Sunday, October 27, 2013

Darren’s Cafe

"One need not be a chamber to be haunted;
One need not be a house;
The brain has corridors surpassing 
Material place."
~ Emily Dickinson

(No official web-site.)

phonicular contact: (415) 673-3345

Place: Darren's Cafe
Location: 2731 Taylor Street (between Beach & Jefferson Streets)
Hours: open Saturday and Sunday at 8:00am
Meal: Veggie Omelette ~ 3 eggs, spinach, mushroom, (red) onion, tomato, (green) bell peppers, with Swiss cheese, served w/hashbrowns or country potatoes & choice of English muffin, wheat, white, or sourdough; and a cuppa whatever the house coffee was (I forgot to ask) 

(Just a couple of Hallowe'eny tunes to set the mood. Not to suggest that the food was scary or horrifying at today's breakfastary sojourn, though.)

There really aren't that many places in the Fisherman's Wharf area for breakfast, but I tried one of the few that I hadn't been to yet: Darren's Cafe (sans accent aigu, ás bést I cán fígúré) ~ established 2007; which happens to be the last time the Boston Red Sox won the World Series. It's a friendly little place with seating for about 50 people inside and another four sidewalk tables for four people each. This is mostly a tourista destination (it goes with the territory); gotta keep Joe and Irma Exlax well-fed before a long day of sightseeing and tchotchke[1] buying.

the Corporatization of Fisherman's Wharf mini-Rant
Which brings us to today's mini-rant. I know that Fisherman's Wharf caters mainly to the mindless tourista set and can get away with most of those awful, corporate, garbage restaurants like In-N-Out Burger, Applebee's, Chipotle, Ben & Jerry's (and how come it isn't "Ben's & Jerry's", isn't that grammatically correct?), Monsanto Bar & Grille, etc. It has been that way for probably thirty years or more now. I just wish there were more local, family-owned joints (such as Darren's Cafe this morning) to patronize. Luckily there are still a few of the old-guard, local establishments along the way like Alioto's Restaurant (for fresh seafood and Italian cuisine) and that great Irish pub, McDonald's.

(mini-rant over. Back to your regularly scheduled 'blog-entry.)

Darren's Cafe has two pages on their menu dedicated to the breakfastarian muse. They offer everything from Pancakes, French Toast & Waffles, Three Egg Scrambles, Three Egg Omelettes to Benedicts (four versions) and several other Breakfast Specials.

The omelette was a decent enough rendition (however, again, I just hate the term "Veggie"). It had lots of fresh (not frozen) spinach (which really does make a difference) in it. My one minor complaint would be that they use that fake/processed, flavourless Swiss cheese stuff (at least there was a lot of it). It is always nice to have a choice of potatoes side dishes; I went with the hashbrowns and they were very nice and crispy. I had sourdough as my choice of toast.

For condimentary supplements, Darren's Cafe offers Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the original red), Tapatío®, and Huy Fong Foods Inc.® Sriracha. On the omelette I used some of my own Mama Africa's Zulu Sauces Chili Mint (Thanks, Kerry!), and on the hashbrowns I went with a combination of some Youk's Hot Sauce (Thanks, Brian!) and (once again) just 4-6 drops of Big Papi En Fuego Hot Sauce Off The Wall Triple Hot (Thanks also, Kerry!) for extra added mojo[2]. Today I am also wearing my 2004 World Series Champions t-shirt (of course, both Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz were players on that team, as well as the 2007 championship team). Right now, the Red Sox can use every little bit of magic that they can get.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Veggie Omelette ~ 6.2

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

"Tchotchke" (to rhyme with "botch ka") derives from a Slavic word for "trinket/gewgaw":
Ukrainian "цяцька", Polish "cacko" (singular) and "cacka" (plural), Slovak "čačka", Russian "цацка" (singular) and "цацки" (plural) ~ adapted to Yiddish (also spelled as "tsatske" to rhyme with "Tosca").

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

Interestingly enough, the word "mojo"* also has its origins in Yiddish. The word derives from a 19th Century Jewish Brooklyn magician named Moses Jones. "Mo" was a master of legerdemain and took a young Hungarian immigrant named Erik Weisz under his wing and taught him a trick or two. 

*(Did anyone really buy any of that? Actually, the word "mojo" comes from Gullah "moco", meaning "witchcraft/magic", probably akin to Fulani "moco'o", meaning "medicine man".)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Citizen’s Band (and Pinkie’s Bakery)

"Life is like an onion; you peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep." ~ Carl Sandberg

Place: Citizen's Band (and Pinkie's Bakery)
Location: 1198 Folsom Street (at 8th Street)
Hours: "Brunch" Saturday and Sunday 10am to 2pm (and sat-sun: 9am-3pm)
Meal: Hash & Eggs ~ potatoes, yam, butternut squash, onions, Brussels sprouts, and molasses[1] honey glaze; Pumpkin doughnut; and a cuppa Mr. Espresso® coffee 

(The first EweToob video's connection should be apparent from today's breakfastary destination; that is Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham on harmony vocals ~ they both had a bit of a career on their own, too. The second song ~ a great cover of a Tom Waits song, by the way ~ is just for the bleary of hearing.)

I had breakfast at another new (for me) place: Citizen's Band. They share a building with Pinkie's Bakery. I am not quite sure what the relationship is between the two joints, but it all works for me. There is only seating for a total of 30 people ~ with 18 table seats and an additional 12 diner-counter seats (which were these very cool black wrought-iron swivel stools). They state that there is seating for 40 total on their web-site (but who can sit on a web-site); however, they may be including some seating available next door at Pinkie's Bakery.

Citizen's Band only offers eight to nine different items on their "Brunch" menu, but there were a couple of nice choices even for stupid vegetarians. The Cornflake-encrusted French Toast sounded very interesting and may deserve a return trip one of these days, but potato-based dishes always win out with me.

You can get the two eggs on top of the hash any way you want them. I went with eggs over-medium (actually, they were a little "overly medium-well", but that beats not being cooked enough). I knew I was going to like this a lot with not only potatoes, yams, and butternut squash in it, but especially with Brussels sprouts in it, too. I don't care what a lot of people think; I happen to love Brussels sprouts (and these were fresh, not frozen). Brussels sprouts beat the vile weed any day. The only thing that might have made this dish even better would have been the inclusion of beets. This is easily the Best (as in "Most Interesting") New Breakfast (or "Brunch" even) Find of 2013 for me.

Mr. Espresso® is a local (Oakland-based) roastery and manufacturer of espresso machines. I have had it many times before. This was a good cuppa coffee (and I probably had 2-3 refills while there). I especially liked that it is served in all different kinds of mugs (shades of Eddie's Cafe).

(Sorry, for the quality of this photo. Like most of my photos, the entire picture encompasses a bit of bokeh[2] on purpose; well, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. I am blaming the over-lighting of the two restaurant fronts above on Mr. Sun, though.)

This was just a plain cake doughnut, but it was glazed with a great tasting pumpkin (and spices) flavoured frosting. Pinkie's Bakery offers about eight different doughnuts from which to choose daily. They are also a wholesale bakery and sell different types of bread along with many other fresh-baked specialties.

Citizen's Band has a pretty decent selection of condimentary supplementation; they offer the standard San Francisco Triumvirate ~ Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the original red), Tapatío®, and Cholula® Hot Sauce ~ as well as Crystal® Louisiana's Pure Hot Sauce, and Huy Fong Foods Inc.® Sriracha. I still used some of my own Serious Food… Silly Prices Chunky Habanero (Thanks, Cindy & Greg!) on half of the pile and some Nando's® Extra Hot Peri-Peri Sauce (Thanks, Kerry!) on the other half of the pile; plus, just 4-6 drops of Big Papi En Fuego Hot Sauce Off The Wall Triple Hot (Thanks also, Kerry!) all over the mess. I didn't figure the doughnut needed any extra spicing up, though.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Hash & Eggs ~ 7.2; Pumpkin doughnut ~ 7.0

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

"Molasses" (earlier "molassos") comes from Portuguese "melaços" (the plural of "melaço"), which comes from Late Latin "mellācium" ("half-boiled new wine"), for "mellāceum", neuter of "mallāceus" ("honeylike"), equivalent to "mell-", stem of "mel" ("honey") + "-āceus" ("-aceous").

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

The term "Bokeh"* comes from the Japanese word "ぼけ", which means "blur" or "haze", Jimi. The term can also be used in the sense of a mental haze or senility. It is pronounced "boKEH", which is not to be confused with the similar sounding "ボケ", pronounced "BOkeh", which is Japanese for "Japanese quince". It is also not to be confused with the stupid vegetarian substitute Boca Burgers. They just taste a bit out of focus too those that eat the dead, decaying ground animal flesh.

*(See, Cassy, I figured I could work it into this stupid 'blog sooner or later.)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Red’s Java House

This ain't breakfast, this is genocide…

Place: Red's Java House
Location: Pier 30 (on the Embarcadero[1] at Bryant[2] Street)
Hours: Breakfast is served Monday through Friday from 7:00am to 11:00am; Saturday and Sunday 9:00am to close
Meal: Breakfast Quesadilla[3]; and another cuppa America's Best Coffee 

(Okay. I know that just yesterday I said it was never-EVAH to be called "Frisco", but if you are a Soul/Rhythm & Blues Legend, you can call this little town any ol' thing you please. Besides, who says that Mr. Redding wasn't sittin' on the dock of the bay in Colorado, Idaho, or Utah?)

I had breakfast with a view to kill for, James (or a view of the bridge, Arthur) at Red's Java House this morning. This was the first time I have ever had a breakfastary meal there, but I have eaten (and drank) there a few times (see last 'blog-entry from May 2nd, 2010). Pier 30 is right down the road from AT&T Park (formerly Pacific Bell Park), home of your still current World Series Champions, San Francisco Giants. Red's Java House is not to be confused with the completely unrelated Java House (which is located just a few blocks/piers further down the Embarcadero at Pier 40), which also serves breakfast on the weekends. 

(If you look closely, you can actually see the top of AT&T Park above the sign.)

The best part about it being the off-season for the San Francisco Giants and early on a Sunday morning is that parking is readily available (and free until 12:00 Noon); so I parked directly across the street. Even though it was still a bit foggy and chilly, I still had to sit outside on their deck-patio to fully get the whole "sittin' on the dock of the Bay" experience.

Behind the ordering-counter, there is a chalkboard that has a trivia "Question of the Week" on it and if you answer it correctly, you get a free soda or French fries (or something). Today's "Question of the Week" was: What did the thieves set out to steal in the movie "Reservoir Dogs"?[4] I didn't attempt to answer it as I have only seen the movie once in full (and over twenty years ago now). I probably have seen clips of the entire film over the years, though.

Red's Java House does not offer a lot of choices for breakfast (thankfully, they offer no "Brunch" items either), just six total; however, they also serve cornbeef hash on the weekends. This is not a fancy place whatsoever (or whatsoevah); the food is served on paper plates and with plastic utensils. Although, for some reason, the napkins were made from 100% silk and I felt really bad about throwing them in the trash with the rest of my garbage.

This was basically just a flour tortilla with scrambled eggs and cheese (and probably just plain ol' 'merican cheese at that) in it. It was nothing I couldn't make at home myself (if I ever had any eggs… or tortillas; I always have some kinda cheese, and definitely better than 'merican cheese). This would normally come with some kinda dead, decaying animal flesh in it, too; but they gave me a side of homefried potatoes instead (which is a great trade-off if you ask me). And, like yesterday, the coffee was very good, just not the "Best".

Red's Java House offers for condimentary supplements Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (both the original red and green Jalapeño) and Tapatío®. I used some of my own El Yucateco® XXXtra Hot Sauce Salsa Kutbil-ik® de Chile Habanero (Thanks, Brian!) inside the quesadilla along with the red salsa that was provided (which tasted like it was probably just from a jar, but hopefully not from "New York City!") and some Florida Gold Premium Habanero Hot Sauce (Thanks, Kerry!) on the potatoes. 

After breakfast I walked over to AT&T Park to take in more of the great views along the water and the nice Fall weather we are having right now. It was nice to see that there were many dogs out-and-about with their human companions doing the same.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Breakfast Quesadilla ~ 5.5; Atmosphere and million $$$ views of the Bay ~ 8.5

1. Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer del día, número uno:

"Embarcadero" means "the place to embark" and derives its name from the Spanish verb "embarcar" (meaning "to embark" ~ sometimes these things ain't rocket surgery).

2. Bryant Street is named for Edwin Bryant. He was the second alcalde (pre-statehood Mayor) of the city of San Francisco. He was also the cousin of the poet William Cullen Bryant. Also of note, he traveled part of the way to California with the Donner Party. Fortunately, he and a small group rode ahead of the rest of the wagon train and presumably had much better meals along the way.

Would you ever R.S.V.P. an invitation to the Donner Party? And what kind of wine is best to serve with human flesh?

3. Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-culinaristic pointer del día, número dos:

"Quesadilla" comes from Spanish; it is the diminutive of "quesada" (a type of cheesecake) which comes from "queso" ("cheese"). 

4. Answer: Diamonds, dogs.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Liberty Café and Bakery

"Hope makes a good breakfast. Eat plenty of it." ~ Ian Fleming, From Russia With Love

Place: The Liberty Café and Bakery
Location: 410 Cortland Avenue
Hours: "Brunch" ~ 9am - 3pm, Saturday-Sunday
Meal: Veggie[1] Frittata ~ portabello, arugala (sic), Sun dried tomato, mozz. (which I hoped was a reference to Mozzarella cheese and not some kinda choral mozzetta, which always makes for a very stringy breakfast dish) with mixed greens; a side order of Country Potatoes (I assumed the country was either Peru or Bolivia); and a cuppa America's Best Coffee 

(Man. That Keanu Reeves dude can surely act. I really bought it that he was that Dr. Huxtable guy. And Phylicia Rashād never looked better as Catherine Earnshaw, too.)

I made a return trip to the Liberty Café and Bakery (see last 'blog-entry from August 21st, 2010) way over in Bernal Heights[2], Heathcliff. This is a really good place for breakfast (which they unfortunately call "Brunch"), but it's always a bit of a trek getting there. For the rest of this 'blog-entry, I will be shortening their name to the Liberty Café, which they alternately have written as "Café" (avec accent aigu) in some places on their web-site and as "Cafe" (sans accent aigu) on their signage and menu. There really aren't that many places from which to choose breakfast (or "Brunch") on "Main Street" (Cortland Avenue), Bernal Heights.

I sat outside again in the open-air patio area between the main restaurant (house) and the cottage-bakery out back. It was still a bit chilly this morning (and the Sun hadn't quite reached the enclosed patio area yet) and they offered to turn on those overhead gas heater thingys, but I declined. I had a jacket on and was fine; besides, if I wanted to sit inside where it was warmer, I could easily have done so. What is the point of eating outside otherwise?

I found this pretty cool. They even show movies on Friday and Saturday nights in the patio area now on one of the blank walls. Tonight they are showing both "My Neighbor Totoro"[3] and "High Fidelity"[4].

stupid parklet mini-rant of the day
Seriously?! The entire business area of Cortland Avenue is barely 6-7 blocks long and there is one of these stupid urban wastelets there. Luckily, it is just one of the two-parking space obstructions, but it is still a completely useless blight. I guess having to walk "all the way" to either Bernal Heights Park (which is THREE blocks away, of course) or Holly Park (well, I can see how SIX blocks might be just too far away for most people to walk while trying to balance their Decaf Mocha Double Latte with soymilk and a twist with their mobular device pressed to their empty heads). This one happens to be located in front of some place called Kinfolk; yet still another place to make my "List". Hmmm?! Maybe the city should turn both Bernal Heights Park and Holly Park into parking garages and rename the neighborhood "Stupid Parklet Heights".

(Back to breakfast or "Brunch".)

The Liberty Café has several good things from which to choose on their standard breakfastary (well, "Weekend Brunch") menu. Plus, they offer a few different frittata specials on the weekend (one for stupid vegetarians and another for dead, decaying animal flesh-eaters). 

The frittata was very good. It was served as a thick, huge slice, sort of quiche-style. It had lots of portobello (or portabello or portobella, take your pick) and sun-dried (or Sun dried, again, your choice) tomatoes. These were also very good homefries; simple enough, but nice and large crispy chunks. "Mixed greens" is always just a euphemism for lettucey-salad junk minus any cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, etc. I ate some of those, but focused mostly on the frittata and potatoes. I just have one minor criticism: with "Bakery" as part of their name, I would liked to have seen some kinda complimentary fresh-baked goods come with the meal.

I have had America's Best Coffee many times before, and it is always a pretty decent cuppa. However, their claim to being the "Best Coffee" in 'merica might be a little lofty. I would have no problem with them calling themselves "America's Very Good Coffee", at least.

The Liberty Café only has for condimentary supplementation Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the original red) and Tapatío®. Once again I took the liberty to use some of my own Palo Alto Firefighters XX Habanero Pepper Sauce (Thanks agains, Amys and Brian!) on the homefries and some Dave's Gourmet® Ginger Peach Hot Sauce (Thanks, Jim!) on the frittata. Okay, I completely forgot to bring some Big Papi En Fuego Hot Sauce with me this morning, but, just to make sure, for some extra added Boston Red Sox mojo, I just did a Русский Стандарт Platinum Vodka[5] (Thanks, Greg & Cindy!) shooter with 4 drops of Off The Wall Triple (Thanks, Kerry!) in it. Kids, I would not recommend that you try this at home, or if you do, skip the hot sauce in your Vodka, that stuff can kill ya. I also had a shot of pickle juice chaser with it ~ don't ask, it's a Russkij thing.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Veggie Frittata ~ 6.5; Русский Стандарт Platinum Vodka ~ 8.5

1. Completely requited rant of the day:

This is just a small pet peeve with me. I have always hated it when places call their vegetarian or vegetable specials "Veggie". Would they call their dead, decaying animal flesh specials "Carnie" or "Meatie"?


It's Boston, not "Beantown".

It's New York City, not "the Big Apple" (and in case you were wondering ~ and even if you weren't ~ why I chose the colour green instead of red for my "apple", I like Granny Smith apples the best, Mr. Chapman*).

And, lastly, but not leastly:

It's San Francisco, never ever "Frisco"… EVAH!

*(Who was himself a stupid "Veggie", by the way.)

2. Here is some extra added Bernal Heights information courtesy of our friendly friends at Wikipedia:

I wonder what José Cornelio would have to say about all these stupid parklets popping up around the city; to say nothing of what poor ol' Nanny Goat might feel.

3. "My Neighbor Totoro" is a 1988 Japanese animated fantasy film. Despite what I thought, it wasn't an Italian sequel to "The Wizard of Oz".

4. "High Fidelity" is a 2000 American comedy-drama film starring John Cusack. It is based on the 1995 British novel of the same name by Nick Hornby (meaning the novel was also called "High Fidelity", not "Nick Hornby"). I liked the movie a lot, but, as always, the book was much better.

5. Русский Стандарт (which is just standard Russkij for "Russian Standard") Vodka is a brand of high-end Russian Vodka. The Platinum happens to be one of their best variants and is one of the best Vodkas that I have ever had; this is a sipping/shots only Vodka, not to be wasted in crummy mixed drinks ~ use your Absolut® or Stolichnaya® for that. I was given a bottle of this a few years ago as a gift and still have some left that I like to use for special occasions. (Yeah, so, maybe I'm not as big a drunk as a lot of people think that I am.)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Little Griddle

"Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch." ~ Orson Welles

Place: Little Griddle
Location: 1400 Market Street (at the corner of Fell and Polk Streets[1])
Hours: Open 7 Days a Week|Breakfast, brunch & lunch; Saturday - Tuesday 7:30am-3pm, Wednesday-Friday 7:30am-4pm
Meal: Ultimate Hash Browns (w/ melted Cheddar, Muenster[2], & Pepperjack cheeses, topped w/ avocado, sour cream + chives; served w/ 2 cage-free eggs, & toast); and cuppas Stumptown[3] Coffee Roasters Holler Mountain Blend and Ethiopia Mordecofe Reserve

(Who knew that Gérard Depardieu could sing so well?)

I have been meaning on trying ("… meaning to try..."? Whatever.) a new place (for me, I am not really sure how long the restaurant has been there) and finally got around to eating at Little Griddle. Their location just makes it so much easier to eat there early on a Sunday morning (and they open up early enough to do so, too); I got a free and legal parking spot just two blocks away over by City Hall (just try doing that during the week or on a Saturday morning). They are really a "little" triangular place with seating for 26 only. You order and pay first at the counter/cash register and then they bring out your meal to you.

They had several other good ideas from the breakfastary portion of the menu for a stupid vegetarian (seeing as they are basically a burger-joint, there were plenty of choice for those dead, decaying animal-flesh eaters, too): A+ Student Omelet (Avocado, fresh spinach, crimini mushrooms, sliced yellow onions, diced stake[4] tomatoes); Backyard Medley Scramble (Fresh spinach, crimini mushrooms, sliced yellow onions, diced stake tomatoes ~ I suppose, that is, if your backyard has crucified tomatoes in it); and several types of Griddle Cakes (Plain, Pecan, or Chocolate Chip ~ with many different toppings options), too.

This was a very good meal; plus, I always like it when potatoes are the focus of the meal. I thought three cheeses was a very nice touch, and I always like the addition of avocado. However, I think it could have used maybe just one more ingredient to really put it over the top; perhaps some diced tomatoes (stake or otherwise), sliced (fresh) jalapeños, or some grilled or sautéed red onions… something extra… something that the French "just don’t know what"… some Goat cheese or Feta cheese even? The two eggs are prepared however you like and served on the side. I had mine over-medium and then placed them on top of the pile o' potatoes and such (I was going to say I "laid" them on top, but I am never sure if that is supposed to be "laid" or "lied", and I am not a chicken, anyway).

There were four different Stumptown Coffee Roasters roasts/blends from which to choose, and you could get your own refills. I made sure to try at least two flavours. I am not sure if I have ever had this particular brand of coffee before, but I will keep an eye out for it in the future. I started with Holler Mountain Blend; it was pretty decent. But with my second refill (well, third cuppa actually; I had my first refill of Holler Mountain Blend first… or second, whatever), I tried Ethiopia Mordecofe Reserve on the recommendation of the pretty counter-lady (by that, I mean the lady that was working at the counter; I know this is San Francisco, but it wasn't an early morning tranny-show on Polk Street… not that there is anything wrong with that, Jerry) who said that was her favourite; it really was very good and I liked it much better than the Holler Mountain Blend, which really was pretty good itself, anyway.

Liddle Grittle really excels with their condimentary supplements selection. They offer: Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the original red); Cholula® Hot Sauce (Original); Tapatío®; Frank’s® RedHot® (Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce); and two types of El Yucateco® (Salsa Picante Roja de Chile Habanero and XXXtra Hot Sauce Salsa Kutbil-ik® de Chile Habanero; I almost brought my own bottle of this same sauce with me this morning). Even with all of those choices, I still went with some of my own Palo Alto Firefighters XX Habanero Pepper Sauce (Thanks agains, Amys and Brian!) liberally all over the mess and just 5-6 drops of Big Papi En Fuego Hot Sauce Off The Wall Triple Hot (Thanks, Kerry!) for some extra-added mojo (GO RED SOX!!!). 

And despite what some people say, there is not Mordecofe than meets the tastebud…

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Ultimate Hash Browns ~ 6.7; Holler Mountain Blend ~ 6.5; Ethiopia Mordecofe Reserve ~ 7.0

1. There used to be an old joke that said the building on the corner was located at "One Polk, Two Fell…".

2. Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-culinaristic pointer of the day:

There are two types of cheese with the name "Muenster" (the 'merican version) and "Munster" (the original French version, which is not one that Herman or Lily make). Both cheeses get their names from the Alsatian abbey of Munster (Haut-Rhin, in the Vosgian mountains; not to be confused with the similarly named town of Münster, Germany, but that place name also has the same word origin). 

"Munster" translates as "monastery", derived from Latin "monastērium" (see also "minster").

3. "Stumptown" is one of several nicknames of Portland, Oregon. In the mid-19th Century, the city's growth led residents to clear a lot of land quickly, but the tree stumps were not immediately removed; in some areas, there were so many that people used to jump from stump to stump to avoid the muddy, unpaved roads.

4. This was how they had it spelled/referenced on the menu. I am not sure if they meant "beefsteak
tomatoes" or that the tomatoes were actually grown on "stakes" (as opposed to hydroponically?). 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Rocco’s Café

"I have measured out my life with coffee spoons." ~ T.S. Eliot

("I have measured out my life with spoons, too. They just weren’t full of coffee." ~ Tallulah Bankhead)

Place: Rocco's Café
Location: 1131 Folsom Street (between 7th and 8th Streets)
Hours: Breakfast Monday - Friday 7:ooam - 11:30am; All day Saturday and Sunday (open at 8:00am)
Meal: Tomato, Basil, & Provolone Cheese Frittata (includes English muffin, wheat, rye, or sourdough toast & Rocco's Breakfast Potatoes) and a cuppa coffee

(Sorry, this was as close to a "Rocco" song that I could find on EweToob, Colonel Francona. This is the alternate/single version.)

This morning I had mia prima colazione a Rocco's Café (senza accento chiuso on their signage, ma con accento chiuso on their web-site). They've been around since 1990, but this was my first time ever eating there (breakfast, lunch, or dinner). They have a large enough space with seating for 40-50, plus an additional eight seats at the counter overlooking the kitchen/cook area. The walls are covered (literally) with old photos of San Francisco, actors and actresses, and other old-timey memorabilia. My server-lady this morning was super friendly; it was still pretty early and they weren't too busy, so I am sure she hadn't been taxed by a buncha idiots yet for the day. And unlike so many other eponymous restaurants in San Francisco (Who is "Dottie"? Who is "Ella"? Who is "Chloe"? etc.), there is an actual "Rocco" associated with this place; Rocco was the grandfather of the owner.

The house stereo was playing old 30's and 40's music stuff. It seems that back then the clarinet was the predominant instrument in the Big Bands (Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Woody Herman, Allan Stewart Konigsberg, etc.), sort of the 30's version of a lead electric guitar.

stupid, useless parklets mini-rant of the day
There is another of these wastelets (a two-length car space one) right across the street from Rocco's Café, in front of BrainWash Cafe-Laundromat; for which, you have made my boycott list, too, mister! (It’s too bad, too. I always liked the idea of a joint café-Laundromat. I used to do my laundry there once in a while years ago, and it was a nice way of killing time while your clothes were being washed. Plus, they serve Beer.)

Rocco's has a pretty decent standard breakfastary menu and they also have a Breakfast Weekend & Holiday Specials section. On the regular breakfast menu, they have everything from Pancakes & French Toast to Grilled Polenta topped with Cheese & Marina Sauce (which I thought about getting) to several 3-Egg Omelettes and 3-Egg Frittatas (five different ones). I figured (correctly) that the frittata was a good way to go. Off the Weekend Specials (it wasn't a holiday this weekend, unless you want to count "Kill-off the Taínos for Queen Isabella Day" a real holiday) both 3 Eggs "Spuds a la Rocco" (topped w/ Avocado, Marinara, & Sharp Cheddar) and 3 Eggs Poached in a Sweet Tomato, Basil Marina Sauce (w/ Italian Sausage & Warm Italian French[sic] Bread) sounded very good. They also had on the daily specials chalkboard: Cappuccino[1] Cake or Chocolate Raspberry Cake; if only I had room for dessert.

From the ingredients, I knew that I was going to like the frittata right away. The major plusses were that the tomatoes were also roasted before throwing them into the mess ~  this just adds to the flavour (Sorry, Greg.) ~ and there were lots of fresh basil chiffonade (which the Spell-Check Nazis at Microsoft don‘t seem to recognize as a valid word; you may want to contact Rachel Ray or Emeril Lagreasy about that, Billy-boy) throughout it. This was all reminiscent of a good Pizza Margherita. The homefried potatoes were made with a lot of red onions in it; always a good thing. I chose sourdough as my toast choice (I wonder if it was Italian-French Sourdough Bread).

Rocco's has Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (both the original red and the green Jalapeño) and Tapatío® for condimentary supplementation (just missing Cholula® for the San Francisco Triumvirate[2]). I went with some of my own Born to Hula presents Devon Allman's All Natural Hot Sauce Chipotle Blues (Thanks, Kerry!) on the potatoes and some Serious Food… Silly Prices Mango Hot Sauce (Thanks, Cindy & Greg!) on the frittata.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Tomato, Basil, & Provolone Cheese Frittata ~ 6.5

1. Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-baristatic puntatore del giorno, numero uno:

Here's a little-known Cliff Clavinesque factoid*: the word "Cappuccino" gets its name from the Capuchin Monkeys of Central and South America. When the Spanish and Portuguese first started planting coffee in the Americas, it seems these pesky little primates would eat up all the coffee beans before they could be harvested. Not that the little tree-swinging buggers needed any extra jolts of energy, but they would really create havoc with the plantations after ingesting all that caffeine. The local farmers had to come up with a plan to curtail this and started using old, empty barrels of Rum to catch the animated primates in. This is where we get the saying, "More fun than a barrelful of monkeys."

*(Geez, did you really buy all that? Never believe anything you read on the Intro-Net. Well, that is what my French model girlfriend always tells me.

Here is the actual stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer:

The frothy coffee drink "Cappuccino" comes from the diminutive form of "cappucio", Italian for "hood". Both the drink and the Capuchin Monkeys (diminutive monkeys in  their own right) derive their names from a group of friars named the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. The monks (the Christian ones, not the long-tailed American primates) wore red-brown hooded robes, which the colour of the coffee drinks somewhat resembles; also, when the Spanish explorers first encountered the little monkeys (the American ones, not small friars), they appeared to be wearing hoods like the Capuchin brothers.

However, there is no proof whatsoever to the assertion that Capuchin Monks were fond of either Skittles® or Arizona® Watermelon Fruit Juice Cocktail.)

2. Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-historical suggerentibus die, numero duos:

(And I promise that this one is true.) 

"Triumvirate" comes from the Latin phrase "trium virorum", which is the genitive plural of "tres viri" ("three men"). A single member of a triumvirate is called a "triumvir" and the plural is "triumviri".

Thursday, October 10, 2013


"I've never gotten drunk at a Chocolate bar, but I will try anything once."
~ A.N. Onymous

Chocolate is the very last of the Six Major Food Groups (as recommended by the National Board of Health and Safety) about which I haven't written yet. The other five being: Pizza (see 'blog-entry from January 24th, 2013), Ice Cream (see 'blog-entry from January 18th, 2013), Beer (see 'blog-entry from October 11th, 2012), Potatoes (see 'blog-entry from February 8th, 2012), and Coffee (see 'blog-entry from March 25th, 2010).

Chocolate is a processed, typically sweetened food produced from the seed of the tropical Theobroma Cacao tree. Cacao has been cultivated for at least three millennia in Mexico, Central America, and Northern South America.

Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day:

The word "Chocolate" comes from Nahuatl "xocolātl", from "xococ" ("bitter") + "ātl" ("water"). The majority of the Mesoamerican people consumed Chocolate made into beverages.

While Chocolate isn't primarily a breakfastary item, it can be found in many early morning meals:

Chocolate chip pancakes or waffles, Chocolate crêpes, Chocolate croissants, Chocolate doughnuts (either just covered in Chocolate or the Full Monty of Chocolate-y goodness where it is made with a Chocolate batter and Chocolate topping), Chocolate babka, hot Chocolate, Mocha Lattes, and even Chocolate cake (Bill Cosby would never lie to you). I am sure there are many of you meatatarians that would love to have Chocolate-covered bacon with your breakfast, too. And who among us hasn't gone a little "Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs®" sometime in our lives?

There are three major types of Chocolate: White, Milk, and Dark. White Chocolate commonly consists of cocoa butter, sugar, milk solids, and salt; it does not contain any cocoa solids. Milk Chocolate is solid Chocolate made with milk added; it should contain between 20-25% cocoa solids. Dark Chocolate is produced by adding fat and sugar to cocoa (usually containing little or no milk); it should have minimally 35% cocoa solids, but can range as high as 70-99% cocoa solids. I really like the darker ones; the bitter, the better.

And no matter what Forrest, Forrest Gump says, you know exactly what you are getting with a box of Chocolates… life!