Sunday, November 4, 2012


(What with that bitch Sandy wreaking havoc upon the East Coast and especially the Jersey Shore last week, I thought it would be nice to have one of Hoboken, New Jersey's own singing a paean to one of the biggest Hellenic export products: "Olive Me".)

A few months back while wandering around Nob Hill, I happened to notice a new(ish) restaurant called Olèa[1]. It is located on the corner of California and Larkin[2] Streets right along the California Street "Frisco Trolley Car" line. I liked the look of their menu and decided to get back there for breakfast (well, they actually admit to calling it "Brunch") one day. Today was that day.

Olèa is in an interesting little L-shaped space, which is a few steps down from street level in what probably used to be a dry cleaners or something in the basement of the building. They have seating for just 24-28 people maximum. Because of which, there will be a bit of a line and waiting involved. I had gotten there ten minutes before they opened (9:30am on Sundays; which really isn't that bad for an official "Brunch" place) and queued up with some other people that had gotten there earlier. Luckily, I was able to get in with the first group of diners; it looked to be about a 45 minute to one hour wait otherwise. I happened to notice that there was also a line starting across the street at MyMy Coffee Shop (see 'blog-entry from July 15th, 2012).

Stupid, Oblivious Diners Mini-rant (part one):
Why would someone that can plainly see there was already a small line of patrons waiting to enter before the restaurant had opened go directly to the front of the line and ask, "Is there a line?"? Really?! Is this the first time you have ever gone out to eat?!! Is the concept of waiting in a line that hard to understand?!!! These same idiots probably go up to a group of firetrucks and busy firemen that are surrounding a smoldering building and annoyingly ask "Is there a fire?" Clueless. Absolutely clueless.

(Insert face-palm here.)

Stupid, Oblivious Diners Mini-rant (part too):
While I was sitting inside and waiting for my food (in the completely packed restaurant), one couple of even more clueless touristas walked right into the place (bypassing everyone else that were obviously waiting outside already) and went up to the manager and asked to be seated. Really?! They don't have lines for restaurants in France?!! And I am not unjustly picking on the French in general here (though we all know they thoroughly deserve it), as I heard the two imbéciles talking en français as they were leaving (without even being seated… awww). In defense of any other lamebrain Frenchmen, I suppose they could have been clueless Québécoises

(Insert double-face-palm here.)

Olèa only offers about ten breakfastary items on their "Brunch" menu, but what they do offer is usually made with what is seasonally available (or with available seasoning, even). Their French Toast (which they refer to as "challah custard toast") looked pretty good; it was served as two thick slices with sliced and fanned pears on top (I assume the fresh fruit changes with what is available, too). I ended up ordering the Omelet with roasted kabocha[3] squash and shallot purée, Mozzarella cheese and ground pumpkin seeds; with a side of mixed greens salad. I also ordered a side of fries (whether they were stupide françaises ou Québécoises fries, I didn't ask) and a cuppa Blue Bottle Coffee.

(Oops! I had eaten more than half of the omelette before I remembered to take a picture of the meal. Just imagine twice as much omelette.)

This was a very good omelette. I liked the idea of kabocha squash as an ingredient, as this is not a typical omelette addition; however, I think this might have been a bit better as sliced and grilled instead of puréed. I really couldn't discern any pumpkin seeds in the omelette, but there was a lot of Mozzarella cheese. They only have coffee either from a French Press (and this is not prepared with their tongues, I was sure to ask) or espresso drinks; I didn't feel like French Press (I make it all the time at home), so I had it Americano-style.

I was very pleased to see that Olèa does not offer any pre-bottled condimentary supplements, but that they do have a few of their own fresh, homemade hot sauces (the ingredients and flavours change weekly with what is available to their Sauce-Master); today there was one that had a lot of flavour and just the right amount of heat (my server didn't know which chilli pepper was the main ingredient as the Sauce-Master didn't know, he had just picked up some fresh chillies recently and wasn't sure of the type) and another was made with Thai chillies and cherry tomatoes.  I used up all of the extremely tasty u/i chilli sauce on the omelette and some of the Thai chilli sauce with the fries; the Thai chilli sauce was very good, too, just a bit sweeter and with less heat. I also used a little of my own HP Guinness® Sauce on the fries before they had brought out their own hot sauces. The kabocha squash in the omelette was a bit sweet, but with the addition of the u/i chilli sauce, it all worked out perfectly. I had brought a few bottles of my own hot sauces just in case, but they were not even needed.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Kabocha Squash Omelet ~ 6.5; Homemade hot sauces ~ 7.2

1. Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day, numerus unus:

I asked the manager/(possibly one of the owners?) what "Olèa" meant and he said it was just a play on the Latin word for olive, which is "olea" (or "oliva"), with the addition of a grave accent mark over the "e" in the form of an olive leaf.

2. If you were wondering just who the heck does this Larkin guy think he is and why does he get a street named for him, it was named after Thomas O. Larkin, who came to California in 1836 and was the United States Consul at Monterey when the United States took possession. He was a member of the Ayuntamiento, or Town Council, of San Francisco, being elected thereto December 27, 1848. He was also a member of the convention that framed the first constitution of the State in September 1849. He was one of the founders of the town of Benicia. He lived many years with his family on Stockton Street, near Pacific, in one of a row of three houses built there.

3. Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-agrarian pointer of the day, number two:

"Kabocha" simply means "squash" or "pumpkin" in Japanese.

Here is some additional information from our friends at Wikipedia:

No comments:

Post a Comment