Sunday, October 30, 2011

Radish Simples…

A co-worker (Hi, Ron!) mentioned a new place that had recently opened (well, back in April, but I just got around to finally trying it) in his neighborhood (la Misión), Radish[1]. I had to ask my server "Why 'Radish'?", she explained that it was just a play on words: "rad" + "-ish" ~ "Simples!"… it's a bit of a hipster kind of place.

Radish is not a very large space: six 2-seat tables, three 4-seat tables, and ten seats at the counter/bar (with a very decent selection of Beers on tap, I am happy to point out; I didn't take any picture of their taps line-up, but I really should have ~ they offer @ 9-10 interesting Beers). Their "Morning Menu" (thank you for not calling it "Brunch") doesn't really have that many things from which to choose, but what they do offer all sound pretty decent.

I started with a glass of Strawberry-Lemonade. I expected this to just be a watered-down, tasteless drink with some added strawberry syrup or such. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this was actually a homemade lemonade with freshly mulled strawberries in every glass (make those servers work for their tips). This was a very tasty way to start the meal.

For breakfast I ordered Migas[2] ~ A scramble of egg, onion, bell pepper, cheese, and tortilla strips. Served with avocado, pickled jalapeños, and corn tortillas. Choice of hash browns, fruit, or greens (if you have read any of my past 'blog-entries, you needn't ask which one I chose). This also came with a little bowl of fresh pico de gallo.

This was a simple enough dish, Sergei, and really just a variation of chilaquiles. The portions weren't very large; but after yesterday's dim sum extravaganza, I really wasn't that hungry still ~ and it was all more than enough for my appetite, anyhow. There was probably at least ½ an avocado on top, which is always a plus. Now, here is the major kudos part: the side of pickled jalapeños were freshly made and extremely tasty, too; I was fully expecting those vinegary, soggy, tasteless ones from a jar or can (which are fine for using in salsas or burritos, but not that great as a topping by themselves).

Radish has as condimentary supplementation Tabasco® (just the standard red) and Cholula®. I had come equipped with two favourites from my own collection: Palo Alto Fire Fighters Pepper Sauce (Thanks, Amys![3]) and Benito's Original Naranja; I used some of the PAFFPS on the migas and some Benito's on the potatoes (hash brown or home fried, they were very good, too).

Everything worked very well together on the migas (pico de gallo, pickled jalapeños, and of course my own condimentary supplementation) to make this a very nice breakfast. I would go back for this itself, and that the Strawberry-Lemonade was so good makes this a good choice for a return trip… one of these days.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Migas ~ 6.66; Strawberry-Lemonade ~ 6.66

[1] Here's a little know fact, Cliff:

The radish is a member of the Cabbage/Mustards family, Colonel (just like it's evil cousin "the vile weed".)

And just in case you thought you could get away without a stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day, numerus:

"Radish" comes from the Old English "rǣdic
" from the Latin "rādīx" meaning "root".

[2] Stupid, cunning linguist pointer of the day, el número dos:

"Las migas" in Spanish actually means "crumbs".

Traditionally in Spain and Portugal migas are a breakfast dish made from day-old bread (hence the "crumbs", Robert). Somehow, this dish in Tex-Mex cuisine has come to be made with scrambled eggs, very similar to chilaquiles, but using tortilla strips instead of tortilla quarters.

[3] This was not a typo (actually I am a Type O Positive), this was meant to be "Amys" as in two ladies named "Amy". My friend Amy (the Hallowe'en Queen from yesterday's 'blog-entry) has a friend also named Amy. The second Amy had extra bottles of this stuff that she had recently purchased at a local street festival. My friend Amy knowing that I love this stuff and had recently run out, secured (as in purloined) me a bottle from the other Amy.

If I only knew it was that easy to get stuff by asking…

"Hey, Amys, I really like Nicole Kidman and Uma Thurman… and have just recently run out of both."

Seriously, any local that really likes their hot sauce con mucho sabor, locate this stuff; you will not be disappointed.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Joy Luck Place/Champagne Seafood Restaurant

San Mateo, CA

(No official web-site. They are located at 88 East 4th Ave.)

What is better than Chinese breakfast for lunch?[1]

Here's a little known fact, Cliff, "dim sum"[2] in Chinese actually means "breakfast rolls".

I skipped an "official" breakfast this morning as I knew I was going to have an early lunch with the Hallowe'enie Birthday Girl, Amy[3]. It was Amy's choice as it was her birthday meal, after all (don't worry, I made sure she paid for the entire meal at least), and she decided on a popular, local dim sum place (within walking distance of her apartment, which is always nice). 

Now the name of this place is either Joy Luck Place or Champagne Seafood Restaurant. Amy says it is called Joy Luck Place, but their menu says Champagne Seafood Restaurant. The Chinese symbols above their entranceway do not look anything like the symbols on their menu. As the extent of my Chinese is limited to pointing at stuff on the menu, I have no idea what the symbols actually mean, but the name really doesn't matter as this place is a very popular place and people know how to find it easily enough.

As one of their names would imply, they are not just a dim sum place, but a seafood restaurant. This was evident by several large fish tanks in the back of the restaurant. They had tanks filled with prawns, lobsters, crabs, and a few different types of fish (that I have no idea which kind they were). It was very interesting to see the size of the prawns. I had never seen them live and swimming before. Many of them were at least six inches long or larger. I know you can usually pick out a specific lobster or crab for your meal, but I am not sure if the same thing goes for prawns, though.


They have a regular menu that you can order off, but most people just end up getting what the numerous servers, who are walking around with trays and carts, are serving. We were offered Shark's fin soup several times, among other exotic dishes, while we were waiting and eating. We came for the dim sum, however, and made sure we got a few different types.

Amy is not a stupid vegetarian, but she went along with my dietary restraints all the same. The first thing we recognized off the servers trays that was sure to be vegetarian was the Chinese Broccoli[4] w/ Oyster Sauce. Luckily, this comes with the oyster sauce on the side for dipping; I forewent this fishy sauce and Amy tried a little bit of it and really didn't like it and joined me in the aforementioned forewental. We both ended up just dipping them in the Chinese hot mustard and red pepper sauces that they had provided us.

Next we ordered a simple Soy Sauce Chow Mein. This was also off the wandering servers trays; it went well with the Chinese broccoli while we were deciding on what else to order.

(I didn't take a picture of this entry. It's noodles and stuff. Chow Mein.)

We decided to order a few things off the menu so we wouldn't be unnecessarily surprised (I tried talking Amy into trying the Chilled Chicken Feet, but she was not having any of that): Vegetarian Dumplings (4) and Pumpkin Buns (3), both off the Steamed portion of the menu; and Special Spring Rolls (3) off the Pan-Fried, Deep-Fried & Baked portion of the menu.

I liked all of these a lot. The vegetarian dumplings were overflowing with a lot of junk: corn, carrots, mushrooms, and a few other tasty things. As it 'tis the season, the pumpkin buns were a very good choice, too. I really liked these a lot; Amy liked them, but not as much as I did, so I had two to her one. I would go back just for the pumpkin buns alone.

There was no way we were going to leave there without any dessert dim sum. They have a lot of really interesting choices: Coconut Pudding in Coconut (which I assume had a little coconut in it); Deep Fried Milk w/Almond (???); Deep-Fried Sesame Egg Yolk Lava Ball; and Green Bean Pudding among others. If it were my choice, I would have ordered the Green Bean Pudding, as it sounded the most interesting and disgusting. But this was the Hallowe'en Princesses' day, after all, so I had to settle for the Deep Fried Sesame Balls (4). Now some poor old sesame is walking around funny and can never have kids.


Actually, this would have been my first choice, too. They were very good and served fresh and hot. They were filled with either a sweetened black bean or red bean paste.

When all was said and done, the sum of all these dims added up to a very tasty breakfast/lunch indeed.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Dim sum (overall) ~ 6.6; Pumpkin Buns ~ 6.8; Deep Fried Sesame Balls ~ 7.0

[1] The answer is, of course, cold Chinese dinner for breakfast the next morning.

[2] Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day:

I was just kidding about dim sum meaning "breakfast rolls", but I could easily eat several of their dessert dim sums for breakfast; especially those pumpkin buns. "Dim sum"/
點心 actually comes from two Chinese words that combined mean "touch the heart".

[3] One of the all-time best dates to have a birthday on, for sure.

[4] This is actually called "Kai-lan" and is mostly a leafy vegetable, and unlike it's close relative "the vile weed", this is actually very tasty and I would order it again any day.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Nob Hill Grille

Love hurts, but breakfast is painless…

(The first song was playing on the house stereo while I was eating. I just threw in the second one as it reminded of the first.)

I specifically went back to Nob Hill[1] Grille (see last 'blog-entry from June 12th, 2010) in the Nob Hill neighborhood (and I know this because just across the street is Nob Hill Liquors, and in the same area are Nob Hill Nails, Nob Hill Smoke Shop, and Nob Hill Hardware ~ where you can get Nob Hill door-nobs, I guess) so that I could compare their French toast to what I had yesterday. I have had their French toast in the past and remembered that it was very good.

Nob Hill Grille really isn't a very large space, but they have made do with what is available; it even stretches into what used to be the space next-door/downhill. There are only seven counter seats; three tables for two up front; one sidewalk table for two (weather permitting); and in the back room, five tables of four, and one table for two.

I looked over their menu, but ended up ordering what I initially went there for: french toast ~ vanilla brioche[2] bread topped with berries and crème anglaise. I also had a side order of sweet potato fries (with chipotle aioli[3]) and a glass of orange juice.

The French toast was made with two extremely thick slices of bread/brioche (at least 1-1 ½ inch thick). And from what I could tell, this was made with an authentique crème anglaise (in England, this is just called "cream", of course) ~ as opposed to yesterday's version, which seemed more like plain ol' whipped cream (crème whippée?) to me, which it may very well have been; today's version was more like I expected, a custardy version with flecks of real vanilla bean in it. Unfortunately there were seulement fraises, which was a little disappointing; I was expecting a mélange of different types of berries: raspberries, blackberries, or even some blueberries.
The sweet potato fries (and especially the chipotle aioli) were also very good ~ the aioli was not too spicy, but had a very nice flavour.

Nob Hill Grille offers for condimentary supplements Tabasco® (both Chipotle and the standard red) and Huy Fong Foods Inc.
® Sriracha Hot Sauce. I skipped both of those and just stuck with the fresh aioli on the sweet potato fries and some fresh ground pepper from grinders that are on each table and on the counter.

Again, this French toast doesn't compare to Baker Street Bistro's Pain Perdu, but it was still very good and better than yesterday's breakfast (and don't get me wrong, I liked that one, too, as it was also very good).

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: French Toast ~ 6.8; Sweet Potato Fries (with chipotle aioli) ~ 6.8

[1] Nob Hill is one of the original, official "Seven Hills of San Francisco", the other six being: Mount Davidson, Mount Sutro, Rincon Hill, Russian Hill, Telegraph Hill, Twin Peaks, and Karen Hill.

(I just threw that last one in to see if anyone was paying attention. Karen actually lives in Athens, Greece, so she is really a "
λόφος", not a "hill".)

Nob Hill is an affluent district, home to many of the city's upper class families as well as a large yuppie population, and a growing Chinese immigrant population from a slowly encroaching Chinatown to the east. Sometimes it is sarcastically referred to as "Snob Hill" (in fact, "nob" is a slang term meaning "wealthy and distinguished person", possibly influenced by the word "nabob", and thus similar in meaning to "snob").

[2] Completely useless, boring, cunning linguist pointer of the day, la première partie:

"Brioche" comes from the French "brier" which means "to knead the dough" (and with the state of the economy lately we all really "brier").

Just yesterday I was wondering what exactly brioche was, so thanks to our friends at Wikipedia here is some information:

[3] Completely useless, boring, cunning linguist pointer of the day deuxièmement:

"Aioli" comes from two French words: "ai" meaning "garlic" and "oli" meaning "that Norwegian guy next door".

If you don't believe me, you can look it up yourself, Cassy.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


as in "in the neighborhood"

(There really is no relationship between CIRCA[1] the restaurant and Cirque du Soleil other than the word root is the same. I chose this song/music off EweToob as I have been to this particular show, Alegría[2], before ~ Thanks, Cindy and Greg! ~ it may have been one of the first ones I ever went to.)

I wanted to try a new restaurant for breakfast and have passed CIRCA (on the corner of Chestnut and Fillmore) in the Marina many times and finally got around to going there. This place is definitely a "Brunch" kinda place, with lots of mirrors and hanging glass chandelier thingys, and red/burgundy-toned woodwork/chairs/stuff (it could have been mahogany or cherry wood for all I know, Norm).

Their "Brunch" menu isn't really that extensive, but there were a few things on there that I knew I would like. I ended up going with apple cobbler french toast ~ cinnamon-ginger crème anglaise[3]; and a side order of home fries and a glass of orange juice. On my way to the restaurant I had stopped at Peet's Coffee and Tea® and got their seasonal special, Pumpkin Spice Latte[4].

The French toast was okay, but doesn't compare in any way to Baker Street Bistro's Pain Perdu, nor was I really expecting it to. It had lots of fresh, diced apples and little crunchy "cobbler" bits on top of some kinda French bread or brioche (whatever that means). One minor complaint: the crème anglaise ~ I really couldn't discern the cinnamon or ginger in it; however, there was lots of cinnamon in the French toast batter already. The homefries were very good ~ crispy, but not greasy (again, as always, "greasy" is not necessarily a bad thing, just as long the "greasy" part isn't porky-based). The Peet's® latte was good as far as flavoured lattes goes, but I am not normally a latte kinda-guy; I just wanted to try something different and it is that time of year.

CIRCA only has as condimentary supplementation Tabasco® (just the standard red). No worries, as I had come equipped with a few from my own collection: Oaxacan[5] Hot Sauce (Thanks, Brian!), Sylvia's Restaurant® Kickin' Hot Hot Sauce (Thanks, Sean!); I went with some Oaxacan Hot Sauce on the homefries.

This is the newest addiction… er, addition to my hot sauce collection. I just picked up the bottle the other night at Hot Sauce and Panko after sampling some of the different ones they have. Now this was not too hot (even though it is made with habanero chili peppers), but has lots of flavour. CaJohns is the same company that makes Holy Jolokia![6], which is truly wholly (holy?) hotter; that may be my next purchase there. So as not to waste the Sylvia's® that I had also brought, I loaned both bottles to a nearby table and they really seemed to like the
Sylvia's® much better than any plain ol' Tabasco®; they said the Oaxacan was just a bit too hot for them (it really isn't that hot, though).

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: apple cobbler french toast ~ 6.4; Peet's® Pumpkin Spice Latte ~ 6.6; Oaxacan Hot Sauce ~ 6.8

[1] Completely useless, boring, cunning linguist pointer of the day,
το πρώτο/primus/la première:

"Circa"/"circus"/"cirque" all come from the Latin word "circus", Max, which in turn is borrowed from the Greek word "
κίρκος (kirkos)", James Tiberius, meaning "ring" or "circle". Which just goes to prove the old adage, "When in Rome, do as the Greeks do."
[2] Completely useless, boring, cunning linguist pointer of the day, la segunda parta:

"Alegría" simply means "joy" in Spanish, Regis.

[3] Completely useless, boring, cunning linguist pointer of the day (and a little culinaristic, too), la troisième partie:

"Crème anglaise" just means "English cream" in French. This may have been one of the only times the stingy Frenchies ever attributed anything tasty and food-related to the "stupid kaniggits" or les Britanniques porc-chiens.

[4] Completely useless, boring, cunning linguist pointer of the day, parte la quarta:
"Latte" is simply the Italiano word for "milk". So any of you snooty 'mericano touristas traveling to Rome be very careful when ordering coffee from the local barista.

[5] Completely useless, boring, cunning linguist pointer of the day, me declaro el quinto:

"Oaxaca" is actually pronounced as "wa-HAH-ka"; Oaxaca is one of the 31 States of Mexico; it comes from the Nahuatl word "Huaxyacac". However, when most 'mericans see this word they usually butcher it by pronouncing it as "oh-AXE-a-ka"; and I know this as that was exactly how I pronounced it the first time I ever saw it. 

The first time I ever saw this word was when I was going through ESS NCO Academy (which is some kinda useless PME/"Professional Military Education" thing; hey, it was a free trip back to the States from Germany) in Goodfellow AFB, TX, back in 1985. One of my classmates was named Manny Oaxaca. On the very first day of class, one of the instructors was doing roll-call and came across Manny's name and, of course, ultimately stumbled in pronouncing it correctly. Manny (probably more than used to people mispronouncing his surname) told him: "It's pronounced just like it looks!"

I was later stationed with Manny at Offutt AFB in Ohmygawd, NE later that same year. Interestingly enough, I was just recently contacted by Manny through this very 'blog. He located me when he was looking for information on our mutual friend, Gary Burgess, that had passed away (see 'blog-entry from September 11th, 2011). Apparently the information I had linked in my 'blog was one of the easiest to find during a web-search. Manny now just lives about a hundred miles from me in the Sacramento area. We really need to get together one of these days for a toast to lost comrades.

(¡Hola, Mannycito!)

[6] The Bhut Jolokia chili pepper (or ghost pepper) is one of the hottest chili peppers in the World. Treat this fiery devil with the utmost respect!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Home Plate

"Slide into Home Plate for a home run meal!"[1]

(Just a little music[2] in honour of the MLB Post Season. Good luck to the Texas Rangers and Milwaukee Brewers or Saint Louis Cardinals!)

It's Postseason Baseball time again! Because of which, I decided to go back to Home Plate (see 'blog-entry from May 9th, 2010) in the Marina/Cow Hollow area. I really like this little place, and it is very popular with both locals and touristas (due to it's location on Lombard Street and closeness to many hotels/motels). I was happy to see that they have added to their walls of sports photos some brand new pictures of the 2010 (and reigning) World Series Champions, San Francisco Giants since my visit last year.

Home Plate has a pretty extensive daily menu and they also offer several nice weekend specials. This weekend they had a few that caught my eye: Garden Omelette ~ mushroom, tomatoes, onion, green onion, bell pepper, spinach, avocado, and Cheddar cheese; and "Almond French Toast" (they actually included the "quotations marks", Karl) ~ Topped with toasted Almond, cinnamon, powder (sic) sugar, & butter. The omelette special seemed a bit too green to me, Mr. Nader, and I really wasn't in the mood for French toast. So I had the Spinach Frittata ~ spinach, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese; served with
Home Plate made scone, (2) potato-carrot pancakes[3a], and home(plate)made roll or toast (talk about a load of carbohydrates). I also ordered a cuppa coffee and a medium (they actually offer three sizes, which is always nice) glass of fresh cantaloupe juice.

The mini-scone comes with two different types of their excellent home(plate)made jams. Today they were: mango and strawberry. I have found that the trick is to use a little of both on the scone (these two flavours really go very well together), but to make sure to save a little to use on one of the potato-carrot pancakes, too. The mini-scone may seem small, but with all of the other stuff they serve you, it is a simple (and very tasty) way to start the meal. I even asked them to skip the roll/toast as I was pretty sure it would all be too much for me to eat.

This was a very good frittata (it was not quite as good as their Greek Frittata, but that one includes spinach, Feta cheese, and real "calamata"/Kalamata olives, all of which are some of my favourites); it was just loaded with fresh spinach (I know I just had spinach in my scramble yesterday, but what can I say, I was brainwashed as a kid by Popeye) and lots of pine nuts. The potato-carrot pancakes do come with some home(plate)made applesauce[3b] and sour cream, but I like to mix and match these with their jams on them, also.

Well, I had ordered a cantaloupe juice, but they brought me a honey dew melon juice instead. It's all good, as it was still fresh "squeezed" and very tasty.

Home Plate offers for condimentary supplements Tabasco® (both Jalapeño and standard red), Cholula®, and Huy Fong Foods® Sriracha Hot Sauce, which is really not that bad of a selection; however, I went with some of my own BIG PAPI En Fuego Hot Sauce ~ Monster Double Medium Hot (Thanks, Kerry!) and a little Benito's Original Naranja Medium (Thanks, me!) on the frittata only (half and half-ed it); no way was I going to mess with the potato-carrot pancakes.

Home Plate has so many good things from which to choose, it could easily be put into my Breakfast Rotation if needed ~ let's just put it this way, if I ever find out there has been any Beer-drinking or fried chicken-eating going on in the kitchens of my current Starters during breakfast, heads will roll, Theo!

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Spinach Frittata ~ 7.1; Potato-carrot pancakes ~ 7.1; Mini-scone and home(plate)made jams ~ 7.0

[1] As stated in my first 'blog-entry about Home Plate, this is their actual slogan on their menus; I would have come up with a much worse pun.

[2] Here's a little know fact: Paul Simon originally wanted to call this song "Where Have You Gone, Ted Williams?", but he just couldn't get the meter to work in the song. I don't know why he didn't just go with "Dom DiMaggio" or even "Vince DiMaggio", they were both better Baseball players and much more famous than that guy that was once married to Marilyn Monroe and shilled coffee in the 70's.

It is funny to note that I was seated below a wedding photo of Marilyn and Mr. Monroe; they were actually married in San Francisco.

[3] You really didn't think you could get through one of my stupid 'blog-entries without a boring, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day or two, did you?!

a) Boring, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day, Nummer eins:

In German "potato pancakes" are called "Kartoffelpuffer". This comes from "Kartoffel", the German word for "potato", and "puffer", the German word for "Smoking Allowed".

b) Boring, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day, Nummer zwei:

In German "applesauce" is called "Apfelmus". This comes from "Apfel", the German word for "apple", and "mus", the German word for "hair gel product".

I don't make this stuff up, people!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Irving Street Cafe

The Pasión-lessness of the Breakfast

(No official web-site available.)

After driving over to the Sunset District and finding out that Pasión doesn't actually open until 11:00am[1] on Saturdays for "Brunch", I thought about going to Art's Café (avec accent aigu) again (see 'blog-entry from August 14th, 2010) which is right next door, but there was a little bit of a line already out the door. It looked like it might be about a half-hour wait, so I decided on going to Irving Street Cafe (sans accent aigu) instead. There is nothing fancy or special about this place, but they were open and there was no waiting to get in, and they were just across the street (that would be Irving Street, by the way). Irving Street Cafe is a medium-sized, old-timey coffee shop/dineresque place; they have probably eight to ten tables of 4-6 seats and another eight counter seats or so. I sat at the counter to get the best view (and make sure the cooks didn't spit in my food).

I had the Vegetarian Scramble ~ Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Spinach, Zucchini, & Red Onion; served with hash browns and toast (I went with Rye toast today). I also had a cuppa freshly-brewed coffee (it was from a brand new pot, but it was still just diner-style coffee) and a glass of Ruby Red Grapefruit juice.

This was made with three eggs scrambled and lots of fresh spinach and zucchini[2], which are always a good thing, Martha; it was really a lot to eat. I like that they make their hashbrowns fresh per order, they are not sitting on the grill waiting to be served ~ not that that is always a bad thing; and they were very good, too.

The condimentary supplementation at Irving Street Cafe is Castillo® S
alsa Habanera (both the green and red/orange versions) and Huy Fong Foods® Sriracha Hot Sauce. I used some of the Castillo® red/orange on the hashbrowns and the last drops of my Trees Can’t Dance African Hot Sauce (Thanks again one last time, Cindy and Greg!) on the scramble.

After ordering off their standard menu and more than half-way through my meal, I heard a couple of other diners ordering the Breakfast Burrito. Apparently, this was on their "Specials Menu/Board" and I had overlooked it. Now, I am not usually a breakfast burrito kind of guy (breakfast pizza is another story altogether), but the beauty of this one is that you could basically order it any way you liked with any of the ingredients that they have. They offer two different types of sausages (for you dead, decaying meat-loving fans) from which to choose: both a porky product and an applewood-smoked chicken one; as well as a steak choice, too. Then there are all of the veggies and cheese choices that they have. I also asked the server if you could get this with some of their good hashbrowns in it too, and she said that people do that all the time. Maybe if I am ever in the neighborhood again and there is a long line outside Art's and stupid Pasión hasn't yet opened, I might just have to try this.

Normally I could care less about what my meal costs (I figure if I can't afford to eat out, I won't), but I got out of there for just under $10.00 for the entire breakfast, which is nice ~ I know I would have paid at least twice that if I had eaten at Pasión.

I also liked that when they bring you the check they give you either a stick of Wrigley’s Spearmint®[3] gum or some other fun candies stuff.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Vegetarian Scramble ~ 6.5 (with their good hashbrowns factored in)

[1] Ironically, I had just mentioned this morning to my brother Sean that I draw the line at going to a "fancy-shmancy Brunch" place that doesn't open before 11:00am for breakfast. Unless, of course, it is absolutely great with some extra tasty entrees, Absinthe Brasserie & Bar falls in this category (I haven't been there in a few years, mainly since they changed their opening time from 10:30 to 11:00am, but it is a great place if you like to sleep in and go out to a late "Brunch") ~ especially check out their Brioche French Toast and Brunch Potatoes. I have never been to Pasión, so I don't know if it falls in that category or not; however, I may or may not check out this snooty sister to the Fresca (see 'blog-entry from May 28th, 2011) chain of restaurants, on another Sunday morning, when they open at 10:00am.

[2] Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day:
"Zucchini" comes from the Italian "zucchina" (plural: "zucchine"), and it is the word normally used in North 'merica and Australia; this word comes from the diminutive of "zucca" (gourd). However, the French word "courgette" is the word that is commonly used in Great Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, and South Africa; this word comes from the diminutive of "courge" (gourd). Go figger.

[3] Did you know that Wrigley's® is now a subsidiary of Mars Incorporated?

Does this mean that the Chicago Cubbies actually play their home games at Snickers® Stadium now, Harry?
Hey, Ernie, let's play two!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Brenda’s ~ French Soul Food

(Happy Birthday[1], John… unfortunately, the War is not yet over… again.)

Je suis retourné à Brenda's ~ French Soul Food (see last 'blog-entry from January 30th, 2011) pour petit-déjeuner, y'all. I got there just before they opened, so I did not have to wait long to be seated… or endure too many of the colourful Tenderloin locals along Polk Street. Brenda's is currently expanding to the building next door (which will double their size and should cut down the wait time for anyone arriving after they open); they said they should be opening in early November.

There really isn't an extensive breakfast/"Brunch" menu from which to choose for idiot vegetarians, but what they do offer all looks good. If I was an eater of the dead, decaying little porkies, I am sure I would love to have tried their Egg & Bacon Tartine just to try their tomato-bacon relish; I am not sure what that would taste like (heck, I am not even sure what a "Tartine"[2] is), but it sounds interesting. As it was, I ordered off their specials board (and, it is interesting to note ~ well, to me it was ~ that this was a real chalk board, not one of them thar new-fangled dry-erase board thingys).


I had the Fried Green Tomato & Bacon Benedict (well, again, sans les petits cochons morts) with a choice of grits or (potato) hash. I also started with an order of Granny Smith Apple Beignets and a cuppa very good, N'Orleans-style coffee, Community Coffee (with chicory).

I really like this alternative Benedict; Fannie Flagg would be very proud. It was made with thinly sliced fried green tomato, which really makes a big difference. It was served on cream biscuits (another nice touch) with a spicy Creole[3] Hollandaise sauce (but, like I have stated before, I really couldn't tell a "Creole Hollandaise" from a "Cajun Béarnaise" sauce) ~ which was very tasty, but not overly spicy. I went with the "greets" as my side dish choice, which were good, buttery grits and a very large bowl/portion, too. 

The Granny Smith Apple Beignets were also very good, but I am not really an expert on this particular baked good as I have only had them a few times before; I made sure to eat it with a little of their excellent home-made strawberry jam again; these comes as three (3) large beignets, which is two (2) too many, so I took the remaining ones (1's) home and plan on eating them later today (when I regain my appetite).

Brenda's only offers as condimentary supplements Crystal® Louisiana's Pure Hot Sauce; so I went with some Sylvia's Restaurant® Kickin' Hot ~ Hot Sauce (Thanks, Sean!) on the eggs and a little Trees Can't Dance African Hot Sauce (Thanks, Greg and Cindy!) on the "greets".

This is a good place to check out a few times a year and the beignets are really worth coming back for. (I know, I know, it should read grammatically correct as "… and the beignets are really worth coming back for, y'all".)

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Granny Smith Apple Beignets ~ 7.2; Fried Green Tomato Benedict ~ 7.3

[1] Interestingly enough, today is also John's son Sean's birthday.

[2] Stupid, boring cunning linguist pointer of the day, la première partie:

"Tartine" in French simply means "a slice of bread" and usually describes some kinda fancy-shmancy open-faced sandwich. None of which really helps me in any way of figuring out what their Egg & Bacon Tartine would entail.

[3] Loosiana Creole cuisine "is a style of cooking originating in Louisiana which blends French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Greek, Asian Indian, Native American, and African influences, as well as general Southern cuisine. It is similar to Cajun cuisine in ingredients (such as the holy trinity), but the important distinction is that Cajun cuisine arose from the more rustic, provincial French cooking adapted by the Acadians to Louisiana ingredients, whereas the cooking of the Louisiana Creoles tended more toward classical European styles adapted to local foodstuffs. Broadly speaking, the French influence in Cajun cuisine is descended from various French Provincial cuisines of the peasantry, while Creole cuisine evolved in the homes of well-to-do aristocrats, or those who imitated their lifestyle. Although the Creole cuisine is closely identified with New Orleans culture today, much of it evolved in the country plantation estates so beloved of the pre-Civil War Creoles. (Despite its aristocratic French roots, Creole cuisine does not include Garde Manger or other extremely lavish styles of the Classical Paris cuisine.)" ~ straight outta Wikipedia.

And just to make it another stupid, boring cunning linguist pointer, la deuxième partie:

"Creole" comes from the French "créole" (amazing, huh?), which comes from the Spanish "criollo" (a person native to a locality) from the Portuguese "crioulo", diminutive of "cria" (a person ~ especially a servant ~ raised in one's house) from "criar" (to raise or bring up), from Latin "creare" (to produce, create); however, it is not related in any way to the crayon people.

"Cajun" is an aphetic variant/alteration of "Acadian".

Now you are all on your own trying to figure where "Zydeco" comes from.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Primo Patio Cafe

"a taste of the tropics"[1]

I have eaten at Primo Patio Cafe for lunch, when I used to work just a few blocks away, and for dinner before San Francisco Giants (still the reigning World Series Champs, by the way! ~ and it's just another 122 Days before the Giants season starts again) games, but this is the first time I have ever had breakfast there. They are located on Townsend, just a few blocks away from SBC Park. They have been in the same location for about 18 years now.

This is a kinda small space squeezed in between two other buildings, hence the "Patio Cafe" and not just "Cafe". It is always nice to eat breakfast in the fresh air (weather permitting ~ today it permitted), and the only seating space they have is in their patio (I did ask and they said for the Winter they rent a tent to cover the open space). Anyone know how you say "dining al fresco" in Spanish?

[No extra charge for this little bit of breakfast-y Taoism of Winnie-the-Pooh.]

Primo Patio have several good things from which to choose on the breakfast portion of the menu. I was leaning toward the simple Scooter (which I assumed was some sorta Caribbean-style Egg-a-Muffin thingy), but ended up going with Huevos Verdes ~ Two poached eggs on a corn tortilla, Jack & Cheddar cheese, fresh tomatillo[2] salsa. Served with Caribbean potatoes and black beans. I also had a (large) cuppa coffee and a Guava[3] Mimosa[4].

I am very glad I went with this choice. It was very tasty; kinda a Huevos Rancheros-meets-Eggs Benedict-with a Caribbean twist. It was served on a crispy (fried) corn tortilla; I was expecting just a standard (un-fried) corn tortilla, so this was a nice surprise ~ this was very tasty and an interesting combination with the poached eggs and tomatillo salsa. I liked that it came with a side of black beans ~ mucho goodo. (The first time I ever had black beans was many years ago in Miami at a Cuban restaurant, paired with some rice and fried plantains[5]. I really liked them, and they are one of my favourite legume-y fruits now.) My only minor complaint was that the Caribbean potatoes were not really crispy enough for my liking; they did have a nice enough flavour, though. The Mimosa was pretty decent and I give it extra points for originality; however, it wasn't as if they used fresh-squeezed guava juice in it; I am pretty sure it was just from a can.

For condimentary supplementation, Primo Patio makes their own fresh salsa (a red version); so I did not need to use any of my own today (I did come prepared with three different ones from my collection). The salsa roja was very nice, not too spicy, so I used it up on the eggs, beans, and potatoes. Their tomatillo salsa was also very good.

I probably should have also gotten a side order of plantains, carbohydrates be damned!

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Huevos Verdes ~ 6.8; Guava Mimosa ~ 6.3

[1] This is their slogan on the menu, but I swear I tasted a little bit of Caribbean Sea salt in the salsa… and maybe just a touch o' da ganja, too, mon!

[2] The tomatillo is a distant cousin of the tomato (they are both members of the Nightshade family) and also indigenous to "the New World".

Useless, boring cunning linguist punto número uno:

Both "tomatillo" and "tomato" have the same word root and come from the Nahuatl word "tomatl", which the Spanish borrowed as "tomate".

[3] Guava is also native to the Western Hemisphere ~ Mexico, Central America, and northern South America.

Useless, boring cunning linguist punto número dos:

"Guava" comes from the Arawak word "guayabo", which the Spanish borrowed as "guayaba".

[4] I am not sure why the drink is called a "Mimosa" as it isn't made from the Mimosa plant, but I am sure the damned Spanish can be blamed for this stolen word somehow. I am pretty sure that it was not named after that old Cuban Chicago White Sox Left Fielder, though.

[5] Plantains are a tropical plant/fruit of the banana family.

Useless, boring cunning linguist punto número tres:

"Plantain" comes from the Latin word "platanus" ~ meaning "plane/flat", which the Spanish borrowed as "plátano".

Useless, boring cunning linguist conclusion of the day:

The damned Spanish need to quit borrowing so many words from other languages and use some of their own.