Saturday, December 31, 2011


Breakfast from A-to-Z in 2011[1]

(Wow! Who knew that Giovanni Ribisi kid could sing so well?
Happy New Year, all! Or even "Bonne Nouvelle Année!")

I had my petit-déjeuner again at Zazie (see last 'blog-entry from September 11th, 2010), over in the Haight/Cole Valley. I even got the primo parking spot right in front of the restaurant. Comment dites-vous "al fresco" en français? I sat outside in the backyard patio as the Sun was out and shining, but they had those tall gas overhead heaters on anyway. It got so warm that I had to take off my coat after a few minutes to compensate and it was just comfortable enough to leave it off during the entire meal.

Zazie offers many good pancakes (Gingerbread with bosc pears really sounded good) and egg dishes (several scrambles and poached choices) from which to chose, but I wanted to bookend last week's
Pain Perdu with another version of French Toast as a comparison. So I had their French Toast Tahiti ~ Pinkie's challah[2] (with orange-cinnamon batter) stuffed with caramelized bananas and walnuts with a side order of home fries, and to drink a Citron Presse (fresh squeezed lemon juice with simple syrup) and a strong cuppa coffee.

The French Toast came with two very large and very thick slices of bread ~ stuffed with lots of bananas and walnuts, etc. (I am just not so sure where you can find walnuts in Tahiti, Monsieur Gauguin). They offer this as one, two, or three pieces. I just barely finished the two slice version and probably could have gone with one slice and have been sufficiently sated. The home fries came with nine (9! Neuf!) whole cloves of roasted garlic (à la mode Eats), and I made sure to eat each and every one. You get to mix the Citron Presse on your own, adding as much or as little simple syrup as you like with the bottle of water that is on each table.

Zazie only has Tabasco® as condimentary supplementation, but I came prepared with a few of my own and used some Cherry Republic KaBOB's Kick'en Hot Sauce (Thanks again, Cindy and Greg!) and some Oaxacan Hot Sauce (Thanks, me!) on the potatoes.

The French Toast was very good and worth coming back for on its own; however, I am sure I will go back to try some of their other egg and what-not items in the future.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: French Toast Tahiti ~ 7.2

[1] It probably would have been a more apt title if I actually had my first breakfast of 2011 at Americana Grill, Art's Café, or Ashley's Breakfast Shoppes, even.

Additionally this year, I did eat at Baker Street Bistro, Bettys Café Tea Rooms, Boogaloos, Chilayo, Chloe's, Chow (on Church Street)… and, of course, Dottie's True blue café. And, just to let you know, I even ate at a Q restaurant (see last 'blog-entry from September 5th, 2011) this year to fill out one of the harder letters to eat at. I am pretty sure there were no "X" or "Y" ones on my 2011 list, though.

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

"Challah" (pronounced "hallah" or "khallah" with a guttural "h/kh" sound as if you're clearing your throat, not as "CHallah" with a "ch" as in "church", Charlie) is simply Hebrew for "loaf of bread".

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Just For You cafe

I went back to Just For You cafe (see last 'blog-entry from May 30th, 2011), over in the Dogpatch area of town, for breakfast this morning as I still had another day off from work. My original destination this morning was going to be Breakfast at Tiffany's (see last 'blog-entry from June 14th, 2011), but they were closed for an extended holiday (I just hate these people that get an extra day off for the Christmas Holiday, who the heck do they think they are?!). Just For You cafe has its own mini-bakery right on the premises where they make all of their own breads and baked goods; I got a tour of the back rooms this morning where the ovens and bakery machines are kept (Thanks, Adrienne!).

I am not sure if today's menu "flavor" (their term, not mine, but I like it) was considered Weekdays or Weekend Brunch. There are some great choices on both of those menus. I especially liked the sound of the Bleu Scramble (with Bleu cheese ~ Did I really need to point that out? ~ and artichoke hearts and other sundries) and the Greek Scramble (with Feta and Kalamata olives among other good stuff) on the Weekend Brunch flavor, and will have to come back on an actual weekend to try either of those. As it was, once again, I had the Frittata of the Decade ~ zucchini, mushrooms, onion, garlic, spinach, & tomato, and topped with Provolone[1]. I chose home fries and a fresh-baked blueberry scone (both of which come as part of most breakfast meals). I also had a cuppa good, strong N'Orleans-style coffee (with roasted chicory).

There were lots of fresh veggies (if you are a zucchini fan like me, you'll love this one) in the frittata and it was topped with a lot of melty Provolone goodness. The blueberry scone was soft and moist, not your typical, rock-hard coffeeshop disaster; and it was still plenty warm enough to add a pad of butter to it and have it melted right away.

Just For You cafe actually has one of the most extensive (and very good) selections of condimentary supplementation from which to choose, and it is normally superfluous to bring any of my own with me, but I had gotten a few new bottles of hot sauces (well, several to be honest) for Christmas this year (Thanks again, Greg & Cindy!), and wanted to try out another one of them. I used a little of (the simply-enough named) Sweet Heat Hot Sauce (from Newflower/Sunflower Farmers Market) on the potatoes. This hot sauce was more sweet than heat (because of which, I used a lot more of it than I would normally use), but it went pretty well with the home fries. Ingredients: Water, Carrots, Distilled Vinegar, Sugar,
Tomato Paste, Paprika, Salt, Onion Powder, Granulated Garlic, Spices, Garlic, Habanero Powder, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate (preservatives).

It's a bit of a hike getting over to Just For You cafe, but it always pays off in the end as I have never had a bad breakfast there.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Frittata of the Decade ~ 7.5; Blueberry scone ~ 6.7

[1] The addition of Provolone is marked as "new" on the printed menu, but it has actually been a part of this frittata for quite some time now. It was changed from Cheddar cheese on the suggestion of some idiot that ate there last year (see 'blog-entry from October 24th, 2010).

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Baker Street Bistro

(Bruce Cockburn was the closest I could find to any "Frenchy" singers. Besides, I like his stuff[1]; you got a problem with that?!)

What better way to celebrate Christmas Eve morning than to have un petit-déjeuner supérieure dans Baker Street Bistro? It had been several months since my last visit and I figured it was about time for a Pain Perdu fix (see last 'blog-entry from September 17th, 2011).
There were French Christmas carols[2] playing on the house stereo while I was there. Even though the Sun was out and shining this morning, it was still just a little too cold to sit outside on the sidewalk patio this morning; however, I did give it a (brisk) thought.

I didn't even need to peruse the menu as I had come specifically for the Pain Perdu, encore une fois (mais bien sûr). I ordered it with a side of home fries and a cuppa coffee.

At this point, what else can I say about this great breakfast treat that I haven't already said before? The picture doesn't really do it justice, it's 100X better tasting than it looks. (On a side note, I did have some plain ol' "toasts français" last week at the French café in Ripon, it just wasn't "pain perdu".) Les fruits du jour: pastèque, melon, ananas, pommes, et oranges.

Knowing what Baker Street Bistro has to offer for condimentary supplementation, I had come prepared with some of my own and ended up using a brand new one that I had gotten for Christmas (Thanks, Greg & Cindy!), Cherry Republic KaBOB's Kick'en Hot Sauce, on the potatoes. The new hot sauce wasn't too spicy, but it did have a nice flavour. I was afraid that it was going to be too sweet and was wondering how cherry would match with chilis.

Unfortunately, I didn't see or hear any of my fine-feathered friends, the Wild Parrots of San Francisco this morning.

Even if I was too wimpy to sit outside this morning, there was one couple braving the cold, but they had no choice as they had their dog with them, which happened to be a very large (and friendly) French poodle.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Pain Perdu ~ 8.2; Cherry Republic KaBOB’s Kick’en Hot Sauce ~ 6.4

[1] I am just not sure who this Gloria person is he is singing about in the second song. And why does she have to be "an excelsior day whore"?

[2] Stupid, useless cunning linguist/etymological pointer of the day, numéro un:

The word "carol" comes from the Old French word "carole" ~ "a circle dance accompanied by singers", which in turn derived from the Latin word "choraula" ~ "a dance to the flute".

I actually know a real "Christmas Carol". The mother of my oldest family of friends (Hi, Bruce, Cheri, Holly, Laura, Charlene, and Chris!) was born on Christmas Day; her name is Carol.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Bettys Café Tea Rooms

Northallerton, North Yorkshire (12/16/2011)

No trip to North Yorkshire is ever complete without at least one visit to Bettys Café Tea Rooms (and, yes, it is correctly spelled as "Bettys", with no apostrophe, and "Rooms" plural). (See my last 'blog-entry from December 27th, 2010.) This time we waited until my very last day in England (Cutting it pretty close, aren't we, Cindy?!) to make my sole/soul annual pilgrimage, and we went to the restaurant in the market town of Northallerton[1] (as far as I know, there is no Southallerton) on our way to a day trip to the scenic North Yorkshire seaside village of Staithes[2] (try saying that ten times fast).

This Bettys is located in an old Georgian (as opposed to a "new Victorian"?) building. We sat way back in the restaurant in a part of the building that may have originally been part of the courtyard. This was now a nice high-ceilinged atrium with a large shaded skylight. It was a pretty nice morning (well, for Winter North Yorkshire standards) overall and justified sitting inside-outside.

As I only get to Bettys once a year or so, I am usually pretty boring and always seem to get the same meal: Breakfast Rösti ; Cindy cheated and went off the Breakfast Menu and got the Bacon and Raclette Cheese Rösti, "A Swiss specialty of grated potato, Gruyere cheese and cream, fried with bacon and topped with melted Raclette cheese."

As this meal is one of the main reasons I love going back to Bettys each year, I am content with my "boring" selection. Cindy seemed to enjoy her meal, too.

The other reason I love going to Bettys is their extensive (and tasty) selection of Teas and Coffees (hence the "Tea Rooms" part of their name). On the suggestion of another Bettys aficionado ("aficionada"?), I tried one of their better brews of coffee, Nepal Snow River.,22065,44.aspx

Now this was indeed an excellent coffee, and definitely up there with the great cuppas I have ever had, but I am sorry to say it is not the greatest cuppa that I have ever had (Sorry, Gretchen.); that, of course, would still have to be Bettys Jamaica Blue Mountain Peaberry. This is truly the Marilyn Monroe of coffees, and at £15.00 per pound (that's about $22.00 'merican dollars)*, one of the most expensive coffees I have ever had, but worth every penny (or pence even).

*(10/16/2014, long after the fact, Edit: Ooops! I noticed that I was "juuust a bit" off in my calculations there. The 
£15.00 was not "per pound" ~ the weight measure and not the British Sterling measure ~ it was actually "per 125g". That equates to about $80.00-90.00 greenback 'merican dollars. "Show me the D'oh! Re Mi"?),19028,44.aspx

To supplement her meal, Cindy had a pot o' the Ceylon Blue Sapphire, which is really one of Bettys best teas, making it one of the best teas in the World in my opinion (and it's my 'blog, so my opinion is the only one that really matters). It is also one of the most expensive teas in Bettys selection, but I was paying for breakfast, so Cindy was sticking it to me good.,19147,107.aspx

As for Bettys condimentary supplementation, they offer two excellent fresh-made chutneys: Tomato and Caramelized Onion. I had a few dollops of the onion chutney and Cindy went with the tomato; both were good additions to the meals.

Much thanks once again to both Cindy and Greg for their exemplary hostage… er, hosting duties!

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Breakfast Rösti ~ 8.2; Nepal Snow River ~ 7.9; Jamaica Blue Mountain Peaberry ~ 8.5 (while I didn't have this particular blend this trip, I have had it many times in the past and dream about it all the time and can rate it from mmm-memory); Ceylon Blue Sapphire ~ 8.2 (once again, I didn't sample this tea on this trip, but I know this one by heart, also; I didn't ask Cindy for her GBS Rating, as I couldn't trust her opinion on such an important matter, anyway)

[1] Some additional info on Northallerton courtesy of our friends at Wikipedia:

[2] Ditto on Staithes:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Flô Café Brasserie

Ripon, North Yorkshire (12/15/2011)

Who knew you could find a little piece of Paris in North Yorkshire? And right under the nose of a 12th Century Cathedral? I went to a new local (well, "local" if you happen to live in Sharow or Ripon, that is) breakfast place, Flô Café Brasserie, with my Christmas holiday hosts, Greg and Cindy Kipe. They had not eaten at this place before, neither for breakfast, lunch, nor dinner, so it was a new experience for all of us. It is located in downtown Ripon just across the street from historic Ripon Cathedral.

Now, I am not so sure why they felt the need to call it both "Café" and "Brasserie", but that is the French for you ~ always with the snooty pretentiousness. They did have a nice frenchified décor going on with some nice furnishings, several photos of French stars on the walls (e.g. Brigitte Bardot, et al), and current editions of Paris Match magazines on most of the tables.


This was actually a pretty nice little place. Their Petit Déjeuner menu isn't really that extensive, but what they did offer were pretty decent. I talked Greg into trying the Croque Monsieur[1], Cindy had the Oeufs Bénédicte, and I simply went with the Petit Déjeuner. We all shared a basket of the Corbeille du Pâtissier (which was just a freshly baked assortment of croissants, small baguettes, and pastries served with some homemade jams).

I didn't take a picture of either Greg's or Cindy's meals. Let them start their own damned 'blogs if they want pictures of their own damned food.

Actually, Cindy's dish was nothing special to photograph; it was your just standard looking Eggs Benedict.

I probably should have taken a picture of Greg's dish. This was an open-faced sandwich deal, not quite what I was expecting. Most of the times that I have seen a Croque Monsieur, it was basically a sandwich of cheese, ham, and egg covered with a béchamel sauce and grilled on both sides. This did not look anything like that.

My Petit Déjeuner was really nothing much special either, but I had never had duck eggs before and was curious to see what they tasted like; tasted just like chicken eggs to me… (I have been waiting for a week to be able to use that joke). I liked that they grilled the tomatoes to a nice char burn. I gave the dead, decaying porky flesh to Cindy, though.

As for their condimentaires supplémentation, there were no hot sauces offered or asked for, I just enjoyed their homemade jams on the fresh-baked goods, which were all very tasty. I particularly liked their marmelade d'oranges, Lady.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Petit Déjeuner ~ 6.3; Corbeille du Pâtissier (avec confitures)~ 7.0 (I probably should have asked Greg and Cindy for their GBS Ratings, but, again, let them write their own damned 'blogs.)

[1] Not to be confused with that Australian breakfast sandwich, the Croque Dundee.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Wiener Frühstüuck

Suite Novotel Wien Messe, Vienna, Austria[1] (12/11-13/2011)

(Yes, I went there.)

From Budapest, my Christmas Holiday hosts, Greg and Cindy Kipe (Vielen Dank, Freunde!), and I trained it on over to Vienna for three days where we stayed at the Suite Novotel Wien Messe[2]. I have been to
Österreich before, but this was my first trip to Wien (Greg and Cindy have been there a few times on their own before, though). Once again we really didn't get out of the hotel for ein authentisches Wiener Frühstück. I had wanted to try some good place near our hotel, but really couldn't find anything close by; I asked at the front desk and they said the best places were in the city centre and usually didn't open until 9:00am or so, but this really wasn't conducive to a tourista's schedule.

The breakfast buffet at the hotel was decent enough, but generally more of the same as the past few mornings in Budapest (and basically the same as ein typisches deutsches Frühstück): Rührei, Käse, Brötchen, süßes Gebäcken, Orangensaft, und Kaffee oder Tee (dön't yöü jüst lövë äll thësë ümläüts?). I did like their scrambled eggs a little better than the ones in Budapest, and their selection of rolls was pretty decent, too.

I really didn't notice any additional condimentary supplements on either the tables or along the buffet wall.

I had two main goals while visiting Wien. The first was to make sure to have some authentic Viennese apple strudel with warm vanilla sauce. Several times during the trip in both Budapest and Wien we had some decent apple strudel, but it wasn't until our very last night in Wien that we were fortunate enough to get die volle Monty[3]. And it was wirklich ein riesiges Stück, auch; both Cindy and I could only finish half of each of our portions, we probably should have split one order between the two of us. Secondly, I couldn't find the Hotel New Hampshire anywhere, though.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Daily breakfast buffet ~ 6.1; Wiener Apfelstrudel mit warmer Vanilles0ße ~ 7.9

[1] I was a bit disappointed that I saw neither any kangaroos nor koalas during my entire stay there, Karl.

[2] Interestingly enough, this place was just two blocks away from the Danube/Donau/Duna, also. One morning I made a point of it to cross over the river just to say I had crossed it both in Vienna and Budapest.

[3] We ate dinner the last night in Wien in of all places an amusement park, Wurstelprater. This was within walking distance of our hotel (or just a short U-Bahn ride away for us lazy touristas). The restaurant was directly below the Wiener Riesenrad.

Magyar Reggeli

Platán Restaurant, Danubius Health Spa Resort Margitsziget,
Budapest, Hungary (12/7-10/2011)

I really don’t know what a typical Hungarian breakfast actually consists of, as my only point of reference was having breakfast at Platán Restaurant while staying at the Danubius Health Spa Resort Margitsziget[1] in Budapest, Hungary with my annual Christmas hosts, Greg and Cindy Kipe (Jó napot, guys!), a week ago; and then we only ate at the extensive breakfast buffet provided. I can only assume it would be like most European countries and consist of some sort of egg dishes with meats, cheeses, and breads; which is basically what I had for the four mornings I was there (hús nélkül).

Now a little Hungarian history/language lesson is in order here before I continue. (Consider this stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day, number egy.) I can pretend to get by in many European cities with the little bit I can remember of Russian, German, French, Spanish, Greek, and even Latin helps some; however, I have absolutely no point of reference for anything Hungarian. Heck, the Hungarian word for "Hungary" is actually "Magyarország" (pronounced "MYarorsag") or "Magyar Köztársaság" ("the Republic of Hungary", pronounced just like it looks), where we got "Hungary" from is besides me. Luckily, many people in Hungary speak either English, German, or Russian as a secondary language.

The Hungarian language is neither Slavic nor Romance language based; it is closer in origin to Finnish than any of its surrounding countries (Ukraine, Romania, Slovakia, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, and Serbia). Previously, the only two Hungarian words that I was even familiar with (and most 'mericans probably, too) were "goulash" (which is spelled "gulyás" in Hungarian and actually pronounced "GOOyash") and "paprika"(which is also spelled "paprika" in Hungarian and pronounced "PAPreeka", kinda like you'd expect). The river that we know as the "Danube" is called "Duna" in Hungarian (and it's called "Donau" in German, go figger).

The Budapest tour book that Cindy had brought along had a quick lesson in Hungarian pronunciation and several helpful phrases and words in it. For example, most words in Hungarian have the accent on the penultimate[2] syllable and a single "s" is normally pronounced as a "sh", as in the capital city, Budapest (which is pronounced "BUDApesht"). I was only able to master a few words and phrases during the four days that we were there: "igen (IGen)"= "yes"; "nem (NEM)" = "no"; "kérem (KAYrem)" = "please"; "jó napot (yow NOPot)" = "hello"; "szia (SEEyuh)" = "see you soon" (this is not a joke and was really the easiest phrase to master); "köszönöm (KURSSurnurm)" = "thank you" (this is an exception to the penultimate accented rule, but I particularly like the three umlauted "o"s in a row); "vegetáriánnus vagyok (VEGetari-anoosh VOJok)" = " I am a vegetarian"; "kávé (KAvay)" = "coffee"; and, most importantly, "sör (SHUR)" = "beer". (Just never try to ask for directions to the "Opera"[3].)

As with any "ferren" country, the monetary unit is always fun to try and discern. The official unit of currency in Hungary is called the "Gabor"; this is not named after the famous sisters that became famous in 'merica, but I think it has something to do with their family, as the name "Gabor" seemed to be a pretty common name in Hungary. There are currently about 200 Gabors to one U.S. Dollar; that made it pretty easy to convert prices, just halve the price and move the decimal point two places to make a Gabors to cents conversion.

Now to the breakfast part of the 'blog (this is a breakfast 'blog, remember?). The daily buffet usually included: scrambled eggs, spicy potatoes (with a tasty Hungarian pepper sauce on it), several types of fruits (my favourite was the black cherry compote), several varieties of cheeses, breads/rolls, pastries, yoghurts, three types of juice (usually orange, grapefruit, and peach), jams/jellies, coffees and teas, and even several salad dishes (as well as many dead decaying animal flesh products). Most days I just filled up on scrambled eggs, breads and cheeses, and made sure to get some of the spicy potatoes whenever they were available (one morning they only had hashbrown triangles and another morning I even tried some roasted/baked pumpkin slices, which weren't really that bad for breakfast). The spicy potatoes were sliced, not chunked, which made them extra crispy and really tasted great with the Hungarian pepper sauce on them.

(That green thing on the side of my plate in the bottom photo is a half-eaten Hungarian pepper. It tasted great, and only was about as hot as a jalapeño or less.)

As far as condimentary supplementation with the buffet, I was surprised to see bottles of Tabasco® (just the standard red); however, they did have bowls of the fresh spicy Hungarian pepper sauce/purée, too, which I used rather liberally (Yay, our tastes buds have been freed from Soviet oppression!) on my scrambled eggs and other things.

One last stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day: "Jó reggelt!" (pronounced "Yow REGGelt") means "Good morning!"; the Hungarian word for "breakfast" is "reggeli"(pronounced "REGGeli") and comes from the same root word.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Daily breakfast buffet ~ 6.4 (mainly due to the pretty decent selection and the aforementioned spicy potatoes)

[1] The Danubius Health Spa Resort Margitsziget (Margaret Island) is right smack dab in the middle of the Danube/Duna/Donau and about a 15-minute walk across a major bridge in either direction to the cities of Buda or Pest. So if anyone is going to be a wise guy and ask me if I stayed in Buda or Pest, I can honestly say "Igen".

It was just easier to dine at the hotel buffet breakfast each morning while we were there. We did get off the island to sight-see and tour the city, and ate at several nice places for lunches and dinners.

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

Yeah, I had to ask Cindy what the heck that meant, too.

[3] Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day, number három:

I was a little lost one afternoon when I went out sightseeing on my own while Greg and Cindy were at a local Photography museum/exhibit. I got turned around at an "octagon" street intersection (I was only a few blocks off course), and I asked a lady on the street in English where the "Opera" was (I knew the Hungarian word was very similar), as the museum was just around the corner from it and I knew I could find it from there. Seems simple enough, right? I had to say "opera" four to five times before she finally understood me and said "OHpera?" and pointed me in the correct direction.