Sunday, December 29, 2013

Seal Rock Inn Restaurant

Isn't it moronic… don't you think?

Place: Seal Rock Inn Restaurant 
Location: 545 Point Lobos Avenue (at 48th Avenue)
Hours: Open everyday at 6:00am (They were even open on Christmas Eve morning and Christmas Day morning for breakfast and lunch, and they will also be open on New Year's Eve morning and New Year's Day morning.)
Meal: Andy's Omelette ~ fresh mushrooms, Feta cheese, salami (which I 86-ed, of course), olives (served with hash brown[sic], toast and jelly); and a glass of orange juice

(Sorry. The reason for today's EweToobular video and sub-titular comment is that I recently heard this song on the radio and it just upsets me that Alanis seemed to have no idea what "ironic" really means.

noun, plural ironies.
1. The use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its meaning

1. Using words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning; containing or exemplifying irony

While I am sure some of her lyrics may have had a semblance of "irony", the majority of them had nothing to do with it whatsoever. Take for example the very first few lines:

"An old man turned ninety-eight
He won the lottery and died the next day
It's a black fly in your Chardonnay
It's a death row pardon two minutes too late…"

Her first example of "ironic" is nothing more than a sad coincidence and bad timing. An insect in your glass of Wine? How the heck is that "ironic"? Now an insect floating in your glass of Retsina might be "ironic", as everyone knows that stuff would kill most insects. And what is "ironic" about some convict being killed? 

Then there is the refrain:

"It's like rain on your wedding day
It's a free ride when you've already paid
It's the good advice that you just didn't take…"

Bad weather on your wedding day would only be considered "ironic" if you happened to be marrying a meteorologist. And why would someone get a free ride after they had already paid? That just makes no sense. Maybe she should have named the song "Nonsensical". I'm thinking that it may be a bit "ironic" that she didn't take the good advice of someone telling her that none of this really had anything to do with "irony".[1])

This morning was supposed to be a Breakfastary Roadtrip down to Nini's Coffee Shop in San Mateo (see last 'blog-entry from October 17th, 2010) for a "Brunch" (my friends' wording, not mine) gathering with a group of friends; however, several people had to beg off due to lame excuses like "I have the flu.", etc. So I had to come up with a quick back-up plan, Lenny. It had been several months since I last ate at Seal Rock Inn Restaurant (see last 'blog-entry from June 1st, 2013) and I knew that they are always a good secondary choice (as they are very close and local for me).

My usual choices would be: Greek Omelette No. 1, (Feta cheese, olives, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes); Greek Omelette No. 2 (Feta cheese with fresh spinach); or Greek Omelette No. 3 (which is actually called Sophia's Omelette, but I renamed it this because it really is ~ Feta cheese, olives, onions, tomatoes, spinach). However, I have had all three in my past three visits there.

I am going to call this Greek Omelette No. 4. It was made with lots of black olives, mushrooms, and Feta! (Yeah, so?! I like Feta. You got a problem with that?) I have said this before many times, unfortunately the olives that they use are just the canned, sliced variety; this would be soooo much better with αυθεντικά ελιές Καλαμών (and here is the "ironic" part, the owners are of Greek descent). It was still very good. However, if you have an aversion to canned black olives or fungus, you might not like this as much as I did. 

They always have good hashbrowns (which is the spelling that I prefer, as one word and never in the singular ~ now it would have been "ironic" if they had given me just a single shred of potato only… and it wasn't really brown but uncooked). I simply went with rye bread as my toast choice.

While I was eating, the lady at the next table asked for some more hot water for her tea, and when the guy brought over a Coffee pot full of a clear liquid, I had to ask him how he knew that it contained "hot water" and wasn't really Coffee. Without missing a beat, he looked at it and replied "Because it has a green handle, of course." Nicely played, Mr. Busboy-person/Coffee-refiller-guy, nicely played!

I forewent any Coffee with my meal mainly because I had recently received a whole buncha new Christmas swag and enjoyed a cuppa Bettys Mexican Cloud Forest while typing up this 'blog-entry. Of course, this was another truly great Coffee from Bettys (Thanks, Greg & Cindy!).,22565,44.aspx

For condimentary supplements, Seal Rock Inn Restaurant has both Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red) and Cholula® Hot Sauce. In the past, I think they only used to offer just Tabasco®; the Cholula® is a new twist. It really didn't matter as I came prepared with a few of my own and on the omelette I used some Youk's Hot Sauce (Thanks, Kevin and Brian!), which I had recently transferred into a smaller 2 oz bottle (which was an old, empty bottle of Big Papi En Fuego Hot Sauce ~ Sorry, Kerry and Señor Ortiz!) so that I could carry it in my new Tabasco® holster (Thanks, Sean!), too. I also used some Florida Gold Premium Habanero Hot Sauce (Thanks, Kerry!) on the potatoes (plural and brown).

After breakfast, I took a small walk over to Lands End and Sutro Baths to walk off the meal. However, Mr. Turner, this can not be considered a true "cross-'blog" as the entire "hike" was probably less than a mile in total, and the elevation only went from about a couple hundred feet above sea level down to sea level and back again.

Now what would have been truly "ironic" this morning is if I was supposed to meet my friends at a restaurant called "Great White Shark Lagoon Bistro", Mademoiselle Morissette.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Andy's Omelette ~ 6.4; Bettys Mexican Cloud Forest ~ 7.2

1. Just in case anyone thinks that I might hate Alanis Morissette or that song, in actuality, I really like both. Now, "isn't it ironic..." ♪♪

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Crepes on Cole

(No official web-site available.)

Place: Crepes On Cole 
Location: 100 Carl Street (on the corner of Cole Street)
Hours: Open everyday at 7:00am (well, I can only assume they are open everyday at 7:00am from information obtained from a few other local on-line services that list this joint; their hours of operation are not listed either on their menu nor anywhere on their door/windows ~ seriously, people, how hard is it to get an official web-site these days?!)
Meal: Basil (a savoury crêpe) ~ Cheddar, Onions, Basil, Tomatoes, Spinach, and Feta Cheese (served with House Potatoes & Mixed Greens with vinaigrette); and a cuppa the house Coffee (whatever brand it was; I forgot to ask and, of course, there is no official web-site from which to find it out now)

(Bet you can't guess the relationship between today's two EweToob videos and today's breakfastary destination. Yup, both songs were arranged by that famous bandleader Carl Spackler.)

Because I didn't really feel like going too far and they (hopefully) are open early every morning, I had breakfast at Crepes on Cole ~ A Crepery. Well, "Crêpes on Carl" would be more accurate; they have "Crêpes" (and "Crêperie", which they also have misspelled) without the cîrcûmflêx (the little hat accent mark thingy). They are located just down the street from Zazie (see last 'blog-entry from November 16th, 2013) and near the West Portal of the N-Judah MUNI Metro light rail line.

Crêpes on Carl has a pretty large dining space. There is seating inside for 50-60 people and another seven sidewalk tables that seat two each. Behind the order-counter on the back wall, there is the stereotypical colourfully designed blackboard menu from which to order. And like most crêpe places in the city, you order and pay first at the counter, they give you a number to place on your table, and then they bring the food out to you when it is ready. 

There were a few other savoury crêpes ideas that I was looking at (no, literally; I couldn't help but look at them as they were on the wall right in front of me): Greek Delight (Cheddar, Onions, Artichoke Hearts, Black Olives, Mushrooms, Tomatoes, and Feta Cheese); Cole Valley (Provolone Cheese, Onions, Sun dried Tomatoes, Pesto Sauce, Avocado, Mushrooms, and Spinach) and Mediterranean (Cheddar, Onions, Eggplant, Pesto, Tomatoes, and Roasted Peppers). They also offer omelettes, other egg dishes, and a few weekend specials on the blackboard, as well as dessert[1] crêpes and blintzes.

Spinach and basil? I was skeptical of this actually working well together, but it ended up being a very nice combination of flavours. As the name dictates, I probably would have liked a little more basil and less spinach in it (and this coming from a long-time, Popeye-brainwashed spinach-lover). Otherwise, all of the fresh ingredients worked out nicely, and, of course, Feta goes with everything (of which there was a decent amount inside).

The House Potatoes were a pretty good version of homefries; chunky and crispy. The Mixed Greens were just the ubiquitous mesclun greens ~ nothing I really can't "make" myself at home. Meh! There was a huge pile of the junk overflowing the edges of the plate. I probably should have asked if they could have 86-ed[2] the stupid greens and given me more of the good potato stuff.

Crêpes on Carl only has Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red) for condimentary supplementation. I came prepared with a few of my own and used some Hula Girl Chipotle Habanero (Thanks, Jim!) inside the crêpe and some Pickapeppa Sauce (Thanks, Amy!) on the potatoes. The Pickapeppa Sauce is the newest in my arsenal; I just received it at Christmas. It's not particularly spicy, but has a lot of sweet, fruity flavour to it; sort of a cross between a Worcestershire sauce and A.1. Steak Sauce®. Ingredients: cane vinegar, sugar, tomatoes, onions, raisins, sea salt, ginger, peppers (hence the "Picka…" moniker, Peter), cloves, black pepper, thyme, mangoes, orange peel.

Regretfully, Miss Otis was also unable to come out to breakfast this morning, Madam. (See? It's stuff like this why people don't want her hangin' around much any more.) Apparently, no one crêpes on poor ol' Carl and gets away with it, Madam.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Basil (savoury crêpe) ~ 6.4

1. Stupid, useless cunning linguist/phraseologist pointer of the day:

Did you ever wonder where the term "Just Deserts" came from? I saw something linked on defacedbook this morning about several archaic words that are still used in English today; however, their meanings are not always as they were once meant to be.

The word "desert" in this case is neither related to an arid, sandy location, nor a sweet after-dinner pastry. The word comes from Old French "deserte", the noun use of feminine past participle of "deservir" (meaning “to deserve”).

Now how many people here truly knew that? I always thought the correct spelling was "just desserts", myself. I know that when I do a good deed that I would like the idea of receiving a "well-merited Key Lime Pie".

Thank you very much for this information, Miss McCambridge!

2. Not really falling into the stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day category, but in case anyone else ever wondered where the term "86" came from:

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Sweet Maple

Place: Sweet Maple 
Location: 2101 Sutter Street (on the corner of Steiner Street)
Hours: Open for Breakfast Monday through Friday at 8:00am (however, open for "Brunch" Saturday and Sunday at 8:00am)
Meal: Morning Pizza ~ Mushroom, arugula, roasted tomato, Mozzarella, Goat cheese, Marinara sauce, and an egg; and a large glass of fresh squeezed orange juice

(As today is Boxing Day, I thought the first EweToob video appropriate. And I just like the second song, too.)

What better way to work off all of the Christmas over-indulgence and over-eating than to get up early on Boxing Day and go out for a big breakfast? I wasn't sure how many places would actually be open the morning after, so I just went back to Sweet Maple (see last 'blog-entry from October 6th, 2012); I had checked out their web-site ahead of time and they didn't state that they would be closed this morning. (See? This is why it pays to have an official web-site, people. It still amazes me how many businesses do not have even the simplest of web-sites today.) For what it is worth, Sweet Maple has the same ownership as KITCHEN Story (see 'blog-entry from February 23rd, 2013). They were actually a lot busier than I would have expected very early on a Thursday morning (even for the day after Christmas).

Sweet Maple's Weekday Breakfast Menu is very similar to their Weekend "Brunch" Menu; I didn't bother to compare them "side-by-each", but, from a quick perusal, they seem to have many of the same items available all week long. Some other good breakfastary ideas that I noticed: Athenian Omelette (mushroom, arugula, mild Goat cheese); Herbi Omelette (onion, mushroom, green and red bell pepper, tomato, arugula, and crème fraîche on top; and I would just like to point out that I like their term "Herbi" is so much better than that oh-so-tired "Veggie" moniker); or even the Big Hip French Toast (two wedges of inch think pain de mie deep fried; served sprinkled with powdered sugar and cinnamon; served with pure maple syrup and housemade maple butter; and I think this dish obtained that particular name, because if you eat this very often you will have them for sure).

This is made with a sunnyside-up egg on top of the Pizza; I have had it before where a restaurant will actually drop an uncooked egg in the middle of the Pizza about five minutes before the Pizza is ready and let it cook on top while the Pizza finishes up. This Pizza was very good for several reasons: it had lots and lots of Mozzarella on it (making each bite a battle filled with stretchy, cheesy goodness); it had a good Marinara sauce;  it had a good crust (I think these are baked in a brick, wood-burning oven); and, particularly of note, the roasted tomatoes really added an extra depth of flavour, something… as the French are wont to say: "Io non so che cosa." (Well, those Frenchmen that are making autentica Pizza Italiana.) 

This definitely has my vote for Best Breakfast Pizza of 2013 (well, I think I have only had Pizza for breakfast twice already this year, and I really doubt that I will another breakfast Pizza before next week, but still). I think it would have been just as good a meal even if it weren't for breakfast. 

The "fresh squeezed orange juice" was actually that for a change, as it was nice and pulpy (and I even spied bits of seeds in it). You'd be surprised how many places try to palm off (or "juice-off") to you plain ol' orange juice from a container and claim that it was "fresh-squeezed" by the company that makes it.

For condimentary supplementation Sweet Maple has Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (both the standard red and the green jalapeño) and Tapatío®. I received a cool new hot sauce holster (Thanks, Sean!) for Christmas this year. As it is an official Tabasco® Brand product, it also came with a small bottle of Tabasco® ~ the standard red; Sean informed me that I can just dump that out if I want to, but there is never any reason to waste any perfectly good hot sauce and I will just use it in my rotation until it is empty. There is just one "little" problem with the holster; it only holds 2 oz[1] bottles, though. I tried fitting a 5 oz bottle in it upside-down and it fits well enough; however, I don't really trust the seals on the bottle caps to be able to carry them like that. Luckily I have a few 2 oz bottles of hot sauce in my armament (unfortunately, they are mostly of the nookular-range, so I can only use a little at a time); and I put a bottle of Big Papi En Fuego Hot Sauce Off The Wall Triple Hot (Thanks, Kerry!) in it this morning and used just 5-6 drops on the egg before cutting it up and mixing it in with all the other ingredients on the Pizza

My thinking is that when one of my 2 oz bottles are finally empty, I can try to refill them with one of my less-painful hot sauces. I should also point out that wearing one of these holsters on your belt while trying to drive is very uncomfortable, as a normal seatbelt mechanism will snap into place just about the same spot where the holster is now located. (I really don't know how rednecks can do this daily… and not spill a drop of their Beers when driving, too.)

Sweet Maple also have maple syrup dispensers on all the tables (some had red handles and some had white handles; I think that was to distinguish between the caffeinated and decaf versions). And because it was ubiquitously available and the name of the restaurant dictates, I felt it absolutely necessary to use just a skosh on some of the crust (shades of Beau Jo's Colorado Style Pizza) for my "breakfast dessert".

I skipped any Coffee or tea with my meal this morning by design. I had just received a nice new Christmas swag package from some very nice people in Pateley Bridge (the one in Nidderdale, North Yorkshire, England, Great Britain, Europe ~ just so there isn't any confusion) and it included some Bettys Coffees and teas. I enjoyed a cuppa Pai Mu Dan[2] White Tea while writing out this 'blog-entry. As with most White Teas, this was a rather light tea and naturally sweet, and needed no additional sweeteners (neither sugar, nor honey), nor any milk/cream (which is actually good, as lately the only "milk" in my refrigerator has been the almond- or coconutmilk variety).,18972,27.aspx

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Morning Pizza ~ 7.0; Bettys Pai Mu Dan White Tea ~ 7.0

1. Did you ever wonder why we use the abbreviation "oz" and not "ou" or "oc" for "ounce"? It has nothing to do with Wicked Witches or Wizards from the Emerald City.

Well, even if you hadn’t wondered why, here is stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-apothecarian pointer of the day, numero uno:

The abbreviation comes from the former Italian word "onza" (which is now spelled "oncia"). 

2. Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-agricultural pointer of the day, 第二:

"Bái Mudān" ("白 牡丹") in Chinese means "white peony". Never to be confused with "白色的陰莖", as that would give the tea a "little wang" to it.

But just who is this Dan White guy, and why is he making cow-pies?

Sunday, December 22, 2013


"Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini[1] bread, and pumpkin[2] pie." 
~ Jim Davis, creator of Garfield

Place: MarketBar 
Location: 1 Ferry Building
Hours: Open for "Brunch" Saturday and Sunday at 9:00am (however, open for Breakfast Monday through Friday at 8:00am)
Meal: Baked Eggs & Cannellini Bean Ragu[3] 'Casuela'[4] (braised greens, cremini mushrooms, tomatoes, cilantro pesto, Parmigiano Reggiano); and a cuppa LavAzza 

(Because I couldn't find any good Festivus Carols on EweToob

They were actually playing Christmas songs ~ for some reason ~ while I was eating breakfast. I even heard a remake of "Last Christmas". Really?! I think I would rather take a trip on the maiden voyage of "Titanic II".)

I only get down to the Historic Ferry Building a few times a year and I had never eaten at MarketBar before, so I figured a quiet Sunday morning (where I can actually park on Mission Street legally and even find many open spaces nearby) before Christmas was as good a time as any to try breakfast (well, technically they call this their "Weekend Brunch") there. They have a very large indoor space; plus, a huge outside sidewalk/patio seating area (with twenty-four or more tables for four, and a few large picnic-style benches that could easily seat eight to ten people). It was just a little too cool still this morning to enjoy breakfast al fresco (I really need to learn how to say that phrase in Italian).

The "Weekend Brunch" menu really isn't that extensive, but there were a few other good dishes from which to choose: Organic Egg Omelette (baby spinach, onions, and Gruyere; served with garden salad and toast); Today's Quiche (seasonal vegetables and herbs; served with market salad); and a couple other breakfast (well, "Brunch") items, which seem to change seasonally.

I think that this place may be a bit too fancy-shmancy for me. Not only do they call their early morning meal "Brunch", this snooty place actually has the nerve to use real cloth napkins! Plus, the cups they serve the coffee in even have saucers underneath them (and the cups also match the LavAzza brand that they serve). Sheesh! I've had the pleasure to have been kicked out of much nicer places, though…

My meal was served in a terracotta/clay bowl (the 'Casuela' part of the dish's name). The eggs were more "poached" than baked, and served in a pretty tasty pesto ragù. I particularly liked that the cannellini beans were extra large (almost the size of γιγαντες). I know what you are thinking, "Beans for breakfast? What is this the East End of London?", but it worked rather nicely with the whole dish. My only little complaint was that it came with just two small pieces of toasted bread (probably sourdough or Italian) to sop up all of the tasty sauce/broth; I really would have liked (could have used) a few more pieces.

For a change, I actually tasted the stew/sauce before messing it up with any extra condimentary supplements. I had brought a few bottles of my own, but they really weren't needed this morning.

After breakfast, I wandered around to some of the other shops at the Historic Ferry Building and got an Earl Grey Bergamot Orange Crème doughnut at Pepples Donuts. I am pretty sure that these are the same people that provide the doughnuts to Dolores Park Café that I had yesterday for "breakfast dessert"; they offered some of the exact same flavours as I saw yesterday. Of course, they had several more flavours at their kiosk than I saw yesterday. Pepples Donuts are both Vegan and organic doughnuts (neither of which I really care about, just as long as they taste good ~ which they do). I liked the doughnut that I had this morning; however, I don't think the guy handed me the kind that I asked for, as it tasted nothing like Earl Grey or Orange Crème. I had already eaten half of it and wandered away before I discovered this, though. Maybe the next time I get back to the Historic Ferry Building (in another six months or so), I will get to try an actual Earl Grey Bergamot Orange Crème doughnut.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Baked Eggs & Cannellini Bean Ragu 'Casuela' ~ 6.5; LaVazza ~ 6.5; Earl Grey Bergamot Orange Crème(?) doughnut ~ 6.4

1. Botanically, this is actually a fruit.

2. And this is actually a fruit… and a berry.

3. Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-culinaristic pointer of the day, numero uno:

"Ragù" (con un acento grave) in Italian is related to the French word "ragoût", which comes from the verb "ragoûter" (meaning "to revive the taste").

4. Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-culinaristic pointer of the day, numero due:

"Casuela" is the Italian version of the Spanish "cazuela" (meaning "cooking pot").

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Dolores Park Café

Which used to be called "Mulva Outdoor Public Open Space Greenery Bistro", but it was too much of a mouthful for people to remember, Jerry. (It just didn't roll off the tongue well enough.)

Place: Dolores[1] Park Café 
Location: 501 Dolores Street (at 18th Street)
Hours: Open Monday-Saturday 7 AM; open Sunday at 8 AM
Meal: Veggie Scramble (tomato, mushroom, onion, spinach, Cheddar cheese; served with fruit or potatoes & organic 5-grain toast); and a large cuppa Sightglass Coffee, Finca[2] Alcatraz (Columbia)

(This EweToob video may or may not have anything to do with "Dolores", or "Park", or "Café". Who the hell can ever tell what Mr. Zimmerman is singing about, anyhow?)

I had breakfast this morning at Dolores Park Café. This is the original of three sister-coffeehouses in San Francisco; the other two being: Duboce Park Ca (see last 'blog-entry from August 24th, 2013) and Precita Park Café (the newest of the three, which I have never been to yet). Dolores Park Café has been in the Mission neighborhood now since 1997. I have had coffee and eaten there a few times for lunch and dinner, but this was my first breakfastary outing there. In addition to a pretty decent indoor seating area, there is a large sidewalk-patio seating area with about seven tables that could seat 2-3 people each. I mention that fact as there is really no need for any stupid parklets here; thank you! Plus, they happen to be located right across the street from Dolores Park.

(This is a replica of Mexico's Liberty Bell ~ Campana de la Libertad de México ~ from 1810.)

As with most local coffeehouses, you pay at the counter first, get a number, and then they bring your meal out to you. Dolores Park Café offers a few other good breakfast choices/ideas: Breakfast Burrito (which I already had at Duboce Park Café); Dolores Egg Sandwich (pancetta, egg, tomato, arugula, Cheddar cheese, & garlic aioli); Bagel Deluxe (cream cheese, cucumber, tomato, red onion, avocado ~ but not to be confused with Bagel De Lox); or even French Toast (with seasonal fruit & organic maple syrup).

The scramble was good enough; tasty, but nothing really special. I am sure I could make a dish of similar quality… if I ever had all of the ingredients that it has in it. Of course I went with the potatoes as my side choice over the stupid fruit; and these were a decent enough homefries variety. The toast was actually served as three half-slices. Why?! I don't know…
Third Base! I wonder if I had received a half-slice of someone else's meal or did some other fargin' bastage get a half-slice of mine?!

The coffee was from a very good local roastery, Sightglass Coffee. The specific blend/roast this morning happened to be Finca Alcatraz (a Columbian bean roast). Since when did coffee start getting described like a pretentious wine? This is a direct quote from their web-site: "This vibrant coffee shines with notes of cara cara orange and red grape and a sweet, cherry cola finish." What do I know? It just tasted like roasted coffee beans to me, which is really all I ask for, anyway.

As far as I could see (I knew I should have brought my bifocals with me), Dolores Park Café only has Tapatío® as a condimentary supplementation. I went with some of my own Serious Food… Silly Prices Mango Hot Sauce (Thanks, Cindy & Greg!) on the scramble and a little Palo Alto Firefighters Pepper Sauce ~ XX Habanero (Thanks agains, Amys & Brian!) on the potatoes.

As they offer many standard coffeeshop pastries, such as croissants and other heterogeneous[3] baked goodies, I got a Lemon-Poppyseed doughnut for a breakfast dessert. (Seriously, does anyone have any suggestions for a new portmanteau for "breakfastary desserts"?) Sorry, I didn't bother to take a photo of this. It was topped with a thick lemon-poppyseed glaze… and round… with a hole in the middle… you know, a doughnut.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Veggie Scramble ~ 6.0; Lemon-Poppyseed doughnut ~ 6.4; Sightglass Coffee, Finca Alcatraz ~ 6.9

1. "Dolores" was not the name of the first wife of Junípero Serra.

Dolores Park (and also Dolores Street) gets its name from the small town of Dolores, Mexico, which played a major part in the Mexican War of Independence in 1810.

(Besides, everyone knows that Father Serra's first wife's name was Gipple, anyway.)

2. Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day:

"Finca" simply means "estate" in Spanish. 

Now, perhaps, someone could tell me just what the heck "No Tango De Niro" means. Is Tango related to Robert and unwelcome in most places in the barrio? And just who the heck is this "Pablo Español" person they are always talking about in the Mission, too?

3. Despite the protestations of Papa Duck, this has nothing to do with going against certain laws of your Christian (or Jewish or Muslim) God.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Saul’s Restaurant & Delicatessen

A breakfastary roadtrip:
Berkeley, CA

Place: Saul's Restaurant & Delicatessen[1] 
Location: 1475 Shattuck Avenue (at Vine Street), Berkeley, CA
Hours: Open Every Day at 8:00am (Except Thanksgiving and Yom Kippur)
Meal: Shakshouka[2] (One egg baked in a rich spicy cumin tomato sauce, oregano and parsley. Served with potatoes, dipping bread and mixed green salad); and a cuppa Ruby's Roast

(Ha! This Leon Cohan boyo doesn't even know the correct words to the song. Leave it to an Irishman to ruin a perfectly good song.)

At the suggestion of an old Air Force buddy (Thanks, Karl!), I had breakfast this morning all the way over at Saul's Restaurant & Delicatessen. (Karl had recently seen a EweToob video by a Jewish Surf group[3] ~ I think it might have been one by Meshugga Beach Party ~ that was filmed at Saul's Deli.) It was no big deal as it only took me about half-an-hour to get there on this quiet Sunday morning, Mr. Placido Domingo. Saul's Deli is located right on one of the three main streets (well, that most San Franciscans know of, that is) in Berkeley: Shattuck Avenue; the other two main streets are: University Avenue and Telegraph Avenue. If it ain't located along one of these streets, most San Franciscans would accidentally end up lost in the hills of Berkeley/Oakland.

It has probably been at least fifteen years since I had last eaten at Saul's Deli (and then for lunch only, not breakfast). They have a huge space with plenty of burgundy vinyl-covered booths (for either two people or four people); plus, there are lots of tables down the middle for when all the cool booths are full. It seemed to fill up pretty early this morning with families and such.

There were several other tempting breakfast ideas, specifically: Challah French Toast; Mrs. Anderman’s Matzo Brei (Fried matzo and eggs with a touch of sweet onions. Served with sour cream and applesauce ~ I have absolutely no idea what that means, but it sounded very interesting, and this was going to be my back-up option this morning; it might just need a return Breakfastary Roadtrip to try it one of these days); and (only available Monday through Friday) Malawach Yemeni Pancake (Fresh tomato, labne yogurt cheese, zhoug, Tripolitan red sauce and a poached egg ~ this definitely would have been my choice if it weren't a Sunday, as this sounded the most interesting).

Additionally, their deli counter offers many fresh-baked desserts: New York Cheesecake; Black and White Cookies (just for you, Jerry); Chocolate or Poppy Babkas (sorry, Elaine, no Cinnamon Babkas, though); Baklava; Linzer Cookies; Macaroons (Plain and Chocolate Dipped); and Hamantashen[4]. I can't believe that I left without picking up something to nosh on later today while watching Football. D'oh!

This was a very good dish!

The sauce was mostly a tomato-based one, but it did also have lots of onions in it (which is a good thing in my book). This had lots of spice flavour to it, too…  Cumin Feel the Noize! This dish is somewhat similar to the Turkish breakfast dish Menemen, which I had at Troya (see 'blog-entry from February 25th, 2012), but just with a lot more chunky tomato sauce to it. Think of this as something like a breakfast stew. On the menu it says that you can "Sub latke for potatoes", which is exactly what I did, Mr. Kauffman ~ Hell, yeah! (or even "Hallelujah!") ~ because it was available and an option. This turned out to be a great decision as the latke was most excellent, too.

Not only was the meal very good this morning, the coffee served was just as good as the entire meal. This was another great local (as in Berkeley-local) artisan coffee find: Ruby's Roast. One of the owners of Ruby's Roast even works as a hostess at Saul's Deli; I spoke with her briefly as I was leaving (but I didn't catch if she was Debbie or Sherry… or Ruby even). However, this brand of coffee is only served on Saturdays and Sundays; otherwise, Saul's Deli serves Mr. Espresso®, which is also a local ~ out of Oaktown ~ roastery, just much larger and less artisanal. But you don't have to take my word for it; I only had three cuppas with breakfast.

I had come prepared with a few bottles of my own condimentary supplements, but wasn't sure if they would be needed. However, I was happy to find out that Saul's Deli offers their own homemade (well, deli-made) hot sauce, and I used some of it with the Shakshouka for a bit more picanteness. Their hot sauce was a bit hotter than standard red Tabasco®, and it also had a lot more spices to it. I used a little of it on one portion of the meal and really liked its flavour. I don't suppose that the Shakshouka really required any extra spicing up, as it had a decent enough flavour to it already, but it never hurts. I just used the provided sour cream and applesauce on the latke, though.

This entire meal was definitely worth the trip over the Bay Bridge this morning! Shades of the exceptional roadtrip-worthy breakfast at The Dipsea Café (see 'blog-entry from April 7th, 2012). The roundtrip mileage was just 36 miles (so, about eighteen miles both ways… give or take). Not only was the main meal extra tasty, but the real finds for me were both the latke and the new coffee choice.

♪"Matzo-Matzo-Man… I've got to be a Matzo-Man!"♪

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Shakshouka ~ 7.0; Latke ~ 7.4; Ruby's Roast ~ 7.1

1. Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day, number one:

"Delicatessen" is a German loanword in English; it is the plural form of "Delikatesse". The German word itself is also a loanword from French "délicatesse" (meaning "delicious things"). The root word is the Latin adjective "delicatus" (meaning "giving pleasure").

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

"Shakshouka" means "a mixture" in Arabic slang. It is likely that it was first known as "chakchouka", a Berber word meaning "vegetable ragout", although according to a cookbook about Jerusalem cuisine, the name is derived from the Hebrew verb "leshakshek", "to shake".

3. I know what you are thinking: "Oy vey! A Jewish Surf group?!"

Well, let's not forget that Dick Dale's Surf Rock hit song "Misirlou" was originally a Greek folk song influenced by Middle Eastern music.

Which brings up stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day, number three:

"Misirlou" ("Μισιρλού" in Greek) is the feminine form of "Misirlis" ("Μισιρλής"), which comes from the Turkish world "Misirli", meaning "Egyptian".

4. For those of you goyim that are not familiar with the pastries Hamantashen/Hamentaschen:

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Bean Bag Café

(No official web-site.)

Place: Bean Bag Café 
Location: 601 Divisadero Street (at Hayes Street)
(phonicular contact: 415-563-3634)
Hours: Saturday open at 7:30am; Sunday open at 8:00am; Monday - Friday open at 7:00am
Meal: Baja Scramble (soy chorizo, avocado, & black beans, with salsa & sour cream; served with homefried potatoes or side salad, and choice of toast); and a cuppa mighty fine McLaughlin Coffee, Max's Blend

(There really is no connection between beanbags, Mumford &[1] Sons, Simon & Garfunkel, Ryan Adams, or boxers even. They just happened to be playing some songs by Mumford & Sons and Ryan Adams ~ both are double okay with me ~ on the house stereo, and I figured I'd link a couple of EweToobular videos by them, both of which are covers, too.)

I decided to try a new place for breakfast (well, for me; they have been open for many years now and I am pretty sure I have stopped by in the past for a cuppa or two) and went to Bean Bag Café. (I am going avec accent aigu here as they have it that way on one sign in their window which shows their hours of operations; however, they do not have the word "CAFÉ" painted over the doorway with an "É", but without an official web-site upon which to confirm or deny this, I can't know for sure.) First off, there are no beanbag chairs in the place any more; I think they used to have some several years ago. They are not that large of a place and probably have seating for less than thirty inside. However, additionally, there are several (four or five) sidewalk tables that seat two each. (See? No need for any extra, stupid parklets  ~ or "extra-stupid parklets" ~ seating at this fine establishment.)

As with most coffeehouses, you order and pay at the counter, they give you a number to place on your table (I would figure that food would be much better on your table, though), and then they bring out your meal to you when it is ready. For just a neighborhood, corner coffeehouse, they do actually offer pretty decent breakfastary choices:

from the Omelets or Scrambles section of the chalkboard menu:
Vegetarian (spinach, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, & Cheddar); Greek (portobello mushrooms, pesto, & Feta cheese); or Soy (tofu, roasted peppers, mushrooms, & spinach);

from the Savory Crêpes selections there were several I liked the sounds/looks of: 
Barcelona (Fontina cheese with cottage cheese, spinach, mushrooms, & onions); Santorini (spinach, Kalamata olives, almonds, onions, Feta cheese, and a yogurt cucumber mint sauce ~ better known as Tzatziki, of course); Vienna (mushrooms, spinach, almonds, sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, roasted garlic, & Provolone cheese); Bangkok (tofu, mushrooms, bell peppers, spinach, & spicy peanut sauce); San Miguel (black beans with soy chorizo, Fontina cheese, & scrambled eggs ~ which was very similar to my choice this morning, just stuffed into a crêpe); Tuscany (artichoke hearts, portobello mushrooms, roasted garlic, & a sun-dried tomato cream sauce); and Jaguar (chipotle peppers, avocado, beans, tomato, green onions, and Sharp Cheddar with salsa and sour cream);

and they also have a weekend specials board called The Benedict Way, where, in addition to four versions of Eggs Benedicts, you can get a Benedict Wrap (basically an Eggs Benedict burrito, but still a pretty cool option).

The really nice thing here is that most of the egg dishes can be made as scrambles or omelettes. I went with a scramble this morning as I think these ingredients worked much better as a scramble than an omelette. I have had black beans inside an omelette before and they didn't seem to quite work as a filling. The only thing is that the black beans give the whole scramble mess a bit of an off-putting colour, but it didn't make it any less tasty. Their salsa was a decent enough pico de gallo and there was plenty of sliced avocado on top (which is always nice). 

I had to laugh when the counter-lady (the female person that took my order; she wasn't a Marxist revolutionary or anything that I could tell) asked if I wanted potatoes or a side salad. Yeah, right! The homefries were almost a "mashed" consistency, but this just made them extra crispy on the outside edges. And I had sourdough as my toast choice.

It is very nice that there are five different coffee blends/roasts from which to choose. They give you a tall glass mug to serve yourself from several thermos coffee-dispenser thingys. I debated on getting the Sumatra or Peru Organic, but I wasn't sure what their countries of origin were. I made the right choice after all, as according to McLaughlin's Coffee web-site:

"Max's Blend is our signature blend and has been our most popular blend since its inception back in the early 1980’s. This coffee is a blend of five different coffees giving it a complexity that is unmatched.

Flavor Profile 
Full-bodied with rich flavor and a smoky finish."

(Of particular note, on their web-site it should be noted that McLaughlin's Coffee even offers a Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee for "only" $38.00 per 12 oz bag, which works out to "just" $50.57 per pound, and, believe it or not, that is really a great deal. However, if you buy a five-pound bag of this you can really save big money and it only works out to $49.85 per pound.)

Bean Bag Café has for condimentary supplementation both Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red) and Tapatío®. As always, I had brought some of my own bottles and went with some Youk's Hot Sauce[2] (Thanks, Kevin and Brian!) on the scramble and some Born to Hula presents Devon Allman's All Natural Hot Sauce Chipotle Blues (Thanks, Kerry!) on the potatoes; I really like how chipotle flavour goes with potatoes.

After breakfast, for dessert (and I really need to make up some kinda term for desserts after breakfast), I walked across the street to Bi-Rite Creamery & Bakeshop and got a scoop of Pumpkin and a scoop of Brown Sugar with ginger caramel swirl. These two flavours paired together (because "pairing separately" is not an option) much better than last week's combination. And these were both freebies as I had filled up my "Buy 10 Ice Cream Products Get A Single Scoop For Free!" card with last weekend's purchase. Again, a "Single" is actually two flavour choices. Go figure.

While enjoying my "breakfast dessert", I walked the whole two blocks all the way over to Golden Gate Park (well, the Panhandle) to prove to the stupid parklets in the neighborhood that it can be done without too much strenuous exercise… I did feel it necessary to take a taxicab back the two blocks to where my car was parked, though.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Baja Scramble ~ 6.5; McLaughlin's Coffee, Max's Blend ~ 6.9; Bi-Rite Creamery Ice Creams ~ 7.0-8.0 (in general)

1. Stupid, useless (somewhat) cunning linguist pointer of the day:

Sure, most people know that this symbol is called an "ampersand", but how many really know why? 

I could go into a long and boring (and, let's face it, mostly plagiarized from Wikipedia, anyway) description here, so I figured it is just easier to use this hyperlink (After all, why do we pay our monthly dues to them?):

Of course, the next time you recite the alphabet, just try and end it with "and per se and" and see what kinda looks you get.

2. Maverick (see 'blog-entry from July 24th, 2011) is temporarily closed due to a fire last month. Hopefully Youk's Hot Sauce can still be found and purchased at other Bay Area restaurants.