Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cliff House ~ the Terrace Room

Sunday "Brunch"/Happy (Maine) Maple Syrup Day*!




http://www.cliffhouse.com/brunch/index.html



 

Today's morning (stretching well into afternoon) meal was more about enjoying a good time with old friends than the eating per se (but the per se was pretty tasty and filling to boot). I had an actual "Brunch" (there is no other way to explain this meal as it was your traditional old-fashioned buffet-style "Sunday Champagne Brunch") today at the Terrace Room at Cliff House. Joining me (or should I say "footing the bill") were Harvey and Jamie (I have only known Harvey for 30+ years now and Jamie for about ten years) and Bob and Liz (them I haven't know for quite as long, only 24 years or so).


















The buffet table was excellent, large, and copious, and had everything that meatatarians and vegetarians alike could enjoy, from thick slabs of poached salmon (with all the fixins: chopped red onions, cream cheese, a dill sauce, capers, and the requisite bagels to shmear it all on) to Mac & Cheese (but, believe me, this ain't your mother's yellow, faux cheesy sauce, crappy Kraft brand). There were at least two different fruit salads from which to choose (I skipped both; I can get fresh fruit anywhere) and several different brunchificated-style salads, too (these I did fill up my plate with, more than once).




In no particular order, I had:

  • Roasted cauliflower salad with Shiitake (2X helpings)
  • Asparagus (which were simply grilled and huge)
  • Orzo sun-dried tomatoes salad (there were other good things in it, but I really didn't take note of the rest of the ingredients)
  • 3-Beet salad (3 kinds o' roasted beetroots: yellow, pink, and red) with Goats cheese
  • Farfalle pasta salad with Arugula and Feta (and other good stuff that I again forgot to take note of)
  • Roasted garlic and onion salad
  • Some kinda apple(?) and cranberry, walnut salad thingy
  • Mac & cheese (made with Rotini pasta)
  • Scalloped potatoes (or au gratin? Who can tell the difference?) (2X helpings)
  • French toast with Maple Syrup (I had to celebrate the day with something that I could pour Maple Syrup on; however, it was from Vermont.)
  • And of course the famous Cliff House Popovers(!) (the infamous Cliff House Popovers really aren't anything much to speak of); there was no way I was eating at the Cliff House (free meal or not) without having some (2X helpings) of these favourites of mine.

To drink (and drink and drink):


  • Cuppa (bottomless) coffee
  • And lots and lots of free-flowing Champagne

And lastly for dessert (not that I really had much room left):

  • Pot de Crème**
  • Chocolate-dipped strawberries

Now I could rate each item separately, but that would take too long and may cost many lives, so I will just say it was all very good, and I may not have to eat again… until later.

Just to let you get an idea of how "fancy" a place this actually was, they even had a lady sitting there playing what I guess must have been some kinda deconstructed piano. I think she probably learned the craft from some guy named Arthur Marx. (I felt sorry for her and threw in a couple of bucks in her tip jar so that she might be able to afford the rest of the frame to the piano.)





Thanks again, Harvey and Jamie! (This is yet another great meal on the long list of great meals I owe you.) And it was great to see Bob and Liz again, too.


Glen Bacon Scale Rating: "Brunch" ~ 7.0; Popovers(!) ~ 8.2; Good Friends ~ 9.0


*(For some reason today is Maine Maple Syrup Day. There is also a National Maple Syrup Day that is celebrated on December 17th. I wonder if Vermont and Quebec also have their own separate Maple Syrup Days.)

 
**(I really had no idea what these were going to be, but they were excellent. I talked Liz into getting one, too. They were only a bite-sized dessert, anyway. They were served in these cute little, hollowed-out egg shells. This version was a butterscotch flavoured one.

 
Just for your edification ~ and mine:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pot_de_crème
 


Maybe these should have been called "Oeuf de Crème".)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Liverpool Lil's

Where "You'll Never Eat Alone"*



http://www.liverpoollils.com/


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loyRYFUYg9g

(I know that a Beatles song would probably have been a much better choice for a Liverpudlian 'blog-entry… but S'couse** me! Besides, the only Beatles songs that I could think of that mention Liverpool place names were Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forever***; the meal cost more than a penny and there were no strawberries to be found in my fruit cup this morning.)



(This would be a picture of an actual ferry crossing the Mersey. I took this photo in December when I was Merseyside.)

This morning for breakfast I went to Liverpool Lil's, over in Cow Hollow (right across the street from the Presidio's Lombard Gate):

"A Friendly San Francisco neighborhood pub in the old world tradition. Fine California and English specialties**** served daily."

This is true as the inside décor (Well, who really goes to a place for its outside décor?) is all wood-paneling and such. It is a bit of a local Sports bar, too. I forgot to look for any Liverpool F.C. memorabilia, though.

I have been there a few times for dinner and drinks, but had only been there once before for "Brunch" (their term, not mine). As I have finally done my pilgrimage to the Mecca of Beatledom this past Christmas vacation, I thought I should check it out again. Unfortunately, there were no Beatles songs (or Billy Fury even) playing on the house stereo. There were some very good 'merican Blues songs playing instead (Mr. McKinley Morganfield among others).




(A statue of some guy outside the Cavern Club in Liverpool. He must be a Wareham Gatemen fan, too.)


I lucked out again today and parked across the street (right in front of the restaurant) along the Presidio boundary wall, where I first heard and then saw dozens of my friends the Wild Parrots of San Francisco roosted in the tall eucalyptus trees above me. They were still way too high up in the trees for me to get any good photos, though.


I was surprised to see (or not see) that there was no real "Full English Breakfast" (see 'blog-entry from January 1st, 2011) to be found on the menu. Now, mind you, I really don't miss the complete lack of black pudding (or other porky side products), but I actually like baked beans and grilled "tomahtoes" for breakfast; and "bubble and squeak" is one of my favourite potato-based breakfast dishes. Otherwise, they have a pretty standard breakfast (or "Brunch" even) menu. They also have several items from which to choose on their weekend specials board.





As normal, I forewent the regular printed menu and it was going to be a choice between the Banana Bread French Toast or the Vegetable Frittata. I decided on the Vegetable Frittata ~ Artichoke hearts, roasted bell peppers, spinach & mushrooms, goats cheese baked in a creamy egg pie, served with breakfast potatoes, mixed seasonal fruit cup and choice of toast. (I chose the English muffins for the toast, even though I know that this is really not a Britishlander baked good product. And these were probably just your standard Thomas'® brand, anyway.) I also had a cuppa coffee (which was served in a little mini personal pot ~ a nice touch, whot?!).




The frittata was very good and included many of my favourite ingredients. However, it was more along the style of a slice of quiche pie. The breakfast potatoes were good ~ chock full o' red bell peppers, onions, and sundry other spices and herbs ~ but just a little under-cooked (read: not burnt to a crisp) for my liking. In their defense, I was the first person there this morning and maybe they hadn't been cooked/grilled fully yet. Another minor complaint would be the completely sucky lighting inside the place. I really couldn't tell exactly what the "seasonal fruits" were in my fruit cup. I think there were apples, pineapples, cantaloupe, and honeydew melon in it, but there may have been another fruit or two (just no strawberries, I am pretty sure).

There is only Tabasco® sauce offered as a condimentary supplementation. So I went with a little Palo Alto Fire Fighters Pepper Sauce (Thanks again, Amy! This is really one of my favourite hot sauces lately.) on the breakfast potatoes.

I did like that there are freebie souvenir postcards on all of the tables. There was just no Full English Breakfast to be found… or Lil (as far as I know).


Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Vegetable Frittata ~ 6.8


*(Liverpool Lil's isn't haunted or anything, it is just that Liverpool Football Club's motto is You'll Never Walk Alone and the club's anthem is the Rodgers & Hammerstein song of the same name. Liverpool F.C. was England's most successful club of the 20th Century. They were kinda like the Y*nkees of the Soccer world; however, as of October 15th, 2010, Boston Red Sox fans can now show their kinship to the club as the ownership team of New England Sport Ventures is the same one that owns the
Red Sox.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liverpool_F.C. )


**(To get this terrible pun, you have to know that Liverpudlians are colloquially known as "Scousers". This is in reference to "scouse", which is a local dish, a form of lamb or beef stew. The word comes from lobscouse ~ originally lob's course ~ or lapskaus, Norwegian for "stew" and refers to a meat based stew commonly eaten by sailors throughout Northern Europe, which became popular in seaports such as Liverpool.


Consider that the stupid cunning linguist pointer of the day.)


***(Both of which I actually got to see on my "Magical Mystery Tour" of Liverpool. And even more scarily coincidental, both of these songs were actually playing on the radio as I was typing up this 'blog-entry ~ apparently Penny Lane was the number 8 and Strawberry Fields Forever was the number 15 top hits this week in 1967 on Billboard's charts ~ but Sir Paul still remains unburied.)


****(Ironic culinary oxymoron of the day.)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Boogaloos

Where have you gone, Woody Guthrie?



http://www.boogaloossf.com/


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NASicF9yTI&feature=related


This was my first visit back to Boogaloos, which is located over on Valencia & 22nd in the Mission, this year and since moving it out of my "Breakfast Rotation" (see last 'blog-entry from November 7th, 2010); unfortunately, much like a Starting Pitcher, it's really all about location, location, location. They still have great breakfasts to offer, I am just getting lazy and felt like bumping a few closer restaurants up into the "Rotation".

When they opened this morning, they were playing some Woody Guthrie* on the house stereo and all the while I was eating there (hence the above Steve Earle EweToob link).

They have many great vegetarian and even Vegan dishes from which to choose. I noticed that the Harvey's 'Soy Beef' Hash is now called Soy-rizo Hash & Eggs on their newly printed menus, but is still listed as this on their website (apparently Harvey must have pissed someone off… again; well, if you knew Harvey…). I went with the Polenta-n-Eggs ~ grilled polenta with Ranchero sauce, served with 2 eggs any style (my style: over medium), black beans, sour cream and cilantro (this also comes with a red cabbage salad that they don't show on their new menu; another omission, I am sure). I also had a cuppa the house coffee with some maple syrup in it; their coffee is strong and good by itself, but this has just become a Boogaloos tradition with me (Hey, it's on the tables, might as well use it).



The two grilled polenta triangles were very tasty and topped with some queso fresco; there were red peppers, green onions, and some herbs and spices in the polenta mix. As their Ranchero sauce was pretty tasty on its own, I did not feel it necessary for any condimentary supplementation (I had come fully prepared with a few bottle from my own collection as I knew that they only have Tapatío® on the tables).

You gotta love a place that has books, toys, and crayons** for kids to play with while their grown-ups are busy ordering and eating (and generally ignoring the kids).


Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Polenta-n-Eggs ~ 6.8


*(For any of you younguns out there that have never heard of Woody Guthrie, here is a little "borrowed" information from my friends at Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woody_Guthrie )

**(I just love crayons. I think they are a great gift for any kid today. It beats them wasting time on those new-fangled video games like Pac-Man and Asteroids, if you ask me. Plus, they are very therapeutic; it is very hard to be angry with a fragile wax toy in your hands. Maybe we should send a box of the Crayola® 64 count set to Colonel Gaddafi… nah, the 48 count set is good enough for that despotic bastage.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crayons

http://www.crayola.com/ )

Saturday, March 19, 2011

UNIVERSAL cafe

Think universally, eat locally.*



http://www.universalcafe.net/


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlKX-m17C7U


(Johnny-boy may like his peas, but all I am saying is give asparagus, fennel, and escarole a chance…)**



It has been a number of years since I last had breakfast at UNIVERSAL cafe (sans accent aigu on both their menu and logo, by the way). It is located over in the "demilitarized zone" somewhere between Potrero Hill and the Mission, and I usually don't feel like driving all the way over there on the weekends. Although, for a place basically in the middle of nowhere, they do a very good early Saturday morning business. It filled up almost immediately after they had opened. (What a buncha losers, don't they have anything better to do than drive all the way across town on a cold and rainy weekend morning?!)

Technically UNIVERSAL cafe is more along the lines of a brunchificated place ~ it even calls this early morning meal "Brunch" on their menu ~ in both price and atmosphere; however, they do open up early enough for my liking (9:00am), which is always nice. The place is larger than it appears ~ it's in a very narrow space, but they manage to pack in tables for 28 people, plus another 8 seats at the counter-bar (and even a few tables on the sidewalk, weather permitting… just not this morning).

Their "Brunch" menu changes regularly and they really don't have a lot of vegetarian choices on it; however, what they do offer are always fresh and interesting. I had the poached eggs and potato-spring onion cakes with asparagus, fennel, & escarole*** ragoût, Hollandaise. I also ordered a fresh squeezed Blood Orange juice Mimosa**** (they also had a Passion Fruit Bellini****, which I probably should have ordered instead) and a cuppa good, strong coffee: Equator Coffees and Teas brand (a nice local roastery from San Rafael) ~ this is how restaurant coffee should be made and taste.

http://www.equatorcoffees.com/





They don't have the largest of portions (which is kinda to be expected from a "Brunch" place), but it was more than enough for my appetite and I finished all on my plate again for a change without feeling overly stuffed. If I had a bigger appetite, I would definitely have gotten a starter of their freshly made Apple Donuts, Dunkin. The lady at the next table had some and they looked great.

The Potato-Spring Onion Cakes were excellent. Again, any time potatoes are the main focus of a meal is fine with me. I always love any new take on the plain ol' boring Eggs Benedict (see 'blog-entries from July 31st, 2010 and September 25th, 2010 especially). Their Hollandaise sauce was very tasty, if not a little on the lighter side, which was fine with me, as the Potato Cakes were my real focus.

Now the ragoût was a real winner for me as it included some of my favourite fruits: (lots and lots of) Asparagus ~ good!; Fennel ~ good!; and Escarole ~ also good! Plus, fresh
ingredients (I could care less if they were "organic" or "artificial" really) are always a major bonus.

As for the Blood Orange Mimosa, I liked the idea of using fresh squeezed blood oranges and the colour was very cool; however, it just wasn't as good as I was expecting. More orange juice, less champagne might have been more to my liking. I know most people would probably prefer more champagne, as that is what makes this drink usually so pricey.

They offer as condimentary supplements just the standard red Tabasco® and Cholula®. So I went with a little Trees Can't Dance ~ African Hot Sauce (Thanks again, Cindy & Greg!) on the ragoût only. I did loan both bottles that I had brought with me to the guys at the next table: the Palo Alto Fire Fighters Pepper Sauce went over very well (Thank you, Amy-monster!). They do have mini-pepper grinders/mills on every table, which is always nice.

Next time I get over that way, I will really have to try their Passion Fruit Bellini (or whatever special tropical "Brunch" drink that they are offering at that time) and "force" myself to get some of their fresh baked goods as a starter.


Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Poached Eggs and Potato-Spring Onion Cakes ~ 7.0; Asparagus, Fennel, and Escarole Ragoût ~ 7.0; Blood Orange Juice Mimosa ~ 6.8


*(This is not their actual corporate motto, but they are more than welcome to borrow from my idiocy.)


**(And, yes, I know "Across the Universe" by the Beatles would probably have been more à propos, but, as I've stated before, "My 'blog, my stupid jokes.")


***(For those of you not really familiar with what escarole is, it is just a variety of endive, which is part of the daisy family. It is a very popular fruit with Italianos ~ which they call either scarola or scarole ~ and is usually an ingredient in good soups, like Minestrone. Here is a little more info swiped from Wikipedia:


"Escarole, or broad-leaved endive (var latifolia) has broad, pale green leaves and is less bitter than the other varieties. Varieties or names include broad-leaved endive, Bavarian endive, Batavian endive, grumolo, scarola, and scarole. It is eaten like other greens, sauteed, chopped into soups and stews, or as part of a green salad.")


****(As I am basically lazy ~ and why not borrow from Wikipedia when they have already done all the work? ~ here is a bit o' info on Mimosas and Bellinis:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mimosa_%28cocktail%29


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bellini_%28cocktail%29


I have no why it is called a "Mimosa". Just for the heck of it, and at no extra charge, here is today's completely useless cunning linguist pointer:

The word mimosa is derived from the Greek word
μιμος, meaning "mimic", Mr. Little.

As the story goes on the "Bellini", this drink was made up by the owner of Harry's Bar in Venice. Harry's Bar was a favourite hangout of expatriate and well-know drunk Ernest Hemingway. It is a little known fact that Ernesto's real middle name was "Bellini", not "Papa"; hence the drink was named in his honour. You can look it up on the Intro-Net, I would never make up this stuff.)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Dottie's TRUE BLUE CAFE

Truly the Marilyn Monroe* of breakfast joints


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uvux60fqNU8



For my anniversary 'blog-entry (I started musing breakfastarily one year ago here now) I had to go back to Dottie's TRUE BLUE CAFE. Not only is it my favourite place for breakfast in San Francisco, it really is one of the best breakfasts for your buck (or my doe, even). What with the time change due to stupid Daylight Saving Time**, it was still a little early to have to get up and deal with the lines waiting to get in, but I got there a little before they opened and was seated with the first wave of eager diners. I actually found a legal (and relatively secure) parking spot right on the corner for a change (and by "for a change", I mean I was only hit up twice for some spare money on the way back to my car).

I sat at the counter again this morning, which is always fun as you get to meet some great people (and you can watch to make sure Kurt doesn't slip in any extra ingredients or spit in your food). Sitting next to me were Patrick and his girlfriend, Mikako. Patrick and Mikako actually live right in the neighborhood; however, Patrick is originally from Alabama, and Mikako is from Japan (
こんにちは美香子). Sitting next to Mikako was a guy named Chris from London (the one in England); Chris actually speaks fluent Japanese*** (and Korean) and he kept Mikako entertained while I bored… er… talked with Patrick about everything from other good, local breakfast places (it turns out that they are also fans of Brenda's ~ French Soul Food, see 'blog-entry from January 3oth, 2011) to the upcoming Green Lantern movie this Summer, starring Ryan Reynolds (or as I like to call him "the idiot that actually dumped Scarlett Johansson****").

Today's kitschy salt-and-pepper shakers nearest me on the counter were some souvenir kind from Arizona. Interestingly enough, (most of) Arizona is one of the only States (Hawai'i being the other; Thank you, Mrs. Huneycutt!) that does not participate in stupid Daylight Saving Time.





As always, the specials board had lots of great items from which to choose, but I wanted to try something completely different, Monty, so I ordered off the printed menu for the first time ever in eighteen years of dining at Dottie's. I stylized my own three-egg omelette and had it with Feta, spinach, and Καλαμάτα olives in it. It was great as always and had lots of all my favourite stuff in it; there was no scrimping on the Feta, spinach, or Kalamata olives. All omelettes come with a pile of Dottie's home fries and toast (made from their fresh-baked bread).

To make up for not ordering off the specials board, I talked Patrick into getting the Zucchini Cakes Benedict. I have had this a few times before and knew it to be a winner (see 'blog-entry from October 10th, 2010); plus, Patrick was leaning toward it (no really he almost toppled off his stool while looking at the specials board) to begin with. Both he and Mikako really seemed to enjoy it, I was very happy to see.

Oops! I completely forgot to take a picture of my meal plate. (I blame this on Patrick, he kept asking me so many questions about breakfast places and such, and, of course, I had to answer him to the full extent of my knowledge. It took me all of about two minutes, I believe.) It was an omelette-looking thing.

As for condimentary supplements, I went with some Chipotle Tabasco® (from
Dottie's own collection of hot sauces) on the home fries, and some fresh-cracked black pepper (from my portable McCormick® grinder) on everything.

And just to reiterate ('cause one iteration is never enough) from my first 'blog-entry on
Dottie's from a year ago:

"Anyone coming to San Francisco, or even those locals that might read this, do yourself a flavour and go to
Dottie's for the real San Francisco breakfast treat (Rice-A-Roni® be damned)."


Glen Bacon Scale Rating: My Special Omelette ~ 7.3


*(You know you have to be a pretty hot female when Dame Elton writes a song about you. I am pretty sure Marilyn even gave him a bit of a balsa-woody as a young man in the 22nd row.)


**(Corn-ball joke of the day:


Why are Londoners so grumpy? Because they live in Greenwich Mean Time.


Okay, sorry, but it is still kinda early and I lost an hour of sleep… why exactly do we do this again, Mr. George Vernon Hudson?!)


***(I made sure to point out to Chris that he was quite the cunning linguist in his own right, as he is proficient in four languages: English, Japanese, Korean, and 'merican.)


****(While no Marilyn Monroe, Ms. Johansson is one of the hottest young actresses in Hollywoodland today. Glen Bacon Scale Rating: 7.5, at least.)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Joe's Coffee Shop

To Improve People's Stupidity?*



(Once again, no official web-site/on-line menu.)


There is absolutely nothing special about Joe's Coffee Shop, and that is not really a bad thing, Martha. It is your quintessential "greasy spoon diner" (just with cleaner silverware); no-frills what-so-ever, just good food.

Joe's Coffee Shop is a little local diner-place on Geary Boulevard in the way-Outer Richmond**; they only have eight counter seats and additional table seating for another fourteen people. What I like about this place (and this is the first time I have ever had breakfast there; I have had lunch there a few times only) is that they open up at 7:00am, and you'll never have a half-hour (or more) wait lined up out the door and half-way down the block. They seem to do a good local neighborhood (because those foreign neighborhoods are such a pain?) business; while I was sitting there, they greeted several regulars by name. (I was fully expecting "Norm!" to come in any time and take up the end stool at the counter.)

Joe's happens to be one of the closest places to my apartment, just seven blocks downhill (but it really seems more like ten blocks back up the steep hill). They are more than likely a Chinese family-owned business (well, I only hope they are Chinese as I told them
Xièxiè when I was leaving, by that time it was already too late for them to spit in my food anyway). They have probably been in the same location for more than 30 years (well, I know they have been there since at least December 1986 when I first moved into the neighborhood).

Big Heart Video Cafe, which has been closed for several months now, is located just a few blocks down on Geary; it was one of the only other local dinerish places close by on Geary, and they used to be open 24 hours a day. I never had breakfast there, but I had eaten lunch/dinner there several times and I had a few "after hours" meals on my way home from bars and clubs. I don't know why they closed, perhaps NETFLIX killed the Video Cafe?!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5erWioHwuqw


Joe's really has no specials board, just a standard breakfast-lunch menu to order from. I ordered the Joe's Scramble ~ Ground beef (skipped this ingredient, Mr. Way), mushrooms (sorry, Mr. Way, this I kept in), onions, and spinach; served with hash browns and choice of toast (sourdough was my choice today). This was made with a pile of fresh spinach. I watched (whom I assumed was) Joe making it in the little backroom kitchen and he put handfuls of the green stuff in it. They make good, crispy hash browns, too. I also had a cuppa the house coffee, it wasn't very good, but it was bottomless as they kept on refilling it for me. I like that they offer both home fries or hash browns on the menu (and I am sure you could even substitute French fries if you wanted).





Oops, my error! I forgot to ask for the scramble without the ground beef at first (I just assumed they could read my mind) and had to send it back to be remade (and if any spitting in my food was to be done, then would have been the perfect time; but, like I said before, I watched Joe ~ very carefully ~ making my meal). The waitress/owner(?) was not too pleased with me… sorry! The entire breakfast with tax came up to under $9.00, so to make up for my gaffe, I actually left a brand new Abe Lincoln for the (over)tip.

Their condimentary*** supplements are: Tabasco®, Crystal®, and a Sriracha-style hot sauce. I kinda figured they would not have that good of a selection and had come prepared with one of my current favourites; I went with some Palo Alto Fire Fighters Pepper Sauce (Thanks again, Amster!) on the scramble and some HP® Sauce on the hash browns (this would have been the perfect opportunity to have added some to the coffee, too, it really couldn't have hurt any, Colin).

As their coffee quality was just coffee, I felt it necessary to get another cuppa at a new coffee shop on the corner, LOL**** Cafe. The coffee was better, but not much. LOL Cafe doesn't have a breakfast menu yet; they just do pastries and coffee. I had eaten there before, as they have some pretty good vegetarian sandwich selections. My recommendation: skip the coffee and order the Banana Chai Smoothie (or another drink special), I had that one before and it was pretty good.

http://www.lol-sf.com/

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Joe's Scramble ~ 5.9; Joe's Coffee ~ 5.0; LOL Cafe Coffee ~ 5.5; LOL Banana Chai Smoothie ~ 6.6


*(Not really a stupid cunning linguist pointer of the day, more like just a stupid etymological pointer:


I had always heard that the word "tip"or "tips", as a gratuity, came from an enterprising barmaid on the old Barbary Coast of San Francisco. She was tired of being hassled by all the bar patrons to hurry up their orders and came up with a jar that read "To Insure Prompt Service" ~ "T.I.P.S". I like this version of the word origin.


However, according to Wikipedia:


"There are common inaccurate claims that 'tip' (or 'tips') is an acronym for a phrase such as 'To Insure Prompt Service', 'To Insure Proper Service', 'To Improve Performance', 'To Inspire Promptness' or 'To Insure Promptness'. These false backronyms contradict the verifiable etymology, as follows.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word tip originated as a slang term, and its etymology is unclear. The term in the sense of 'to give a gratuity' first appeared in the 18th century. It derived from an earlier sense of tip, meaning 'to give; to hand, pass', which originated in the rogues' cant in the 17th century. This sense may have derived from the 16th-century tip meaning 'to strike or hit smartly but lightly' (which may have derived from the Low German tippen, 'to tap'), but this derivation is 'very uncertain'."


Now who you gonna believe, some over-worked wench or stupid Wikipedia and the Oxford English Dictionary? You know they don't even know how to speak real 'merican over in Oxfordland.)


**(I am not sure if I have ever given a brief history of the Richmond District. As I am pretty lazy and don't feel like retyping this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richmond_District,_San_Francisco


Okay, so maybe Wikipedia isn't that stupid after all, but I still say them Oxfordians are a buncha snooty pooftahs, Bruce!)

***(I actually thought I was being clever by coming up with this portmanteau word, but just do a Google-search on it and you will be surprised to see that there are many more idiots out there that have been using it for years. My references don't even come up for several pages.)


****(Anyone that knows me, knows how much I loathe this stupid Intro-Nety expression, but that is a rant for another whole 'blog-entry.)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Kate’s Kitchen

"Rainy days and Mondays always get me down… "*, but a nice breakfast on Sundays always is a pretty good pick-me-up.
 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvvnBKRD1bc




http://www.kates-kitchensf.com/
 

I went to Kate's Kitchen again (see last 'blog-entry from June 6th, 2010), over in the Lower Haight for breakfast this morning. It was a pretty rainy/dreary Sunday morning (and after such a decent weather Saturday, too), but I lucked out and got there before they had even opened and found a parking spot right in front for a change. This is a rather smallish place with seating for just a little over 40 ~ 43 to be exact (well, 39, actually, as the corner table by the specials board always seems to be filled with the wait staff). Kate's Kitchen is another local place that must be a favourite of Bob Saget's as they had his rating in their window, too.

Kate's Kitchen has a pretty decent standard menu, plus a daily specials board that is usually interesting. One of these days I really should try something off the standard menu, the Flanched Farney Garney (which they have spelled two different ways in their on-line menu for some reason) looks like it would be good with a side order of homefries; and for the same price as the sandwich, you can get it as the Rooster Booster (which they also mispeled) with a cuppa coffee ~ nice.





I ordered off the specials board and went with The Medley: Stuffed hash browns, eggs, bacon (No thanks, Glen), onions, and Cheddar cheese. It comes with a choice of bread/toast; I chose the fresh, home made biscuit (Cheddar cheese and green onion; at first I thought it might be a Cheddar cheese and jalapeño biscuit as I had put a lot of hot sauce on the Medley and really couldn't taste much else); this was a no-brainer (which is normal for me). I also had it with a good, strong cuppa coffee.




The Medley was a great idea, and it's really a pretty simple idea (whenever potatoes are the focus of a breakfast, it's a good thing, Martha). It comes as a kinda hashbrowns sandwich basically, with all the ingredients wrapped inside layers of the hashbrowns. (This is hard to explain and I know my photo won't do it any justice… "Spot? Did you do that?!"**) I thought it interesting that this is another place that offers both hashbrowns and homefries on their menu. The Cheddar and green onion biscuit was excellent, too, and made that selection worthwhile. They make their coffee New Orleans style with roasted chicory*** in the blend, which always makes for a pretty decent cuppa.

I knew that their condimentary supplements are actually pretty good, but I came prepared with a few from my own collection and tried a newly opened bottle of
Trees Can't Dance ~ African Hot Sauce (Thanks again, Cindy & Greg!) on the whole mess. This was another flavourful sauce, but not too hot. "A Traditional Congolese recipe, this deliciously fruity sauce is made from the tastiest Habanero chillies, sweet bell peppers, and juicy tomatoes." Ingredients: Red Pepper - 27%, Vinegar - 26%, Onion - 22%, Water, Tomatoes - 5%, Garlic, Habanero Chillies - 2%, Sugar, Salt.


Glen Bacon Scale Rating: The Medley ~ 6.9; Biscuit ~ 7.0; Coffee ~ 6.5; African Hot Sauce ~ 7.0


*(Okay, I am a music geek! I admit it, I actually like the Carpenters music, well, Karen's great voice, at least. She had one of the best female voices of the 70's, is it my fault if they chose to sing such sappy songs?)

 
**(This is an inside joke, but I guess by explaining it, it is now an outside joke, too. My friend, Cindy, once told me that most of my photos of the egg dishes look like something her cat would hack-up. I blame the photographer, not the chefs.)

 
***(Anyone else ever wonder whatever happened to Postum®? I used to like this once in a while as a non-caffeinated hot drink. I think the last time I bought a jar of it was more than twenty years ago now.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postum
 


I blame its demise on St*rbucks, but I also blame St*rbucks on 9/11, the Economy, and anything else bad in general.)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Squat & Gobble Cafe & Crepery

"Today you, tamales me… "*



http://www.squatandgobble.com/
 

This morning, I went to the Squat & Gobble Cafe and Crepery (see last 'blog-entry from November 28th, 2010); this time I went to the one located right across the street from the West Portal MUNI tunnel. It's a little larger than their original location on Fillmore, and a little bit more "upscale" which is mainly because of the neighborhood it is in. There is nuthin' wrong with "downscale", mind you, and I like the Haight location a lot.





I happened to notice that the counter-server (this means the person that takes your order at the counter, not some subversive waitress person) had a bit of an accent, so, cunning linguist that I am, I had to ask from where she came. She told me that she was Armenian by way of Iran and then moved to Germany before coming to 'merica. Wow! Can you say ESL? (Or English as a fifth language even? That would be Հայերեն, فارسی, Deutsch, English, and 'merican, of course.) Sheesh, most 'mericans think they are bi-lingual if they can order a meal at Taco Bell® without faltering.

Squat & Gobble have lots of good crêpe choices. I would normally go with the Zorba the Greek or the Mama Mia, or their newest crêpe the Charred Tomatillo Crêpe (which was a great find back in November), but I wanted to try something different today so I had the Marina ~ Salmon (bad; skipped it, Howard), spinach (always good), onions, capers** (also good), artichokes (good, too), tomatoes, tarragon***, and Fontina cheese, topped with sun-dried tomato pesto (very good). "Served with choice of rosemary garlic potatoes or mixed baby green salad" (which is really never much of a "choice" for me: potatoes > stupid ol' salad any day for breakfast). I also had a large glass of fresh squeezed orange juice and a very good cuppa rich, strong coffee





This was another winner of a crêpe. All the ingredients were pretty interesting and good for a crêpe (again, except for the salmon, Rushdie): spinach, capers, artichoke hearts ("It mighta choked Artie, but it ain't gonna choke Stymie."), etc.; plus, it all was tied together nicely with the Fontina cheese. However, as interesting an addition as the fresh tarragon is (and it might pair well with salmon, but I will never know), I really thought it kinda superfluous with all the other flavours; it was completely eclipsed by the sun-dried tomato pesto.

Now this is an interesting and very simple thing: all of their water pitchers have both slices of lemons and lots of fresh mint leaves in them. Stuff like that is always a good tip. Plus, I know that my orange juice was freshly squeezed as I watched it being made in one of those Jetson orange juicer contraption thingys.





For condimentary**** supplements they just have Tabasco® (both the standard red and the Jalapeño green versions) and Tapatío®; so, once again, Palo Alto Fire Fighters Pepper Sauce to the rescue (Thanks again, Amy!) on the potatoes.

Again, great crêpe… but a silly name for a restaurant.


Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Marina Crêpe ~ 6.8


*(There really weren't any tamales for breakfast, you will need to read the referenced/linked New York Times article to appreciate this. However, I have had some "keeler" breakfast tamales before made with pineapple chunks and raisins in them.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/06/magazine/06lives-t.html?_r=1
 


Due to the above article and general good feelings it has created, I have deemed this weekend "Pay It Forward Weekend… or bugger off!" 
 
I usually like to inflict "random acts of kindness" on people, anyway; it serves two purposes: 

 
1) as I am normally a fargin' bastage in person 95% of the time, I figure it can't hurt karmicly to pretend to be nice the other 5% of the time; 

 
and most of all

 
2) it totally messes with people when you are nice to them for no reason whatsoever… well, I guess I may lose karma points for that, but it's still fun.

 
By the way,
большое спасибо to Gene Willard ~ himself a cunning linguist extraordinaire ~ for sharing the above news article with me on defacedbook. So blame Geno if some complete stranger ~ those partial strangers are okay ~ pays for your cup of coffee today.)
 
**(For those of you who have never had capers before ~ and why haven't you? ~ here is a brief introduction to this tasty little pickled bud:

 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capers )

 
***(Here's a bit of information on the perennial herb tarragon:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarragon
 


In Russia they even make a tarragon-flavoured soda called "Тархун". It's actually pretty good, but you really have to like strange tasting stuff; luckily, I do.
 
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4147/5050107015_ae9dc39f74.jpg )

 
****(I made this up last week as a portmanteau word, Mr. Dodgson, and have now forced my Microsoft® Works Word Processor auto-spell check thingy to remember it. Bite me, Gates!)