Monday, May 27, 2013

Just For You Cafe

Sensory… Laudatory… Chicory[1]?

For the past three years now it has become my Memorial Day tradition to go to Just For You Cafe (see last 'blog-entry from December 30th, 2012) for breakfast. I like that they open up plenty early enough (7:30am Monday-Friday, 8:00am on the weekends). So, even though heading over to Dogpatch for a meal takes about half an hour drive from the Richmond, I can still get there early enough before the crowds show up or it is already late enough to be considered "Brunch". I am just surprised that this was only my first breakfastary trek there this year.

Just for You Cafe has a very good standard "Weekend Brunch Menu" (which was extended to Monday for the Memorial Day holiday) and they also offer several good "Weekend Brunch Specials" (which change periodically and seasonally):

A Special Omelet! (they added the "!", not me) ~ A fluffy three egg omelet folded around Zoe's ham, roasted leeks, with Swiss Gruyere cheese. Choice of home fries or grits (substitute cup of fresh fruit $2.00) and bread.

A Special Scramble! ~ Thinly sliced roast beef, white onions, crimini mushrooms, fresh tomato with Jack and Cheddar cheeses! Choice of home fries or grits (substitute cup of fresh fruit $2.00) and bread.

A Special Frittata! ~ An open faced omelet with chopped bacon, red onions, fresh spinach and Provolone cheese. Choice of home fries or grits (substitute cup of fresh fruit $2.00) and bread.

A Benedict Special! ~ Two poached eggs on house-made bread with sautéed onions, spinach and red bell peppers! Choice of home fries or grits (substitute cup of fresh fruit $2.00)! 

(Again, they added all the "!"s, they really must like that punctuation, Mark.)

I could easily have gotten any of these without the dead, decaying animal flesh, but I decided on the Greek Scramble ~ 3 eggs scrambled (hence the "Scramble" part of its name) with Feta cheese, onions, spinach, tomato, and Kalamata olives; with (my choices of) homefries and cinnamon-raisin toast (they bake all their breads on-site daily). I also had a cuppa (well, two-and-a-half cuppas) very good N'Orleans-style coffee.

I knew I was going to like this one a lot. What's not to like? It was made with lots of Feta, lots of spinach, and lots of real Kalamata olives (which makes all the difference; none of those fake, tasteless olives from a can). The coffee is N'Orleans-style as it is blended with roasted chicory root. Not everyone likes it this way, I do; but I also love cardamom in my coffee.

Just For You Cafe has one of the better selections of condimentary supplementation, probably ten different types or more. I knew this and never bother schlepping any of my own collection with me. (I wonder if they would ever start carrying Palo Alto Firefighters Pepper Sauce, that would really make their collection great.) I saw a bottle of something that I haven't tried before (or, if I have, I don't remember it): Maison Louissianne Shut My Mouth! (again with the explanation point) Creole[2] Pepper Sauce. It had a really nice aroma and I used a good amount of it on the potatoes (I left the Greek Scramble un-sodomized[3]). The flavour matched the aroma ~  it wasn't too hot, just right; I liked this one a lot. I also like that it is made in N'Orleans, which tied the whole meal together. You know what they say: "When in Greece, do like the Creoles do."

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Greek Scramble ~ 6.8

1. Chicory roots are baked, ground, and used as a coffee substitute or additive in many parts of the World. Its use as a coffee additive is very popular in parts of the southern United States, particularly in N'Orleans.

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

"Creole" comes from French, from Spanish "criollo" ("a person native to a locality"), from Portuguese "crioulo", the diminutive of "cria" ("a person (especially a servant) raised in one's house"), from "criar" ("to raise or bring up"), from Latin "creare" ("to produce, create").

A creole language is a stable, full-fledged language that originated from a pidgin. There are many subgroups of creole languages, to include: Louisiana Creole French, Haitian Creole (also French-based, and an official language of Haiti), or Jamaican Creole (which is English-based). 

3. Why does Gomorrah always take a back seat to Sodom?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Memorial Day Remembrances ~ 2013

For the fifth year running, I am posting these two links together.

The article was written by Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona, 

U.S. Air Force (Retired). He originally wrote the article back in 2007 when he was a Military and Middle East analyst with MSNBC. He updates the article each year on his own 'blog and graciously allows me to re-post it here.

The music video/song is sung by the Boston-based Irish Punk Rock band, Dropkick Murphys. While the song really isn't a Memorial Day song, it is written about WWI and individuals (sometimes forgotten and unknown) that fought in "the War to end all Wars" and paid the ultimate price of freedom.

Take a moment and read the article and listen to the song, or read the article while listening to the song, or listen to the song while reading the article. Either way, take a moment to reflect on the meaning of this current three-day weekend; after all, it's not really about an extra day off, the start of Summer, parades, and barbecues.

Have a safe and "rememorable" Memorial Day, everyone.

Beachside Coffee Bar & Kitchen

"Rather go to bed supperless, than run in debt for a breakfast."
~ Little Benny Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanac

(A little Best Coast for the morning, because "Why would you live anywhere else?")

In searching (on-line stuff, e.g. yelp*, etc.) for a new (well, to me, at least) place for breakfast, I had seen a few good reviews of Beachside Coffee Bar & Kitchen and I finally got around to checking them out. (And I know that you should never end a sentence with a preposition, but "I finally got around to checking them out, jerk!" seemed kinda rude.) They open up plenty early enough for my liking (8:00am daily) and are located just one block from Ocean Beach (hence, the "Coffee Bar & Kitchen" part of their name) on Judah Street way out in the Sunset. They are owned by the same folks at Java Beach (which is just one block away, towards the beach-side, that is).

Beachside has been open for almost two years now (August 2011). There are a bunch of long tables/benches inside to sit at (you could end up sharing the table with complete strangers if it gets very busy, so just be sure to order enough food to share). Additionally, there are several sidewalk tables (with beach-style/cabana-ish chairs); so, luckily, there is no need to walk to any stupid parklets to enjoy your coffee in the fresh air. I think that they have been roasting their own coffee on-premise for about a year or more now, too.

They really only offer a few breakfastary items to choose from (and less even for stupid vegetarians). I heard one guy in line raving about their Fried Chicken and Waffles. They also have an Irish Breakfast Sandwich ~ Irish bacon, Irish sausage, fried egg, white pudding, black pudding, and grilled tomatoes, which I would liked to have seen someone order. They also have both Eggs Florentine and Benedict. I was looking at either the Irish Cheddar & Fresh Herb Scramble or Cremini[1] Mushroom & Gruyere Scramble, but decided on the Veggie Breakfast Burrito ~ scrambled eggs, Cheddar cheese, spinach, and tomatoes. I also ordered a side of homefries and a cuppa Ethiopia coffee. Unlike a lot of coffeehouses, they have five different blends/roasts of coffee that you can choose from, and each is made fresh for you with a single drip-brew.

I am not really criticizing or making fun of anyone here (welllll, maybe just a bit), I just thought it a funny exchange for someone that is actually working in a coffeehouse:

Me: "Is the Ethiopia a 'dark roast'?"
Order-counter Lady: "Well, they are all 'dark' to me…"

Ummmm… o-kay.

The burrito was very large and grilled and this is always a good thing, Martha. I just have one minor complaint/pointer: because this was made with fresh spinach and tomatoes (which weren't incorporated into the scrambled eggs) it made it just a bit watery/runny (and not like a good Camembert, Mr. Wensleydale ~ but at least the cat hadn't eaten it). The homefries were very good and made with both regular (white) potatoes and sweet potatoes and with lots of white onions and garlic clove chunks.

I think the most pleasant surprise for me was how good the coffee was. I know you should expect a decent cuppa in a place that roasts their own coffee, but I have been disappointed many times in the past. In between bites of the spiced-up food, taking sips of my coffee, it almost had a very interesting winey-tasting quality to it (I asked the cute, little barista-lady ~ who proved a lot more knowledgeable than the order-counter lady ~ and she said that was how it is usually described, with undertones of berries and pitted fruits). I will definitely be going back to try more of their roasts/blends now.

From what I could see, Beachside only has bottles of a Sriracha-style hot sauce for condimentary supplementation. Figuring (correctly) that a coffeehouse wouldn't have that much to offer, I came prepared and used some of my own Big Papi En Fuego Hot Sauce Off The Wall Triple Hot (Thanks, Kerry!) on the burrito (surprisingly there was no added salsa in the burrito already) and a little Youk's Hot Sauce (Thanks, Kevin!) on the potatoes.

The surf and coffee are up!

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Veggie Breakfast Burrito ~ 6.4; Ethiopia coffee ~ 7.2

1. Stupid, useless pseudo-horticultural pointer of the day:

"Cremini/Crimini" are both fancy names for plain ol' button mushrooms. When they get larger and mature they are known as Portobello/Portabello/Portabella (take your pick on spelling).

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Herbivore ~ the Earthly Grill

"One should not attend even the end of the World without a good breakfast."
~ Robert Heinlein, "Friday"

(Today's musicality EweToob links are thanks to my nephew Cameron's input. Even though he has no clue that Ella Fitzgerald should never be compared with any other female 'merican singer ~ ever, and, after many years and much stubbornness, he has finally come to the correct conclusion that Green Day's ultimate classic is "American Idiot", he still has a pretty decent taste in music and I will usually defer to his suggestions on any music from the 21st Century.

I particularly like the first video in that it is basically a live performance and you get to see how Emily Wells records and performs her music. And what's hotter than a female playing with herself… while other women are sitting around watching?!)

Vegetarians are stupid… and Vegans are just Vegetarians with too many arbitrary rules.

I wanted to try something completely different for breakfast this morning, Mr. Python, so I went to Herbivore ~ the Earthly Grill. They are a 100% Vegan restaurant with three Bay Area locations (the original location is in the Mission and the newest restaurant is in Berkeley); the one I went to this morning is on Divisadero in the Haight (I refuse to call this neighborhood "NoPa", as that is just as stupid as parklets). They open at 9:00am every day, and for "breakfast" at that (I have eaten there for lunch and dinner before, but this was my first breakfastary trip there). In addition to lots of indoor seating, they have one large sidewalk patio pic-a-nic bench that seats six and a very cool backyard patio (that has two levels to it) that has seven tables for two.

parklet mini-rant of the day
Okay, I will make this one quick. There are two stupid parklets in this neighborhood (just a block apart from each other). That isn't the main complaint, the main complaint is that they are just two to three blocks from Golden Gate Park (the Panhandle area), and both are just ONE BLOCK away from Alamo Square Park ("Oh, but that is an uphill walk!"). Yeah, these parking obstructions are soooo very necessary.

Seeing as it's a 100% Vegan restaurant, there isn't anything on the menu that I couldn't eat. They offer a pretty decent selection for breakfast, too. One of the stranger things I saw on the menu was "French Toast". French Toast? Without eggs or milk? Isn't that just called grilled bread? I asked the pretty server-lady person how this is made and it is actually made with soymilk, olive oil, and some other ingredients (which I really didn't bother to remember). Perhaps to differentiate it from "real" French toast, they should call their version "Belgian Toast" (Who's going to van damme complain about that?). There were two things that I really wanted to try: grilled corn cakes ~ black beans, tomato chipotle salsa, guacamole, and sour cream (probably soymilk based), with house potatoes; and (what I finally decided on) southwestern tofu scramble ~ with
tomato chipotle salsa, black beans, guacamole, sour cream, house potatoes, and blueberry corn bread. I also ordered a side of tempeh[1] bacon and a glass of housemade ginger ale ~ fresh ginger, lime and lemon juice, agave[2] nectar, and sparkling water.

This was one of the better tofu scrambles that I have had. It had lots of good junk in it: corn, jalapeño peppers, tomatoes, and a few other fresh ingredients. Now, I have nothing against tofu scrambles, but they just aren't usually that exciting. Both the salsa and guacamole were very good and fresh-made. The real surprise of the meal was the excellent house potatoes they have: thinly sliced potatoes (sort of a cross between homefries and hashbrowns); they were very tasty and had a yellowish-tinge to them that I figured was just turmeric[3], but when I asked the cute server-lady she told me they also add nutritional yeast (usually the only kind of "nutritional yeast" I get comes in the Beer form); I did ask and she also told me that these were made with 100% Vegan potatoes, too. The tempeh bacon was pretty good. The housemade ginger ale was also a very good find and almost as good as the potatoes (both are worth a return trip-see). It was good blueberry corn bread (but it really could have used some butter on it, though).

For condimentary supplementation, Herbivore just has Cholula®. I had come prepared with a few of my own and used some Serious Food… Silly Prices Sweet Heat Hot Sauce (Thanks, Cindy and Greg!) on the scramble and a little Cherry Republic® KaBOB's Kick'en Hot Sauce (Thanks, Greg and Cindy!) on the potatoes. However, neither were probably needed as their tomato chipotle salsa was pretty tasty on its own; luckily I went lightly with both of the bottled stuff and got to enjoy the homemade salsa.

As I had skipped any coffee (100% Vegan or not) with the meal, I went to Peet's Coffee for a Coconut White Mocha[4] afterward (and I even had to walk allll the way around the block to get it, too). This was good, but it could have had more coconut flavour in it.

I probably could become a 100% Vegan if I really wanted, except that I would have to learn how to cook for myself and I would never be able to visit Israel (you know, "a  land flowing with milk and honey")…

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: southwestern tofu scramble ~ 6.5; house potatoes ~ 7.2; housemade ginger ale ~ 7.1; Peet's Coconut White Mocha ~ 6.4

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

"Tempeh" comes from the Javanese word "témpé".

Plus, Bill Gates and his group of jackbooted Brown Shirts at Microsoft Auto-Spellchecker do not even recognize this as a valid word. They must be a buncha damned non-Veganists, too. I bet they are in 100% support of parklets, though.

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

"Agave" is Neo-Latin from Greek "aguaé" (the feminine of "agauós"), meaning "noble, brilliant, illustrious".

By the way, the blue agave plant is used for the production of Tequila. Now that is a very noble and illustrious use of the plant.

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

"Turmeric" comes from Old French "terre merite", from Medieval Latin "terra merita", literally "meritorious earth".

4. Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-horticulturalistic pointer of the day, number four:

The use of "Mocha" as a term in relation to coffee-chocolate blends comes from the Yemen port city named al-Mukha, which was once important in the export of Arabian (see, in this case, it is correctly used and not "Arabic") coffee.

Sunday, May 19, 2013


"Hope is a good breakfast, but it is a bad supper."
~ Francis Bacon (no relation to the inventor of the legendary Glen Bacon Scale)

(Just a couple of classic Irish dirges to tide you over while reading this 'blog-entry, boyo… or girlo.)

I went to O'Reilly's this morning for "Brunch" (their term, not mine, even though they open at 8:00am ~ or 9:00am ~ on the weekend; their website says 9:00am, but when I arrived there this morning at 8:30am they were open for business and the weekend "Brunch" menu stated 8:00am; so, take your pick, Mick) on Green (figures) Street in North Beach. I have eaten dinner there a few times in the past, but this was my first breakfastary experience there. Now, I know what you are thinking (and just clean it up right now, buddy!): "An Irish pub in North Beach?" (for you out-of-towners/touristas, North Beach is the well-known quartiere italiano in San Francisco, akin to the North End in Boston and Little Italy in New York City).

There was lots of green inside for some reason; plus, the walls are festooned with photos of Ireland and Celtic paraphernalia (I spotted at least one bodhrán[1] and one shillelagh[2] on the walls or hanging from the ceiling). They have plenty of indoor restaurant seating (and there is a full bar/pub adjoined in the next room); plus, there are a few outdoor/sidewalk picnic tables with which to dine al fresco (sorry, I have no idea how to say that in either Irish or Italian) if you like. I sat at one of the beer-barrel tables. I liked that their condiments holders are Guinness® six-pack cartons.

parklet mini-rant of the day
I parked on Columbus Avenue right behind another stupid, useless parklet (the one in front of Rose Pistola). Also, while walking around this morning, I saw about 2-3 more of these stupid parking obstructions along Columbus and other streets in North Beach. But I am so sure they are absolutely necessary as it is a full ONE BLOCK to have to walk ALL THE WAY to Washington Square Park (and in one case there is one that is directly kitty-cornered from the park). Complete rubbish! End of rant… for now.

Bay-to-Beer Interlude
This morning was the running of the 102nd Bay-to-Beer (officially know as Bay-to-Breakers). I didn't go to watch it in Golden Gate Park as in years past, but I still saw hundreds of costumed runners (sorry, I didn't see any of the "naked-people" this morning) walking to the starting line from North Beach (my most-knowledgeable server-lady told me that they normally gather in Washington Square Park and head to the starting line in large groups). This was one of the better days for it for a change; it was an absolutely beautiful, sunny morning downtown and even clear and warm(ish) over at the ocean/breakers (it's normally a 50-50 shot that it will be overcast and rainy this time of year).

There really aren't that many things that O'Reilly's offers for "Brunch" (I counted fourteen entries). They do offer several omelettes and scrambles, along with some pancakes and waffles choices. It was also interesting to see (not that it does me any good, but you lovers of the dead, decaying porky products might like this) that they do have a Full Irish Breakfast ~ two bacon rashers (and after seeing all of these meat-stuffs, you may break out into a rasher of your own), two Irish link sausages, two black pudding, two white pudding, two eggs, baked beans, mushrooms, grilled tomato, and home fries or French fries. I did see something on the "Brunch Favorites" section of the menu that I knew I had to try: Vegetarian Benedict ~ on a boxty[3] cake, grilled beefsteak tomatoes, spinach, and zucchinis (sic; and while it is perfectly correct as the plural of zucchini, you rarely would see it pluralised in this instance); this comes with a side of home fries. I also had a large glass of grapefruit juice.

The boxties (I have no idea if the correct plural is "boxties" or "boxtys") served as a perfect and unique base for the Benedict; plus, as an Irish establishment, they shouldn't be caught dead using none of them crummy "English"-type muffins, Mr. O'Thomas. My friendly and ever-informative server-lady told me that they used to make these with Irish brown bread instead of the boxtys (what the heck, one of them has to be correct), which would also be a nice substitution. (I should point out here that I really wasn't tying up the poor woman with all of my inane/insane questions, as there was just myself and one other table of people there the whole time I was eating, so she had more than enough time to answer me.) The only thing I might have done differently if I were making these (and there is a much better chance that the Republic of Ireland will go back to being part of the United Kingdom than me ever making these) would have been to slice the tomatoes and zucchinis (see, here it makes sense in the plural) a little thinner, as the entire thing was a bit too thick and unwieldy. The home fried potatoes were very good, too, and made with lots of julienned onions and (red and green) bell peppers.

O'Reilly's only has Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red) for condimentary supplements. I was very surprised to see that there weren't even any bottles of HP Brown Sauce on any of the tables; my friendly and informative server-lady explained to me that they do put some out once in a while, but people tend to steal them (because it's not as if you can't get these at most local grocery stores in San Francisco or anything; the idiots that steal these probably think that parklets are actually a "cute idea" and serve a good purpose). I had come prepared (with the same bottles of hot sauces that I didn't need to use yesterday morning) and used some Palo Alto Fire Fighters Pepper Sauce ~ XX Habanero (Thanks agains, Amys and Brian!) on the potatoes and a little Nando's Extra Hot Peri-Peri Sauce (Thanks, Kerry!) on top of the two eggs.

What do you call dessert after breakfast? As I had skipped a cuppa coffee this morning with breakfast, afterward I stopped at Caffe Trieste for a Doppio Esspresso and a cannoli[4] (Really?! Herr Gates and his Microsoft Spell-Checker Nazis do not recognize, or offer a valid alternative, to this word. Must be a buncha tiramisù fans.); this one was a chocolate chip one, but I prefer the ones with the candied fruits in them instead.

Here's hoping your supper is as good as my breakfast was.

And the craic[5] was good…

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Vegetarian Benedict ~ 7.0; Caffe Trieste Doppio Espresso ~ 7.6

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

"Bodhrán" is not a small "Arabian" island country. It is an Irish frame drum. It is suggested that the name means "skin tray" and a link with the Irish word "bodhor", meaning "a drum" or "dull sound" (the word "bodhra" also means "deaf").

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

"Shillelagh" is an Anglophone (which is not another mobular company in Great Britain) corruption of the Irish "sail éille", the two words meaning "cudgel" and "leash, thong".

3. Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-epicurean pointer of the day,
uimhir trí:

"Boxty" is a traditional Irish potato pancake. The word "bacstaí" or "arán bocht tí" means "poor-house bread" in Irish.

4. Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day,
numero quattro:

"Cannoli" comes from Italian and the Sicilian language. The singular is "cannolo" (or "cannolu") and means "little tube" and is derivative of the Latin "canna", meaning "reed" or "cane".

5. Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day,
uimhir a cúig:

Just so you know, this is not an illegal drug being sold on the streets of Dublin or Belfast.

Instead of me trying to explain exactly what "Craic" means, I will let the idiots at Wikipedia do it for me, seeing as they have already gone to all the trouble:

*(Note: I would normally put these footnotes in one size smaller font than the rest of the 'blog-entry, but I have been informed by some of the elderly readers here that it is very hard to read them at that size.

I blame it all on the 'blog-spot that provides this ~ free ~ service to me. When I first started posting here, there was a much easier to read and just a tad bit larger font to be used with the Georgia text, but about a year ago they changed the format and now the Georgia text is smaller that it was previously. I am sure it has absolutely nothing to do with people trying to read this on their stupid mobular devises or electronic tablets.

So for now I will just leave the footnotes at the same size as the rest of the 'blog-post.

Of course, I am putting this parenthetical explanation in the smaller font and it will probably go unnoticed by the same people/person.)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery

"I must have a drink of breakfast." 
~ W.C. Fields


Even though they don't open on Saturdays and Sundays until 10:00am ~ and for "Brunch" at that ~ I decided to have breakfast at Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery this morning. This decision was based simply upon the idea that I wanted to try a new place and these guys brew their own Beer. I have eaten at this place for dinner and lunch (and even stopped by for just a pint or two) before, but this was my first early morning meal there.

Magnolia (and I am going to abbreviate their name from here on out) is located on the corner of Haight Street and Masonic Avenue (in the World Famous, historic neighborhood of Haight-Masonic, of course). The story that I heard (Hey, Nance!) was that the restaurant/brewery was named for the above-linked the Grateful Dead song, as the owner is a Dead fan (by that I mean a Deadhead and not a George Romero or Robert Kirkman enthusiast). Instead of any hoity-toity cloth napkins on the tables, they have dishtowels (that would be tea towels to you Englishlanders) for napkins. In addition to their indoor seating area, they have four two-seater tables on the Haight Street sidewalk and two large benches (that could seat 4-6 easily each) on the Masonic Avenue sidewalk.

I got to the Haight about a half hour before Magnolia opened so I walked across the street and got a cuppa at Coffee to the People beforehand. It was a decent enough cuppa, but nothing that I couldn't make at home with a good brand of coffee of my own.

Now as one of the main reasons that I chose Magnolia as my breakfastary destination this morning was for their good selection of fresh-brewed Beers, I made sure to ask my waiter/server-guy which Beer might best pair with my meal choice. He informed me that May is Session[1] Beer Month at Magnolia and suggested either a Kalifornia Kölsch (which I have had before and knew I liked) or a Branthill[2] ESB[3]. (Didn't Brant Hill use to play in the NBA?) I went with the latter and this proved to be a very good choice. It is only a 4.2% ABV Beer so it was easily light enough for so early in the day, and it was served in a real "20oz Pint", too. This week is also American Craft Beer Week; so get out there and support your American Craft Beers… a lot! *hic*

Magnolia really doesn't have an awful lot of choices on their "Brunch" menu (and even less stupid vegetarian ones). For the meatatarians out there, it was interesting to see that they do offer an English Breakfast (see 'blog-entry from January 1st, 2011) with cannellini (sic) beans, tomatoes, mushrooms, bacon, breakfast sausage, potatoes, two eggs, and half Leadbetter's English muffin. Their version of French Toast looked pretty good, too, but I ended up ordering Quinoa[4] Hash ~ two eggs, carrots, spinach, and nutritional yeast (whatever the heck that is supposed to be).

This was all very good. It was made with two eggs over medium placed on top of the hash, with julienned carrots, fresh sautéed spinach, and topped with lots of shredded Parmesan. This was definitely the most interesting use of quinoa that I have had in a while (and probably the first time I have had it for breakfast, or "Brunch"). However, I am sure that I could easily make this at home… if I had any quinoa… or carrots… or spinach… or yeast (nutritional or otherwise)… or Parmesan cheese… or eggs, even.

Figuring that Magnolia would probably only offer Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red) for condimentary supplementation, I had come prepared with a few from my own collection, but I was pleasantly surprised when I asked the really knowledgeable server-guy and found out that they actually have a very tasty home-made Thai chilli pepper sauce. I used a good amount all over the dish (well, it was actually in a bowl, but you get the idea).

I liked the idea that the bill is brought out in a hollowed-out book. Mine today happened to be Meeting at Potsdam, which I liked, as the city of Potsdam was just across the river from (West) Berlin when I lived there (well, it is still just across the river; they didn't relocate an entire city) and you could always see it there, but never got to visit it as it was in the East German/Soviet territory.


Even if the food hadn't been so good this morning, who cares? Did I mention that they serve good, fresh Beers?! And it really wasn't such a fatality, William Claude.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Quinoa Hash ~ 6.5; Coffee to the People ~ 6.3; Branthill ESB ~ 7.0

1. Session drinking is a chiefly British term that refers to drinking a large quantity of Beer during a "session" (i.e. a specific period of time) without becoming intoxicated. A session is generally a social occasion. A "session Beer", such as today's ESB, is a Beer that has a moderate or relatively low alcohol content. The very informative server-guy told me that Magnolia considers any Beer under 7.0% ABV a "session Beer".

2. Once again, the friendly, informative server-guy told me that this is called "Branthill" as they use imported, top quality malt from Brant Hill Farm in Norfolk, England.

3. "E.S.B." (for you Mormons out there) simply stands for "Extra Special Bitter". It is a premium or strong bitter with a strength usually of 4.8% ABV and over.

4. Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-horticultural pointer of the day:

"Quinoa" is derived from the Spanish word "quinua" from the Quechua word "kinwa" or occasionally "Qin-wah".

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Art’s Cafe

Happy Mothers Day (to those of you that are) or Happy Tortoise Day (to those of you that are, too)!

(Sorry. I couldn’t locate any good Tortoise Day songs on EweToob, so this will have to do.)

On the way out of town for one last breakfastary adventure in San Francisco, I took my brother Sean to Art's Cafe (see last 'blog-entry from November 20th, 2011) over on Irving Street in the Sunset. Art's Cafe opens at 7:30am on Sunday, and we were in there by about 8:30am. Unlike Monday when we dropped Alison off at the Oakland Airport, I wanted to make sure that there was plenty of time to eat and get to the airport. Mission accomplished, as I got Sean to the Airport before 10:00am for a 12:05pm flight.

Art's Cafe has a lot of good, standard Diner-fare things (omelettes, pancakes, French Toast, egg cetera) from which to choose on their menu; however, they are best known for their simple, but sublime, hashbrowns. We both ordered off the Specialties (hashbrown sandwiches) portion of the menu. These are a nifty little invention where they stuff ingredients into crispy hashbrowns that are folded over. These are all made with melted Cheddar cheese on the hashbrowns, and served with two eggs (cooked how you like 'em) and toast. Sean had the Bacon Hashbrown Sandwich and I had the Vegetarian Hashbrown Sandwich. We both had a large glass of orange juice (well, that would be two large glasses; we didn't share one with a straw or anything).

I have had this strange (but tasty) concoction once before at Art's Cafe. Any time potatoes are the main focus of a meal, I am right there. I probably should have gone "off-menu" and ordered this with spinach and tofu in it instead (which is what I said I was going to do the last time that I was there) ~ next time. We both had our eggs over medium, but they are not really the focus of the meal. Once again, I really enjoyed mine; they sauté all of the vegetables before adding them to the "sandwich". Sean said his was very good, too; however, that is much to be expected from a Bacon-a-holic.

Art's Cafe offers for condimentary supplementation both Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red) and Tapatío®. I didn't bring any of my own hot sauces with me this morning because I knew that they also have Gochujang[1] in plastic bottles that can be used if requested. I requested, and used a good amount all over the "sandwich" and also on top of both eggs (the toast I just left plain and buttered). Gochujang adds just a little bit of heat, but a lot of flavour.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Vegetarian Hashbrown Sandwich ~ 7.2; Bacon Hashbrown Sandwich ~ 7.2

1. Just be glad that I couldn't find a good stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer for this word. However, if you want to learn more about Gochujang, please see the link from our friends at Wikipedia:

Baker Street Bistro

(Saturday, May 11th, 2013)

Even though I had just been to Baker Street Bistro last month (see 'blog-entry from April 13th, 2013), my brother Sean "twisted my arm" into going there again on Saturday for breakfast to try their Pain Perdu. I don't know where he ever got the idea that this was a worthy breakfastary[1] destination. The morning was a pretty nice, sunny Spring morning, so we sat outside on the sidewalk café part of the restaurant. (Gee, you know what is missing from in front of this place? One of those nice, cute, little parklets that I have heard so many good things about lately; seeing as this restaurant is just a block away from the Presidio and all of the outdoor greenery that it has to offer, and it is only several blocks from the Marina Green, too.)

The Wild Parrots of San Francisco Interlude
As we had gotten to the restaurant a few minutes before it opened for the morning, we walked over to the Lombard Street Gate in the Presidio and saw a few (only about 5-6) Parrots flying around in the tall eucalyptus trees by the dog park there. I had expected to see a lot more than that (about 20-30) that early in the morning. There still may have been more Parrots higher up in the trees and maybe they were just not chattering away to be able to detect them, though.

Because we went there specifically for Sean to try the Pain Perdu and I had just gotten the Oeufs Baker Street Bistro last month, we both ended up ordering the same thing (so there was no need for me to photograph Sean's meal; it looked a lot like mine, just upside-down from my seat). I also ordered a side of home fries for us to split. And I had a hot chocolate to drink, Sean just had a large glass of orange juice. 

Do I really need to répéter that Baker Street Bistro's version of French Toast may be one of the best in all of San Francisco (if not all of the U.S. of A., and, quite possibly, the entire World)? Sean tended to agree with me, but you can only take what he says so far, as he is from New York City and everyone knows that there aren't really that many good places to eat there.

The side of fresh fruits of the day were: grapes, cantaloupe, watermelon, apples, oranges, blueberries, blackberries, and pineapple.

I completely forgot to bring any of my own condimentary supplements with me, but I was figuring on getting the Pain Perdu all along, anyway, so it wasn't a great loss to just use some Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red) that is provided by Baker Street Bistro on top of the potatoes.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Pain Perdu ~ 8.2 (Sean concurred with this GBS Rating, but, even if he didn't, I would lie and say that he did); the Wild Parrots of San Francisco ~ 8.5 (I never really asked Sean what he thought of the feathered little pests)

1. When I had made up this word originally, I just assumed it would be pronounced to (sort of) rhyme with "commissary", like "breakfast-airy". However, Sean said it out loud a few times during his visit to (sort of) rhyme with "anniversary", like "breafast-a-ree". After hearing it spoken, I actually like Sean's version better.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Dottie’s True blue café

(Monday, May 6th, 2013)

(Sorry, I couldn't think of any "Sean"-named songs.)

Whenever anyone comes into town to visit, I have to subject them… er, take them to breakfast at Dottie's True blue café (see last 'blog-entry from April 14th, 2013). My brother Sean and his friend Alison were in San Francisco over the weekend for some friends' wedding and we just had time to make it to Dottie's before dropping off Alison at the Oakland Airport for her flight out (she just made it with a few minutes to spare actually). Alison had been to San Francisco a few years back, but never had the pleasure to have breakfast at Dottie's during that stay.

The best part about going to Dottie's with other people for a change is that you get to share some fresh-baked goods. There were some great ones from which to choose, but we all decided (meaning I decided I wanted to try this particular one and everyone had to agree) on the 1920 Prohibition Whiskey Blueberry Crumb Cake. (Sorry, no photo is currently available as we were all too greedily devouring the crumb cake before I thought about taking a photo of it.)

This was a great choice and we all enjoyed it immensely. I say immensely as it was a HUGE piece of crumb cake. I am not sure if that is the standard sized piece that they give out, or that they gave us a slightly larger piece as there were three of us sharing it. I know that if that was a portion for just one person, I would never be able to finish it and my meal.

As always, there were several good things on the Specials Board from which to choose. Having heard me rave about it many times in the past, Sean opted for the Zucchini Cakes topped with poached eggs & spicy Marinara, with fruit & potatoes. I also ordered from the Specials Board and got the Spinach-Provolone Strata ~ served with Italian sausage (which Sean and Alison shared) and roasted tomatoes. Alison ordered off the standard menu and had Black Bean Cakes and Eggs any style, served with grilled chili-cheddar corn bread and home fries; she also got a side of Dottie's fresh jalapeño jelly, which really is a must when getting the cornbread.

I have had their Strata a few times in the past, but this seemed different to me from those. This was kind of a bread pudding concoction and looked like a chunk of lasagna or moussaka; it was all very good with lots of spinach and Provolone in it, but I was picturing something different in my head (more of a quiche-y dish). Luckily Sean enjoyed his Zucchini Cakes Benedict as much as he had expected. And Alison seemed to really enjoy the Black Bean Cakes, too.

Knowing that Dottie's condimentary supplementation is pretty extensive (and has been documented here many times before), I used just a little Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce Chipotle on top of the Strata. Initially, Alison used a little Tabasco® Green Pepper Sauce (jalapeño) on her potatoes and a little Chipotle on her over-medium eggs; I talked her into reversing the two (which, after many breakfasts at Dottie's experimenting, is the way I have found to be even better) and she completely agreed with me.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: 1920 Prohibition Whiskey Blueberry Crumb Cake ~ 7.4 (We all really enjoyed this, but I am determining the GBS Rating; these important decisions can't be left up to just anyone.); Zucchini Cakes ~ 7.7 (This was Sean's rating for this dish; I usually give it a 7.5, but I will trust his input this one time.); Spinach-Provolone Strata ~ 6.8; Black Bean Cakes and Eggs ~ 7.0 (I didn't really ask Alison for her rating, but this is what I usually score it)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Chestnut st Diner

¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo! Καλό Πάσχα! and Happy Lonesome Losers Day!

(It's not often that three major holidays fall on the same day. For an explanation on the last, lesser-known holiday please see 'blog-entry from Sunday, May 8th, 2011. I have determined that this holiday shall fall on the first Sunday in May so as not to be confused with that other completely made-up holiday that falls on the second Sunday in May.)

I ventured to another place that I had never eaten breakfast at yet: Chestnut ST Diner. Coincidentally enough, they are located on Chestnut Street (at Van Ness Avenue); this is basically in the same neighborhood as yesterday's breakfast, but just a block away and in a much less traveled area than on Lombard Street. They have five diner booths that seat four each, 12-14 diner counter stools, and two tables for two. They open daily at 7:00am, which is always a plus.

Chestnut ST Diner has a standard diner-ish breakfast menu and they also offer several different omelettes (just no "omellettes"). To celebrate Cinco de Mayo, I went with the El Magnificao! (sic) omelette ~ tomatoes, avocado, green onions, mild fire-roasted California green chilies, fresh salsa, Monterey Jack, and sour cream; served with a choice of either hash brown (noted as singular and two words) or country potato (also in the singular, and they really didn't specify which country), and a choice of toast (I just assumed that this is both singular and plural; I chose sourdough this morning). I also had a large glass of "fresh squeezed" orange juice (which actually came from a plastic gallon jug, though).

While this wasn’t exactly "magnifico" (or "magnificao", even), it was still very good (or gaood). I liked all of the ingredients that were in it. I really liked that they offer two different types of breakfast potatoes, and the hashbrowns (there was more than one, I was pleased to see) were very good and extra crispy.

For condimentary supplements, Chestnut ST Diner only had Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red). I used some of my own Mama Africa's Zulu Sauce Chilli Mint (Thanks, Kerry!) on the potatoes and some El Yucateco® XXXtra Hot Sauce Salsa Kutbil-ik® de Chile Habanero (Thanks, Brian!) on the omelette.

I skipped a cuppa coffee at the diner, but I did see that they offer Peerless Coffee®, which is a pretty decent brand. Instead, right now I am enjoying a cuppa Peet's® Café Domingo®[1] ("Smooth, Balanced, Medium Bodied.") while I type this out. This was a freebie that Peet's® was giving out yesterday to advertise that they now offer several of their roasts/blends to be used in the single-cup Keurig-style machines. (Hint: You know, even if you don't own one of those fancy-shmancy coffee machines, these single-cups work pretty much the same in a filter and drip-cup manner. It's almost like real coffee.)

And I was very happy to see that I didn't need "a reservation" to have breakfast at this establishment this morning.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: El Magnificao! ~ 6.4 (No points are ever taken off for misspellings.); Peet's Café Domingo ~ 6.8

1. Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer del día:

Just because it is "Sunday", I will tell you that is what "Domingo" means in Spanish.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Cafe Lombard

Ath a dythlexic, lithping Luke Thkywalker onthe thaid: "The 4th of May be with you!"

(No official web-site.)

1424 Lombard Street (between Van Ness Avenue and Franklin Street)

phonicular contact: (415) 292-6300

(I couldn't think of any better way to celebrate National Star Trek Day than to link some Tom Waits songs here… because that makes about as much sense.)

I wanted to try a new place for breakfast this morning (well, new to me, not a new restaurant), so I ate at Cafe Lombard (which coincidentally enough is located right on Lombard Street). I was even lucky enough to park just a block away (legally) on Lombard Street (unfortunately, there was no parking to be had on Cafe Street). They open up at 7:30am daily and are mainly a tourista destination as it is surrounded by many hotels, inns, and motels in the neighborhood. (Overheard at one of the other tables: "I went to an 'Arabian'[1] restaurant once and there were a lot of 'Arabians' there speaking 'Arabian'…". She must have been at a horse show, or maybe these particular touristas were just from 'Canadia'…)

At first look, I thought this was a rather small place, as the inviting Victorian-décor front room only has seating for twenty-two (with just two tables for four and seven tables for two); however, as it filled up pretty quickly, they directed people to another larger back room (that has additional seating for twenty-two; with five tables for four and one table for two). Plus, there is also an outdoor patio area with tables and umbrellas that may or may not see action on busier warmer days.

Cafe Lombard offers all the breakfastary standards on their menu, plus many different "Omellettes" (sic). I am not really making fun of them for the mispeling (well, maybe just a bit). I just wonder how a menu can get printed now-a-days without the use of a spel-checkker. (I am constantly being reminded by the Spell-check Nazis at Microsoft on my many mistakes. I hope I drive them crazy, too. The fargin' bastages.)

Of course, I had to order the Lombard Special Omellette ~ w/ Sautéed Mushrooms, Onions, spinach & Parmesan. This is served with homefried potatoes and toast (I went with wholle whheat for my choicce). I also had a cuppa gourmmet coffee. (Am I going to make fun of that one mispeling here throughout this 'blog-entry? Probbablly.)

The omellette was made frittatta-style, served open-faced. It was made with lots of fresh (baby?) sppinach in it, and the Parmessan cheesse was the good shredded version, not that fake powdered junk. This was all very good. I especially liked their homefried potatoes, which had lots of caramelized diced-up onions in them.

I asked the server-lady what kind of condimentary supplementation they had, but misunderstanding me, she said that they could add some fresh Serrano[2] chillis in my omellette if I liked (which probably would have been a really been nice addition). I did notice that they had Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red) on a few of the other tables. However, I just used some of my own Serious Food… Silly Prices Chunky Habanero Hot Sauce (Thanks, Cindy & Greg!) on the potatoes and some Cholula® Hot Sauce (Thanks, Brian!) on the omellette.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Lombbard Sppecial Ommellette ~ 6.8
(Okay, I promise that is the last time I make fun of their spelling, but only because this is the end of the 'blog-entry.)

1. While I don't wish to offend any of the anti-Semitic grammarians out there, I do understand that "Arabian" and "Arabic" can sometimes be used interchangeably pertaining to Arabia and its inhabitants; however, the language should be referenced as "Arabic". They don't speak "Soviet" in Russia either.

(Of course, now that I have stated that, I am sure I will more than likely be slammed by many cunning ex-MF linguists.)

2. Stupidd, uselless cunninng lingguist pointter del día, número uno:

(So I lied.)

"Serrano" means "highlander" or "from the mountains" in Spanish, which comes from the Spanish word "sierra".

Extra added bonus stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer del día, número dos:

The word "sierra" ("mountain range") comes from Spanish and literally means "saw" due to the jagged-tooth look of the peaks, and comes from the Latin word "serra" (also meaning "saw", see?).