Sunday, May 13, 2012

Lefty O’Doul’s Restaurant & Cocktail Lounge

Breakfast on Geary, Part 14

(The first two EweToob video links should be self-explanatory from the title; the last one is just in honor of Mother's Day ~ sung by a mother and daughter duet even.

I am including two versions of the same song, as the Willie and Merle version is the most famous one and kind of a fun mini-movie; but Emmylou actually recorded her version before these two old geezers, and any chance to highlight a young, long-haired, still-brunette Emmylou is fine by me. Stupid, useless Cliff Clavin "little-known-fact" pointer of the day: that is Townes Van Zandt, the writer of the song, in the Willie and Merle video; he has two cameos, as one of the Federales and also as the guitar player in the diner.

"Happy Mother's Day!" to those of you who are. The rest of you can have a "Happy Pancho & Lefty Day!" for all I care.)

In extending my "Breakfast on Geary" series a little bit longer, I backtracked to the beginning of Geary Street and went back to Lefty O'Doul's Restaurant & Cocktail Lounge (and alternately: & Piano Bar) (see last 'blog-entry from April 18th, 2010). Lefty O'Doul's is the first real place that you come to along Geary Street/Boulevard that serves breakfast (not counting The Cheesecake Factory® that is at the top of Macy's® in the previous block, across the street from Union Square; 1) The Cheesecake Factory only opens at 10:00am or 11:00am, and 2) they "do Brunch"). This is a nice olde-timey Hofbrauhaus kinda place; the walls are festooned with lots of old Baseball photos and memorabilia (as well as several photos of Marilyn Monroe, one of her husbands was a Baseball player I think).

Francis Joseph "Lefty"[1] O'Doul was the original "kid from San Francisco" that made it big in Major League Baseball. Lefty was not only born in San Francisco, but he also died there; unlike some skinny, young local Italiano kid named Giuseppe DiMaggio, who was actually born in Martinez, CA and died in Hollywood (and the one in Florida, at that). (For those Boston Red Sox fans out there, "Joe" was Dom's less talented older brother; I have heard that he also may have played MLB for a while, these rumours can not be substantiated by any of my findings, though. Coincidentally, this "Joe" kid played for the
San Francisco Seals when Lefty was the Manager of that team; so we know where "Joe" stole all of his talent from.)

Lefty had a decent enough MLB career. He started out as a Relief Pitcher for some team in New York City (possibly Minor League), known as the Y*nkees, but was traded to a real MLB team, the Red Sox, in 1923. After developing a sore arm, Lefty was converted to an Outfielder where he had much better success as a hitter; batting as high as .398 in 1929 (1st in the National League) and .368 in 1932 (again 1st in NL). Not only did he play for the Red Sox and the Phillies, he is one of the few players to have played for the New York Giants, da bums from Brooklyn, and that other team from the Bronx. In honour of which, I wore my New York Giants cap and a pair of Boston Red Sox socks especially for the occasion this morning.

Lefty still holds the #3 spot (tied with Bill Terry) in MLB for number of Hits in one Season with 254 Hits (and is only behind George Sisler at #2 with 257 Hits, and some kid from Japan at #1 with 262 Hits). For some reason, Lefty is not in the MLB Hall of Fame; however, he is a member of the Japanese Hall of Fame. (But what do the Japanese really know about Baseball? They know less about Baseball than they do tea or rice.)

Lefty has the distinction of having a bridge named after him in San Francisco: the Lefty O'Doul Bridge. This is in keeping with honouring other Baseball figures: Willie Mays Plaza; (Willie) McCovey Cove (which passes under the Lefty O'Doul Bridge); and, of course, the Barry Bonds Federal Courtroom…

Now back to the breakfastary portion of this 'blog (it's supposed to be a 'blog about breakfasts, after all). Lefty O'Doul's offers a pretty basic breakfast menu. I was leaning towards the Apple Flapjacks (traditional flapjacks topped with apple chutney and a single side of apple-maple sausage); but I would have had to get it without the dead, decaying porky product, and probably have ordered a side of the home style potatoes. They also have on the menu a Plain Omelette. (What the heck is a “Plain Omelette”? Isn't that just scrambled eggs?) I ended up ordering the Spanish Omelette, served with home style potatoes and toast (I went with sourdough, another San Francisco original).

The omelette was really nothing much special (all the ingredients were piled on top, not inside of a "Plain Omelette" apparently); but none of that really matters, as how often can you have breakfast with a little (Baseball) history.

After ordering my cuppa, and already drinking some of it, I happened to notice a sign by the bar that stated: "We Proudly Brew St*rbucks Coffee" ~ which is not really all that laudable, as I am sure the motto of 1930's Deutschland was "We are proud to be members of Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei!" (Yes, I did just compare St*rbucks to Nazi Germany… and, for that, I really must apologize to any surviving members of the Nazi Party. [Would you R.S.V.P. an invite to that party? And what kinda wine would you bring? Definitely not Manischewitz®.]) Of course, if I had seen the sign before ordering, I would just have stuck with a glass of orange juice instead. It's okay, though, I have been subjected to this Devil brew in the past and have lived to tell about it (nothing a little mouth-wash of Holy Water can't fix).

Lefty O'Doul's has as condimentary supplements Miranda's Hot Sauce, two flavours: Jalapeño Verde and Garlic Rojo. These hot sauces weren't too bad; the Verde added some spice/flavour to the Spanish sauce and the Rojo went well with the potatoes; I also used a little of my own Big Papi En Fuego Hot Sauce ~ Original Medium (Thanks, Kerry!) on the potatoes (as a Red Sox complementary thing).

I wonder if Lefty ever had a teammate named "Pancho"…

Glen Bacon Scale RatingSpanish Omelette ~ 5.8; Lefty O'Doul Career BA ~ .349 (which happens to be the highest average for any player eligible for the MLB HoF and not enshrined)

[1] Strangely enough, "Lefty" both hit and threw right-handed*. He was given the nickname "Lefty" as a joke due to his heritage. It was a well-known fact that his actual family name was Odulovsky and his family had anglicized it when they first moved from Russia so that they would not be considered part of the Red fanaticism of the time.

*(And if you buy that one, I have the deed to another small bridge in San Francisco that I would be more than glad to sell you.)

No comments:

Post a Comment