Sunday, October 31, 2010

TOAST Eatery


There are two Noe Valley* locations for TOAST Eatery. I went to their second restaurant, the one located in "downtown Noe Valley" on 24th Street in the spot vacated by the old Herb's Fine Foods. It maintains a 50's-style Diner look to it and there are several "cartoon literalism" murals/artwork by Sirron Norris on the walls.

I had the Sicilian Omelet (not Frittata, nor Fritatta even) ~ Spinach, Sun Dried & Fresh Tomato, Pesto, Onion, & Feta. The choices of toast are: White, Wheat, Rye, Sourdough, or English Muffin; I went with plain ol' wheat bread toast. The side of hash browns were nice and crispy. The omelette had lots of spinach (fresh again), lots of Feta (I asked my server and she told me that she was pretty sure it was a local California Feta; it tasted very good and I assumed it was Greek), and lots of sun-dried tomatoes (I have found that places usually are a bit chintzy on both Feta and sun-dried tomatoes). The flavour combination was very nice and really didn’t even need the extra ingredient of onions, in my opinion.

They serve a good, strong cuppa coffee, Mr. Espresso® (a long-standing Bay Area roastery); it was served with a fun little milk pitcher/creamer (but good coffee should always be drank black, thank you very much). TOAST is right next door to a St*rbucks, and this coffee was much better than that corporate brand.

They have the ubiquitous standard red Tabasco® only on the tables; so I used some of my own Trees Can't Dance Tree Fire Sauce ("Thanks again, Greg & Cindy!") on the hash browns.

As today is Hallowe'en, the cute female server, Colleen, (Sorry, Diane!) was dressed as one of the "Three Blind Mice"; she said two other co-workers were coming as the rest of the mousy trio. They still hadn't shown up by the time I finished eating. Guess the couldn't "see their way to coming to work"!

I like the simplicity of the restaurant's name, and much like Eats (see April 10th, 2010 entry), the food is much better than the basic name would imply. However, my only minor complaint is, with an eatery named "TOAST", I would have expected many more and some interesting different types of bread (Rosemary, Potato, or any others). But what's in a name?

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Siciliana Omelet ~ 7.0; Mr. Espresso coffee ~ 6.9

*(Just to let everyone know, Noe Valley is not named after Rudy. I looked it up. The neighborhood is actually named after José de Jesús Noé, the last alcade, or mayor, of Yerba Buena ~ present day San Francisco.)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Village Grill

The Village Grill is over on West Portal in the West Portal area (go figure). West Portal has that sleepy village atmosphere, so this is a perfect little breakfast place for the neighborhood. They have a good selection of breakfast dishes and offer several weekend specials, too. I sat at the counter and had a great view of their extensive plate collection.

I had to go with the San Franciscan omelette today ~ Spinach, Mushrooms, and Swiss Cheese; and with the choice of sourdough toast ~ in honour of the San Francisco Giants* (your 2010 NL Champs). All egg breakfasts come with either fruit or potatoes ~ never a tough choice for me ~ what am I, some kinda fruititarian? The omelette had lots of fresh spinach (for which, I am happy to state again, it was none of the frozen stuff) and lots and lots of 'shrooms (some kinda wild type ~ sorry, all you fungi-fobes ~ "Hi, Skip!"). Their potato choice was a very good hash browns/home fries mix, made with chunks of onions and green peppers, too.

I skipped the house coffee (I figured their coffee couldn't really be much better than the swill that I make at home and other than being "black and hot" it probably wouldn't have much flavour ~ unlike Beyoncé and Halle Berry, who are both "black and hot" and very tasty, I am sure). So instead, after breakfast, I headed up the street to Peet's® Coffee for a cuppa their daily brew; today it happened to be their Garuda blend. A very nice way to top off the morning.

They only have Tabasco® (standard red) on the tables, so I used some Cholula® on the omelette and some chipotle-habañero on the potatoes (I came prepared with three different types today). The guy sitting next to me even borrowed some of the
chipotle-habañero to use on his breakfast. He asked me if I had ever tried any HP® brown sauce on breakfast; HP® is a very popular condiment in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland ~ which is very similar to 'merica's version of A.1.® Steak Sauce. I have tried this sauce many times over in Englandia and may have to think about buying a bottle to bring along with me on the weekends as an alternative.

The meal was all very good, I was just a little disappointed that my breakfast wasn't served on a Mona Lisa collection plate or something… they could have at least offered.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: the San Franciscan ~ 6.5; Potatoes ~ 6.9; Peet's® Garuda Blend~ 7.0

*(With Giants fever sweeping the City and all the orange and black decorations around town, it almost feels like Hallowe'en around here.)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Just For You cafe

... and me

Just For You cafe used to be located on 18th Street (near Connecticut) over on Potrero Hill*, where I used to go there often for breakfast and lunch when I worked only a few blocks downhill. They have been at their present location in Dogpatch** for the past eight years or so now. Like Dottie's TRUE BLUE CAFE, they have a great breakfast (and lunch) selection from which to choose; their main specialties are New Orleans, Mexican, and California classics.

This place could easily be put into my rotation, if not for its being located diametrically opposite (as opposed to diametrically the same?) my apartment in the City; it is about as far away in San Francisco to travel from my neighborhood as possible and not end up in the Bay. It took me about half an hour to drive cross-town to get there this morning, mainly due to the wet road conditions. They have lots of cool old art posters, Rock-and/or-Roll concert posters, movie posters, and travel posters on their walls. It has a very friendly and inviting neighborhood feel to it. There really is no equivalent in the Richmond District, unfortunately.

I had the Frittata (witch eye em gladd two sai wuz speled kerrektlee) of the Decade ~ A slow-pan-fried Italian omelette with zucchini, mushrooms, onion, garlic, spinach & tomato, topped with Cheddar cheese. (Wonder what the Frittata included just last year?!) This had lots of fresh veggies in it and, I am happy to say, especially the spinach was fresh (not frozen) which is always a big plus, Popeye. The only thing I might have done differently (if I ever cooked) would be to substitute the Cheddar cheese with either Fontina or Provolone (autentico formaggi italiani); otherwise, this frittata was superbo, eccellente, magnifico.

All of their egg dishes are served with home fries and choice of fresh baked breads/toast; I went with the cornbread. The home fries were an excellent chunky-style made from red potatoes and were sufficiently crispy and crunchy on the outside ~ nice. The cornbread was a huge corner piece; I ended up eating about half of it only.

I also had a cuppa very nice N’Orleans-style coffee, made with roasted chicory: Community Coffee® ~ The Genuine Flavor of New Orleans (which is actually located in Baton Rouge, though).

This place, again like Dottie's TRUE BLUE CAFE, offers a selection of many different types of hot sauces: 3 different varieties of Tabasco® (standard Red, Chipotle, and Jalapeño); Cholula®; El Yucateco® ~ XXXTRA HOT SAUCE Salsa Kutbil-lk de HABANERO (rated at 11,600 Scoville units, by the way), Crystal®, and Tapatío®. I had come prepared with some of my own, but was glad to see none were really needed. I ended up going with some of the El Yucateco® on the home fries; unfortunately, I went a little heavy with the hot sauce (hey, it pours pretty fast) and nearly blew my head off (and am still blowing my nose) when eating them. The server was extra nice and asked if I'd like some more potatoes to balance it out; there really was too much food as it was, so I told her no.

They even have mini-pepper grinders on the counter to use; fresh, cracked pepper is always the best.

They also offer Beignets (another N’Orleans tradition) on the menu, three per order, and they are HUGE. I will have to go back another time just to try them (the excellent server even offered me one freebie of those, too. Again, I was way too full as it was… now if I had only skipped eating most of the cornbread).

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Frittata of the Decade ~ 7.5; Community Coffee ~ 6.9

*(Stupid cunning linguist pointer of the day:

"Potrero" is Spanish for "pasture": the name derives from an 1835 land grant to Don Francisco de Haro to graze cattle in the "potrero nuevo" or "new pasture". This would explain the other nickname for the neighborhood "Goat Hill" ~ which, of course, beats "the place where convicted felon ~ multiple counts: including Criminal Conspiracy, Kidnapping, Assault, Robbery, and Using a Deadly Weapon ~ and also guilty of Wrongful Death and Battery charges, Orenthal James Simpson grew up", which is just too long to put on postcards and tends to scare off the touristas.)

**(Even though Dogpatch is one of the oldest existing neighborhoods in San Francisco, it is still a relatively "newish" area for "re"-development and really hasn't been hit by the "gentrification" bug of the late 90's - early 2000's, like Hayes Valley and South Park . It remains mostly a residential and warehouse area. However, since the developments of the UC Mission Bay Campus and AT&T Park ~ home of your 2010 NL Championship San Francisco Giants! ~ just north along 3rd Street, Dogpatch has become a little more popular commercial spot.,_San_Francisco

Not sure where the name "Dogpatch" comes from, but it sounds cool. Maybe Al Capp was one of the founding fathers of the neighborhood.)

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Comfortable Food*

Stacks'** as the name implies is an old-fashioned, pancake-house style restaurant. However, don't be fooled by the simplicity of the name, as this ain't exactly your mama's IHOP®. Stacks' has three locations in the Bay Area: Burlingame (which I think is the original restaurant), Menlo Park, and San Francisco; as well as two sister locations (separately owned, in Redwood City and Campbell). I went to the one in Hayes Valley this morning. I have been to the one in downtown Burlingame several times, too, as friends of mine used to live nearby ("Hi, Amy, Luke, and Zaria!" ~ see, I said "Hi!" to everyone from "A-Z".) Normally, if you get to the San Francisco restaurant after 9:30am on most weekends, you can expect a line out the door and a wait of at least 30-45 minutes. Today was a little overcast and scared away most of the posers, and I got there very early, so I had no problem getting seated immediately. There were even a few people occupying the outside tables (of which there are about 6-8 on the sidewalk).

There really aren't as many pancake dishes offered on the menu as you would think by the restaurant's moniker. They have a few different types of pancakes, Belgian waffles, and crepes; but they do also offer an entire array of frittatas*** (unfortunately which they have “mispeled” on their menu as "Fritattas"), Eggs Benedict-style dishes, as well as omelettes (which they have on the menu as the completely acceptable alternative spelling of "Omelets"), and some very good "Skillets" (not misspelled as "Skiletts" nor "Skillettes", I was glad to see).

I am not normally a pancakes kind of guy (although I do enjoy the occasional excellent "Lost Bread" now and then ~ see Baker Street Bistro and B
Star Bar entries); but I figured, when in Rome, do as the Etruscans do, so I had the Lumberjack Pancakes ~ Blueberries, Bananas, Raisin-Walnut, and Wheat germ. I got the "Short Stack" (2 HUGE pancakes ~ which I could not even finish; their "Full Stack" is 3 pancakes. They also offer a "Single" pancake, which is what I shoulda gotten.) This comes with a cup of blueberry compote/syrup. The pancakes were chock full o' (raisin-wal)nuts, blueberries, and bananas (and wheat germ, too, I suppose).

To me, it just ain't breakfast unless there is some kinda side o' potatoes; so I also ordered their "Potatoes". This was not your standard, chunky Home Fries or shoestring Hash Browns variety; these were more like a sliced/shredded style (perhaps prepared à la mandoline?) ~ with onions in the mix. When I quizzed my server, Francisco, on what you would call the exact style, he agreed with my "sliced/shredded" wording.

I finished the meal off with a cuppa coffee. This turned out to be a very good, strong coffee ~ actually it was a carafe that they leave at your table (which is nice); sorta like an upscale IHOP®, but just with much better coffee and actually at a lower price. Again I pestered… er, queried Francisco as to what kind of coffee they brew. He not only informed me that it was Peerless Coffee & Tea®, but he went back into the kitchen and brought out a bag of the coffee to show me.

I did find it a little odd that you have to order as an additional item some Brown Family Farm Pure New England Maple Syrup (from Brattleboro, VT) for $1.69/each. It's not really about the money, though; if you can't afford to eat out, don't (but Free Stuff is always the best.) This did not stop me in any way from ordering it. After all, what is more 'merican than Maple syrup and blueberries? Add some pun'kin to the batter and you have the perfect true all-'merican classic breakfast. The Maple syrup came in a cute little 1.35 oz. bottle that was more than enough for my two pancakes and I ended up sharing it with the couple at the next table over (they had some Belgian waffles). I did save the mini-bottle as a cool souvenir.

They only have available on the tables bottles of Tabasco® ~ the standard Red and Jalapeño versions; but Francisco was on the ball (yet again) and brought me out a bottle of The Pepper Plant® Original California Style Hot Pepper Sauce (from Gilroy ~ "the Garlic Capital of the Universe"), which went very well on the "shredded potatoes", Betty.

I don't normally comment here on the service/servers (unless the waitress happens to be very hot); but Francisco was exceptional ~ he went "far above and beyond the call of duty" and answered several of my innocuous questions; he also brought out the additional hot sauce for me upon request and the bag of coffee to show me (it smelled great!). For this, I made sure to "reverse complain" to the Manager, who also turned out to be one of the owners, about the great service provided by Francisco. I generally tip at least 20%, but today I made sure to tip 30% ~ heck the extra 10% only turned out to be around the same price as the 100% Pure New England Maple Syrup, anyway.

I did have one major complaint though (and for which I hope Francisco does not get canned): no one ever informed me of the "Mickey Mouse" pancakes available on the kids menu…

"I'm a Lumberjack and I'm okaaaaaay!"

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Lumberjack Pancakes ~ 7.0; Potatoes ~ 6.8; Peerless Coffee & Tea ~ 6.7; Service ~ 8.0

*(This is their actual slogan. I would have probably come up with something a lot more corn-bally, like: "Food for People".)

**(Their website and business card state "Stacks"; however, their menu and the Burlingame restaurant's awning/sign state "Stacks'". As I like the idea of it being plural and possessive, I went with this spelling.)

***(Stupid Cunning Linguist pointer of the day: This is the correct Italiano spelling of the word and I am sticking by it. The word comes from the Italiano word "fritto" which is the past participle of "friggere" "to fry" ~ even though it is generally more of a baked dish.)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Nini’s Coffee Shop

San Mateo, CA

Don't let the name fool you, Nini's Coffee Shop is not really just a li'l ol' coffee shop, it is a full-service breakfast and lunch joint. Nini's is in San Mateo*, just off Highway 101. For those of you unfamiliar with the Bay Area, San Mateo is located about 10-15 miles south of San Francisco**; San Mateo is better know for the sports alumni from one of its private high schools, Junipero Serrra High School: Lynn Swann (Class of 1970; NFL Hall of Fame), Barry Bonds (Class of 1982; MLB Hall of Fame-bound… possibly), and Tom Brady (Class of 1995; NFL Hall of fame-bound, probably); unfortunately, I could not locate any of the famous female athletes that went there.

The location ~ just a short ride down the freeway from Candlestick Park, home of the Five-Time World Champions San Francisco 49ers ~ makes this place a favourite Sunday morning breakfast spot before the throngs head to the game to tailgate. As the group of seven of us all got there around 10:00am, there was about a half-hour wait due to the small crowd already waiting to eat in time to make Kick-off (however, when they finally seated us at a table, it was one that would have held five people a lot more comfortably; luckily, we all like each other well enough and there was no filching of food off anyone else's plate… well, I think I did notice Zaria steal some from Marc's plate). Today's gladiatorial match was to be the 49ers vs. their cross-Bay rivals, the Oakland Raiders; so there were many fans of both teams waiting to be fed.

I knew I would get there earlier than some of the others, and despite Nini's name, I figured the coffee at Peet's® in Burlingame would be a much better bet. I actually got one of their seasonal frou-frou drinks, Pumpkin Spice Latte; it was pretty good still.

There are many good choices on Nini's breakfast menu, but I went with the Greek Omelette ~ (
χωρίς αρνί, ευχαριστώ), Feta, tomatoes, black olives, and spices, sour cream, and chives. This had lots of Feta in it, which is always a major plus; however, the black olives were just the standard sliced, canned variety. This would be a much better omelette with real Καλαμάτα olives, of course, and with the addition of green bell peppers and onions. I do like that they ask if you'd like your side of home fries with green peppers and onions (I did like) or not, so that kind of makes up for the omelette omissions. (My what nice alliterations you have, Allie!)

Ooops! I completely forgot to take a picture of my meal or even our crowded little group (Nobody puts Baby's group in the corner, Johnny!)… sorry, guys. (Hi, Luke, Zaria, Steve, and David!) Plus, I forgot to poll the group for their input; but, judging from all the empty plates, everyone seemed to enjoy their meals as much as I did.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Greek Omelette ~ 6.5; Peet's® Pumpkin Spice Latte ~ 6.7

*(The Spanish name for Saint Matthew; however, this is not one of the original Fray Junípero Serra "San" Misiones de California.)

**(Some town in Northern California with "Trolley Cars" and lots of hills, I think it is known to the locals as "Frisco". This was one of the original
Fray Junípero Serra "San" Misiones de California.)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Eddie’s Cafe

Soul Food Restaurant (just not a Seoul* Food Restaurant)

"Onions on your sneakers!"**

Eddie's Cafe (sans accent aigu, s'il vous plaît) is over in the Western Addition on Divisadero, just a block away from historic Alamo Square (anyone not from San Francisco, that is the "Full House" park ~ the one with "the Painted Ladies"). This little place is a really nice family/neighborhood-friendly joint; it has a very local place feel to it and there were a few families with li'l'uns dining there this morning. It has a great old-style diner counter in addition to vinyl booths for the patrons to eat at.

Over the counter and in a cupboard at the end of the counter, there is a very cool collection of coffee mugs. The best thing is that they are actually used to serve the customers (the guy sitting next to me got a Batman one, another guy down the counter was stuck with a San Diego Chargers mug, etc.), not just to look at. I asked the owner(?)/waitress where all the mugs came from and she told me that someone gave them one as a gift once and now it has blossomed into a collection of well over 100 mugs of all sizes and types.

Their menu is really nothing special, just a pretty basic diner-ish menu. The only "Soul food" that I really noticed on the menu was "grits" and some "greens". No big deal, as I was there for breakfast anyway. I had the Vegetable Omelett (sic) ~ three eggs with hash browns or grits/toast or homemade biscuits & jelly; and I had them add some Swiss cheese to it. It was a simple enough "omelett" made with tomatoes, green bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms. I went with hash browns and biscuits for my choices. I also had a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice (which may or may not have been "fresh squeezed" by Odwalla®, which sounds Korean enough for me.)

They only have Crystal® out on the tables, but when I asked if they had any others, they brought out both Tabasco® and Tapatío® for me. I had come prepared with a few from my own "collection" and used a little Trees Can't Dance Tree Fire Sauce (thanks again, "Greg" and Cindy) on the hash browns. I was actually pretty surprised that they did not even have any gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste), though.

The food wasn't really the best I have ever had, nor was it the worst; it was just a very nice overall breakfast and friendly experience. I will be going back mainly for the friendly atmosphere and to bring a mug to add to their collection; I just need to remember to try and get a fun coffee mug from Englandia when I am over there on my "Christmas Holiday" this year ~ I'm thinking a Bettys or one from Liverpool would be neat.

And to top off the morning, I found two pennies ~ one right outside the restaurant in the gutter while I was taking the photos, and one right next to my car a block away ~ twice as lucky for me!

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Vegetable Omelett ~ 5.9; Coffee Mug Collection ~ 7.5

*(The restaurant is owned and operated by a Korean family. I had to ask why they didn't offer any Korean specialties on the menu. The best that I can figure out is that the restaurant at one time must have been owned by an actual "Eddie" and the current owners just kept the menu as it always was. )

**(See my entry for Art's Café from August 14th, 2010 for the translation to that lame joke.)

Sunday, October 10, 2010


10, Десять, Zehn, Δέκα, Dieci, Dix, Diez, عشرة, and עשר

As today is October 10th, 2010 (or 10/10/10 for you numerologically challenged), I figured what better way to celebrate than with one of the best (again, there are no Tens on the Glen Bacon Scale) breakfast places in San Francisco (and subsequently, one of the best in the World). And to top it off, Dottie's TRUE BLUE CAFE was playing a little Lady Ella when I was sitting there waiting for my food (but just what the heck does "Take A Train" mean, though?) ~ I can’t think of a better way to start off a beautiful Fall Sunday.

The above photos are of Dottie's chandeliers that are made from coffee making instruments and cups: a copper pot one and an Italiano espresso maker one. They have several others, too; I just figured I'd open this entry with something different other than a shot of the outside of the restaurant as I have already written about
Dottie's twice and both times supplied a picture of the façade; it hasn’t changed in the past two months.

As usual, I ordered from their Specials Board: Zucchini cakes ~ topped with poached eggs & spicy Marinara sauce; fruit & potatoes. Think of this as an Italiano fresh take on the classic Eggs Benedicto, Arnold. The zucchini cakes form the basis for this, and are a great idea. The Marinara sauce was excellent ~ chunky and fresh, with just a touch of spicy heat. I have had this dish a few times before and it is always a good choice. I also had a glass of grapefruit juice and a cuppa coffee to round it out.

Dottie's is one of the few places that offer more than just one or two different types of bottled hot sauces on the tables. They have several different varieties of Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce and a few others from which to choose. I went with the Tabasco® Chipotle and Frank's® RedHot Chile'nLime ~ a little of both on the potatoes (on each sides of the pile); Dottie's Marinara sauce was plenty tasty on its own and did not need me messin' with the flavour any.

Dining at
Dottie's is always an International affair. There were two Israeli women sitting at the table next to me. I only learned this as after one of them sneezed, I insulted her by saying "Sakha!" (which is Arabic for "Gesundheit!", which you should probably not say to someone from Israel either, "Greg"). I really didn't catch much of what they were saying to each other beforehand and my language ID hadn't really kicked-in yet this morning; I just assumed they were speaking Arabic… oops!* I did make sure to say "Shalom!" when they were leaving, though. The next table over was a guy visiting from Los Ångeles, his friend was a local San Franciscano, though; I talked him into ordering the Zucchini Cakes, too.

One day I will have to go there and just order from their Baked Goods Specials board. Today's line-up included some great choices: Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake; Red Plum Streusel Coffee Cake (which would have been my first choice); Coconut Honey Muffin; Pumpkin Crumb Cake; Whiskey Blueberry Crumb Cake (which would have been my second choice); Apple Caramel Tart; and several other tasty entries.

One of Dottie's cute little trademarks (Dottie's?) is that at each table there is a different kitschy salt-and-pepper shaker combination. Today, mine happened to be these Siamese cats (sorry, no Lady or Tramp available, Walt). There is also a display of several snow globes on the dining countertop by the stove. I presented Kurt with one that I had bought from Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard; it was one from the Flying Horses Carousel. I had specifically purchased it for this purpose. Next time I go, I will be sure to take a photo of these.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Zucchini Cakes ~ 7.77 (in keeping with the whole numerological thingy)

*(Just to let everyone know I am not generally anti-semantic: I actually know the difference between Jewish, Hebrew, and Israeli.)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

B Star Star Bar Bar

Bis bis, Signore Porky Suino!

Okay, I know that I stated last week that I would like to check out some of the other breakfast items at B Star Bar; however, however, I really hadn't expected to go there two weeks running (or sitting still, even)… but you know what Lenny Small always said about fate: "George, tell me about the rabbits again."

I had purposely headed over to Clement Street again this weekend with the intent of going to Eats (
see: April 10th, 2010 entry) to check out something different on their menu for breakfast; however, it was closed due to a plumbing problem. They had someone sitting out front directing people over to their "sister restaurant" which is just across the street and down the block a few doors. As I was already in the neighborhood, I figured it was just easier to check out B Star Bar again again. B Star normally normally opens at 10:00am for Saturday breakfasts, but they had opened at 9:00am today to handle the overflow from Eats. After all, what are "sisters" for (no, really, I only had one growing up and am not quite sure and would really like to know)?
I tried the Lentil Ragu* ~ curried lentils and vegetable medley with poached eggs and wheat toast. This medley included: snow peas, carrots, zucchini, cauliflower, and tomatoes; the curry sauce was very tasty, too. The entire dish was good, but just not as good as their Stuffed Azuki Almond Banana French Toast. I would recommend the lentil ragoût to people, and would order it again; however, unlike the French toast, it would not demand a trip there all by itself.

To round out the meal, I ordered a side o' home fries again again, which were as good as last week. I also had a glass of their Ginger Lemonade ~ this was an excellent choice, just like at Burma Superstar; made with fresh squeezed lemons, fresh ginger, and sparking water; it was very refreshing. I also ordered a Golden Monkey (this is a type of tea, not some kinda bizarre Asian side dish) ~ it was a decent enough tea (Bettys has nothing to fear, though) and really didn't need any additional sugar to sweeten it; I did find that it was overpowered by all the other spices (curry) and flavours of the meal; this tea probably would have been a nice one to enjoy at the start of a meal all by itself.

As I was expecting to eat at Eats, and I knew they already had some decent hot sauces available, I did not bring any of my own stash with me. I also knew from last week that B Star only only have Tapatío® available and Sriracha hot sauce, but my waiter located a bottle of Tabasco® for me to use, also. As it were, I went with some Tapatio® on the potatoes only; the lentil curry was flavourful enough on its own and really didn’t need any extra spiciness.

The picture at the top of this entry of B
Star's street street sign sign depicts the weekend special Blueberry Angel Pancakes in honour of Fleet Week (Blue Angels, nu?). I was not quite sure why Popeye was included on the board, as there really were no spinach specials on the breakfast menu; possibly it was to go along with the whole Navy theme (I would have gone with a drawing of Squidward Tentacles, myself); it was a pretty decent rendition of the Sailor Man, though.

And as hard as I tried, I just couldn't get my server to admit that he had monkeyed with the pipes over at Eats.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Lentil Ragu ~ 6.5; Ginger Lemonade ~ 6.6; Golden Monkey ~ 6.3

*(I just have one little cunning linguistic spelling point here ~ and this is not to mention the whole whole B
Star redundancy redundancy fiasco fiasco again again ~ "ragù" is the correct Italiano spelling of this word and I would have thought that the French spelling of "ragoût" would have been a much better fit. What's the big deal, Mademoiselle Vanna? Just buy another vowel and add another ~ even if it is silent ~ consonant.)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Roxanne Cafe

"You don't have to put on your red… potatoes?"

Roxanne Cafe (sans accent aigu) is located on Powell Street right along the Cable Car* line, uphill a few blocks from Union Square. This place was recommended to me two months ago by the couple sitting next to me at Art's Café (avec accent aigu); I am always up for new/good suggestions and probably would never have ventured here on my own. Roxanne Cafe is a very cozy little place; the clientele seemed like mainly touristas, from the looks of them and due to its location near many downtown hotels. There is no actual known "Roxanne"associated with the place; I asked, Mr. Gordon Sumner.

I had the Omelet ('merican spelling noted; however, I much prefer the Frenchy spelling) Napa ~ Sautéed (avec accent aigu) Apples, Brie, Fresh Cilantro, Mushrooms, and Almonds. All the omelettes come with home fries (red potatoes; hence, the hokey subtitle joke) and a choice of toast (for which, I chose Sourdough). I also had a large apple juice (to complement the omelette) and a cuppa coffee.

Now, I know what you're thinking (and you all should be ashamed of yourselves!), "Fruit in an omelette, Brian?" Well, technically, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, and eggplant are all fruits, and go very well in many omelettes. The combination of ingredients in this particular omelette all seemed to work well: Brie and apples (or pears) always go well together; they used "real" mushrooms, not the canned or plain ol' boring button variety (Me: "What kinda mushrooms do you use in the omelette?", Waitress: "Wild mushrooms.", Me: "Oh, good, I really hate having to eat those domesticated, tame ones."); and the almonds were toasted and slivered. The only thing I probably would change (if I could ever learn how to make a proper omelette) is to substitute the fresh cilantro for Herbes de Provence; this would have probably paired (or peared?) better than the cilantro with the rest of the ingredients. (The standard mixture of Herbes de Provence typically contains savory, fennel, basil, and thyme flowers and other herbs.)

I saw this little fresco of "not Herbes de Provence" along their bar counter:

Looks like "Thyme" was a little late… or early… as I have always heard "Thyme waits for no one".

They do have many other good breakfast choices, but this one seemed like the most bizarre, and I always like to go with the Mae West version ("When choosing between two evils, I always like to choose the one I haven't tried before."). This fruity omelette was so much better than Seal Rock Inn's Sunrise Omelette ~ bananas (and raisins) do not belong in a morning eggy dish… unless Rum, butter, (and, apparently, azuki beans and mascarpone now) and French toast are included of course.

They only have the plain ol'/standard red Tabasco® available. I came prepared with both Sylvia's RestaurantKickin' Hot ~ Hot Sauce (Thanks again, Sean!) and Trees Can't Dance ~ Belizean Habañero Sauce (Thanks again, "Greg" and "Cindy"). The Sylvia's was put to good use on the red potatoes and Trees Can't Dance on the omelette. I figured the fruitiness of the habañero sauce would go well with the rest of the ingredients (and add just a touch o' heat); I was right.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Napa Omelet ~ 7.0; "Frisco Trolley Cars" ~ 8.5

*(There are two very important pieces of information that I always impart to any visitor of San Francisco:

1) Those little transportation thingys that everyone waits hours in line for a one-way trip up and down the hills of San Francisco are called Cable Cars, not "Trolley Cars".

2) It is San Francisco, never-ever "Frisco". San Francisco can also be called "the City" by locals, as this is an accepted nickname. However, I never understood how someone from either Oakland or San Jose ~ a much larger "city" itself now for many years ~ would refer to San Francisco as "the City", too.

I learned these little pointers almost immediately while living here.

So if someone ever asks you where you can catch a ride on the "Frisco Trolley Cars", you tell them to go to Utah or Pennsylvania, or to seek out Jack Wagner.)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

B Star Bar

(or) B Star Bar (which to me just seems kind of redundant to me)

B Star Bar is the sister restaurant to both Burma Superstar* (think Burmese/Asian fusion ~ and that is fusion as in nukular, George W.) and Eats (see: April 10th, 2010 entry); all three are located within blocks of each other along Clement Street. I have had dinner here before (their Basil Chili Tofu is a keeper), but this is the first time I have had breakfast here.

I ordered the Stuffed Azuki Almond Banana French Toast (which is a bit of a mouthful, but does describe exactly what you are getting) ~ Japanese red beans & mascarpone, cinnamon. This is your basic French toast slathered with an azuki bean and mascarpone paste between slices of bread, sprinkled with sliced roasted almonds, and with lots of chunks of bananas around it; it was very lightly-battered/egg-dipped, not soggy at all; and served with real maple syrup (it may sound like a little thing, but it really does add lots of extra flavour, not to mention extra points in the Glen Bacon Scale Rating). It was very good and I especially liked all the interesting ingredients; however, it wasn't Baker Street Bistro's Pain Perdu, but, then again, not many are (this is not to insult this tasty breakfast; I doubt that either Nicole Kidman or Uma Thurman mind being compared with Marilyn Monroe).

I had this with a side o' home fries, which were more like roasted potatoes, not greasy at all (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing either); they were nicely spiced already, but the addition of their home-made chili oil was still a nice touch.

In place of the ubiquitous orange juice, I had a glass of Mango Lassi (not to be confused with a "Coconut Rin-Tin-Tin" ~ I had to add that corn-ball joke so as to curtail any like replies by my older brother, who shall remain nameless… and I don't mean Kerry); this was more like a mango smoothie (beware the brain-freeze!) than a typical Indian-style lassi that I am used to.

To round out the breakfast, I also ordered the Vietnamese Style Drip Coffee (that I had first misread as Viennese coffee ~ which did sound a bit out of place with the theme of the rest of the food) which automatically comes with sweetened condensed milk. They bring it right to your table and you patiently wait while it does its job. This was a very cool drip contraption; I may have to find one for my own home use. The coffee was very strong (read: very good) and reminded me of a Greek/Turkish/Arabic coffee, just without the extra added benefit of the grounds at the bottom.

They only have Tapatío® and Huy Fong Foods Inc.® Sriracha hot sauces upon request, but their (aforementioned) home-made chili oil was more than sufficient and flavourful.

Like Eats and Q (see: July 31st, 2010 entry) ~ and coincidentally both in the same area on lower Clement Street ~ this is another good place to go back to one of these days to check out some of the other interesting breakfasts on the menu (e.g. Hijiki Tofu Scramble, Lentil Ragu, etc.).

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Stuffed Azuki Almond Banana French Toast ~ 7.2; Vietnamese Coffee ~ 7.0; Home Fries ~ 6.9; Mango Lassi ~ 6.8

*(Burma Superstar has the BEST-tasting curry I have had in any Indian, Thai, or South Asian place EVER! It's hard to explain without actually tasting it… but I am always up for a dinner there if anyone wants to try it for themselves. I am not saying I am an expert on curries, but I have been eating them since the early 80's and know what I like. Plus their Tea Leaf Salad and Rainbow Salad are worth the trip there alone. )