Saturday, August 31, 2013

Baker Street Bistro

"So long as you have food in your mouth, you have solved all questions for the time being." ~ Franz Kafka

(Just ignore the actual video quality of the first EweToob link, the sound from the live concert is still pretty good.)

Continuing working my way through my Breakfastary Rotation, je suis retourné à Baker Street Bistro (see last 'blog-entry from May 11th, 2013), where every day is a festive "obese Tuesday".

I actually sat inside for a change because the fog was pretty thick with a visible mist and I figured it wouldn't be any fun on the sidewalk café this morning. The weather may have been a bit foggy (brumeux), but Chantal was as bright and sunny (ensoleillé) as always. She really is one of the best and friendliest server-persons in San Francisco.

Completely Unrelated, Totally Stupid 'mericanisms Interlude of the Day

There is no reason for this etymological interruption other than I came across this information just the other day and figured I would bore anyone else that reads this stupid 'blog with it. The word "gobbledygook" (or "gobbledegook", or "gobbledygoo") is relatively new 'mericanese jargon from the mid-2oth Century (1944 to be exact). I would have thought it to have been much older and of Britishlander/Cockney origin. Actually, the word was first coined by Maury Maverick (a congressman from Texas). Now, here is another little-know Cliff Clavinesque fact: Maury was the grandson of Samuel Maverick, who lent the family name to the 'merican Lexicon (see 'blog-entry from July 24th, 2011 for a more detailed explanation of that word). Okay, maybe I am the only word-nerd ("speak-geek"?) that found it cool that one family is responsible for two 'mericanisms, Lt. Mitchell.

Quelle heure est-il? It's Pain Perdu time!

I suppose that I could have ordered Oeufs Baker Street Bistro or Oeufs Florentine for a change, but I suppose I could have eaten anywhere else in the city, too. So, encore une fois, I ordered Pain Perdu (mais bien sûr) ~ A brunch favorite! Two slices of cinnamon French Toast, fresh fruit, strawberry couils & crème fraîche. I also got a side order of Home Fries and and a cuppa coffee (café).

Yeah, this is the same ol', same ol' Pain Perdu, but it is still the best. To mess with the guy that refills the coffee (café), I had mine avec feuilles de menthe (from the garnish on top of the Pain Perdu). I think I may have even talked Chantal into trying this.

Fruits du jour: apples (pommes), grapes (raisins), pineapples (ananas), oranges (oranges), cantaloupe (cantaloup), and (et) watermelon (pastèque).

Knowing that Baker Street Bistro (in case you weren't aware of it, I have been there a few times before) only has for condimentary supplementation Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red), I came prepared with a few bottles of my own. I used a fair amount of Mama Africa'sZulu Sauces ~ Chilli Mint (Thanks, Kerry!) on the potatoes. I also used just two drops (seriously, and two of the smallest drops that I could get out of the bottle, too) of Blair's Sudden Death Sauce® with Ginseng (as if that ingredient is really gonna temper the fire any; I guess they figure as long as you are burning off all of your taste buds, you might as well do it in a healthy way) (Thanks a lot, Mom!) on a few of the potato slices. I left the Pain Perdu untainted and just used the maple syrup and crème fraîche. (Ah, who am I kidding? I had to try just a little of the Blair's on the Pain Perdu to see what it would taste like, too. Highly not recommended.)

(What the heck?! Voila! An extra added bonus EweToobular link.)

the Wild Parrots of San Francisco Interlude
As I had parked over by the Presidio Lombard Gate once again, I saw about 10-12 and heard even many more of the crazy little feather-brains this morning. I even saw one pair scare off a large crow (that was easily three times their size) from "their" tree.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Pain Perdu ~ 8.2; the Wild Parrots of San Francisco ~ 8.5

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Dottie’s True blue café

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food." ~ George Bernard Shaw (and he should know; he was a stupid vegetarian, too)

(Continuing the Linda Ronstadt Weekend Tribute. The last song can be taken however you like, but I am sure Linda believes it now more than ever, as do we all as we get older. I always thought she was such a cutie back in the 70's and 80's; she was far from "a classic beauty", but she was also far from ugly ~ well, at least 500 feet from ugly… stupid restraining orders!)

As we near the last month of the Baseball Season, I am going to try to make it through my Breakfastary Rotation over the next few weeks. What better way to start it off than a little morning repast at Dottie's True blue café (see last 'blog-entry from May 6th, 2013)? (That was just a rhetorical question. I would always choose Dottie's over many other places, anyhow.)

I got there about fifteen minutes before they opened this morning (see above photo for times, ya lazy bastages). I was surprised that there were only three people in front of me for a change. These three blokes[1] were all from England. I figured this out all on my own after listening to them speak in a funny accent of 'mericanese, and confirmed it when I asked them which part of Australia they were from. One guy had lived in Harrogate for a while (and even knew of that megalopolis Pateley Bridge, Greg & Cindy). Another is married to a lady from Beverley, near Hull on the Yorkshire coast. I made sure to tell them to be sure to check out the Bakery Specials (the three of them could easily order two baked goods to share) and the normal Specials Board.

You know, in all the times I have ever eaten at Dottie's (at least a hundred or more), I think that I have only ever ordered twice from their printed menu. So, that's what, 97% of the time I order off the Specials Board?

The kitschy salt-and-pepper shakers on my table this morning were some little tiki[2] guys.

(For some reason I can not get this to imbed as a video like the others above. Just click on the hyperlink for this one if you want. This EweToob music interlude can actually still kind of be included in the Linda Ronstadt Weekend Tribute as both of those guys were friends of hers and occasional collaborators on her albums ~ and vice-versa ~ in the 70's.)

As always, there were several good choices on the Specials Board. Nectarine-Plum French Toast sounded very good, and if they didn't have what I eventually ordered on the Specials Board this morning, I would probably have chosen this one. However, as it was, Zucchini Cakes/Uova Benedicto was available again this morning, and I hadn't ordered it since several visits previously (my brother Sean did order this when we went there in May; coincidentally enough, Alison was with us that morning for breakfast, and Linda Ronstadt did a very good cover of that Deckie MacManus song on one of her albums). I also had a cuppa coffee.

I won't go into any long and boring explanation of how brilliant I think this culinary masterpiece is (but it truly is), which is basically an Italiano take on Eggs Benedict. I will just describe it from top to bottom. In place of any stupid "sauce from Holland" on top, they use a speecy-spicy Marinara sauce. Next there are the poached eggs; well, these were just standard poached eggs like you would find on a normal Eggs Benedict. And now, for the pièce de résistance (I do not know how to say that in Italian, though), instead of any boring ol' muffins from Mr. Thomas' bakery, they use fresh made zucchini cakes as the base. I have never really asked how these are made (Kurt would probably kill me if I ever did), but I think it's a cornmeal batter with finely shredded zucchini in it. This meal is always top-notch (or top-Marinara, whatever).

Today's side cup of fruits included: cantaloupe[3], watermelon (an actual botanical berry, of course), blueberries (also berries), strawberries (nope, sorry, not real berries), and blackberries (not real berries either).

I didn't bring any of my own hot sauces with me this morning, nor were any really needed, as I know that Dottie's offers a pretty decent selection for condimentary supplementation. I used some Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce ~ Chipotle on the potatoes. No way was I going to mess with the Marinara sauce on the Zucchini Cakes (again, that would probably be a death sentence from Kurt).

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Zucchini Cakes ~ 7.6; Linda Ronstadt (singing and in general)~ 8.2

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

I know what you're thinking, "Very funny, Brian. You are still saying that 'English' is a foreign language to most 'mericans. Ha ha ha!" However, the origin of the word "Bloke" is actually unknown, but there are a few suggestions as to its origin: one is that it may be from Celtic "ploc" ("a large, stubborn person") or from Romany "loke" ("a man") with its roots in Hindi.

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

In the Māori language, "Tiki" was the name given to large wooden carvings in human shape. In Māori mythology, "Tiki" is the name of the first man created by either Tumataunega or Tāne.

However, there is no truth to the fact that the word was originally coined by Walt Disney in 1955, Adam.

3. Not really a stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day, more like just a stupid, useless etymological/horticultural pointer of the day:

"Cantaloupe" is derived, via French, from the Italian "Cantaluppi" which was formerly a papal villa near Rome. Tradition has it that this is where it was first cultivated in Europe.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Duboce Park Café

"No man knows till (sic) he has suffered from the night how sweet and dear to his heart and eye the morning can be."
~ Bram Stoker, Dracula, Chapter 4 (1897)

(Just a few Linda Ronstadt[1] songs as a weekend tribute. It's nice to still be able to hear her singing, if not ever again live.)

Breakfast doesn't always have to be at some fancy-shmancy brunchificated joint, sometimes you can get a pretty decent meal at a fancy-shmancy café joint. To prove that point, I simply went to Duboce[2] Park[3] Café this morning. They open at 7:00am Monday-Saturday, and at 8:00am on Sunday, which is perfect for me. They are located on the corner of Duboce and Sanchez Streets (coincidentally enough, in the Duboce Triangle[4] neighborhood). This is the sister café to Dolores Park Café (the original of the three) and Precita Park Café. All three spots have very good locations right across from some fine, prime verdancy[5].

I sat by a large (open) sliding window this morning ~ it was almost like eating outside where they have eight sidewalk tables set up; these seat from two to four people each. I was very happy to see that there were no stupid parklets needed here ("Parklets need not apply."). Of course, due to its location, it is a very dog-friendly place (their humans seem to enjoy it all, too).

Duboce Park Café only offers a few egg-ish dishes for breakfast: bagels (the Thai Bagel ~ peanut butter, red onion, and cucumber ~ which sounded very good), French toast, a few scrambles, and the like. I ended up getting the Breakfast Burrito ~ cage-free scrambled eggs (you just try scrambling your eggs inside a cage), bell peppers, ham, Cheddar, salsa fresca, & sour cream in a flour tortilla (veg. option: sub avocado); served with homefried potatoes.

I also had a cuppa Equator Coffee. I like that they offer both Equator Coffee and Sightglass Coffee; however, I didn't notice that until after I had already received my coffee. I probably would have gone for the Sightglass Coffee if I had known. They are both pretty decent companies either way. I asked the front counter lady which roast was being used today and she could only tell me that it was a "dark roast"… oh-kay.

Needless to say, I opted for the "veg. option" and opted out of the dead, decaying porcine thigh leg meat. This was a decent enough breakfastary burrito, but nothing extremely special. It had lots of chunks of fresh green bell peppers and red onions; I would have liked a bit more avocado in it, though. I bet this would have been much better with some fresh jalapeños or serrano peppers in it.

Duboce Park Café only has Tapatío® for condimentary supplementation. I used some of my own Dave's Gourmet® Ginger Peach Hot Sauce (Thanks, Jim! Hoo-ray for Luray!) on the potatoes and some El Yucateco® XXXtra Hot Sauce Salsa Kutbil-ik® de Chile Habanero (Thanks, Brian! Way to go, San Francisco!) judiciously on the burrito.

Even if dogs could read, do you really think they would be able to discern the direction of the arrows or even pay attention to them if they did? Stupid humans!

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Breakfast Burrito ~ 6.2; Equator Coffee (Dark Roast) ~ 6.8; Linda Ronstadt (singing and in general)~ 8.2

1. Wanna hear something interesting? Even though Linda Ronstadt really had her heyday way back in the late 70's (and into the early 80's a bit), if you type in the name "Linda" on Wikipedia, hers is the first one to pop up.

A few other famous people with Parkinson's Disease:

(living) Mohammad Ali, Michael J. Fox, and Bob Hoskins

(deceased) Jim Backus (that would be "Mr. Magoo" or "Thurston Howell, III" to you younger punks), Salvador Dalí, James Doohan ("Mister Scott" on the original Star Trek series), Adolph Hitler (yes, THAT guy; however, I can't be sure if it was the Parkinson's Disease that did him in or not), and Charles Schultz

2. You are probably asking yourself, "Just who was this Duboce guy, and why did he like dogs so much?" (well, even if you aren't, you are going to find out, anyway).

Victor D. Duboce was a Colonel in command of the First California Regiment during the Spanish-American War (And why does Spain always get top billing there? They got their butts kicked by us!). He served as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors after the war.

3. AKA locally and affectionately as "Dog Sh*t Park" (for obvious reasons). This is located near the East Portal of the N-Judah streetcar line.

4. Duboce Triangle is a small neighborhood between the Lower Haight and Castro.

5. Really?! Stupid Bill Gates and his Microsoft Spell-check Nazis did not seem to know this word. Youse guys needs to learn you some gooder English!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

21st Amendment - Brewery - Cafe - Bar

"Everybody is using coffee; this must be prevented. His Majesty was brought up on Beer and so were both his ancestors and officers. Many battles have been fought and won by soldiers nourished on Beer, and the King does not believe that coffee drinking soldiers can be relied on to endure hardships in case of another war." 
~ Frederick the Great, King of Prussia (1740-1786)

(I couldn't find a "21"-related, or "Beer"-related, or even "Pizza"-related song on EweToob that I liked. This completely unrelated song will have to do; mainly 'cause I said so.)

What is better than Beer and Pizza for breakfast? (That was a rhetorical question. Well, maybe Beer, Pizza, and Ice Cream, but Ice Cream wasn't on the menu unfortunately.) So I had breakfast at 21st Amendment - Brewery - Cafe - Bar this morning. It is located just two blocks straight up 2nd Street (between Bryant and Brannan) from AT&T Park, Home of Your World Champion San Francisco Giants. I must admit, the 21st Amendment is one of my favourite of all the Amendments, but the other Twenty Amendments that Noah brought back down with him from Mt. Olympus are okay, too.

The restaurant has a large, indoor warehouse-y space with a Mezzanine[1] Bar and even ten four-seater tables outside on the sidewalk/alleyway (there was even a large big-screen teevee showing this morning's Giants game outside, too). They open at 10:00am for "Brunch" and only on Sundays.

21st Amendment is not just a brew-pub, they actually sell their Beer commercially in stores, too. I have purchased a few different kinds of their Beers in the past; however, they are all sold in aluminum cans, not glass bottles. They give this big reasoning why they actually package their product in cans (which they state are state of the art/new-fangled cans, yadayadayada), but the bottom line is because it's cheaper. Wine should always have real cork stoppers and Beer should always be in glass bottles. Simples!

They really don't offer too many items on the "Brunch" menu (just ten choices). The hardest decision this morning actually was choosing which Beer to have with the meal. I ended up ordering Breakfast Pizza ~ Black Forest ham, mushrooms, spinach, goat cheese, and an egg in the middle. I also had a side of New Potatoes O'Brien. I decided on a glass (well, a plastic cup, whatever) of Hell or High Watermelon Wheat (4.9% ABV), mainly because it is their summer seasonal Beer.

I ordered the Pizza without the ham. It is made with a Beer-mash crust. This was good, but not the best Pizza I have ever had for breakfast. I have no idea what Old Potatoes O'Brien tasted like, but the New ones were pretty decent. In addition to O'Brien potatoes, there were lots of red, green, and yellow bell peppers and (pickled?) red onions. The Beer was served with the requisite slice/chunk of watermelon on the rim (which I saw fit to eat for dessert, of course).

21st Amendment offers the San Francisco Triumvirate of Hot Sauces for condimentary supplements: Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red), Tapatío®, and Cholula® Hot Sauce. I forewent any of those and used some of my own Palo Alto Firefighters Pepper Sauce ~ XX Habanero (Thanks agains, Amys and Brian!) generously on the Pizza and some Serious Food… Silly Prices Chunky Habanero Hot Sauce (Thanks, Cindy & Greg!) on the potatoes. The manager-guy noticed my little collection of hot sauces in front of me and tried some of the PAFFPS~XX Habanero; he really seemed to like it a lot, too, and I might have talked him into getting some to use in their restaurant. What can I say? This is really one of the best hot sauces (either the standard or the slightly hotter XX Habanero) that I have ever tried ~ not too hot, but it has a great amount of flavour.

Despite what Old Fritz said, I did make myself a cuppa Peet's® Ethiopian Fancy when I got home and was writing up this 'blog-entry.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Breakfast Pizza ~ 6.7; Hell or High Watermelon Wheat ~ 7.0

1. Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer del giorno:

"Mezzanine" comes from French, from the Italian word "mezzanino" which is the diminutive of  "mezzano" (meaning "middle"), from Latin "mediānus" (meaning "median/of the middle"), Malcolm.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Chava’s Mexican Restaurant

"Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana[1]." ~ Groucho Marx

(No official web-site)

2839 Mission Street (between 24th and 25th Streets)

phonicular contact: (415) 282-0283

(I figured this was an à propos EweToob link. I have no idea what Linda and her mariachi[2] buddies are singing about, though. I think it translates loosely as "The cockroaches enter, but they never leave." Must be some kinda Mexican pest control commercial.)

I can not believe that it has been three years (tres años) since I last ate breakfast at
Chava's[3] Mexican Restaurant (see last 'blog-entry from August 8th, 2010). They open at 8:00am daily (they used to open up at 6:00am when they were still at their old location on 18th Street many years ago; I occasionally went there for breakfast before work when I used to work nearby) which is nice and early enough for me (and I really don't know how to say "Brunch" in Spanish, anyway). This can be either a good thing or a bad thing: they have their jukebox (tocadiscos tragamonedas) blasting out música de mariachi and the like even early in the morning.

I used to have Chava's in my Breakfastary Rotation and would go there at least four to six times a year. They were DFA'd several years back because I would always get the same thing there and it made for a rather boring trip, but even after that I still would go back a few times a year. I didn't get the Chilaquiles for a change this morning, but their version is my touchstone/paradigm for chilaquiles and it is still one of the best that I have ever had. I just ordered the Huevos a la Mexicana ~ 3 huevos revueltos con cebolla, tomate y chile verde (3 scrambled eggs with onions, tomato, and green bell pepper); se sirves con arroz, frijoles (refritos) y tortillas (de maíz) hechas a mano (served with rice, refried beans, and handmade corn tortillas). Even before taking your order, they will bring out corn tortilla chips and (at least) two different salsas; today there were a pico de gallo and a simple salsa roja. I also had a cuppa Café Mexicano (this is really just a standard cuppa coffee, but I call it that because I add about three to four teaspoons of sugar ~ azúcar ~ and fill it to the brim with milk ~ con leche; that is how I first saw a lot of local Mexicans doing it years ago and I make it una tradición to do so whenever I eat desayuno at a Mexican joint now).

I probably should have asked for them to add at least one jalapeño pepper to the scramble; they will do this if you ask and they will usually char the jalapeño pepper on an open flame first, too. There was nothing wrong with the scramble, it could just have used a bit more fuego, I think. I like that there are corn and peas in the rice. What I will usually do is mix the rice with the refried beans and add some salsa (I used most of the pico de gallo this morning) to it and make a sort of dip for the corn tortilla chips. Their handmade corn tortillas (two of them this morning; one would not be enough and three would be too much for me) were fresh and hot right off the griddle as I was the first customer in the door; they usually make the tortillas up fresh for each order, anyway, and they have one lady that is dedicated to that task all day long. This is always an awful lot of food and I can barely finish it all and subsequently am not hungry until way after lunchtime has passed.

Other than the above-mentioned fresh-made condimentary supplementation, Chava's also has bottles of Tapatío® on the tables, which are pretty superfluous if you ask me. I never bother bringing anything from my own collection with me when I go to breakfast in the Mission. Neither of their hot sauces were really overly gringo picante today. I even used up all of the salsa roja in with the scramble mess.

Tempus fugit, Musa sapientum ambulat?

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Huevos a la Mexicana ~ 6.8 (this is factoring in their excellent handmade corn tortillas)

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

The English word "banana" comes from the Wolof word "banaana". It is interesting that the Latin/botanical term for banana is the genus Musa. That word may have been adapted from the Arabic word for banana, "
موز" (somewhat pronounced like "moose"). That was one of the few Arabic words that I ever learned and it came in very handy on hot days (110°+… in September… in the shade) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia when I was ordering a refreshing, cold banana juice drink.

And just because you were patient enough for all of that, here is/are "banana" in several other languages:

Spanish/Bosnian/Catalan/Croatian/Irish/Maltese/Portuguese/Slovenian/Welsh ~ banana (simply pronounced like you would think)
French ~ banane (pronounced "banana")
German ~ Banane (also pronounced "banana")
Greek ~
μπανάνα (pronounced just like it looks ~ sorry, I never get tired of that joke; stupid, useless cunning linguist sub-pointer: in Greek there is no letter "B", so to make the sound of a "B", they put an "M" and a "P" together to get the similar sound; it actually works, try it ~ "MP"; however, I have no idea what they call the Air Force police force)
Italian/Albanian ~ banane (however, this one is pronounced as "bananay")
Russian/Belarusian/Bulgarian/Ukranian ~
банан (pronounced "banan")
Afrikaans ~ piesang (pronounced "peesang"; additional stupid, useless cunning linguist sub-pointer: normally Afrikaans is a Dutch-based language; however, this word comes from the Malay word; bananas are native to tropical South and Southeast Asia)
Armenian ~
բանան (pronounced "banan")
Azerbaijani/Danish/Norwegian/Polish*/Swedish ~ banan (I would suppose it is pronounced as simply as it looks, too)
Basque ~ platano (again, I assume it is just pronounced as it looks; see: "plantain")
Czech/Hungarian/Slovak ~ banán (I will let you determine how to pronounce this one)
Dutch/Estonian ~ banaan
Esperanto ~ banano (just in case you ever find yourself stuck in downtown Esperantotown and have curtailed your Walpoling activities because you find yourself a bit peckish, esurient, eee-'ungry-like for a banana)
Filipino ~ saging
Finnish ~ banaani
Galician/Lithuanian ~ bananas (feel free to ask Fielding Mellish how to pronounce that one)
Georgian ~
ბანანის (pronounced "bananis")
Haitian Creole ~ bannann
Icelandic ~ banani (and there is no truth at all to the rumour that bananas originated in Iceland)
Indonesian/Malay ~ pisang
Japanese ~
バナナ (pronounced "banana")
Korean ~
바나나 (pronounced "banana")
Latvian ~ banāns
Macedonian/Serbian ~
банана (pronounced "banana")
Romanian ~
Turkish ~ muz (pronounced "moose")
Yiddish ~
באַנאַנע (You want I should pronounce it like "banan"?)

And, of course, as always, bananas are an actual botanical berry.

*(I was going to end this explanation saying that the Polish word for "banana" was "żółty owoc", but figured the whole Polish jokes thing has been pretty much exhausted by now.)

2. Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer del día, número dos:

(Stolen directly from Wikipedia, so take it for what it is.)

The word "mariachi" was thought to have derived from the French word "mariage" (meaning "marriage") dating from the French Intervention in Mexico in the 1860's, related to the music's appearance at weddings. This was a common explanation on record jackets and travel brochures. However, this theory was disproven with the appearance of documents that showed that the word existed before this invasion. The origin of the word is still in dispute, but most of the prominent theories state that it has indigenous roots. One states that it comes from the name of the wood from which the dance platform is made. Another states that "mariachi" comes from the indigenous name of a tree called pilla or cirimo, and yet another states that it came from an image locally called "Maria H" (pronounced "mah-ree-ah Ah-chay").

3. "Chava" is the nickname in Mexico for a guy named "Salvador". I can only assume that the owner is named Salvador.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Golden Coffee

"When traveling with someone, take large doses of patience and tolerance with your morning coffee." ~ Helen Hayes

(No official web-site)

901 Sutter Street (on the corner of Leavenworth Street)

phonicular contact: (415) 922-0537

(The first EweToob link by the Beatles should be easy enough to figure out from the name of today's breakfastary destination. The second one, coincidentally enough, happened to be playing on the restaurant's stereo while I was there.)

Golden Coffee (it isn't specified anywhere whether it is a "Shop", "Café", or "Cafe" even) is located in Lower Nob Hill (or Upper Tenderloin, take your pick; I suppose it all depends on which direction you are coming from). It is a small, family-owned diner-type place that looks like it's been in the same spot for at least fifty years. It is run by just two people: "Mom" takes your orders and serves you, and "Pop" does all the cooking by himself. They open up nice and early daily at 7:ooam, which is always a plus for me.

There are only two tables for four people, but there are sixteen diner counter seats (these are the circular kind without backs, and at one time were probably a dark red vinyl, but have become sun-bleached over many, many years). The main/central focus of the joint is the 3-sided rectangular diner counter, anyway. The clientele seems to be mostly neighborhood regulars, but I actually heard about it on yelp* and there seems to be a loyal following (with mostly 4- and 5-
ratings amongst the yelpers*, yelpites*, yelp-a-holics*, whatevers*). The place is so small and unassuming, though, that I think they should have a sign above the counter: "No Lingering Allowed/Necessary". You just eat and pay, and go on your merry way.

A very chimerical Grotesque and Gargoyle[1] Interlude
(Sorry, Ms. Cole, try as I might, I really couldn't work in a decent segue to "Gargoyle". It's not as if there is a Notre-Dame de Paris on every corner in San Francisco.) A few weeks back, I happened to notice some little piggy-head figures outside of a restaurant on Church Street (I think it may have been incanto). I posted a picture of one on defacedbook and incorrectly identified it as a "gargoyle", but was correctly corrected (by someone that shall remain named Gretchen) that unless it has a waterspout, it isn't a "gargoyle", it is really just a "grotesque" (or "chimera"). I never knew that distinction before. I always just assumed that if there was some grotesquely-looking head hanging off the façade of a building that it was automatically a "gargoyle". Well, live and (pork?) loin.

Now back to the actual breakfast part of this (supposedly) breakfast 'blog.

Golden Coffee has a very typical dinerish breakfast menu (much the same as yesterday's entry). I simply had the Spanish Omelet ~ with mushrooms, onions, & tomato sauce; served with hash brown (noted as two words and singular) and toast. And seeing as it was half of their name, I also had a cuppa the house coffee (which was actually brown, not golden, though).

This was a decent enough omelette (much better than I could ever make), but it was really nothing all that special. It was about as good as I figured it might be in a small, friendly, family-owned diner-style place. And there is nothing wrong with that at all. I liked the hashbrowns a lot (which, strangely enough, were more of a golden-brown); they are made fresh with each order. For my toasted bread side, I chose whole wheat toast (it was brown, not golden, but I expected that).

Golden Coffee has Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red stuff), Crystal® Louisiana's Pure Hot Sauce, and an unidentified Asian-style thick pepper sauce in plastic squeeze bottles for condimentary supplements. I used some of my own Nando's Extra Hot Peri-Peri Sauce on the omelette (Thanks, Kerry!) and some of the Asian hot sauce on the potatoes. The Nando's actually went well with the sweetish tomato sauce; it tempered the sweetness a bit. The Asian-style hot sauce was very good; spicy, but a little sweet, too.

On my way back home on the bus, there was a lady sitting next to me that was talking to (well, mostly arguing with) herself. I think that there is a thin line between crazy and sane ~ a pair of earbuds, perhaps? If she had been wearing a pair of earbuds, I am sure that people would just assume that she was having a conversation on her mobular "smart" phone. A very loud and insane conversation, but still…

For the record, I take my morning coffee black (not golden) and have no time whatsoever for that intolerable sugar.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Spanish Omelet ~ 5.9

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

"Gargoyle" comes from Middle English "gargoile", from Old French "gargouille"/"gargoule" (literally meaning "throat"); compare to Latin "gurgulio", "gula", and "gargula" (meaning "gullet" or "throat"). (See also "gargle" and "gullet".)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Cafe Rain Tree

"Take a walk on the mild side…"[1]

(No official web-site; well, it might be, but when I tried that link, nothing came up.)

654 Irving Street (on the corner of 8th Avenue)

phonicular contact: (415) 665-3633

(The first EweToob song somewhat goes along with the name of this morning's restaurant; this is a Bob Dylan cover duet by Tom Russell and Lucinda Williams, both of whom I have seen perform live a few times ~ Thanks, Skip! The second song is just a very strange cover and I like it, and the title to today's 'blog-entry sorta relates to it.)

I have passed by Cafe Rain Tree[2] many times (it's right next door to a funny-book store ~ not that I would ever frequent such an establishment, Dr. Cooper), but this was the first time I have ever eaten at this location. From what I can tell, there is a second/sister restaurant on West Portal Avenue (see 'blog-entry from November 6th, 2010). So, which came first: the chicken on Irving Street or the egg on West Portal?

They open early enough to be called a real "breakfast" place, as they open at 7:00am daily. Maybe if you are looking to get a Five-Star "Brunch" meal, you will have to wait four more hours and go across the street to Pasión. For seating, Cafe Rain Tree has five tables for four; two tables for two; and eleven diner counter seats (replete with the requisite red/burgundy vinyl covering) ~ these were the 360° spinning kind, but had backs to them and weren't just round stools. There is easy parking just a block away in Golden Gate Park, which is always nice.

Cafe Rain Tree has your typical diner-ish breakfast menu, but they do offer a few specials, too. I am sure those of you that partake of the dead, decaying animal flesh would like the Irish Breakfast ~ 2 Irish bacon, 2 Irish sausage, 2 eggs & homefries (they didn't specify if these were of Irish origin or not), black & white pudding, grilled tomatoes, & toast (for some reason, no baked beans, though). I had the California Omelette ~ with tomato, avocado, spinach, (the Oxford comma was provided courtesy of me, and at no extra charge) & Jack cheese; served with home fried potatoes and toast or English muffin. I also had a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice (with lots of pulpy goodness ~ if you want your orange juice pulp-free, drink Fanta®).

The omelette was good enough and contained lots of spinach, but not really enough avocado for my liking, though. I went with sourdough as my choice of toast. Their homefries are made with green and yellow bell peppers and white onions.

For condimentary supplementation, Cafe Rain Tree offers both Tapatío® and Crystal® Louisiana's Pure Hot Sauce on the tables. I used some of my own Cholula® Hot Sauce on the potatoes (Thanks, Brian! That was the last of that bottle. Now I only have about seventeen more to use up in my refrigerator.) and a little Serious Food… Silly Prices Mango Hot Sauce (Thanks, Cindy & Greg!) on the omelette.

My French model girlfriend always says, don't believe what you read on yelp* (or the rest of the Intro-Net even, especially in this 'blog). In doing a little research before going (back) to Cafe Rain Tree (what time they open, what they might offer on their menu, etc.), I read a lot (I mean A LOT) of negative reviews on yelp* and the like. I am pig-headed[3] enough to reserve my own opinion (and foist it upon people here) until I have actually tried a place. I don't know what all of the brouhaha was on yelp*. This was a decent enough place to eat. Would I recommend it to people or go back again someday? Sure, it's not as if you need to run right out and visit it, but it's a fine enough place to eat if you are hungry and are already on Irving Street (and Crepevine, Irving Street Cafe, or Art's Cafe aren't open yet; I have no idea whether the food at Pasión is any good or not, as I have never waited until 11:00am to eat there for "Brunch").

I skipped a cuppa at the restaurant, as I figured anything I can make at home had to be as good or better than standard diner coffee. So I am enjoying a very decent cuppa fresh-dripped Peet's® Ethiopian Fancy.

I also asked my French model girlfriend what she thought would be the name of a good Chinese-French fusion restaurant? But of course ~ "Měi Wèi"[4].

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: California Omelette ~ 5.9; Peet's® Ethiopian Fancy ~ 7.1

1. This motto was used by a local musical group, the Dinos. They were active in the late 80's and early 90's. They mainly were a kitschy lounge-lizard combo group that played a buncha hokey songs (their Tom Jones tribute was hilarious: "It's Not Unusual"/"Delilah"/"What's New Pussycat?"). They used to play every Thursday night at the old Club Paradise (on the corner of Folsom and 11th Streets). They used to joke that they would be playing there every Thursday night until the end of time ~ and that then you'd probably catch them playing twice a night on Thursdays in Hell afterward, too.

The lead singer was (Little) Roger Clark. He used to have a band in the 70's called Little Roger and the Goosebumps. Their claim to fame was a novelty song called "Stairway to Gilligan's Island". It got a lot of airplay on the Dr. Demento Show and the like.

Supposedly, Lead Dirigible threatened to sue them for using this song. Of course, that publicity only "lead" to its appeal. Apparently, Roger Plant found it pretty funny, though. It was also said that Sherwood Schwartz (creator of "Gilligan's Island" and he co-wrote the theme song to it, too) absolutely hated this parody.

There is no truth to the tale that if you play this backward that it plays "The Brady Bunch" theme song.

2. If you are like me and are about as botanical as Monsanto (I am getting to where I can tell the difference between some types of flowers at least), you wouldn't know a "Rain Tree" from a "Eucalyptus" unless there were koalas climbing all over them (luckily, we have eradicated most of the marsupial scourge in this part of California). So I actually looked up what a "Rain Tree" was. It's some kinda tree that is native to the Neotropics, ranging from Mexico south to Peru and Brazil.

Why the owners chose "Rain Tree" as a name for the restaurant, I do not know. As far as I could tell, the place is owned by an Asian family.

3. As a vegetarian, maybe I should call myself "cauliflower-headed" instead.

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

When I first came up with that joke, I just figured it would be funny because "mais oui" in French (pronounced "may we") simply means "but" or "but yes". Now here is the truly strange part (sometimes I amaze even myself): the Chinese sound-alike words "" (close enough to "may"/"mais") and "" (close enough to "we"/"oui") together mean "beautiful place".

Sunday, August 4, 2013


"Let the children lose it,
Let the children use it,
Let all the children boo-gay…"

~ David Boney, "Starman"

(Just for clarification purposes, the first EweToob song was actually written ~ or co-written with George Harrison, supposedly ~ by Richard Starkey. While he really wasn't very prolific in his writing many songs, what he lacked in quantity, he more than made up for with his vocal prowess; everyone knows that he was really the most talented of all those mop-topped Scousers.)

It had been a while since I last ate at Boogaloos (see last 'blog-entry from December 24th, 2012), so I figured it was about time for a revisit. I used to go there a lot more often when I still had them in my Breakfastary Rotation; unfortunately, I had DFA'd them a few years back ~ due to no fault of theirs, just due to distance. They open up at 8:00am daily, which is always nice. It seems like just yesterday morning that I was on Valencia Street for breakfast.

LARGER than normal stupid parklet mini-rant of the day
There are three
(trois, drie, oder drei) of these parking-obstruction abominations along just one block of Valencia Street, between 2oth and 21st Street. At least these were all of the one- or two-car space blockades only. However, there was another just up the road between 22nd and 23rd Streets that took up three (trois, drie, oder drei) spaces. I won't bother mentioning the establishments that all of these are in front of: 1) I don't want to give any unnecessary publicity to these Nazi organizations, and 2) more importantly, I didn't bother to write down the names.

At least, the smaller execration in the top photo has a pretty cool triceratops topiary and takes up less than one parking space as it actually is blocking a driveway (of whom,  I can only assume the owner is the main sponsor of the stupid thing) and only hangs over a bit in either direction. But the second photo shows a three-space absurdity. I wonder how many of these joints actually have the proper city permits to even serve food on the sidewalk, let alone in the street in one of these plagues upon parking. Because, let's be honest here, folks, these really have nothing at all to do with making San Francisco a greener place to live; these are all about showing how "hep" your stupid hipster-doofus business is to have one of these newest abhorrences in front of it.

Back to the good part of the 'blog-entry ~ that would be the breakfast part, of course. I have eaten at Boogalos so many times that I have tried most of their breakfast dishes many times over (and they offer one of the best selections around for stupid vegetarians). This morning I simply went with the time-worn classic, Boogaloo Classic ~ 2 eggs, homefries, and a big ol' biscuit smothered in even more famous veggie herb-cream gravy, green onion. I also had a cuppa bottomless coffee (luckily I had remembered to wear my rubber pants this morning).

I had my eggs prepared "over medium". That they even offer a veggie gravy is a big plus; that it is very good is even better. The meal itself is all pretty simple, but the fresh made biscuit with the veggie gravy made it simply sublime, Mr. Nowell. They have some of the better version of homefries in San Francisco, too. As is my tradition whenever eating at Boogaloos, I added some maple syrup to my coffee. (Why? Because it was there on the table, of course.) Now the eggs over medium were outstanding, too. These may have been the best eggs over medium that I have had. I will go as far as to say that they may have been the best egg dish I have ever had in my entire life. Really?! No. They were just eggs "over medium"; even I can almost make those.

Boogaloos has plastic serving bottles of Tapatío® on all the tables for condimentary supplements. I used some of my own Hula Girl Chipotle Habanero (Thanks, Jim! Hoo-ray for Luray!!) on the eggs and some CaJohns Fiery Foods Oaxacan Hot Sauce (Thanks, Brian! Let's go, San Francisco?!) on the potatoes. The herb-cream gravy was plenty tasty enough on its own without me messing with it, though.

"There's a Starman waiting in the sky, He's told us not to blow it, 'Cause he knows it's all worthwhile, He told me: Eat at Boogaloos!"

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Boogaloo Classic ~ 6.5; big ol' biscuit smothered in even more famous veggie herb-cream gravy (by itself) ~ 7.2