Sunday, June 2, 2013

the Butler & the Chef

"And now leave me in peace for a bit! I don’t want to answer a string of questions while I am eating. I want to think."
"Good heavens!" said Pippin. "At breakfast?"
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

(Because every good breakfast needs a little bread[1], be it "lost" or "found".)

I went to breakfast at the Butler & the Chef this morning; this was my first ever visit there. They are located in South Park[2] (which is just two and a half blocks away from AT&T Park, home of your 2012 World Champion San Francisco Giants), where there is lots of free early-morning parking to be had. They open at 8:00am on Tuesday-Saturday, but don't open until 10:00am on Sunday (not a big fan of that, though).

The Butler & the Chef has a Frenchified bistro atmosphere to it (I think the owners are actually Frenchified themselves). There is plenty of seating; however, these are mostly small round tables for two (where you would need to push two together for a group of four, and they also make a point of it that they don't seat parties of more than six). There are also two tables for two on the sidewalk, but those can tend to be surrounded with people waiting in line to get in (so just be sure to order enough food to share with those waiting).

Their "Le Brunch" (their le words, not le mine) menu has an okay array of items on it: a few different egg dishes, some buckwheat crêpes (savory or sweet), and four different Belgian waffles. What I ended up ordering, though, was Pain Perdu ~ French Toast made with organic sweet French bread (pain de mie) dipped in organic egg & milk with real (they don't specify whether it is also "organic" or not, though) vanilla, served with 100% pure (but not necessarily "organic") maple syrup. I also had a good, strong cuppa Graffeo coffee (again, I didn't ask if it was "organic" or not). One very disappointing thing is that they do not offer any type of potato side dishes (either "organic" or not) for "Le Brunch".

This was made with two extra thick slices of bread ~ good. They almost had a cake-like taste and texture to them ~ also good. These really sucked up the maple syrup like a sponge (which I liked). However, this really needed something extra to make it "special"; some side fruit, or something. They also put wayyyyyyy too much powdered sugar on top of the slices (for a change, I actually agree with some of those snooty-ass judges on Chopped ~ just a little dusting is all that is really needed for appearance; the maple syrup is more than enough to sweeten this). All in all this was good, but it just goes without saying that it really doesn't compare with Baker Street Bistro's version (Mission Beach Cafe's was also better ~ see 'blog-entry from June 16th, 2012).

As I had only ordered the Pain Perdu (and, again, no potatoes? What's up with that?!), I didn't bother to ask what they had for condimentary supplements. And I had just received two brand new bottles of hot sauces in the mail yesterday afternoon (Thanks, J.T.!) which I was really looking forward to trying out this morning; looks like they will have to make their debut next weekend now.

The bill comes with a chocolate truffle, which is always nice.

I can recommend this place to people, but for me it's really not worth a return trip just for the Pain Perdu (and I would suggest to just go on a Saturday when "Le Brunch" is served two hours earlier ~ same food, just at a better early hour). I suppose that if I lived in the neighborhood, I would probably go more often… to Town's End Restaurant & Bakery (see 'blog-entry from October 28th, 2012).

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Pain Perdu ~ 6.5

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

"Bread" in Latin is "pane" (pronounced "pah-nay"). It is the word root for "bread" in several other Romance languages:

French ~ "pain" (hence the "Pain Perdu" this morning)
Italian ~ "pane"
Portuguese ~ "pão"
Romanian ~ "pâine"
Spanish/Galician ~ "pan"
Catalan ~ "pa"
Esperanto ~ "pano"
Haitian Creole ~ "pen"

Now I told you Part A so that I could explain the Bad Company EweToob link above. Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day, Part B:

I heard this on Pizza Cuz on the Cooking Channel, and it was only said as a joke: "Company in Latin means 'with bread'". It is actually "cum pane", but close enough for Government work.

Finally, stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day, part C:

The English word for "bread" is related to Old Norse "braud", which comes from Old Frisian "brād", from Old High German "brot".

2. This South Park is not a cartoon series located in Colorado. It is just a neighborhood in San Francisco with the same name.,_San_Francisco

I had about half an hour to kill before the Butler & the Chef opened this morning so I walked around the oval park a bit. I came across this young lady sunning herself shamelessly topless in the morning warmth.

Yeah, only in San Francisco.

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