Sunday, March 31, 2013

MyMy CoffeeCoffee ShopShop

Seasons Greetings from the Soviet Easter Beetle![1]

(No official web-site.)

1500 California Street (on the corner of Larkin Street)

phonicular contact: (415) 800-7466

(These two songs are from a new New Bedzh local band, the Moldy Suitcases. Go support and see them if youryour locality happens to be Southeastern Massachusetts. The first song is available as a EweToob video, but it wouldn't let me imbed it here as normal, and the best I could do on the second song, "Coffee", is to provide a hyperlink from theirtheir defacedbook page. Looks like you will have to do the ol' "cut-and-paste" routine to listen to these while reading this or just use the hyperlinks to listen to the music separately. You can also listen to all four songs from theirtheir defacedbook page if you like, but I mainly wanted to tie in coffee with this morning's 'blog-entry. Enjoy.)

For today's breakfastbreakfast, I doubled back to MyMy CoffeeCoffee ShopShop (see last 'blog-entry from July 15th, 2012). They are located right along the historic San Francisco Municipal Railway Cable Car California Line (that is almost as much of a mouthful as today's meal). If I already didn't have six restaurants in mymy Five-man Breakfastary Rotation (and I could also add Cafe Golo), I wouldn't hesitate to add this place; they are that good. This is such a cute little, friendly nebby[2] joint.

I had gotten there about ten minutes before they open (theirtheir defacedbook page states that they open at 7:30am every day; however, the sign in the window says 8:00am) and thought about grabbing a cuppa coffee at the coffeehouse around the corner on Larkin Street, but I decided on waiting as "CoffeeCoffee ShopShop" is part of theirtheir name, after all.

Note: Thankfully, there were no discernible stupid parklets in this neighborhood along California Street (at least none that I could see).

MyMy CoffeeCoffee ShopShop really offers some great selections on theirtheir breakfast (and this is specified as such, not "BrunchBrunch") menu. Theirtheir sections include: Sweet Griddle, House Savoriety (this is actually theirtheir cutesy made-upish word), Eggs and Relatives (I am not sure if that meant a savoriety of poultry dishes or not), Benediction, and Salads & Sandwiches. Next time I really have to try the Potato Rosemary Irish Pancake with Honey drizzle over to see what that is all about. I decided on the Grilled Garden Benediction ~ zucchini, onion, oyster mushroom, yellow squash, asparagus, Grana Padano[3] sprinkle, on Mascarpone[4] mashed sweet potato, chive hollandaise; served with hash brown (noted as two words and singular). I also had a cuppa house coffee (which I think was America's Best Coffee ~ theirtheir claim, not minemine ~ at least it was last year when I ate there).

It is really hard to explain how this was presented. It's youryour basic Eggs Benedict (Hmmm? Shouldn't they start calling these "Eggs Francis" as long as the new Popey-guy is in charge?) with two poached eggs on top, but instead of the same ol'-same ol', boring English muffins (SorrySorry, MrMr. ThomasThomas.) underneath, there is a mess o' mashed sweet potatoes (which I assume have been creamed with the addition of some Mascarpone) in place of the bread. Somehow this all worked great for me. Now it wasn't quite a "Knock Your Socks Off" novel idea, but I was tempted to take mymy shoes off in salute all the same (that is, until the stupid waitress person told me I couldn't do that). Asparagus is always a good ingredient with me, and I think there were three spears included today. Plus, as I have stated many times in the past here, any time that potatoes are a main focus in a meal (and this one included both mashed sweet potatoes and hashbrowns) that is a winner with me. Both the zucchini and yellow squash were thinly sliced lengthwise and grilled (they may have been grilled first then sliced thinly lengthwise, I didn't ask). The Chive Hollandaise sauce was good (not that I can tell the difference between a Chive Hollandaise sauce and a Green Onion Béarnaise sauce) and I tried not to ruin it too much with any added condimentary supplementation. Lastly, this was served with a slice/garnish of cantaloupe, also a favourite of minemine.

For condimentary supplements, MyMy CoffeeCoffee ShopShop has a pretty decent selection: Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red); Cholula®; Tapatío®; and Crystal® Hot Sauce. However, I used some of mymy own Serious Food… Silly Prices Chunky Habanero (Thanks, Cindy & Greg!) liberally on the hashbrowns and just a few drops of CaJohns Fiery Foods Oaxacan Hot Sauce (Thanks, Brian!) on one of the eggs. 

I would like to point out that at no time during this breakfast were any dead, decaying porky or lamby products eaten. I do think a few zucchinis and yellow squash had their egos bruised, though.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Grilled Garden Benediction ~ 7.1

1. Of course, this is just a joke. They didn't celebrate any organized religious holidays back during the old Russkij Sovetskij times. See, not all aspects of Soviet Communism were bad.

Which brings us to the stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer
дня, первая часть:

The Russkoe word "
истребитель", pronounced somewhat like "eestrabeetle", is the word for "Jet Fighter". Now those they did worship back during the old Russkij Sovetskij times.

Of course, an "Easter Beetle" makes about as much sense to me as an arbitrary Passover rodent that delivers coloured fowl eggs.

2. Yeah, I know that "nebby" actually means "nosy" in Pittsburghese, but yinz know that it originally comes from "neighborhood" or "neighborly", Durk.

3. Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-culinaristic pointer del giorno, numero due:

The name "Grana Padano" comes from the noun "grana" (meaning "grain", big surprise there), referring to the grainy texture of the cheese, and the adjective "Padano", which refers to the valley Pianura Padana. The reason this is called "Grana Padano" and not "Grana Padana" is because in this case the Italian word "grana" is the masculine noun, "il grana", describing this specific cheese, and not the feminine noun "la grana", which means "grain".

4. Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-culinaristic pointer del giorno, numero tre:

"Mascarpone" comes from Italian, from the Lombardy dialect "mascherpa" for "ricotta".

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Irving Street Cafe

"Once a woman has forgiven her man, she must not reheat his sins for breakfast."
~ Marlene Dietrich

(No official web-site.)

716 Irving Street (between 9th and 8th Avenues)

phonicular contact: (415) 664-1366

(Shhh! There is no connection between today's breakfast and this EweToob video; it's just a new song and I like it.)

I went back to Irving Street Cafe (see last 'blog-entry from October 15th, 2011) for breakfast this morning. It is a good thing that they are still located on Irving Street or they would have to change their name. It was early enough in the morning still that I was able to park a block away in Golden Gate Park, which is nice because it is free and legal for four hours at a time. I once again sat at the diner countertop instead of one of the tables.

Irving Street Cafe has a lot of things from which to choose on their standard breakfast menu (Egg Platters, Omelettes, Scrambled Egg Specials, and Griddle Combinations), but I went back there specifically to get (off their Breakfast Specials board/menu): Breakfast Burrito ~ made with one, two, or three eggs; a choice of either dead, decaying swine flesh sausage or an applewood-smoked dead, decaying chicken flesh sausage; choices of bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes; and a choice of cheese: Cheddar, 'merican, Swiss, or Monterey Jack. This is served with a side of hashbrowns. I also had a large glass of orange juice.

This comes as an extra large San Francisco-style burrito. The beauty of this is that they will really make this any way that you ask them to. I had this with two eggs scrambled (I skipped the sausage things), bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, with Monterey Jack, and instead of the hashbrowns on the side, I had them put the potatoes in with the entire mess. This was very good; they scrambled all of the ingredients together (including the hashbrowns) on the grill and then stuffed it all inside a large flour tortilla (just in case anyone has no idea what a burrito is). However, I am sure that even I could have made this dish at home… if I had a regulation-size grill… or if I ever had any eggs… or bell peppers… or onions… or tomatoes… or hashbrowns… or Monterey Jack cheese… or tortillas, even.

Irving Street Cafe offers for condimentary supplementation both Castillo®
Salsa Habeanra Roja and Huy Fong Foods, Inc.® Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce ("Rooster Sauce"). I used some of the Castillo® on part of the burrito as well as some of my own hot sauces: Palo Alto Firefighters Pepper Sauce ~ the standard version (Thanks agains, Amys and Brian!); Youk's Hot Sauce (Thanks, me!); and Big Papi En Fuego Hot Sauce Off The Wall Triple Hot (Thanks, Kerry!) on other parts of the burrito. The main reason I made sure to use the last two hot sauces is that Baseball Season starts tomorrow with one nationally televised game and on Monday, April Fools Day (no joke), for all of the other teams!

I was happy to see that in keeping with the whole Basball-y theme, a stick of Wrigley's gum comes with the check.

After breakfast I walked around on Irving Street a bit and stopped in to Beanery Coffee Roasters (the one on Irving, not the one on 9th Street) and got a small cuppa Roaster's Blend (dark roast) along with a Semifreddi's Pecan Roll.

(There is no official web-site for Beanery.)

I was surprised to see that I didn't come across any stupid parklets along my way to or from breakfast, I mean it is such a looooong way to have to walk to enjoy some outdoor, fresh-air parks.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Breakfast Burrito ~ 6.4; Beanery Roaster's Blend ~ 6.5; Semifreddi's Pecan Roll ~ 6.3

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Pucking Farklets

Because in a city that is already 30% covered with parks and beaches, it seems necessary to have faux, posh mini-parks take up available parking spaces. GMAFB!


I don't know what mini-mind ever came up with this big idea. I have ranted here in the past about the newest urban disease that has cropped up in San Francisco: the dreaded "Parklets" (see last 'blog-entry from March 10th, 2013). Not only do they take up 2-3 parking spaces each along city streets, but due to their obscure constructions, it makes it virtually impossible to try to parallel park in the spaces directly surrounding them. Yes, parklets are a good idea "in theory", but so wasn't the National Socialism movement in Germany in the 1930's (I just think they liked pogroms[1] more than tiny, little, useless parks where idiots can sit and idly enjoy their coffee). Did I just compare these stupid traffic nuisances to Nazi Germany? Yes, and for that, I truly apologize, Adolph.

I happened across several more parklets in the past few weeks:
one on Haight Street (between Ashbury and Clayton Streets, in front of/hosted by Martin Macks Gastro Pub); two on 24th Street (one between Sanchez and Vicksburg Streets, in front of/hosted by Martha & Brothers Coffee; and one between Noe and Sanchez Streets, in front of/hosted by Just For Fun & Scribbledoodles); and another two on/off Divisadero (one on the corner of Fulton Street at Divisadero, in front of/hosted by Cafe Abir; and the other on Divisadero between Grove and Hayes Streets in front of/hosted by Mojo Bicycle Cafe). Now the two on 24th Street I can somewhat forgive, but all of the other three are just a few blocks from Golden Gate Park or the Panhandle. If you are too lazy to walk the few extra blocks while enjoying your Double Vente Decaf Mint Latte with a twist, you really shouldn't be wasting precious breathing space in front of these places either.

Don't even think about parking anywhere downtown along Powell Street[2] or in North Beach along Columbus Avenue. There are so many new parklets in those areas that it has basically become an entire "No Parking" zone. Hmmm?! Maybe they should just close Union Square and Washington Square Park altogether as they seem to be completely superfluous now with all of these new parklets, or, better yet, pave them both over entirely for free public parking lots.

Here are the original goals of the Pavement to Parks program:

(1) Reimagine the potential of city streets.

(2) Encourage non-motorized transportation.

(3) Encourage pedestrian activity.

(4) Support local businesses.

Okay, I will address these one-by-each:

(1) Ummm… correct me if I'm wrong, Sandy, but if we kill all the streets where are the people going to park? City streets were developed for cars. You want to "reimagine the potential"? Imagine potentially no cars at all; imagine potentially no people at all; oh, and that would mean potentially imagining no businesses at all, too. Yeah, sounds about right to me. The best way to improve inner city blight is to have absolutely no one in them at all. Because people are the worst transgressors when it comes to everything, well, in my imagination potentially.

(2) San Francisco is already one of the most bicycle friendly cities in the United States. I really don't see how taking away more parking spaces is going to change that in any way. You can't enjoy sipping on your stupid Mochaccinos while riding your bikes, anyway.

(3) Can someone perhaps explain to me what the definition of "sidewalk" is? If I am already a pedestrian, what makes you think I want to patronize your stupid businesses just because you have some insect-infested plants and crummy benches in front of it? Isn't that what all the City and National parks are there for?

(4) They want to generate more business for local places? Fine, but I refuse to give any of these idiots any of my money. I will support local businesses… just other local businesses, not these.

However, it's gotten to be such a joke now. There are currently 30-50 of these atrocities already completed throughout the city with more expected to be installed by the end of the year; plus, there are more applications still in the works. Stupid yuppie establishments "sponsor" these in front of their places of business to drum up business for themselves, not for the neighborhoods. From now on, I am going to boycott any place that sponsors these parklets (well, except in the cases of places that I really like ~ Outerlands, Caffè Grecco, etc.), and I am thinking of doing a little "urbanette" protesting of my own by sitting on their stupid parklet benches while enjoying coffee or food from rival joints and leaving the litter for them to clean up. (See, they don't "own" the spots, they just have to "maintain" them for "public use".)

Now don't think that I am some Monsanto Company corporate shill. I am all for the beautification of this fine city. But if you really want to clean it up, start with some nice parklets in Hunters Point, the Tenderloin, or along the grittier areas of 3rd Street.

Sorry, Joni, but sometimes a pink hotel with a boutique and a swinging hot spot in place of another stupid parklet might just be a better idea.

Rant over… for now.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Stupid parklets ~ 4.5

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

"Pogrom (погром)" comes from Russian. It is the noun derivative of the verb "погромить" meaning "to devastate/to destroy". This comes from the word root "гром", meaning "thunder".

2. Ironically, the parklets along Powell Street were funded by a corporate "donation" by Audi. Uh-huh.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

New Village Cafe

Does it takes a (new) village to make a Garden Omelette?

(No official web-site.)

1426 Polk Street (between California and Pine Streets)

phonicular contact: (415) 771-9598

(Now neither Jackie Wilson nor Van Morrison said to link these EweToob videos, but I couldn't figure out any good correlating "Village" songs ~ and "YMCA" and "In the Navy" were definitely out. The Van Morrison video is actually kind of cute if you watch it, too.)

I had breakfast at New Village Cafe this morning. This is a friendly little Asian family-owned "Mom and Pop" diner place located on that part of Polk Street in Nob Hill that is just becoming nicer (read: safer and less scary) after the Tenderloin, and just around the corner from the California Cable Car Line terminus. "Mom" takes your order and serves you while "Pop" does all the necessary cooking-stuff. They have eight (maroon Naugahyde[1]) booths that seat four and a few more tables for 2-4 people; plus, ten round stools at the diner-counter. The walls are covered with photos of customers from over the years (and by "covered" I don’t mean "adorned with a few photos here and there", I mean that the walls are absolutely plastered with thousands of photos and there is no spacing between them), they even have each persons name on the photos. However, I am not so sure where the "New" part of their name comes into play, unless that is an age comparison to the slightly older villages of Babylon and Beijing.

New Village Cafe is only open for breakfast and lunch; they open at 7:00am every day (except on Tuesdays when they don't). They offer a pretty decent selection of breakfastary fare: Scrambles, Three Egg Omelettes, Pancakes, French Toast, Waffles, and a few other items on their Specials board. I ordered Village Garden Omelette ~ sautéed spinach, onions, mushrooms, tomato, & Jack cheese and topped with salsa; served with homefries and choice of toast. I also had a cuppa the house (or village) coffee.

This omelette was actually very similar to yesterday morning's Breakfast Wrap with many of the same ingredients. I went with sourdough for my choice of toast. The omelette was made with fresh sautéed spinach and grilled onions, both really make a lot of difference in flavour (as opposed to using frozen spinach and just plain ol' raw onions, that is). The homefries were very good and had a very tasty and interesting spice mix on them, which reminded me a bit of an Asian flavour to them and I thought I might have even caught a bit of cinnamon in there. Well, I asked "Mom" what the spices were and she told me that it was a special blend of their own and that it is not "Asian" but an "American" blend with black and white pepper, cayenne, some other spices, and, yes, even a little cinnamon in it, too. I knew it! (I didn't have the heart to tell "Mom" that is basically an "Asian" spice blend now-a-days.) The coffee was just your plain ol' diner-ish coffee (it probably could have used some of their special 'merican Spice Blend to flavour it up some).

New Village Cafe has as condimentary supplements just Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red) and Huy Fong Foods, Inc.® Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce ("Rooster Sauce" as it is known to many). I came prepared with some of my own collection ("Mom" even made sure to compliment me on them) and used a good amount of Cherry Republic® KaBOB's Kick'en Hot Sauce (Thanks again, Cindy & Greg!) on the homefries, and just four (4!) drops of Blair's After Death Sauce with Liquid Fire (Thanks a lot, Sean!) mixed in with the salsa that was on top of the omelette (this ended up tempering the stupid Devil sauce a bit and was actually pretty palatable for a change).

This is one of those little local places where the service was so friendly and the food was good enough (even though it may not have been "The Finest Meal You Ever Want To Eat", Mr. Wilson) that you have to recommend it highly to anyone that would be in the area looking for a bite to eat.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Village Garden Omelette ~ 6.0

1. Herr Gates and his Spell-Check Nazis do not seem to recognize this 'merican trademark word. Really, Billy-boy?! Perhaps if it were in Nazi gesprochen or G33k-133t they would understand it better.

Not really a stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer, but just more of a stupid, useless 'mericanism pointer of the day:

The word "Naugahyde" is an American brand of artificial leather. The name comes from the Borough of Naugatuck*, Connecticut, where it was first produced.

*(But here is a stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day:

The name of the Borough of Naugatuck comes from the Algonquian word "Naukotunk". It is said to have meant "one large tree", and designated the preferred, shaded fishing spot used by the area's first inhabitants.)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Blue Front Cafe

"You had your breakfast in bed before,
But you won't have it there anymore."
~ Irving Berlin,
"This Is the Army, Mr. Jones"

(I was going to link a few Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes songs here, but they were all kind of downers; even most of Clarence Carter's songs are more upbeat. Consider the second EweToob video link just a musical protanopia.)

After two weekends in a row where I broke my 2013 Breakfastary Resolution Restrictions, I went to a place that opens plenty early enough (at 7:30am every day of the week) for breakfast this morning. I ate at Blue Front Cafe in the Haight. For some reason, the actual front of the building is not blue (nor even pink, Amanda). This is a very laptop friendly place with several electrical outlets along one wall into which one can plug their computeristic devices; and they also offer free Wi-Fi (well, it is only free if you have a laptop or smart phone, otherwise you can't use it). This restaurant has been open since 1961 at this location (on Haight Street, between Masonic and Ashbury), but it has been family-owned by three Arab brothers (Greek Orthodox from the Old City of Jerusalem) since 1992.

Hence the reason why the menu is full of good Middle Eastern fare: falafels, gyros[1], lamb or chicken shawerma, lamb or beef kebabs, hummus, babaganoush, tabouli, etc. (Note: "et cetera" is not a Middle Eastern dish itself, but I think it is of Mediterranean origin from old Latinia). They offer lots of nice things for breakfast, too: many of the basic breakfast stuff (eggs & bacon), Belgian waffles, Banana French toast, omelettes, scrambles, one frittata, and Breakfast Wraps (6 different ones). You order and pay first at the counter (like a lot of coffeehouses and crêpes joints in the city; I think they do this to keep people like me from skipping out on the bill); then they call out your number (mine was #7 this morning… Ugh! That was damn Mickey Mantle's number! I suppose I could look at it that it was Phil Esposito's number, too) when it is ready to be picked up. I had the Fit Wrap ~ Egg whites with melted Cheddar cheese, spinach, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and mushrooms; all Breakfast Wraps are served with a choice of house potatoes and homemade hot sauce or fresh fruit salad. I also had a large glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice.

I had my Fit Wrap made with regular (whole) scrambled eggs instead of just egg whites. I figure that if I am going to be killing little baby chicks to get at their egg whites, I might as well eat all of them. These wraps are made with lavash[2] bread; consider these Middle Eastern burritos. The wrap was very good and made with lots of fresh sautéed spinach. I think this might have been a little more Middle Easterny if it had Feta cheese instead of the Cheddar cheese, though. As usual, I opted for the potatoes as my side choice, which were just homefries. I am glad I did so, as these were excellent homefries; very crispy and burnt in places, just like I likes 'em.

Blue Front Cafe offers for condimentary supplementation both Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red) and Tapatío®. I used some of my own Serious Food… Silly Prices Mango Hot Sauce (Thanks, Cindy & Greg!) on the potatoes, but their homemade hot sauce was really very good and I used that liberally on both the wrap and also with the potatoes. I think that the hot sauce was yoghurt-based and possible mixed with a harissa sauce; it had a very good flavour and a nice bit of heat to it (however, it was a little on the salty side for my tastes).

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Fit Wrap ~ 6.7

1. Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-culinaristic pointer
της ημέρας, το νούμερο έναtis:

"Gyros" ("
γύρος" in Greek) means "turn", denoting the spit on which the meat is turned. Other English words with the same word root would be "gyrate" and "gyroscope".

It should be pointed out that this word in Greek is pronounced more closely as "YEEros", not "DJEEros" or "GIRos". When my Greek landlady was trying to teach me how to pronounce the Greek letter "
Γάμμα" correctly, she said it is pronounced similar to the "W" in "water". I don't get that, but it is more closely a "Y" sound than a hard or soft "G". I explain it to people more as a swallowed "G".

2. Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-culinaristic pointer
այն օրը, քան երկու:

According to the Armenian-Soviet Encyclopedia,  the word "Lavash" is an Armenian word consisting of two parts. The first part "lav" in Armenian means "good"; the second part "ash" means "food, meal".

However, there is no truth to the matter that it means "Jillian Michaels' six-pack".

Sunday, March 17, 2013

John’s Ocean Beach Cafe

Tabhair póg dom, táim Éireannach!

(No official web-site.)

2898 Sloat Boulevard (at 47th Ave)

phonicular contact: (415) 665-8292

(If today wasn't Saint Patrick's Day, I probably would have linked some EweToob videos from Doctor John or John Lennon or such. I wonder when Saint John's Day is.)

I had breakfast this morning at John's Ocean Beach Cafe, located right across the street from the San Francisco Zoo and just one block from the beach (which, coincidentally enough, happens to be Ocean Beach). This is an old, family-style diner place; it looks like it really hasn't changed much since they first opened for business probably fifty years ago now. They open at 7:30am every day except Mondays (I learned that the hard way a few years ago when I had planned on having breakfast there first before going to the Zoo ~ see 'blog-entry from June 14th, 2010). I have had lunch and breakfast there a few times in the past.

I noticed that my server/waitress-lady-person had a slight accent and I asked her where she was from. She told me that she was from Hamburg, Germany. I thought that I noticed a deutsch akzent. I then regaled her with one of the only remaining German phrases that I can remember: "Ich hatte in Berlin zwei Jahre gewohnt." (Which beats telling her that "I think your duck has rabies.", I suppose.)

John's Ocean Beach Cafe has a pretty extensive breakfast menu (and this place would never be mistaken for serving "Brunch", believe me); if they had an official web-site or if I could have found a link to their menu, I would have been able to explain it better. They have many (over twenty) different scrambles and omelettes, as well as about six different types of Eggs Benedict dishes. I settled on the Sausage w/ Gorgonzola[1] cheese, Asparagus, and Tomatoes Omelette (Wurst mit Gorgonzola Käse, Spargel, und Tomaten Omelett); served with John's Potatoes (which are just homefries) and a choice of toast (I went with sourdough again today).

Of course, I ordered this ohne die toten, verfallenden Schweinefleisch. I wasn't sure how Gorgonzola and asparagus would pair together, but it actually worked for me. Gorgonzola is one of my favourite of the stinky, moldy cheeses and asparagus is one of my favourite fruits. There was plenty of both in the omelette, and I was glad to see that the asparagus was fresh, not frozen (I am not sure if the Gorgonzola was frozen or not, though). John's Potatoes were really very good; they were extra chunky and crispy on all sides.

John's Ocean Beach Cafe has as condimentary supplements both Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red) and Tapatío®. I had come prepared and used some of my own El Yucateco® XXXtra Hot Sauce Salsa Kutbil-ik® de Chile Habanero (Thanks, Brian!) on the homefries and some Cajohns Fiery Foods Oaxacan Hot Sauce (Thanks again, Brian!) on the omelette.

All in all, this was a pretty decent dining experience; however, it was marred slightly by meine freundliche deutsche Kellnerin. I think that she may have taken offense to the meager tip that I left on the table. As I was leaving, I can't be sure, but I think she may have called me a "Jew"[2] under her breath…

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Gorgonzola, Asparagus, & Tomato Omelette ~ 6.1

1. This is not really a stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day, but just a stupid, useless geographical/pseudo-culinaristic pointer of the day:

"Gorgonzola" is named after the village in Italy (near Milano) where it originated. I was hoping that it actually had something to do with "Gorgons" and "zolas", though.

2. Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer des Tages, Part A:

Okay, just so that any fervent reader doesn't sick B'nai B'rith or the Mossad on this poor, unsuspecting woman. That was only a joke. The slang way to say "Goodbye!" auf deutsch is "Tschüs!" and it sounds a bit like "Jews" to the untrained ear.

Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer des Tages, Part B:

The German word for "Jews" is actually "Juden" and is pronounced as "Yooden".

And for the record, I always tip at least 5%...

Saturday, March 16, 2013

STRAW Carnival Fare

"That's a clown meal, bro'…"

(The first EweToob video link actually goes right along with the theme of today's restaurant. However, contrary to popular belief, the second song has nothing to do with the recent election of Pope the Talking Mule earlier in the week, I just liked the additional duet of Daryl Hall and K.T. Tunstall.

Besides, K.T. can spiel my Glocken any day.

Does anyone else see a small resemblance between Daryl Hall and Norman "Daryl" Reedus?)

Sorry, Bryce, but I went back to STRAW Carnival Fare (see last 'blog-entry from July 14th, 2012) for breakfast this morning. Even though they actually open at 10:00am and their first meal of the weekend is called "Brunch", once again I forewent my 2013 breakfastary resolution restrictions (my 'damn 'blog, my 'damn 'rules, 'after 'all). STRAW filled up almost as soon as they opened this morning (which is to be expected with inside seating for a maximum of 28 and two sidewalk tables that can seat 2-3 people each). Plus, they are close enough to Market Street/Civic Center for people to head over to San Francisco's Saint Patrick's Day Parade and Festival later this morning/afternoon. Which answered one of my questions: What's up with all the green clothes today? (Hey, how come there is no Saint Francis Day celebration? This is San Francisco, right?)

The Wild Parrots of San Francisco Interlude
I had parked my car over on Haight Street (two blocks away and legally all day if I wanted) and heard a few of the feathered beasts flying overhead, but didn't see any of them when I looked up. I am not sure where (or if) they roost in Hayes Valley.

Speaking of the newly-elected Pope, this is one of my favourite times of the year with all the award shows and such (the Oscars were two weeks ago, the Golden Globes were held in January, and the Emmys are later in June). Of course, the most highly-anticipated award show of the year is always the Papal Choice Awards. However, it is always a foregone conclusion that Mel Gibson will sweep them. For some reason, both Steven Spielberg and Jody Foster never even get nominated for these.

STRAW has a few stupid vegetarian "Brunch" choices and I have tried most of them already. It was going to be a choice between either rancher's reserve (their version of Huevos Rancheros) and what I ended up ordering, hanky panky ~ Belgian waffle/(two) fried egg(s)/maple-glazed bacon/cheddar potato croquettes[1]. I also had a cuppa San Francisco Coffee Company.

This was very a very good breakfast. My server was nice enough to offer and substitute some avocado (and it was a full half) in place of the dead, decaying pork belly. However, I just have one little thing to point out, there was only one egg on top of the waffle; the printed menu said "eggs" and the on-line menu states "two eggs". I am sure that was just an oversight. Surprisingly enough, the avocado went well on top of the waffle (and with some added maple syrup even), but that is just me; it was the whole sweet-savoury thing with some added hot sauce, too. The croquettes were very good (and I was pleased to see that there were two of them); I think these may have been even better with some fresh corn kernels added inside.

I like that they serve the water in Kerr "Self Sealing" mason jars. Plus, the coffee is served in miscellaneous, non-matching mugs. Today mine read: "BFF"; how did they know that I was a huge fan of the Bangladesh Football Federation? I told the owner(?)/manager(?) guy that I would try to remember to bring a new coffee mug with me from some exotic location the next time I go on vacation (Is Cape Cod considered "exotic" to Californians?) à la Eddie's Cafe (see last 'blog-entry from January 7th, 2012; I really haven't been back to Eddie's since then as I am afraid that the Statute of Scoville Heat Unit Limitations hasn't expired yet. Yeah, I am talking to you Cindy and Greg.).

STRAW no longer carries Bicycle Coffee Company which is a bit of a shame as they are a good, local brand. When I asked the owner(?)/manager(?) guy, he explained that they stopped carrying this brand as it was becoming too pricey (about $20.00/pound) to be profitable without charging customers $4.50 a cup. This is really no matter as the current brand of coffee was still a good, strong cuppa; I just think that Bicycle Coffee Company is better. Of course, this didn't stop me from having two more refills, though.

STRAW only offers for condimentary supplementation Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (and just the standard red). So I used some of my own Youk's Hot Sauce (Thanks, Brian!) on top of the egg (singular) and a little Big Papi En Fuego Hot Sauce Off The Wall Triple Hot (Thanks, Kerry!) on the croquettes (plural). Some people get the misimpression (now I actually thought that was going to be a bogus word, but Billy Gee and his auto-spellchecker Nazis at Microsoft seem to be fine with it) that I don't like Tabasco® products, but that really isn't the case. Tabasco® makes a decent enough product, which supplies a nice kick of heat and flavour. I just think that most of my own hot sauces are much more flavourful and have a bit more heat (e.g. Palo Alto Firefighters Pepper Sauce). My main complaint with Tabasco® would be that it is a bit too salty for my tastes (salt is one of the main three ingredients in it, after all).

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: hanky panky ~ 6.5; San Francisco Coffee Company ~ 6.5

1. Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-culinaristic pointer du jour:

"Croquette" isn't French for "frog". It comes from the French verb "croquer", meaning "to crunch".

Sunday, March 10, 2013


"You yelled 'Hey!' when the stove blew up.."?

Sounds like a good time to head out to Ocean Beach for "Brunch".

(The first EweToob video should be self-exploratory with the coffee shop I went to this morning. The second one is just because I like them, so deal with it.)

So, I lost an hour of sleep somewhere, but I gained an hour of sunshine, right?

Today was a perfect day (another gorgeous pre-Spring, sunny morning) to meet some friends (Lori and Juan) at Outerlands (see last 'blog-entry from April 15th, 2012) for breakfast. Well, technically, Outerlands calls their morning meal "Brunch" (and they don't open up until 10:00am, but as I stated when I started my 2013 breakfastary restrictions, if the place is pretty damn good, I will overlook that). I actually arrived there at 9:00am and put our names on the list ahead of time and waited for Lori and Juan to show up later. I also happened to notice that they are expanding sometime in 2013 to the space next door (which used to house a Chinese restaurant); this should help with the waiting time and allow for more people to get in. 

As I had about a half-hour to kill before Lori and Juan showed up, I went down the block and grabbed a cuppa at Trouble Coffee Co. I have no idea if they roast their own coffee or not (you try finding any detailed information on their web-site), but it is a popular enough little place and many people were doing the same thing as I was and getting something to drink while waiting for Outerlands to open.

Parklets Rant (continued)
Now I am as green-minded as the next person (well, if the next person happens to be named Monsanto Company), but I really think that all of these stupid Parklets are getting completely out of hand. There were two more stupid Parklets in this neighborhood and within a block of each other: one right on Judah in front of Trouble Coffee Co. and the other on 45th Avenue alongside Outerlands. Yeah, because it is such a looooong walk (two blocks) all the way to Golden Gate Park, or even Ocean Beach (three blocks), if people need to enjoy the fresh outdoors! At least the one on Judah only takes up two parking spaces and is pretty cool incorporating an old tree trunk to use as seating, but the one on 45th takes up three entire parking spaces!

Lori and Juan have both eaten at Outerlands a few times and knew exactly what they wanted to order ahead of time. Outerlands only offers a few items on their "Brunch" menu (and it changes frequently with whatever is seasonally available[1]), but I was glad to see that there were several items that I could choose this morning. Lori also told me that Outerlands makes all of their own fresh baked breads and pastry products (and they are all made by the surfer-dude owner). I was debating on either the quiche (caramelized onions, spigariello, goat's cheese & gruyere) or the slow cooked farm eggs and cracked farro grits (grilled broccolini, parmesan), but ended up ordering the fried egg open faced sandwich ~ grilled chicories & portobella - roasted shallot spread, provolone; with a side of greens. Lori had the eggs in jail ~ with bacon and mixed greens salad. And Juan ordered the dutch pancake baked in a cast iron pan ~ sweet - topped with spiced caramel apples (this is what I had the last time I ate there and it would have been my fall-back if necessary).

I had no idea what grilled chicories would taste like. I have only ever had roasted chicory root in N'Orleans-style coffee and wasn't sure what to expect. They were pretty good and reminded me of bitter, spicy greens or such. The entire sandwich mess was very tasty with lots of sliced Portobella (or Portobello, or Portabello) mushrooms. There was plenty of melted Provolone throughout, too. The side of mixed greens went mostly untouched, though. I was glad I had ordered this, as I saw someone at the next table had ordered the quiche and it was just a rather small slice of pie.

Lori's breakfast was your typical "egg-in-a-hole", where the bread has a large hole cut out of the center and the egg is cooked in the middle of it on a griddle; it came with two large slices of bacon crisscrossed on top. Juan likes his breakfast to be on the sweet side and the dutch pancake is perfect for that. I tried talking him into getting it as "sweet and savoury" with both the apples on top and bacon in the batter, but he wasn't having any of that (this is not something that they offer on the menu, but they do offer it as either sweet or savoury and I am sure it could be done).

Once again I didn't bother to ask what Outerlands has as condimentary supplements, but I had brought a few of my own hot sauces and used some Palo Alto Firefighters Pepper Sauce XX Habanero (Thanks agains, Amys and Brian!) on top of the eggs/sandwich thingy.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: fried egg open faced sandwich ~ 6.5; Trouble Coffee Co. ~ 6.5

1. As stated on their web-site:

"Outerlands is dedicated to supporting our environment by utilizing sustainable local resources at every opportunity. Our commitment to sustainability is reflected in our relationships with local organic farms, ranches, and specialty foods purveyors."

Translation: We buy local seasonal junk.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Howard’s Cafe

"Alas! my child, where is the pen
That can do justice to the Hen?
Like Royalty, she goes her way,
Laying foundations every day,
Though not for Public Buildings, yet
For Custard, Cake, and Omelette."

~ Oliver Herford, "The Hen"

(No official web-site)

1309 9th Avenue (between Irving and Judah Streets)

phonicular contact: (415) 564-4723

(What good is a Keely Smith song without another from King Louie? There really is no correlation between these songs and today's breakfast; it just happens to be a great, sunny, almost-Spring day in San Francisco.)

I had breakfast this morning at Howard's Cafe. This is a hustling, bustling little nebby joint (if your neighborhood happens to be the Inner Sunset, just a block and a half from Golden Gate Park). They open at 8:00am on the weekends, 7:00am the other days of the week (especially Monday through Friday). I sat at their u-shaped diner counter (which has seating for ten) in the back. There are about eight to ten other tables that seat two to six people, and the place was completely full and jumpin' the whole time I was there. For a change I remembered to ask my server if there was an actual "Howard" that was associated with the place, and she informed me that Howard was the previous owner that had passed away years ago, but the current owner (who was the cook when Howard owned it and is still the cook today) maintained the old name. I didn't ask if his last name happened to be "Fine", though.

Howard's Cafe has lots of the standard breakfastary choices on their menu; and these are definitely "breakfast", not "Brunch" choices as there are no pretenses served here (not even as a snooty side dish at a nominal fee). As it sounded the most interesting, I settled on the Pizza Omelette ~ salami (which I skipped, Mr. Way), Swiss cheese, mushroom (sorry, I didn't pass on these, Skip), onion, and spaghetti[1] sauce; with potatoes and choice of toast (I chose English muffins again this morning). I also had a cuppa their house coffee.

I was kind of picturing the omelette to have the Pizza sauce on top of it, but it was actually inside with all of the other ingredients. This was a fine enough omelette, but I thought the Swiss cheese was a rather odd choice of cheeses. I think this would have been much better with either Mozzarella or Parmesan, or a combination of both; when I think of "Pizza" (and I do think of Pizza pretty much all the time), Swiss cheese is not usually an ingredient I would choose. And for you dead, decaying porky product eaters, which do you think is a more classic Pizza topping: pepperoni or salami? Additionally, I think that using green bell peppers instead of the mushrooms may have been a little more universally accepted. My favourite part of the meal ended up being the potatoes; they were expertly prepared and thinly sliced ~ for maximum crispiocity ~ and were like a cross between hashbrowns and homefries. The coffee was nothing special, but, then again, I really wasn't expecting it to be; it was just your typical diner coffee: black, hot, and bottomless (and that is not another "wardrobe malfunction" of Miss Jackson).

Howard's Cafe has for condimentary supplementation Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (both the standard red and the green Jalapeño) and Tapatío®. As usual, I came prepared with a few of my own and used the last of my HP Guinness® (Thanks one last time for this one, Cindy & Greg! It is really not necessary to send me another bottle of this fine product: 1. I have plenty of other bottles still to use, and 2. I have seen it being sold it at a local Irish bakery/import shop if I ever need to replenish it myself.) on the potatoes and a little Cholula® (Thanks, Brian!) on top of the omelette.

After breakfast, I went for a little stroll (well, two hours or so) through San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum to walk off the breakfast. This is a great place in the middle of Golden Gate Park of which more people really should take advantage (and it is free to any San Francisco resident). (Okay, Cindy, I see what you mean. That does sound a bit awkward like that, but "… that more people should take advantage of..." just bugs me. You can start your own damn 'blog-thingy if there are people that you want to force your own incorrect grammar ideas upon.) Along the way, I saw an adolescent Peregrine falcon (or it could have been a Millennium Falcon for all I know; my Audubon-y skills are atrocious) having his breakfast (or it may have been "Brunch") underneath a tree; I had an olfactory overload at the Garden of Fragrance; and I sat and listened to a solo Chinese violinist playing in the Exhibition Garden (What is the sound of "Serenity", Captain Reynolds?).

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Pizza Omelette ~ 5.8; San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum ~ 8.2

1. Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-culinaristic pointer del giorno:

"Spaghetti" is the plural form of the Italian word "spaghetto", which is a diminutive of "spago", meaning "thin string" or "twine".

Hmmm? Seeing as Wolfgang Puck is Austrian, shouldn't he have named his first restaurant "Schnur" instead?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Taylor Street Coffee Shop

Pay It Forward Weekend… or bugger off! ~ Part III (cont.)

(No official web-site)

375 Taylor Street (between Ellis and O'Farrell Streets)

phonicular contact: (415) 567-4031

(There really is no connection with today's EweToob selections and the restaurant; maybe someone can think up a Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon ~ or even Six Points of the Glen Bacon Scale ~ but none was intended. I just like Sarah Borges and will continue spamming with her here until I stop. And Neko Case is just simply sublimely Neko Case.)

This morning was also keeping with my self-imposed 2013 breakfastary restrictions, and I ate at Taylor Street Coffee Shop (coincidentally enough, they are located right on Coffee Shop Lane). They open early enough for my liking, at 7:00am each day of the week, especially on Saturdays and Sundays. This is a very tiny little place; it really is no more than ten feet wide with four tables that seat four and six tables that seat two; so, if my math is any good, that is just under thirty people give or take a few. They have one wall covered with old Hollywoodland photos and movie posters, especially several of Marilyn Monroe.

Coffee Shop Taylor Street is located right across the street from the Hilton (so it is mostly a tourista destination) and around the corner from Glide Memorial (so this is just borderline in the Tenderloin). Luckily, parking on a Sunday is pretty easy and I parked just a block away ~ legally and somewhat in a relatively safe enough spot.

Pay It Forward Interlude

I stopped at the Peet's on Geary on my way home and handed $5.00 to the barista (baristette?) and explained that she should use it for either the next two cups of standard coffee or for the next single cup of frou-frou Mocha or Latte ordered, but to make sure the cheap ingrates still tip her on the total amount. It may be a freebie and a Pay It Forward gesture, but that doesn't mean we have to stiff our friendly servers, people. (I am happy to say that I actually made it to my expected destination this morning and was not mugged along the way by any street thugs in Girl Scouts uniforms.)

Tailor Shop Coffee Street has a pretty decent gamut of breakfast items: Omelets, Scramble Plates, Eggs Benedicts, and Pancakes And French Toast. However, what really caught my eye (well, both of them really) was that they have a Specialty Hash Plates section and offer three different meals featuring hashbrowns. I decided on the Hollandaise Hash (which is actually legal in most cities in the Netherlands, of course) ~ seasoned hashbrowns with habanero onion, bell pepper, mushroom, tomato, and bacon (Sorry, I skipped this one, Kevin and Glen) drizzled with Hollandaise sauce; served with two eggs and toast. I also had a cuppa the house coffee.

This was great; I especially love it when the potatoes are the main attraction in the dish. I ordered the eggs over medium and sourdough for the toast choice. They serve this with the eggs on the side. I probably should have slid my eggs on top of the whole mess, or, better yet, they should just bring them out on top of the hashbrowns already and cover it all with the Hollandaise sauce (à la the ex-Pope). The habanero onions were excellent, they added lots of flavour and just a touch of heat; these were made with red onions pickled in some kinda habanero-infused vinegar, I think. For a "coffee shop" their coffee was just "Meh?!", though. I was also a little disappointed that this didn't come with a side of home fries.

For condimentary supplements, Street Shop Coffee Taylor offers Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (both the standard red and the green Jalapeño) and Tapatío®. Of course, I forewent the former offerings and it was a foregone conclusion that I would use some of my own hot sauces which I had the forethought to bring with me. I used some Serious Food… Silly Prices Sweet Heat (Thanks, Cindy & Greg!) on both the hashbrowns and eggs, and additionally eight drops only of Blair's After Death Sauce (Thanks a lot, still, Sean! This is another bottle of liquid fire that will last me several more years) on the eggs.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Hollandaise Hash ~ 6.8