (I chose "over medium") and two buttermilk pancakes. The
Tater Tots® mess was actually pretty tasty.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Daily Special Frittata ~ 6.2; Santa Fe Frittata ~ 7.0 (guest ranking courtesy of Nick);
Coffee ~ 5.2; IHOP® lunch stuff ~ 6.0