Sunday, February 26, 2012

Chloe♥s Cafe

"Any Norwegian Jarlsberger[1]?!"

1399 Church Street, San Francisco, CA 94114

Phonicular contact: (415) 648-4116

(Still no official web-site.)

(Unlike some people *cough-Greg-cough*, I am one who delights in all manifestations of the terpsichorean muse.)

Whenever I feel like curtailing my Walpoling activities, and suddenly come over esurient, I sally forth and infiltrate Chloe
s Cafe (see last 'blog-entry from February 26th, 2011 ~ coincidentally enough, one year ago) and negotiate the vending of some breakfastary comestibles.

I can't believe it has been exactly one year (well, a year and a day, but the same calendar date) that I last ate at Chloe
s Cafe; I used to go there at least 5-6 times a year, but designated them for assignment out of my Breakfast Rotation due to the distance and (lack of) parking situation over in Noe Valley; now I just like to check in every so often to see how their arm is doing.

Chloes Cafe doesn't have a very extensive breakfast menu, but what they do have to offer is usually very good. I generally will order off the "Specials" board, which is what I did this morning. I had the Special: two scrambled eggs with fresh spinach, tomato, leek, and a choice of cheese (Jarlsberg, Cheddar, Cream Cheese, or Feta); served with home fries or a cup of fresh fruit and a choice of toast. I topped off the meal with a large glass of orange juice.

I went with the Jarlsberg cheese today as I just had Feta in yesterday's breakfast (and also the night before with dinner); plus, Jarlsberg happens to be one of my favourite of the "fermented curds", anyway. I opted once again for the rosemary bread for the toast (which was a great choice, as always); and whenever the choice of sides is between potatoes and fruit, potatoes will always win out (I can make a fruit cup myself). This was a good scramble, and I liked all of the fresh ingredients (of which there was a lot of all); however, I just think it was missing something special in it (fresh mint, perhaps?). Maybe I am just being a bit overly hypercritical because I always expect so much more from Chloes Cafe ~ of course, this is like saying: "Sure, Timmay Lincecum[2] really has his Fastball working today… but wouldn't it be nice if he mixed it up once in a while with a Knuckleball?"

Chloes Cafe only has Tabasco® and Tapatío® as condimentary supplements (I knew this from my many trips there); so I had come prepared with some of my own collection: in honour of the start of Spring Training, I went with a little Big Papi En Fuego Hot Sauce ~ Original Mild (Thanks, Kerry!) on the scramble and some Sylvia's Restaurant® ~ Kickin' Hot Hot Sauce on the homefries (Thanks, Sean!), which really has nothing to do with Baseball, but goes well on potatoes.

I forewent a cuppa at
Chloes Cafe as I figured I could get a much better one over on Main Street Noe Valley (24th Street) afterward. I was correct and got a very nice cuppa at Bernie's "A Local Coffee Shop", their daily roast today was "La Donna" (which beats the St*rbucks swill available just down the block and across the street). They are situated in the bottom of a cool old Victorian, which was previously the location of Tully's and Spinelli's before that. Bernie's is also a very dog-friendly place: they have a large water bowl outside so that your four-footed, furry friends can quench their thirst while you do, too; and they have a jar on the front counter full of freebie dog biscuits to give to the pupsters (I made sure to steal a few and give them out to some well-deserving dogs ~ making sure to ask the dogs' human companions for permission first).

3966 24th Street, San Francisco, CA 94114

Phonicular contact: (415) 642-1192

(No official web-site either.)

Luckily breakfast was a success and it was not necessary to shoot anyone through the head…

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Special scramble ~ 6.8; Bernie's "La Donna" ~ 6.9

[1] Now, I would normally defer (or demur, perhaps) to the "right propa" British spelling/pronunciation, and far be it from me to correct someone as intelligent as John Cleese; however, the correct word for this particular cheesy comestible is "Jarlsberg" ~ I couldn't find any references to "Jarlsberger" in any of my on-line searches.

Additional information courtesy of Wikipedia:

[2] Boston Red Sox fans, feel free to substitute Jon Lester* or Clay Buchholz in Timmay's place. Y*nkees fans, feel free to "Bite me!"

*(Not the cheese of the similar name, Red Leicester, of course: )

Saturday, February 25, 2012


Cyprus[1] in my belly

(The first EweToob link should be self-explanatory from its title. The second one was included because I have been informed that "some people" do not like my music selections here; I would just like to hear "some people" complain about that one now.)

I have eaten dinner at Troya (in the Richmond District, on lower Clement Street) many times in the past. The restaurant is named after the ancient city of Troy (not after the Simpsons character); they have a pretty good story about it on their web-site. As their sign states above the entranceway, they specialize in "Turkish Cuisine and Mediterranean Meze[2]". The food there is top-notch and they make one of the best versions of künefe (the Turkish/Arabic version of kataifi ~ see my explanation/rave of this most excellent dessert favourite of mine in 'blog-entries from September 11th and September 25th, 2010) that I have ever had. Troya just started serving "Brunch" two weekends ago and are still tweaking their breakfast/"Brunch" menu; as such, they do not offer a lot of breakfast items from which to choose yet.

Troya really hasn't taken off yet as a "go to" spot for "Brunch", but they normally do a great dinner business and are usually crowded most nights that I have been there. This morning I felt just like Jerry Seinfeld sitting all by himself at Babu Bhatt's restaurant, as I was the only customer in the place the entire time I was there. I almost told them that they should think about doing an entire Pakistani menu, but didn't want to be thought of as a "very, very bad man"…

For starters I ordered the Grilled Halloumi[3]
with Organic Red Beets ~ it was exactly what was stated: grilled/pan-fried Halloumi cheese with beets on a bed of some mixed greens (which I basically skipped, Howard). For the main part of my breakfast I had Turkish style scramble(sic) eggs "Menemen"[4] ~ beef sausages (by the way, which I also skipped, Mr. Way), peppers, onions, cherry tomato, paprika, oregano, and mint; served with Feta cheese, Turkish mixed olives, and grilled pita bread. To drink I just had a cuppa Turkish Tea[5].

I love beets, so the starter was a no-brainer (which for me is par for the course, anyway); 'mericans don't seem to eat enough of these tasty subterranean fruit. Plus, grilled Halloumi is always good (this is the Turkish equivalent to the Greek dish σαγανάκι).

The scramble included both red and yellow bell peppers, black olives (Kalamata, perhaps?), and tomatoes. There were no onions in it, though (or none that I could taste/see). Additionally, I couldn't really detect any paprika, oregano, or mint in the mess. I mentioned the omission of the mint to my server and he said that they may have just put a small amount in; that is quite possible, but I think they just forgot to use any at all. I am pretty sure I would have tasted the mint otherwise (I have been known to catch cardamom added in my coffee, after all). Too bad, as I really was looking forward to that added ingredient, too. I liked the grilled pita triangles as an alternative to standard toast. All in all, the Menemen was very good, and any egg dish with Feta and (Kalamata?) olives in it is always good with me (I wonder if the Feta was of Greek or Bulgarian origin).

The Turkish tea was nothing really special; it was just good, strong tea. I was thinking of ordering a (double) Turkish coffee, which would probably have been better, but also may have been a little too much for breakfast.

I didn't bother asking what Troya had for condimentary supplementation (I really didn't want to bother them during the breakfast rush), so I just went with some of my own Palo Alto Fire Fighters Pepper Sauce (Thanks agains, Amys!) on the Menemen; I left the beets and Halloumi alone, though.

Troya still needs to work out some of the kinks in their "Brunch" menu, Mr. Davies. And Heinrich Schliemann may well agree that this is not an actual breakfastary discovery, but it is worth going back again for dinner… and especially dessert.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Menemen ~ 6.7 (probably a lot higher if I had tasted any fresh mint); Halloumi and Beets ~ 6.9; Künefe ~ 7.9

[1] The Republic of Cyprus is partitioned into ½-Greek (well, more like 77% Greek) and ½-Turkish (again, more like 18% Turkish). I only mention this as I had dinner just last night at Mezés over on Chestnut Street in the Marina: Saganaki (
σαγανάκι), Horta (χόρτα), and Galaktoboureko (γαλακτομπούρεκο) for dessert, along with a good, strong cuppa Greek coffee (καφές ελληνικός).

[2] Stupid, useless cunning linguist (and pseudo-culinary) pointer of the day, bir numara:

"Meze" is a Turkish word meaning "taste, flavour, snack, relish"; the similar Greek word is "
μεζές" (pronounced "mezes") ~ see above restaurant information. It is basically the Turkish/Greek version of "tapas".

[3] For your edification and eat-if-I-can-ation (courtesy of our unknowing friends at Wikipedia):

[4] Apparently they call this style of "scramble" eggs "menemen" in Turkey; it is a commonly eaten Turkish breakfast dish. I had to ask my server what it meant; he told me that Menemen is a district of Izmir Province in western Turkey. The connection between the dish and the district was not explained to me, though.

[5] Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day, iki numara:

The word for "tea" in Turkish is "çay", pronounced "chai". I asked my ever-busy server this between his naps. This seems to be the pretty universal word for it; the English word for "tea" comes from the Chinese word "
", pronounced either "cha" or "teh", depending on what part of China you are from.

Many other languages have very similar words for it: it is "
чай" in Russkij, also pronounced "chai"; it is "चाय" in Hindi, also pronounced "chai"; it is "Tee" in German, pronounced "tee"; it is "thé" in French, pronounced "tay"; it is "" in Spanish, also pronounced "tay"; it is "" in Italian, pronounced "teh"; it is "τσάι" in Greek, pronounced "tsai"; it is "tea" in Hungarian, actually pronounced "tay-uh"; and it is "herbata" in Polish, pronounced "coffee"…

Bonus stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day, üç numara:

I also had to ask my server what they called "Beer" in Turkish, as I figured like "tea", it is a pretty universal word; he informed me that the Turkish word for "Beer" is "bira", pronounced like it looks.

The German word for "Beer" is "Bier", pronounced "beer"; it is "beoir" in Irish, pronounced "beer" (or Guinness®, depending on the dialect); it is "bière" in French, pronounced to rhyme with Pierre; it is "birra" in Italian, pronounced "beera"; it is "
μπύρα" in Greek, also pronounced "beera"; it is "bjór" in Icelandic, pronounced "byor"; it is "bia" in Vietnamese, pronounced "beeya"; it is "เบียร์" in Thai, also pronounced "beeya"; and it is "piwo" in Polish, pronounced "coffee"…
(Okay, that was a long way to go for two dumb Polish jokes, but all the foreign words were actually as I had them.)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Pinecrest Diner/Restaurant

Breakfast on Geary, Thirdly

(I thought this version was a good choice as today is a rather "peaceful Sunday" on its own. Wait… so this tenore italiano grew up in Mexico?!)

In continuing my breakfastary trek ever westward along Geary Street/Boulevard (see last 'blog-entry from February 5th, 2012), I ate at Pinecrest Diner/Restaurant (they have it both as "Diner" and "Restaurant" on the building, but their menu and official web-site state "Diner") this morning. They are a family-owned diner right in the heart of the Theatre District and have been around "Since 1969"; and they are open 24 hours. There is one notorious story in its recent history; back in 1997 there was a murder committed by one of the cooks (shades of Sunrise Cafe in Gilroy; see 'blog-entry from November 26th, 2010 ~ Hey, Dave!), where he killed one of his co-workers over a supposed dispute over poached eggs, of all things:

To this day, they still do not offer poached eggs (or boiled eggs, even), for which they even make sure to make a special note of it on their menu (without giving any reasons; no need to scare off the touristas).

Pinecrest Diner has a pretty extensive Breakfast menu and many of the typical Diner-ish fare. I chose the Greek Omelette ~ Spinach, tomato, and Feta cheese; served with hash browns (and please note, Billy-boy, they have this spelled as two separate words just like you and your grammatical bullies at Microsoft® like to force upon us; however, I will be referring to them as hashbrowns from here on out, thank you very much!) and buttered toast of your choice (and if you really must know, Mr. Gates, I went with the sourdough ~ which seems to be acceptable as one word with you guys). I also had a large glass of orange juice (not orangejuice, of course; that would just be silly, Billy).

This was a good choice (Greek Omelettes usually are) as it had lots of Feta[1] and fresh, sautéed spinach in it; which is what really makes it Greek, after all (Kalamata olives are usually a nice addition, too). Otherwise, there was really nothing extra special about the omelette, but it was still better'n any egg-slop I could attempt to make.

I felt like having a decent cuppa this morning and really didn't expect the diner-coffee to be that great (and didn't feel like finding out ~ no way would I have ever complained if it were terrible!), so I stopped at Peet's® on my way home and grabbed a very good cuppa their Blend 101®[2] (plus, in keeping with today's topicality, this particular Peet's® location happens to be right on Geary Boulevard, too). This is one of my favourite blends of theirs.

Pinecrest Diner just has as condimentary supplements Tabasco® (the standard red). I had come well prepared in this event and used some (well, a lot) Palo Alto Fire Fighters Pepper Sauce (Thanks agains as evers, Amys!) on the hashbrowns and a small amount of Big Papi En Fuego Hot Sauce Monster Double Medium Hot on the omelette for just a little extra added flavour as Feta and spinach always taste good pretty good on their own.

Next up on Geary Street: David's Delicatessen.

Hmmm? I wonder if it's safe to order the Eggs Benedict there?!

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Greek Omelette ~ 6.2; Peet's® Blend 1o1
® ~ 7.5

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

φέτα" simply means "slice" in Greek; it is interesting to note that the word for "slice" in Italian is also "fetta".
[2] Also of note, U.S. Route 101 (where it is runs along part of Van Ness Avenue) actually crosses Geary Street/Boulevard.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Kate's Kitchen

Sometimes I have a great breakfast…

(Take your pick. You have the iconic, stripped-down Lead Belly[1] version or the inimitable, smooth vocal styling of Nat King Cole[2]; both are classics.)

Good morning, Irene!

I went back to Kate's Kitchen (see last 'blog-entry from March 6th, 2011) in the Lower Haight for breakfast this morning. This was my first visit back there in almost a year, which is surprising as I used to go there several times a year.

Kate's Kitchen offers a pretty interesting standard breakfast menu; two of their good starters are: Hushpuppies ~ 6 beautifyly deep-fried balls of cornmeal served with pooh butter (which I assume is some kinda honey-butter) or Cheese & Green Onion Biscuits ~ with homemade sausage gravy or veggie gravy. They also always have several eclectic items on their specials board, today there were a few that caught my eye: Veggie Scramble ~ Wild mushroom, tomato, red onion, snow peas, garlic, basil, red bell peppers, and Havarti cheese (all good junk); and Pumpkin French Toast (?!), which I did not see until after I had already placed my order, or I may have opted for that one instead. I had to ask my server how that was made and she said that they just add some canned pumpkin pie to the egg batter. That sounded very interesting and worthy of a trip back one of these days. (Luckily I didn't see that before I had ordered, or I would have had to come up with a good Smashing Pumpkins video link from EweToob instead.)

Off their specials board, I ended up going with Irene's Wrap ~ Scrambled eggs, roasted habanero tomato salsa, avocado, bacon (no thanks!), and Cheddar wrapped in a spinach tortilla; served with homefries. (Now, just like last week with the whole "hashbrowns" affair, Bill Gates and the other spelling/grammar Nazis at Microsoft® Works Word Processor are trying to force my spell-checker thingy to separate the word "homefries" into two separate words. Sorry, Billy-boy, but this is my preferred spelling and it is how they have it on the menu at Kate's Kitchen. If you have a problem with this, take it up with Kate or Irene!) I also had a cuppa their mighty fine, strong N'Orleans-style coffee (with the roasted chicory).

It didn't look like it at first (a burrito with a side of potatoes), but it really was an awful lot of food. There were probably three scrambled eggs inside, as well as lots of avocado and Cheddar cheese. Now, if they had just stuffed the homefries inside the tortilla, too, this would have been even better. The roasted habanero-tomato salsa was very good, not too hot (well, they went light on it in the scramble), but very tasty; I probably could have used just a little more in mine, but let's not quibble here. (It's not as if I'm going to make any homemade salsa and burritos on my own.) I also think that grilling the tortilla/burrito after it had been prepared might have been a nice touch; those are always my favourites at the local taquerias.

Kate's Kitchen condimentary supplementation is Tabasco® (the standard red), Tapatío®, and a few others. I was lazy this morning and didn't feel like bringing any of my own collection with me, so I just used a little of the Tapatío® on the homefries. The wrap really didn't need any extra added heat/flavour to it.

As I was leaving, I said to my server, "Be sure to thank 'Irene' for me!" My server then told me that she was Irene, but that she didn't come up with this particular wrap combo idea, it was just named for her. Now if someone could just tell me who this "Farney Garney" guy is (and why is he so "flanched"?)…

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Irene's Wrap ~ 6.8; N'Orleans-style Coffee ~ 6.7

[1] Huddie William Ledbetter, better know as Lead Belly or Leadbelly, was an American Folk and Blues musician back in the early to mid-20th Century. His specialty was playing the twelve-string guitar along with folk standards.

[2] As I have stated before, one of my favourite male singers has to be Nathaniel Adams Coles, or Nat King Cole to his enthusiasts. He and Ella Fitzgerald may be two of the best American voices ever! (If you disagree with me, start your own silly breakfast 'blog that you can saunter off-topic all you like about your own stupid choices.)

From our friends at Wikipedia, here is a little more information:

I think it is interesting to note that his last movie appearance was in 1965 in Cat Ballou, which happens to be one of my all-time favourite films, too (it didn't hurt that it also featured a very young and hot Jane Fonda).

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Happy Birthday, Abe[1], honestly!

Phone: (415) 468-0977

(No official website)


This was only my second time ever eating at Breakfast at Tiffany's (see my first 'blog-entry from June 14th, 2011), but I am sure I will be going back again and again. It's a bit of a pain driving over to the Portola neighborhood, but they are just off of Highway 101 at the Silver Avenue exit and then just one block along San Bruno Avenue; parking can be a bit tricky, too, but I found a legal spot right across the street this morning. As stated before, there is absolutely nothing assuming about this little family-owned diner-esque joint, but that doesn't seem to keep people from coming to enjoy the simple, but tasty fare. The walls are adorned with crayon drawings from visiting kids (hence today's opening piece of artwork). I complained to my server that no one had offered me any crayons and she was going to actually give me some.
Crayons rule, Mr. Binney and Mr. Smith!

They actually have a Brian Special on their menu; however, it is a Chorizo & Jack Scramble, so some other Brian that is a consumer of dead, decaying animal flesh will have to order that one, Mr. Piccolo. I simply went with Stella Hashbrowns ~ Cheddar & Jack Cheese, Green Chili[2], Tomatoes, served with Salsa & Sour Cream; and to make it a complete meal (or compleat meal) I had a side order of two eggs over medium and a glass of orange/pineapple juice. My main reason for going back again was I really love their take on hashbrowns. Have I ever mentioned how much I like potatoes?

When you order the "Full" Stella (instead of just as a side order), you get an entire (large) plate of hashbrowns; it really was more than I could finish (but unfortunately not enough was really left for me to take the remainder home). I particularly like that they spell hashbrowns as one word on their menu, too. (Stupid Bill Gates and his Microsoft Works® Word Processor auto-spellchecker thingy do not recognize this as one word and keep breaking it into two separate words for me ~ just what the heck does "hashb rowns" mean?) The hashbrowns were perfectly crispy (read: burned; just like I like 'em ~ they are called hashbrowns, after all, not hash-tans) on the bottom. This was made with three whole (good sized) green chillies; diced, sautéed, and then added to the potatoes on the grill. The chillies weren't too picante, just about right.

Breakfast at Tiffany's condimentary supplements are Tabasco® (the standard red), Tapatío®, and Crystal® Hot Sauce. I had remembered this from my last visit (well, not really remembered it, but re-read my 'blog-entry as a refresher), so I brought some of my own hot sauces with me; I ended up using some Palo Alto Fire Fighters Pepper Sauce (Thanks agains, Amys!) on the entire mess. I probably really didn't need to add any extra hot sauce to this as the salsa that was provided was more than enough and added a good amount of flavour already, but PAFFPS is really that good.

Moral of the day: Sometimes the potatoes are the breakfast and the eggs are the side dish!

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Stella Hashbrowns ~ 7.7; Eggs over medium ~ 5.5 (seriously, I can even make these; I don't, but I could)

[1] Today is the 203rd anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birthday. Which begs to ask the question: When you are in a crowded theatre, is it illegal to yell 'Sic semper tyrannis!'?

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

The word "chili" comes from the Nahuatl word "chilli/xilli', which is the native name for the fruit.

I am not sure exactly what kind of chilli peppers were used, probably Ortega/Anaheim chillies. At about 500-5,000 Scoville heat units, these rank only about as hot as a jalapeño or such.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Hamburger Haven

"I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a breakfast today."

Phone: (415) 387-3260

(No official website)

(The reason for these EweToob cover song links ~ well, the first one should be self-evident, Richie ~ the other two were just included as while I was eating breakfast the restaurant's stereo had a local radio station on and it was the Beatles hour this morning.)

While having my car's annual brake inspection this morning, I had time to kill and decided to have breakfast at Hamburger Haven (other than my stalwarts Eats and Q, there really aren't many other choices within walking distance in the neighborhood, and I had just eaten at both of those places as recently as last month). Hamburger Haven is a long-time (Since 1968, or so the sign states) local diner/burger joint on Clement Street (on the corner of 9th Avenue). I have eaten there for lunch a few times in the past (they have Gardenburger® on the menu), but this was the first time I ate breakfast there.

They have mostly standard diner-esque breakfast offerings. I went with their most interesting egg dish: Avocado[1] Jack Cheese Omelet ~ (I will let you determine exactly what the ingredients were); served with hash browns or country potatoes and choice of toast. I also had a cuppa the house coffee, which is Farmer Brothers.

This was a decent enough omelette (well, better than any I usually attempt and ruin), nothing overly special, though. It did have half an avocado in it, which is a big plus. I went with hashbrowns and whole wheat toast; I always like a place that offers two choices in breakfastary ground apple choices, another plus.

Their coffee was just your typical diner stuff, because of which, after breakfast (at the recommendation of the manager guy at Midas®), I went to a place just a few blocks away on California in a little corner organic grocery store, Village Market. I was very pleased to see that they serve Blue Bottle Coffee Co. coffee, which is probably one of the best coffees available in San Francisco and is made in the drip-method as a fresh cup per customer. Today's blend/roast was Three Africans (because just two Africans are never enough).

Hamburger Haven's condimentary supplementation was pretty typical of most diners in San Francisco, just Tabasco® (the standard red) and Tapatío®. I used some of my own Big Papi En Fuego Hot Sauce Original Mild (Thanks, Kerry!) on the omelette and some Sylvia's Restaurant® Kickin' Hot Hot Sauce on the potatoes (Thanks, Sean!).

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Avocado Jack Cheese Omelet ~ 5.8; Blue Bottle Coffee Co. Three Africans ~ 7.2

[1] After reading through this 'blog-entry, it seemed kinda bland, so I am including a stupid, useless cunning linguist/agricultural pointer of the day:

The word
avocado comes from the Spanish "aguacate" which in turn comes from the Nahuatl word "ahuácatl" (meaning "testicle", a reference to the shape of the fruit ~ I can't make up this stuff).
Avocados were known by the Aztecs as "the fertility fruit" (or nuts).

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

One potato (or potatoe, Dan)…

two potatoes, three potatoes, four… 

batata (Taino), papa (Quecha), patata (Spanish/Italian), prátai (Irish), pomme de terre (French), Kartoffel (German/Danish),
картофель/картошка (Russian), πατάτα (Greek), البطاطس (Arabic), կարտոֆիլ (Armenian), ポテト (Japanese), 馬鈴薯 (Chinese), 감자 (Korean), burgonya (Hungarian), aardappel (Dutch), มันฝรั่ง (Thai), आलू (Hindi), potet (Norwegian), peruna (Finnish), potatis (Swedish), Solanum tuberosum (Latin/Botanical), кромпир (Serbian), krumpir (Croatian), brambor (Czech), ziemniak (Polish), tatws (Welsh), קאַרטאָפל (Yiddish), and badaydahs (Bostonian)

(I will let you figure out the relationship to this EweToob link and the topic.)

Stupid cunning linguist pointer of the day, number one:

The word "potato" comes from the Spanish word "patata", which is a compound of the Taino "batata" (sweet potato) and the Quechua "papa" (potato).

Potatoes are a member of the Solanaceae family; the name comes from the Latin Solanum "the nightshade plant". Included in this deadly little family are: potato, tomato, eggplant, tomatillo, capsicum (which includes bell peppers as well as chili peppers), petunias, and, interestingly enough, tobacco. With the exception of eggplant/aubergine, all of the previously mentioned foods/plants are of New World origins. Can you imagine a World without French fries and ketchup? Not to mention any hot sauces prior to 1492 would have only included pepper (the berry, not the fruit), ginger, and mustard to spice them up.

I have stated many times before, most breakfasts are not complete without some form of "the ground apple" included:

Hashbrowns, home fries, country fries, "bubble-and-squeak", Rösti, Kartoffelpuffers, boxty, colcannon, champ, lefse, tattie scone, papa rellena, chuño, ocopa, papa a la huancaina, lomo saltado, milcaos, chapaleles, curanto, chochoca,


French fries (freedom fries, even), chippers, mashed (or smashed), boiled, broiled, twice-baked, roasted, scalloped, au gratin, tots, potato babka, latkes, riced potatoes, potato chips (or crisps in the U.K.), samosa, potato salad, locro de papas,

(exhale… Benjamin Buford Blue ain't got nuthin' on me, Forrest)

kugel, kugelis, stamppot, Hachis Parmentier, gnocchi, Knödel, raspeball, papas arrugadas, poutine, aloo ki sabzi, masala dosa, poodi, chowdah, Vodka, Potcheen, Akvavit, couch potato, Spud[1] McKenzie, Mr. Potato Head (aka Don Zimmer), etc…

Well, any way you slice 'em, dice 'em, or rice 'em, potatoes might be one of my favourite food groups; that is, right after the most important of all the Food Groups: Pizza.

[1] Stupid cunning linguist pointer of the day, number two:

The term "spud" as a nickname for potato comes from the digging of a hole prior to planting potatoes; right out of Wikipedia:

"The word has an unknown origin and was originally (c. 1440) used as a term for a short knife or dagger, probably related to Dutch spyd and/or the Latin 'spad-' root meaning 'sword'; cf. Spanish 'espada', English 'spade' and 'spadroon'. The word spud traces back to the 16th century. It subsequently transferred over to a variety of digging tools. Around 1845 it transferred over to the tuber itself."

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Max’s™ on the Square

Breakfast on Geary, Part the Second


This is the second in my series (I suppose it couldn't very well be called a "series" until the second post, nu?) of breakfasts along Geary Street/Boulevard (see last 'blog-entry from January 15th, 2012). Methodically working my way westward, Mr. Greeley, I ate at Max's on the Square (which would refer to Union Square, I suppose, one block east).
Max's is a mini-chain of upscale New York-style delis in San Francisco; there are several locations throughout San Francisco and within the Bay Area. My server informed me that this particular location will be closing in two weeks ($$$/Lease problems; it comes with the neighborhood); so I'm glad I got to check it out (and check it off my list) now.

Years ago,
Max's used to have stenciled on "side-by-each"[1] entrance doors: "This Is A Good Place For A Diet" and "This Is A Bad Place For A Diet". I think they finally took them down when Oprah was in town one time and between her binges so as not to confuse her.

There are many good items on the breakfast portion of the menu, but I chose the 5 Cheese Omelette ~ Brie, Provolone, Jack, Mozzarella, and Cheddar cheeses, with mushrooms and caramelized onions; served with country potatoes & onions, and a fresh biscuit. I also subsidized it with a cuppa coffee.

This had lots of cheese in the omelette (which was to be expected by the nomenclature), and, I was pleased to see, there was no chintzing[2] on the amount of Brie used, which is nice; for some reason, restaurants like to dole this out as if it's the gold of cheese and it is not usually very well represented. The real surprise(!) of the omelette was the sweetness provided by the caramelized onions. There were plenty of button mushrooms inside, too (maybe too many); they probably should have cut these in half as they were a bit bulky inside.

Max's offers as condimentary supplements (of the hot pepper sauce variety) just Tabasco® (the standard red) and Frank's RedHot®. I had come well-prepared with my own Palo Alto Fire Fighters Pepper Sauce (Thanks agains, Amys!) ~ on the potatoes, and Big Papi En Fuego Hot Sauce Monster Double Medium Hot (Thanks, Kerry!) ~ on the omelette. Today I also brought along a new one from Christmas (which to date I have only used on popcorn at home) The Spice House Vulcan's Fire Salt (Thanks, Greg & Cindy!), a little on both the potatoes and omelette (I am not much of a fan of extra salt added to foods after preparation, but this one offers a nice little kick of heat from habanero and tabasco chillies). What
Max's lacks (laxes?) in hot sauces, they more than make up in their mustard offerings. They have Dijon, and several varieties from Beaver Brand®: American Picnic, Deli, Zesty Deli Horseradish Sauce, Sweet Hot, and Cranberry.

By the way,
Max's did not have anything made with tangelos, pomelos, nor tangerines on their menu; and I didn't bother to ask what their corporate stance on Marriage Equality is.

Next up on Geary: Pinecrest Restaurant.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: 5 Cheese Omelette ~ 6.4

[1] Not really a stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer, but if you are from Woon-soquette and hang out on Social Coin eating popcorn, you will get the reference.

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

I know this is a New York-style deli, and "chintz" sounds like it is some kinda Yiddish word; however, "chintz" actually comes from Hindi "chint", from Sanskrit "chitra", meaning "gaily-coloured, or clear/bright". The meaning of "chintz" in terms of textiles/fabrics is glazed calico cloth printed with flowers and other patterns in different colours.

I don't know what the Sanskrit word for "tortoiseshell-and-white cat" is, though.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


"A long, long time ago… February made me shiver…"

(I was originally just going to link the Big Bopper song to tie it in with the "Chantilly cream" that was on my pancakes this morning. Then I remembered what day yesterday was the anniversary of; so I added these other three songs to complement it all. Plus, I could not find any songs dedicated specifically to cardamom on EweToob.)

I thought it kinda interesting to go back and eat at Pomelo[1] (the one in Noe Valley) again this weekend after having breakfast/"Brunch" at Tangerine on Sunday. I hadn't eaten there since last Spring (see 'blog-entry from May 7th, 2011), but used to eat there all the time years ago when it was still called Valentine's.

Pomelo has a pretty interesting "weekend brunch" menu from which to choose. They have several items on their menu that they designate as specifically vegetarian, but most of the other items look like they would be good without any of the dead, decaying animal flesh, too. I want to get back there again to try the makena (a banana-stuffed mascarpone brioche French toast); plus, the couple sitting at the next table over had ordered the ulsan (Korean scallion pancakes with a buncha junk on top of it ~ this basically was served like a breakfast pizza, always nice) and the miraflores (crispy Afro-Peruvian bean and rice pancake stacked with fried plantains and one sunny-side up egg on top), both of which I would like to check out, too.

All "Brunch" meals start with a freebie mini-muffin. Today's was a pear-almond mini-muffin.

This was very good. It would have been better if it was not so "mini" (two bites and it was gone), but there was more than enough to eat with the rest of my meal.

For breakfast, I settled on the battery street (burlington) ~ three scandinavian cardamom[2] pancake rolls served with ginger-vanilla pear compote, toasted almonds, and chantilly[3] cream. I also ordered a large glass of grapefruit juice (Unfortunately, they don't offer any pomelo juice. I was mistaken last week when I said that Pomelo doesn't have anything on their menu that incorporates an actual pomelo; they do have the pomelo salad that is made with segments of pomelo.) and a side trip of house potatoes. Before they had opened I bought a cuppa coffee from Café XO[4] and brought it in with me.

The "Scandinavian pancakes" were more like crêpes rolled up into a cigar-shape, Mr. Mandelbaum. There were lots of cardamom and cinnamon in the pancakes (and possibly a lot of lace in the Chantilly cream); the inclusion of the cardamom in the pancakes was the deciding factor for me today in choosing this dish. I am not so sure what Chantilly cream is supposed to taste like, but it was good and there was a large amount on top. The ginger-vanilla pear compote was very good; these flavours pair (pear?) very well with cinnamon and cardamom.

Now why this dish is called "Burlington" (as in Vermont; I asked) is a good question (I did not ask). Does there happen to be a large population of Swedish or Norwegians in that area of New England?

As for the coffee, it was pretty good, too. Café XO is located right next door to Pomelo at the very end of Church Street. And if you were wondering, Café XO is okay with same sex marriages; I asked the owner and (after a pretty perplexed look) he assured me that he has no problems with marriage equality (I completely forgot to ask him how he felt about heterosexual marriages, though). Now the reason for that little break from my normal breakfastary rant is…

St*rbucks/Same Sex Marriage Rant:

Now, I hate St*rbucks as much as I do "organized religion" ("chaotic hypocrisy" is a better euphemism), so when the two are at odds with one another, which side do I take?

It seems that some stupid christian groups are advocating the boycott of all St*rbucks because St*rbucks is a major supporter of an initiative in Washington State for marriage equality. Now, I have no problem with boycotting St*rbucks on the general principle of their World Coffee Domination corporate policy; but, when I am told to boycott them for doing something actually laudable, I am at a loss for what to do. Do I go to St*rbucks to piss off some religioso fanatics, or do I agree with their boycott ~ not for their misguided reasoning, but for my own ratiocination?

This was probably the same kind of difficult decision that 'merica had to make during WWII. Side with the despotic Stalin or the much-hated Mein Führer? I would have the same problem choosing sides if the D*mn Y*nkees ever meet up with the D*mn D*dgers in another World Series. (Yes, I did just compare the Y*nkees and D*dgers to Stalin and Hitler, and I am aware that this is very unfair to both Ioseb and Adolph.)

So, my "final solution" was to just keep it local and maintain my current boycott of St*rbucks and to just check out the establishment's own feelings about marriage equality. Truth be told, if the owner had said he was against it, I still would have bought a cuppa and just not mentioned it here.

Either way, you know this should be a fun debate: Coffee God vs. dogma Dog. You just know that pope guy probably can't live without his daily vente half-decaf mocha latte with a twist, too. (Okay, rant over for now.)

As for condimentary supplementation, Pomelo offers Tabasco® (the standard red, Chipotle, and green Jalapeño) and Cholula®. I went with some Chipotle on the potatoes; this really is one of Tabasco's® best entries.

Now I just hope that I can find a place named Tangelo to eat at next weekend… or it might just be "the day the breakfast died".

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: battery street ~ 7.0

[1] Stupid, useless cunning linguist/etymological/agricultural pointer of the day, nummer een or número um:

Pomelo is pronounced as "POM-a-loh", not "pom-ELLO", Mr. Anthony. The word probably comes from the Dutch word "pompoen" (meaning "pumpkin") combined with the Portuguese word "limão" (meaning "lemon").

A tangelo is a hybrid of tangerine and pomelo. It is pronounced as "TAN-ja-loh", not like "tan-Jello®" which I sometimes have heard. (What flavour is "tan", anyway?) It simply comes from the two citrusy words combined.

[2] Some additional information on cardamom, which happens to be one of my favourite spices:

It really makes for an excellent flavour of ice cream or kulfi.

[3] Now, I really wouldn't know the difference between Chantilly lace and Crème Chantilly, so here is a little explanation (borrowed directly from Wikipedia):

"Crème Chantilly is a French light whipped cream sweetened with sugar, and often flavored with
vanilla, or more rarely, simply whipped cream with no additions. In France, whipped cream is called crème fouettée, and crème Chantilly is much lighter and fragrant than the standard whipped cream.

The original recipe is attributed to François Vatel, maître d’hôtel at the Château de Chantilly in the 17th century."

You can look up Chantilly lace on your own if you really care to, Mr. Richardson.

[4] Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day,
νούμερο δύο:

Don't let the "XO" fool you into thinking this means it's some kinda lovey-dovey sorta coffee joint. I have it under good authority that the owner is Greek and as everyone knows the Greek letter "X" is pronounced like a guttural "h" in English. I am pretty sure this was just the owner's way of naming his establish as a place where the local "professional women" can hang out and enjoy a good cuppa off the hard streets.