Saturday, April 2, 2011

Balboa Cafe

(Well, I guess it is officially called PlumpJack* Balboa Cafe now.)

Since 1914, the Balboa Cafe (sans accent aigu, Rocky) has been a fixture in the Cow Hollow/Marina area of town. I suppose the gentrification of this area started right after they started to rebuild the City (and making the Marina the newest man-made/land filled neighborhood) after the Great Earthquake of 1906, and during the halcyon days of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915. Now the neighborhood is one of the more expensive ones in town. From humble cow pastures come multimillion dollar homes? That's a lot of bull, if you ask me.

The Balboa Cafe is located in "the Triangle" area over on one corner of Fillmore and Greenwich Streets. "The Triangle" refers to the trio of restaurants and nightclubs that encompass three of the corners; the other two "angles" being East Side West and City Tavern.

As the parking is really challenging (Can I say "sucks" on my own 'blog?) in this neighborhood, I was forced to park five blocks away over by the Presidio (Wasn't I just there last weekend?) and walk over to the restaurant. It was all good, as I liked having to walk off the breakfast afterward by strolling along Chestnut Street and doing a little window shopping (bought a couple of transoms, a clerestory, and some Venetian blinds) .

The "Brunch" menu isn't really too extensive, but they do have some interesting choices. Their version of French Toast looked kinda good: caramelized apples and pears with Vermont maple syrup; however, if I'm going to have authentique Pain Perdu in this neighborhood, it will be at Baker Street Bistro, merci beaucoup. Their list of Brunch Cocktails was pretty tempting, too, but it was still a little too early in the morning to try a Dark and Stormy (Hi, Fran and Don!) made with Gosling's Black Seal Rum, spicy ginger beer, and fresh lime.

While I was waiting to order my meal, there was a little Keely Smith (post-Louis Prima days, I think) playing on the house stereo:

The wait time between ordering and being served had to be less than five minutes. I was very impressed by this. It was still early in the morning, but the place was by no means empty. There had to have been a number of people that had gotten there before me and had ordered already. Sometimes there is something to be said for a "Table for One" (most times it stinks, though, as I can only try one thing at a time).

I went with the Omelette of the Day ~ cherry tomatoes, Feta, and spinach. This was served with roasted potatoes, mixed greens, and an English muffin. The omelette was really stuffed with lots of Feta, spinach, and tomatoes, which is always a good thing. I think the tomatoes were actually of the grape tomato variety, as they looked more like tiny plum tomatoes (I asked the waiter for clarification, but he had no clue). I also had a cuppa good, strong coffee ~ Peerless®, a blend made especially for Balboa Cafe (which the waiter did clue me in about).

All in all this was a pretty decent breakfast, the cherry/grape tomatoes added a lot of flavour and pop; plus, spinach AND Feta are one of my favourite combinations, Ζορμπάς. Their roasted potatoes were nice, too, not greasy, and perfectly crispy. I really only ate a little of the mixed greens, though. Salad for breakfast? What am I, some kinda wascally wabbit or something?

Their supplementary condimentation included Tabasco® (just the standard red) and Cholula®, so I went with a little Palo Alto Fire Fighters Pepper Sauce on the roasted potatoes (this hot sauce really goes well on potatoes and most foods in general) and some Trees Can't Dance ~ African Hot Sauce on the omelette. There are mini pepper grinders on each table, so I didn't even need the portable one that I have been bringing with me lately. Most especially of all, they have small glasses with Crayola®** crayons on all of the tables, too, and this really ain't your standard, family-oriented, chain pancake house. This gave me the opportunity to graffiti the paper table cloth a bit before my meal was served.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Omelette of the Day ~ 6.8

*(Apparently, PlumpJack Group is an organization ~ founded by former Mayor of San Francisco and current Lieutenant Governor of California, Gavin Newsom ~ that owns and operates several restaurants, wineries, hotels, spas, and other hospitality businesses in the Bay Area. 

"Plump Jack" refers to the Shakespeare character of Sir John Falstaff, dubbed "Plump Jack" by Queen Elizabeth.

Here is a picture ol' Fatty Carbuncle himself:

This picture was taken a few years ago when I had the good fortune to visit Stratford-upon-Avon. That would be my Your 2010 World Championship New York/San Francisco Giants cap on his head.

Breakfast, Baseball, AND the Bard? Bet you never saw that coming.)

**(Crayola® now lists the colours on their crayons in English, Español, et Français.

Useless cunning linguist and Crayolese pointer of the day:

The colour for "plum" is known as "ciruela" in Spanish and "prune" in French.)

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