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".

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