Sunday, May 15, 2011

Americana Grill

100th Running of Bay-to-Beer!

Today was the Running of the 100th Bay-to-Beer!* ~ the World's largest and craziest footrace/walk/media event. I am wearing my 2001 Bay-to-Beer! t-shirt (see photo above) ~ from the 90th Running of
Bay-to-Beer! ~ and a Guinness® (which is absolutely the BEST Beer in the World; there are no arguments here ~ my 'blog, my rules!) baseball cap to commemorate it. As this "race" virtually/literally cuts the City in two and makes getting anywhere before noon nearly impossible, I decided to stay locally (but eat globally).

I started out at Simple Pleas
ures Cafe for a really decent cuppa local coffee and a global pastry (some kinda Viennese Linzer torte thingy ~ shortbread with raspberry jam) on my way to Golden Gate Park to watch some of the early morning madness.

The "race" must have started earlier than normal, as I got to the park at/before 8:00am and there was no trace of the "elite" runners (read: Kenyans out on a short Sunday Marathon training jog and some others wannabes) just thousands of crazy "other" runners. Unfortunately, the elite runners had probably finished over a half-hour prior. Apparently they are starting the race at 7:00am now-a-days. The weather was mostly clear/sunny, but still a bit chilly; it drizzled a little while I was watching, but not even enough to penetrate the overhanging Eucalyptus trees that I was lurking under (the more grammatically correct "under which I was lurking" sounds a little too creepy), so I stuck around for a while over by the American Bison paddock to watch some of the fun anyway.

After watching for about half an hour or so, I headed over to Americ
ana Grill on Balboa (just four blocks uphill) for breakfast. Now this is a very interesting little neighborhood place. Their menu reads: "Italian and Vietnamese food"?! That is a pretty interesting and worldly combination. The restaurant is owned and operated by a Vietnamese family. I asked my waitress what a typical Vietnamese breakfast would consist of (I have no idea how to even try to reword that phrase so that it reads grammatically correct; so it will have to remain ending in a predisposition), and she said that it is normally a big bowl of phở **. As if to prove her point, the very next diner actually ordered that; plus, the restaurant family later sat down to their breakfast break with large bowls of it, too.

They have a pretty decent breakfast menu, and as soup (and particularly a largely beef-broth based one) is not really my idea of breakfast, I ordered the Provencal*** Omelet*** ~ mixed vegetables and cheese; served with hash browns and wheat toast. I also ordered a large glass of orange juice.

The omelette was made with carrots, cauliflower, mushrooms, zucchini, the vile weed(!), and probably Mozzarella cheese (in keeping with the Italian theme; I have no idea what a Vietnamese cheese would be); all the vegetables were fresh and there were lots and lots of them in the overstuffed omelette (or omelet). The large glass of orange juice was actually a HUGE glass; it must have been 20-24 ounces minimum.

They offer for condimentary supplementation both Tabasco® (the standard red) and Sriracha*** hot sauce. Even though I had come prepared with a few from my own collection, I went with some of the Sriracha on the hash browns. You know what they say, "When in Rome, do as they do in
Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh!"

While I was waiting for my meal to be served, "Little Lion Man" by Mumford & Sons was playing on the radio ("Americana" Top 40); however, this was an alternate/watered-down version where the lyrics are "I really MESSED it up this time…". "Little Lion Man" and the entire Sigh No More CD happened to be my favourite new group music from 2010. I really hate it when they have to change or bowdlerize songs to appease the gentile/general public… that's just totally f@cked-up!!!

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Provencal Omelet ~ 6.2; Bay-to-Beer! ~ 7.9

*(AKA: officially ~ Bay-to-Breakers; unofficially ~ Bay-to-Buffalo; or alternatively life-styled ~ Gay-to-Breakers… and everyone knows that running and healthy living are the real threats to "traditional" marriages as we know them today, Buffalo Billy!)

**(Phở is a Vietnamese noodle soup; this seems to be their National Dish, much like "Chicken Tikka Massala" is the National Dish of England.

Some Vietnamese restaurants do make vegetarian versions of this, too, but they are usually pretty hard to find. It does not look like Americana Grill does a vegetarian version, either.)

Việt Nam used to be a French Colony for many years, I was very surprised that they did not go with the more Frenchified spelling of "Provençal" and "Omelette".)

***(Sriracha is a Thai style sweet-hot sauce. It is pretty ubiquitous in San Francisco… and you can find it just about everywhere, even.

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