Sunday, September 30, 2012


I met up with a few friends and old co-workers (Marta, Lori, and Juan) and had breakfast this morning at Grub on Valencia Street, between 18th and 19th Streets. Marta's sister-in-law (and her husband) are part owners of Grub. Sheesh, you woulda thunk we would have gotten at least a few freebies with the meal! (Marta did not tell them we were coming and only after we had eaten and paid did Marta go up and introduce herself to the hostess and our waitress. I think Marta owes us all at least free coffees.) Grub is located right in the heart of the new Mission District eatery row. It seems like a new and shiny restaurant opens every other weekend around there (we walked around after eating to work off the meal and noticed several new and interesting restaurants). Grub is still pretty "new"-ish itself and has been open only for about two years now. This was my first visit there for breakfast (well, they call it "Brunch") or dinner.

Grub has a pretty decent "Brunch" menu from which to choose. I was debating on getting either one of their frittatas (topped with grana padana[1] Parmesan cheese, and you get to pick and choose your own ingredients to add in; I was thinking about sun dried tomatoes, arugula, and shaved fennel) or the Maple Caramelized French Toast. Marta happened to point out their pancake selection at the bottom of the menu, which I had skimmed over quickly without really even looking at. I wouldn't usually get pancakes when there is a choice of egg dishes or French toast. However, I just had Pain Perdu yesterday, and I liked the look of one of the pancake dishes. So I opted for the Sweet and Savory pancake duo ~ fluffy buttermilk pancakes, one savory & topped with a sunnyside egg & greens, the other sweet with seasonal compote and apricot butter. I also ordered a side of Shoestring pomme frites with truffle salt, just because it sounded good and I wasn't getting enough carbohydrates with the rest of my meal.

Luckily everyone at the table ordered different dishes so we could sample a nice cross-section of what they have. Marta had the Breakfast Burger ~ Brandon's beef ground patty, aged white Cheddar, fried egg, sliced tomato and crispy bacon, served on a pain de mie[2] bun with pomme frites or grub potatoes (she went with the grub potatoes). Lori ordered the Peanut Butter French Toast & Fried Chicken ~ rice crispy breaded chicken breast, sunny side up egg, cole slaw (Lori substituted some grub potatoes for the coleslaw; because coleslaw would have been too strange to go with peanut butter, French toast, and fried chicken, of course). Luckily, Juan is a French toast fan, too, and he got what I was planning on getting, the Maple Caramelized French Toast ~ vanilla[3] batter sour batard bread, star anise infused maple syrup, caramelized bananas or apples, applewood smoked bacon (Juan chose the bananas, I probably would have gone with the apples).

I was happy to see that I was not the only idiot at the table taking photos of the meal. Both Lori and Marta are iPhone photogs and I expect some pictures will make their way to defacedbook later today, too.

I really liked my pancake combo. The seasonal (fresh) compote on the sweet pancake was blueberry, and the apricot butter was very good, too. It also comes with heated maple syrup to use. The savoury pancake was interesting with the egg right on top. The greens were to the side of the savoury pancake and I just ended up eating them with some of the savoury pancake or just by themselves. The pomme frites were very good, too; however, I really couldn't tell what the truffle salt tasted like, but they were served with a decent garlic aioli to dip them in.

Marta liked her burger a lot (she had never had a burger with an egg on top before) after she figured the only way to eat it successfully, due to its girth, was to use a knife and fork; but she didn't like the grub potatoes (which are just home fries) as much, mainly because they were made with lots of red, yellow, and green bell peppers. Juan said the French toast was okay (but not as good as the Pain Perdu at Baker Street Bistro; I had pointed out that particular establishment to Juan and Lori several months ago and he agrees with me that it is the BEST FRENCH TOAST in San Francisco), but he didn't like something that was either in the batter or the bread itself; I wonder if it might have just been the star anise (which we had forgotten was an ingredient in the infused maple syrup). Lori said that she really couldn't tell that there was any peanut butter in her dish and mentioned that the chicken seemed a bit under-seasoned. All in all, everyone seemed to like their meals (most of the plates were cleaned and empty), and I would like to go back and try the Maple Caramelized French Toast on my own.

For condimentary supplements Grub offers both Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red) and Cholula® Hot Sauce. I brought a few of my own hot sauces to use just in case, but there really wasn't much that any of us had ordered that needed extra heat. Just because I had brought it and it's one of my favourite hot sauces, I used a little Palo Alto Fire Fighters Pepper Sauce (the regular one; Thanks, Amys and Brian!) on top of the egg on the savoury pancake.

And just like when eating at Tangerine and Pomelo, I noticed that Grub doesn't really have anything on their menu which highlights their eponymous ingredient in it. Thankfully.

Glen Bacon Scale RatingSweet and Savory pancake duo ~ 6.7; Shoestring pomme frites with truffle salt ~ 6.5

(I really didn't poll the rest of the table for their Glen Bacon Scale ratings, but they are always free to either let me know their input, or to start their own stupid breakfastary 'blogs.)

[1] Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-culinaristic pointer del giorno, numero uno:

"Grana padana" directly translated simply means "grain valley" in Italiano. There is an Italian cheese with the specific denomination of Grana Padano which is similar to Parmigiano Reggiano. I think that the menu may be incorrect and that they meant that they use one or the other of the two cheeses.

[2] Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo culinaristic pointer du jour, numéro deux:

"Pain de mie" is a type of bread in French. "Pain" means "bread" and "de mie" means "cougar that once was married to Bruce Willis".

Actually, you can read more about pain de mie here:

[3] Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-culinaristic pointer of the day, numero trium:

"Vanilla" comes from the Spanish word "vainilla", meaning "little pod"; this is the equivalent of "vain(a)" ("a sheath", from Latin "vagina", meaning "sheath"), plus "-illa" a diminutive suffix.

So, if you really are a vanilla fanatic, you can truly can say you would make love to it if you could.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Rigalo Café

You don't necessarily have to call me "Maurice" (and I have absolutely no idea what a "Pompatus of Love" is).

(I have it under good authority that the second song is going to be used as Mitt Romney's victory song if he wins the Presidential Election this year.)

Je suis returné à Rigalo un petit Café amusant[1] (see previous 'blog-entry from May 1st, 2011).  They are located in the Laurel Village strip mall on California Street. I like that they open up pretty early (7:30am every day); however, they don't have "hot breakfasts" available until 8:00am. It's a pretty simple ordering process; you order at the counter and pay first, and then the counter persons/servers will bring the food to you when it is ready.

I was wrong the last time when I said the counter persons/servers wore shirts that resembled the old-style convict uniforms that you see in the Three Stooges shorts, those were vertical stripes. The shirts worn by the staff are actually thick, horizontal, black-and-white stripes, more like you would have seen worn by the stereotypical burglar in the old silent films (just sans any black eye-masks, Tonto). And did those old convicts really need to look slimmer?

Rigalo Café's 
petit déjeuner menu offers several Oeufs Bénédictines, omelettes or scrambles, and a few French Crusty Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. I went back this morning mainly to check out their version of Pain Perdu ~ thick-sliced organic brioche bread soaked in egg custard and butter griddled, served with sweet fresh berries and fresh whipped cream. I also ordered a side of Herb-Roasted Potatoes and a very decent (good and strong) cuppa Equator Coffee (I am not sure if it was a French Roast or not).

This was a good version of Pain Perdu; however, it was not Baker Street Bistro, not that I was expecting it to be as good. This was served as two thick slices of (what I assume was) fresh-baked brioche bread. The sweet, fresh berries included strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries. I liked the fresh whipped cream, too. My one minor complaint was that it was a rather smallish side portion of potatoes, but it was still enough to fill me up with the large serving of Pain Perdu.

Rigalo Café ont seulement pour condimentary supplementation Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard rouge). I remembered this from my last visit (or rather, I reread what I had written last year) and used some of my own CaJohns Fiery Foods Oaxacan Hot Sauce (Thanks, Brian!) on the potatoes.

I hope everyone has a ton of rigolade this weekend… Midnight toking[2] or not!

Glen Bacon Scale Rating:
Pain Perdu ~ 6.4

[1] Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer du jour:

Do I really need to translate "amusant" from French? Well, it simply means "funny", "entertaining", "humourous", "enjoyable", and one other amusing word that escapes me at the moment.

[2] Now this is très amusant. The Spell-check Nazis at Microsoft® do not seem to recognize this word. You just know that those stoned bastages are sitting around right now and enjoying a little doobage* of their own.

*(And they also pretend to not know this word or its alternate spelling "dubage".)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Grove

The original one on Chestnut Street

(They were playing some ~ three songs in a row ~ Maria McKee/Lone Justice on the house stereo when they first opened this morning. Maria McKee doing vintage Van Morrison, a huge breakfast burrito[1], and a decent cuppa, does it get any better than that on a misty Sunday morning?)

I had breakfast this morning at The Grove (the one in the Marina on Chestnut Street). The Grove is a local mini-chain of coffeehouses throughout San Francisco and have opened four shops since the early 2000's. I have been to three of their four locations, but just for coffee, lunch, or dinner. This was my first breakfastary visit. This particular restaurant has a seating capacity of 75 people… and 5-6 dogs outside on the sidewalk tables/seating area. However, I forgot to bring my Labrador Retriever or Golden Retriever with me and wear my Ivy League sweatshirt. (If you lived in San Francisco, you'd get that joke.)

The Grove has a full working kitchen, and they have a small breakfast menu, but much better than at a standard coffeehouse: bagels, French toast, and a few omelettes and scrambles choices. I liked the sound of the Healthy Eggs Pomodoro (Well, except for the "Healthy" part. Who goes out to breakfast to eat healthily?), but ended up getting a Breakfast Burrito ~ scrambled-to-order eggs, rosemary hash browns, refried beans, Cheddar, Jack, salsa, and avocado. I also had a (very large) cuppa coffee.


This was an absolutely HUGE "San Francisco style"[2] burrito. The burrito was grilled (as opposed to using a steamed tortilla). The pico de gallo on top was very good and they also had a ton of cilantro[3] chiffonade sprinkled on top. It included lots of avocado chunks in it. And it already included rosemary potatoes, so I really didn't need to order a side of potatoes like I normally would.


This was supposed to include two types of cheese and refried beans. I am pretty sure there wasn't any refried beans in it, and if there was any cheese in it, it was minimal to the point that I wasn't sure there was any in it at all. Don't get me wrong, this was still a pretty good burrito, but it would have been so much better with the intended cheeses and refried beans (or, better yet, whole pinto or black beans).

As their coffee choice, the Grove brews
Verve Coffee Roasters, a local roastery out of Santa Cruz. As described on the Grove's menu: "In a former old cannery/wetsuit factory, these surfing coffee zealots source from fanatical growers worldwide, roasting proprietary award-winning brews." I had the very first cup from the freshly brewed batch as I was the first customer this morning. It was a very decent tasting cuppa; not really that strong, but I put that down to the roast/blend (I didn't ask which one they had going this morning). The size cup/mug that they serve this in is easily the size of a small bowl; it's probably at least two cups of coffee. They actually had the nerve to ask me if I wanted a refill!

The Grove offers as condimentary supplements Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red) and Tapatío®. I liberally used some of my own Palo Alto Fire Fighters Pepper Sauce Habanero (Thanks, Amys and Brian!) on the burrito. I really can't rave enough how good this hot sauce is; it packs a little bit of (well, a lot more than plain ol' Tabasco®) heat and has a superb flavour.

Glen Bacon Scale RatingBreakfast Burrito ~ 6.3; Verve Coffee ~ 6.5

[1] Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-culinary pointer of the day, número uno:

"Burrito" simply means "little donkey" in Spanish; it is a diminutive form of "burro" meaning "donkey".

[2] Yes, much like New York City has "New York style Pizza", San Francisco has their own named burrito. Perfected in the Mission District at the local Mexican taquerias, these are actually about the size of a small burro and are a complete meal in a tortilla.

[3] Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-horticultural pointer of the day, número dos:

"Cilantro", also called 
coriander leaves or Chinese parsley, comes from Spanish and is a variant of "culantro", from the Vulgar Latin, a dissimilated form of Latin "coriandrum".

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Jack’s Restaurant & Bar

Breakfastary Road Trip:
San Bruno
[1], San Mateo County

(The reason for today's EweToob link is that yesterday was Leonard Cohen's 78th birthday. Now, much like Robert Zimmerman's work, I really love the songs of Leonard Cohen, just not as sung by him. Besides, Johnette Napolitano is much better to look at. 

Late Edition Edit: I just happened to notice that Johnette's birthday is actually September 22nd, too; so that was very à propos of me.)

For a change, I thought I'd head out of the City and try someplace new. It's not really that much of a "Road Trip" to drive down to Jack's Restaurant & Bar, as they are just off El Camino Real in San Bruno. There are two Bay Area locations: this one and another one in Pleasanton. They are owned and run by two brothers (neither of whom are named "Jack", by the way). Plus, the Boulevard Cafe (see 'blog-entry from August 21st, 2011) in Daly City is owned by the brother-in-law of one of the owners of Jack's. I thought that there had to be some relationship between the three restaurants as their menus are very similar; this was confirmed to me by the hostess-lady.

Jack's is a pretty large facility and its location (right across the street from Tanforan Mall) makes it pretty handy. They have a sizeable breakfast menu. I was tempted to go with either the Greek Scramble (χωρίς 
το κρέας γύρου) or the Elena's Omelette, but I will probably have more than my share of Greek food tomorrow at San Francisco's Greek Food Festival. To compare Jack's with Boulevard Cafe, I decided to order the same thing as I did there last year: Bananas Foster French Toast ~ Texas French toast, caramelized bananas, cinnamon cream; with a side of Yukon Gold Hash Browns (Please note, they have this as two words, Herr Gates). I also had a large glass of orange juice to round out the square meal.

This was very good French toast (not quite as good as the version at Merchant's Way in Wareham, MA, but still much better than that which was served at that place that shall remain nameless); the bananas were sliced and sautéed, which really makes all the difference in the world (blue-haired tranny Nazis, please take note). There was a large scoop of the cinnamon cream on top and it really worked very well with all of the other flavours. The hashbrowns were good, also; however, I would have liked the potatoes to have been a bit crispier (at least they offer some kind of potato sides; again, blue-haired tranny Nazis, please take note).

Jack's has the standard Bay Area Trinity of condimentary supplementation: Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red); Tapatío®; and Cholula®. I had brought a few of my own collection and used some El Yucateco® XXXTRA HOT SAUCE Salsa Kutbil-ik® de CHILE HABANERO (Thanks, Brian!) on the hashbrowns; the French toast really didn't need any extra heat.

It's just like I have always stated: "everybody knows jack…"

Glen Bacon Scale RatingBananas Foster French Toast ~ 7.0

[1] San Bruno is a small suburb city about fifteen miles due south of San Francisco. It was named after Saint Bruno of Cologne. Unlike the cities of San Francisco, San Diego, and San Jose, San Bruno was not one of the original Franciscan Missions founded in Alta California by Junípero Serra and the rest of his Native American-torturing ilk.

I was surprised to find out that Saint Bruno wasn't really the Patron Saint of Pugilism as I had always thought.,_California

Sunday, September 16, 2012

the Blue Fig

Maybe Sammy Hagar should rename his brand of Tequila "Caffle Waffle"?

(No official website.)

990 Valencia Street (at 21st Street)

phonicular contact: (415) 875-9622

(Okay, so it's really Sunday. Whatever.)

I had originally meant to go to the Blue Fig[1] last Sunday morning to bookend my Blue Jay Cafe entry, but I had a touch of a summer flu/cold and couldn't complete my Blue Period, Pablo. the Blue Fig is a pretty large coffeehouse joint over in the Mission along the trendier restaurant row on Valencia Street. They even have a large backyard, open-air patio with about 6-8 tables. They also have an additional seven two-seater tables in front on the sidewalk, five of which are right in the street taking up spots for two parked cars (see above photo) ~ this is a new trend that I have seen in the City (I think it started along Columbus Avenue in North Beach); like it's not hard enough to find a decent parking spot already.

the Blue Fig is mainly a coffeehouse that serves breakfast bites like bagels, granola, and oatmeal and such; however, they do have a couple of other breakfastary items from which to choose. I was sorry to see that they do not offer any potato side dishes, though ~ pity. I ordered the Blue Waffle[2] ~ organic blue corn meal topped with fig reduction, house whipped cream, banana, and syrup. I also had a large glass of orange juice and a cuppa very decent coffee ~ McLaughlin Coffee™, House Blend (which is made with five different types of African beans, as per the baristo/counter guy).

I don't usually get waffles when I go out to breakfast. Looking back through some of these 'blog-entries, I don't think I have had any waffles in the past few years even. I mean, what are waffles, anyway, but just disfigured pancakes with a bad case of chicken pox, right? This was pretty good, though, and one (large one) was just about right for me (still would have liked some potatoes on the side, though). According to the baristo/counter guy (who was also the food preparer guy, as he was the only one there that early in the morning), the reduction is made with actual blue figs, which I had never heard about and had to look up for more information (see below explanation/clarification). The blue fig reduction was a bit tart, but I guess the idea is to mellow the harsh with some of the provided syrup, which seemed to work perfectly. The waffle was piled with tons of both bananas (mentioned on the menu) and strawberries (unmentioned on the menu), which was nice.

Not that I needed any extra flavours, but I noticed that the Blue Fig has just Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red) available for condimentary supplements. I had pre-checked what they had to offer for breakfast from an on-line menu and knew that they really didn't offer much that would warrant me bringing any of my own hot sauces with me today, so I didn't bother.

I doubt I'll be going back any time soon (maybe if I was more of a waffle fanatic, Jean Claude), but the cuppa coffee was good enough to merit popping back in if I am ever in the neighborhood.

Glen Bacon Scale RatingBlue Waffle ~ 6.8; House Blend coffee ~ 7.0

[1] Blue fig trees are not really related to the fig tree family that we know. They are an Australian rainforest tree that bear a bitter edible fruit, Lamont.

The common fig tree that we know, Mr. Newton, is a member of the Ficus family.

Additional information courtesy of our courteous friends at Wikipedia:

[2] Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-culinaristic pointer of the day:

The word "waffle" is directly derived from the Dutch "wafel", which itself derives from Middle Dutch "wafele", of Germanic origin; related to Old High German "wabo", meaning "honeycomb".

But I could go vaguely on and on for hours talking in a wordy manner about "waffles"… if I didn't stop.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Tennessee Grill

Pardon me, Roy, is that the cat who chewed your new shoes?

(No official website.)

1128 Taraval Street (between 21st and 22nd Avenues)

phonicular contact: (415) 664-7834

(Yeah, a Tennessee[1] song done by an Irish group and sung by a Welshman. Makes perfect sense to me.)

I ventured back over to the Sunset/Parkside for breakfast this morning and ate at  Tennessee Grill. They are located just a half block away from New Taraval Cafe (see recent 'blog-entry from September 2nd, 2012). Tennessee Grill is a very large, old, home-style diner place. There is probably easily seating for 100, including the 13-14 diner/counter stools. Why "Tennessee", though? I really didn't bother to ask, but the place seemed like it was run/owned by an Asian family and most of the cook staff looked Mexican.

Strange Tennessee Interlude, Eugene

I have been to Tennessee a few times in the past.

I visited Nashville for one day and night with my brother, Kerry. We stopped there to see an old Peace Corps buddy of his nicknamed "Nash", because he was from Nashville. It seems that the Peace Corps needs to work on their nickname-giving a bit, Ernie.

I spent a week once in Chattanooga[2] while visiting an old girlfriend, who is nicknamed "Phyll", as her given name is Phyllis. It seems that Georgians/Tennesseans need to work on their nickname-giving a bit, also. (I suppose it beats being called "Chatta".) I even got to see the famous "Choo-Choo", Mr. Miller. I really wouldn't suggest visiting Chattanooga in late May without the aid of any air conditioning, though.

And I have driven across the State a few times on my way to California.

Sadly, I have never been to Memphis, Elvis Aaron.

Now back to breakfast (as this is a breakfastary 'blog supposedly).

Tennessee Grill offers most of the standard diner fare for breakfast, I simply went with the Spinach and Cheese Omelette ~ served with toast and hashbrowns (OR) home fried potatoes. I also had a large glass of orange juice.

(Okay, ignore the completely crappy photo of breakfast. I have dealt with the photographer already.)

They offer a choice for cheese and I went with Cheddar. I had sourdough toast as my bread choice. And I had hashbrowns for my potato side dish; I always like it when there is a choice of potato side dishes offered. The omelette was made with lots of spinach, but the omelette was really nothing special. The real find was the home-made/restaurant-made chilli sauce that they have (see condimentary supplementation information below).

I didn't figure their coffee would be any better than the sludge that I can make at home, so I skipped a cuppa while there and made some
Bettys Christmas Coffee to enjoy while typing this out. Now, I know what you are thinking, "Christmas coffee in July?" (September. Whatever.) But I had only opened this bag up recently and it had been stored in my freezer since December. This is really a full and robust blend; even I can't mess it up much.

For condimentary supplementation Tennessee Grill offers both Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce and Cholula® Hot Sauce; plus, my server happened to notice the three bottles of hot sauces that I had brought from my own collection and he mentioned that the cook makes his own home-made/restaurant-made chilli sauce, too. He was nice enough to bring me out a small cup of it to try.  I ended up using some of my own Palo Alto Fire Fighters Pepper Sauce (The standard version. Thanks, Amys and Brian!) on the potatoes and some of the home-made/restaurant-made chilli sauce on the omelette. The chilli sauce was very good ~ smoky, tasty ~ and packed just the right amount of heat; it was possibly made from chipotle chillis.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating
Spinach and Cheese Omelette ~ 5.8; Home-made/restaurant-made chilli sauce ~ 7.0

[1] Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-geographical/pseudo-historical pointer of the day, number one:

The meaning and origin of the word "Tennessee" are uncertain. Some accounts suggest it is a Cherokee modification of an earlier Yuchi word. It has been said to mean "meeting place", "winding river", or "river of the great bend". However, there is no truth to the rumour that "Tennessee" is the Cherokee word for "Land where White Devil sing like cat with hemorrhoids".

Are there any Cherokee cunning linguist volunteers for clarification?

[2] Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-geographical/pseudo-historical pointer of the day, number two:

The first part of "Chattanooga" derives from the Muskogean word "cvto" (pronounced "chato"), meaning "rock". The latter may be derived from a regional suffix "-nunga" meaning dwelling or dwelling place.

You know, I may have just figured out one of those confusing Georgian/Tennessean nicknames. Phyll has a brother named Edgar, whom they called "Rock". Perhaps it was easier to call him that than "Chato". Her other two brothers Thomas and Timothy had equally as confusing nicknames; Thomas was know as "Tommy" and Timothy was know as "Timmy". I will never understand the ways of the Southerner.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Blue Jay Cafe

(Bet you can't guess the relationship with today's EweToob link and the restaurant. Give up? Well, it's a well-known fact that
the Beatles were big fans of roasted tomatoes.)

This morning's breakfast was once again at
Blue Jay Cafe (see last 'blog-entry from February 6th, 2011). They are located over on Divisadero Street, between Golden Gate and McAllister Streets (which puts it technically in the Western Addition, but close enough to the Anza Vista and Alamo Square sub-neighborhoods that people might claim it as such).

Blue Jay Cafe calls their early morning meal "Brunch", but there is really nothing fancy-shmancy about this place. It's more of a Hipster Dufus (Would the plural actually be "Dufi"?) crowd if anything. There really aren't that many breakfastary items from which to choose on the menu. They used to offer weekend specials on the large chalkboard over the kitchen area, but don't seem to do that any longer. I simply went with the Veggie Omelette ~ scallions[1], red onion, and roasted tomato; served with potatoes, fruit, or grits, and toast, biscuit, or cornbread. I also had a large glass of orange juice.

This was a pretty decent omelette, mainly due to the roasted tomatoes ~ which added another smokey depth of flavour. Additionally, the red onions were also roasted or sautéed, another nice touch. I selected as my bread choice a fresh, home-made buttermilk biscuit, which was very good and still warm when they brought it out. As my side dish, I had the home fried potatoes, which were also very good.

Blue Jay Cafe only offers as condimentary supplementation Crystal® Louisiana's Pure Hot Sauce. I remembered this from my last trip there (well, I remembered to check the old 'blog-entry this morning), so I used some of my own Palo Alto Fire Fighters Habanero Pepper Sauce (Thanks, Amys and Brian!) on the potatoes and some Serious Food… Silly Prices Mango Hot Sauce (Thanks, Cindy!) on the omelette.

Blue Jay Cafe have a small backyard patio space that holds just 2-3 small tables. One of these days I really need to eat out there. They didn't have it open yet this morning, plus it was still pretty cool out to sit outside.

Glen Bacon Scale RatingVeggie Omelette ~ 6.5

[1] Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-horticultural pointer of the day:

 The word "scallion" comes from late Middle English "scalyon(e)", from Old French "escaloigne", from Vulgar Latin "escalonia", variant of Latin "Ascalonia (caepa)", meaning "onion of Ascalon" (which is the modern day city of Ashkelon along the Mediterranean coast of Israel). 

Aka, green onions, spring onions, salad onions, green shallots, onion sticks, long onions, baby onions, precious onions, yard onions, gibbons, or syboes, Booker T.

Monday, September 3, 2012


Hawai'ian Style Home Cooking


(Yeah! A Marvin Gaye classic played on the ukulele[1]. I love this guy's little back-up singer/helper, too.)

This was only my second time eating breakfast at ONO GRINDZ (see last 'blog-entry from July 4th, 2012); they have just been open for a little over four months now, anyway. It's nice to have another great breakfast place to go to on Clement Street, which makes it very "local" for me. It's funny how I seemed to have gone there during the week on holidays only so far; I told them they can expect me back on Columbus Day next.

ONO GRINDZ actually has a "Happy Hour Menu" for breakfast (well, it's really two hours) from 8:00-10:00am, Monday through Friday. There are several items that are offered at discounted prices and the portions would be a bit smaller than the same items that appear on their standard menu (as described by the owner-lady, at least). Their standard menu fare is pretty interesting as it is. I know I will have to get back to check out all of these: Apple Banana Pancakes, Kimchi Huevos Rancheros (so that would be a Korean/Mexican/Hawai'ian fusion sort of thing), and Hawai'ian French Toast. They also have something called Spam & Cheese Waffles for those of you that are a little adventurous and partake of the potted dead, decaying animal flesh. As it were (as it was?), I ordered the Kimchi[2] Fried Rice Omelette ~ kimchi, Chinese sausage, shitake[3] mushrooms, green onions, lomi[4] tomatoes, and plantation potatoes. I also completed the meal with a decent cuppa coffee (Bicycle Coffee Co. is the house brand) and a glass of orange juice.

I know what you're thinking (and just stop it right now!), "Kimchi Fried Rice Omelette"? When I asked, the owner-lady explained to me that they like to incorporate cuisines from most of the countries and cultures that make up Hawai'i. (Is "Spamelot" an actual country?) Now this omelette will not be for everyone (especially if you are allergic to eggs), but I really enjoyed it. It was quirky enough and tasty enough to really get my interest. Think of this as a "deconstructed" fried rice dish, where the eggs surround the rice and other ingredients instead of being scrambled into the mix. This is made with brown rice, not plain ol' white rice (which I actually like better, but brown rice is supposed to be healthier ~ who really goes out to eat a "healthy" breakfast, though?).

ONO GRINDZ  just has as bottled hot sauce condimentary supplementation Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red), but they do have their own home-made Hawai'ian Ketchup upon request, and upon which I used liberally on half of the plantation potatoes; this ketchup almost has a barbecue sauce flavour to it. I also used some of my own Cholula® Hot Sauce (Thanks, Brian!) on the omelette and a little Youk's Hot Sauce (Thanks again, Brian!) on the other half of the plantation potatoes.

With all of these interesting choices and their proximity to my apartment, I really am thinking of adding ONO GRINDZ to my Breakfastary Rotation in 2013. We shall see how the next few visits go before signing the Shane Victorino of restaurants during the off-season.

Glen Bacon Scale RatingKimchi Fried Rice Omelette ~ 7.0

[1] Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-musicality pointer of the day, numba one brah:

"Ukulele" roughly translates as "leaping/jumping flea" in Hawai'ian, perhaps due to the movement of the player's fingers on the strings. According to Queen Lili'uoakalani, the last Hawai'ian monarch, the name means "the gift that came here", from the Hawai'ian words "uku" (gift or reward) and "lele" (to come).

Additional information from Wikipedia:

"The ukulele originated in the 19th century as a Hawai'ian interpretation of the machete, a small guitar-like instrument related to the cavaquinho, braguinha, and the rajao, taken to Hawai'i by Portuguese immigrants. It gained great popularity elsewhere in the United States during the early 20th century, and from there spread internationally."

[2] Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-culinary pointer of the day, 두 번째
Here's a little known Cliff Clavin factoid: "Kimchi" was named after two warring 12th Century Korean families, the Kims and the Chis, (much like the Hatfields and McCoys of their time). It seems they were disputing who had the rights to a local cabbage patch, and to settle the dispute they developed a way of pickling the vegetable with beef stock and this way they could stretch the harvest and both families could share it.

Now if you believed a word of that cockamamie story, I have a really nice International Orange bridge for sale at a very reasonable price.

Actually, "kimchi" is just Korean for "pickled/soaked vegetables". The most popular version of kimchi is made with pickled cabbage.

[3] This is an acceptable spelling, but the preferred spelling/transliteration is "shiitake". However, the "mushroom" part is superfluously redundant and completely unnecessary; shiitake means "tree mushroom" in Japanese already. I am not including this as another stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer as I have done so a few times already in the past.

[4] Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-culinary pointer of the day, numba t'ree brah:

"Lomi-lomi" means "to massage/crush" in Hawai'ian. The tomatoes here were just roughly chopped, as in a good pico de gallo, and served on top of the omelette.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

New Taraval Cafe

(No official website.)

1054 Taraval[1] Street (on the corner of 21st Avenue)

phonicular contact: (415) 731-3816

(There is no relationship between today's EweToob selection and this morning's breakfast; I just like Tanita Tikaram.)

I had breakfast this morning at New Taraval Cafe over in the Parkside[2] neighborhood of the Sunset. This is a friendly little neighborhood, family-owned place; while I was there several regulars came in and ordered without needing to tell the owner/server what they wanted. There are just six counter/diner stools and about eight burgundy vinyl-covered booths. It's called "New" Taraval Cafe, but something tells me it's been there since at least the 60's.

They have a pretty standard diner-menu for breakfast, but I was surprised to see that they even offer an Irish Breakfast ~ two eggs, Irish Bacon, sausage, with both black and white puddings (ughh!); however, no grilled tomatoes or baked beans. I went with a Spinach and Cheese Omelette ~ all orders served with home fried potatoes or fruit with toast. I also had a large glass of orange juice.

You get a choice of 'merican or Swiss cheese; I went with Swiss cheese and sourdough toast. The Swiss cheese was just the plain ol' processed, sliced type; this would have been much better with real Swiss cheese, of course. As usual, when the choice is between potatoes and fruit, I chose the potatoes. I was very happy to see that this was a HUGE pile of home fried potatoes, too.

I didn't bother ordering a cuppa coffee at the restaurant, but I did see a small place nearby that looked interesting. Brown Owl Coffee is just across the street and half a block down. They were serving Ethiopa Yasmine Garjeda Forest Reserve as the coffee of the day. The best part about this place is that they make each cuppa from fresh ground coffee beans and it is fresh dripped per cup! This was a light to medium roast, but it was a little too weak for me; it smelled great, but just wasn't quite strong enough for me. It was still good, and I am sure better than what they serve at New Taraval Cafe.

New Taraval Cafe offers for condimentary supplements just Crystal® and Tương Ớt Sriracha. I came fully prepared and used some (a lot) of my own Palo Alto Fire Fighters Pepper Sauce (the standard one; Thanks agains, Amys and Brian!) on the potatoes and just a little Cherry Republic® KaBOB's Kick'en Hot Sauce (Thanks, Cindy!) on the omelette.

Glen Bacon Scale RatingSpinach and Cheese Omelette ~ 5.7; Brown Owl Coffee, Ethiopia Yasmine Garjeda Forest Reserve ~ 6.0

[1] Who was this Taraval guy and why does he warrant a street named after him? Sigismundo Taraval was an Italian Jesuit missionary in Baja California. As far as I can tell, he never made it as far north as San Francisco, though.

[2] This is technically the Parkside District of San Francisco, but unless you actually live in that neighborhood, you would just call it the Sunset District. The "park" part of "Parkside" does not refer to Golden Gate Park (which is about thirteen blocks north), but rather the stand of trees and plants around Laguna Puerca ("Pig Lake", and often called "Mud Lake" by old-timers), which is now called Pine Lake Park. Sigmund Stern Grove is actually part of Pine Lake Park.

Saturday, September 1, 2012


Refreshingly Global

I went back to pomelo (see last 'blog-entry from February 4th, 2012) for an "intimate, simple, and undeniably global" (but, refreshingly, unreasonable attitude-free) breakfast this morning. pomelo is located at the end of Church Street (at 30th Street) over in Noe Valley. I was very happy to see that there were no rules that needed to be followed to eat breakfast there this morning and especially that there were no blue-haired tranny harpies scaring away paying customers at the door.

There are many good "Brunch" (their term, not mine) choices on the menu from which to choose. I've eaten here several times in the past and have tried many of the dishes already. All "Brunch" meals start with a complimentary fresh-baked muffin or pastry of some sort. Today's entry was a strawberry-rhubarb mini-muffin; I had gotten there as soon as they opened this morning so it was very fresh and still warm right out of the oven. For the meal I went with ulsan (Korea) ~ pa-jeon Korean scallion pancakes with scallops[1], prawns, red and green chiles[2], egg and spicy dipping sauce. I also ordered a side of house potatoes and a bottomless cuppa Mr. Espresso® coffee, which is very good coffee.

I asked for the pancake (which is actually a large and singular one, and served in eight wedges) without the scallops and prawns. This was good, but not exactly what I was expecting. I knew it wasn't going to be your standard IHOP®-variety pancake (at least I wouldn't have assumed to use any maple syrup on it), but I seemed to think it looked a bit differently the last time I was there (which is probably due to the dead, decaying mollusks and marine insects missing from on top of it). This was actually pretty spicy with lots of fresh, sliced red and green chillies in it; it also had lots of scallions. The dipping sauce may have had some spice to it, too, but I really couldn't tell; it was some kinda ginger-soy sauce based one that tasted good enough to me.

Knowing that pomelo has a decent condimentary supplementation selection: Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (both Green and Chipotle) and Cholula®, I didn't bring any of my own hot sauces with me today. I went with some Chipotle generously on the potatoes, and just a little Green on a few wedges of the pancake.

Okay, next time I go back to pomelo, I really have to try the makena (banana-stuffed mascarpone brioche French toast with roasted macadamias and warm coconut syrup), which looks like it would be a very good version of French toast.

Glen Bacon Scale Ratingulsan ~ 6.4; Strawberry-rhubarb mini-muffin~ 7.0

[1] Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-etymological pointer du jour:

The word "scallop" comes from Old French "escalope", which means "shell".

[2] Not really a stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer, just a spelling/grammatical pointer:

They had this spelled as "chiles" on the menu. This is an accepted plural form of "chile" (also "chili" or "chilli").