Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Buena Vista (Cafe)

The Buena Vista[1] Social Breakfast Club?

(The name of the group should be self-explanatory for today's EweToob video selection.)

I would never have even thought about having breakfast at the Buena Vista (Cafe) ~ I write it as such as the official name of the restaurant is "the Buena Vista Cafe", but most of their signs and napkins just state "the Buena Vista" ~ but it was suggested by Karl Brandt (an old Air Force buddy and fellow cunning linguist ~ in this case, also Russkij ~ that was stationed with me at Tempelhof Central Airbase, in what used to be West Berlin). I think the last time I was even at the Buena Vista was when Karl and his mother were passing through a few years back. The Buena Vista is a San Francisco and tourista tradition alike as a must-go-to place (explanation to follow).

The Buena Vista is located on the corner of Hyde and Beach Streets, right across the street from the Powell-Hyde "Frisco Trolley Car" turnaround, and that locale alone would make them a good spot for hungry (and thirsty) touristas to frequent. They open at 9:00am Monday through Friday, at 8:00am on Saturday and Sunday, and are closed the rest of the week. The restaurant can accommodate a good amount of folks. Today I sat at the bar/counter area with the round wooden rotating stools.

It always sucks trying to find legal and cheap parking in the Fisherman's Wharf area. However, I parked over on the end of Van Ness, next to the tall trees in Fort Mason which house some of the Wild Parrots of San Francisco; unfortunately, I really didn't see or hear any of them this morning due to the constant rain (on and off drizzle to hard rain).

Tourista tip of the day: this is a great place to park if you are planning on walking around Fisherman's Wharf for a while. You can park for free for four hours, which should be plenty of time to walk up and down Fisherman's Wharf and get something to eat as well as buying all the normal, useless tourist crap that you will never really use ever again. Keep in mind it's much easier to find a spot early in the morning (there were still probably 20-30 open spots when I arrived about 8:30am), and always much easier during the off-peak tourista season. (One of these days, I really need to get me a Tourista Hunting License. I hate having to pay all those fines when I shoot a tourista when they are not in season. Please be considerate to the next hunter and remember to only take your limit, too.)

There really is a limited amount of places to have breakfast on or near Fisherman's Wharf, Mr. Dorn. So I was very surprised to find out that the Buena Vista was open in the mornings, and they actually have a pretty decent breakfastary menu. I ended up ordering the Mexican Omelet ~ green chilies, Monterey Jack, green peppers, onions, sour cream, & guacamole; all breakfasts are served with hashbrowns and toast (for an additional charge you can get sourdough toast, which I thought is kinda lame for a Fisherman's Wharf joint; but I did opt for this and it turned out to be a grilled sourdough baguette, so that made it worthwhile after all). And no visit to the Buena Vista would be complete without ordering a cuppa Irish Coffee, which has been historically made with Tullamore Dew® and currently with Peerless Coffee®.

The omelette was just okay, but it was served with ramekins[2] of guacamole, pico de gallo, and sour cream on the side. Both the guacamole and pico de gallo were fresh and very good, so I am giving it extra points because of these (the sour cream was just plain ol' sour cream, no points were added or taken away for this). The hashbrowns actually were more of the homefries variety (just diced in a lot smaller chunks) and very good.

The Buena Vista is World-Famous for their Irish Coffee. Now I could go into a long and boring story about the history of
Irish Coffee, but why do that when they have already gone into the long and boring story themselves?

Just be forewarned, as with most drink "inventions" there are other stories and claimants to be the authenticators. So take that story with a grain of salt… or a dram of Legendary Irish Whiskey.

The Buena Vista even has one bartender that is solely dedicated to making Irish Coffees. He has a small assembly line of glasses (waiting with hot water in them already to keep the glasses warmed-up until they need to have coffee poured in them) ready to go for whenever someone orders them. Even this early in the morning I would say one-out-of-two people were ordering them; and please, people, children under ten really shouldn't be drinking alcohol before Noon.

The Buena Vista has as condimentary supplementation just Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (but both the standard red and Chipotle). I used some of the Chipotle on the omelette to compliment all of the other Mexican flavours, and I used some of my own CaJohns Fiery Foods Oaxacan Hot Sauce on the potatoes.

Now, I don't really like Whiskey (or Whisky, even), or any cream and sugar in my coffee normally, but an Irish Coffee is mandatory when eating or drinking at the Buena Vista (I can usually drink at least one, but I must say that Mrs. Brandt really shamed me with three or four to my one the last time we were there). I heard that even Mitt Romney has been known to tip back a few when dining there. (In five to ten years no one will even get that joke any more.)

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Mexican Omelet ~ 6.4; Irish Coffee ~ 7.5

1. Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer del giorno/del día, numero uno/número uno:

"Vista" is simply Italiano or Spanish (or Portuguese, also) for "view". It is the Italiano noun use of the feminine of "visto", the past participle of "vedere" ("to see"), which comes from Latin "videre" ("to see"). Many people are familiar with the Julius Caesar saying: "Veni, vidi, vici." ~ which loosely translates from Latin as "I came, I saw, I had breakfast and some Irish Whiskey in a coffee drink."

Interestingly, the Russkij verb for "to see" is "
видеть", transliterated as "videt'" and pronounced as "veedet". The Latin root is similarly used in other Slavic languages:

Bulgarian ~ "
Croatian ~ "vidjeti"
Czech ~ "vidět"
Macedonian ~ "
Polish ~ "widzieć"
Serbian ~ "
Slovak ~ "vidiet'"
Ukrainian ~ "

2. Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer du jour/van de dag, numéro deux/nummer twee:

"Ramekin" comes from French "ramequin", which comes from dialectal Dutch/Middle Dutch "rammeken".

Thank you Food Network for that word. It's not like I even have any ramekins in my kitchen. I am sure I have a lot of little bowls and dishes, though.

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