Saturday, April 23, 2011

STRAW ~ Carnival Fare

Breakfast under the Big Top, Art?

(Hint: If you click on the little carney* guy picture on their homepage, you can play a video game called "Carnival Showdown".)

(I went with The "English" Beat's** version of this old classic, as it is a little more upbeat than Smokey and the Miracles.)

This morning I went to STRAW ~ Carnival Fare. It's a relatively new place over in Hayes Valley (right along Octavia Boulevard) located in the spot that us
ed to be occupied by SOUL (see 'blog-entry from April 24th, 2010 ~ coincidentally enough, exactly one year ago today ~ it is just too bad that SOUL didn't do a good enough business to remain open). STRAW has been open for just three months now. I have driven by it many times on my way to work and finally checked them out the other night for dinner. It was interesting enough and tasty enough (Can you say "corn gelato"?) that I knew I had to come back for breakfast.

STRAW is a very small place ~ seating a maximum of 28 people o
nly; because of which, it was completely packed early on a Saturday morning (well, there was one seat available at a table with some lone loser, who shall remain named Brian). This was a very good sign.

These were several other good signs all along their walls, too:

As you walk in the door, on your left, there is an original seat from a Tilt-A-Whirl ride that is used as a fun and intimate table for two. This was actually purchased from the private collection of the wife of the designer/inventor of the ride. Unfortunately, they only have the one, and I did not get there early enough to snag this really cool table.

Their breakfast (well, they call it "Brunch") menu is called Eggs with Greg (just like in Ripon, North Yorkshire, Englandland, Great Britannia, but with several more options other than a good omelette or hardy Irish oatmeal). There are many fun looking items from which to choose. I saw someone order the baby needs milk (cinnamon toast bread pudding/whipped cream) and it looked very tasty. I went with the rocky mountain madame ~ egg in the hole sourdough toast/proscuitto (skipped the porky product, Sean)/béchamel***/home potatoes. I also had a glass of orange juice (they were all out of their homemade lemonade, which I had the other night and knew to be very good).

This was a good choice, not overly exciting, but tasty all the same. Now I really can't tell a Béchamel from a Hollandaise, so that is always lost on me. However, the toast was made from a very thick slice (at least 1" or so) of sourdough bread, which I liked. The home potatoes came with a fresh marjoram(?)**** sprig/branch thingy across the top, and there were lots of red bell peppers, green onions, and regular onions throughout them. I think the only thing that might have been better would have been a side order of their sweet (potato) tots (with a blackberry BBQ sauce) on the side, but they don't serve those until after 11:00am (I had these as a starter with dinner the other night and really enjoyed them).

I had gotten there a few minutes before they opened this morning and decided on getting a great cuppa local brew from the Blue Bottle Coffee kiosk in the alley nearby. Today's daily brew was the Giant Steps blend. It was a pretty decent (and very strong) roast. Of course, if I hadn't stopped over there first, I would probably have been first in line to get the Tilt-A-Whirl table…

I probably should have waited and just gotten a cuppa at STRAW. I asked, and they offer BICYCLE COFFEE co as their house coffee; this local roastery will only provide coffee to places that they can deliver their product to by bicycle! That is also very cool.

The only condimentary supplements STRAW has on the tables were bottles of Tabasco®, and just the standard red variety. So, I went with some Palo Alto Fire Fighters Pepper Sauce (Thanks once again, Amy!) on the béchamel sauce/eggs and some Trees Can't Dance ~ African Hot Sauce (Thanks once again, also, Cindy and the aforementioned Chef Greg!) on the home potatoes.

Another fun touch is that the check is brought out in a little treasure chest box thingy and comes with a Mary Jane®***** candy accompaniment instead of the ubiquitous mints ("Ubi est Mintia? Mintia est in Europa."?) that you get everywhere.

I am sure that I'll be coming back again for breakfast or dinner and plan on getting there early enough (and with my "E ticket/E coupon" ready) to grab the Tilt-A-Whirl table, P.T. ("You can’t cheat an honest man; never give a sucker an even break, or smarten up a chump." ~ W.C. Fields).

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: ro
cky mountain madame ~ 6.5; Blue Bottle Giant Steps ~ 7.5

*(Alternate spellings of this word are "carny" and "carnie". I just went with "carney" as it sounded more "Art-sy".

That is just a little entomological pointer of the day at no extra charge, and not really a useless cunning linguist pointer.

"Entomological", you ask?! Yes, 'cause it really bugs me when I don't know how to spell a word correctly.)

**(The "English" Beat were simply known as "The Beat" in their hometown of Englandia, but had to have the "English" part added in 'merica as there was already another group from Los Ångeles with the same moniker at the time; yeah, I am sure that people would have mistaken Ranking Roger for Paul Collins.

After the break-up of The "English" Beat, Ranking Roger went on to form General Public and Andy Cox went on to form Fine Young Cannibals; or as we know them in the good ol' USofA: General "English" Public and Fine
Young "English" Cannibals.)

***(For anyone else wanting to know what a Béchamel sauce is:

By the way, it has nothing to do with "kissing", I checked.)

****(I had no idea what the herb/garnish on the potatoes was. I asked my server and he told me it was marjoram. After looking at this info:

I am not so sure that was actually the case. Whatever it was, it wasn't that bad when leaves were picked off and added to the pile of potatoes.)

*****(Mary Jane® candy is an old-style peanut butter and molasses taffy candy. It is currently being made by the good folks at Necco®: )

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