Saturday, November 30, 2013

Luna Park

"Yeah, babe, I know it gets dark down by Luna Park
But everybody else is squeezing out a spark
That happened in the heat somewhere in the dark… "
~ Graham Parker, "You Can’t Be Too Strong"

Place: Luna Park
Location: 694 Valencia Street (at 18th Street)
Hours: Saturday and Sunday open at 10:00am
Meal: Chilaquiles (Tortilla Chips, Eggs, Queso Fresco, Salsa Fresca)

Luna Park has been open for about ten years now in the Mission, but this was my first time ever eating there (either breakfastarily or for any other meal). My one minor complaint would be that they don't open up until 10:00am on the weekends and for what they call "Brunch"; otherwise, it seems like a decent enough joint. It is a rather large space with twelve tables for two, ten booths for four (or more), and twelve stools at the bar/counter; plus, there are three sidewalk tables for four. I didn't ask (and they really don't specify on the menu or their web-site) for which "Luna Park" the place is named. I saw postcards from Luna Park, Coney Island[1] (the one in Brooklyn, New York City, not the one in County Down, Northern Ireland, Van), and posters from Luna Park in Palermo, Sicily, Italy and from Lunapark in Łódź[2], Poland.

Their "Weekend Brunch" menu only offers about ten different "Breakfasty[3] Choices" (This was their actual term for it, they also have "Lunchy Choices"). There were a few other interesting looking items on that section of the menu: Trois Popovers! (and they even have it with the explanation mark! already) ~ Apples & Salted Caramel, Fresh Berries & Mascarpone, and Ham, Egg & Cheddar (which I would have skipped and probably doubled-up on another Apples & Salted Caramel instead); and Luna Benedict ~ with Tomatoes, Spinach, Hollandaise, Potatoes.

As I have stated several times before, it's always interesting ordering chilaquiles at different places as you will probably never get the same version twice. Luna Park makes theirs as a huge pile o' sautéed tortilla chips and with scrambled eggs (huevos revueltos) underneath. They have a decent enough tasting chilaquiles salsa. The salsa fresca on top was mostly tomatoes and red onions, but there must have been a lot of lime juice in with them as I tasted a lot of lime flavour throughout (which is a very good thing with me and I wouldn't have minded some extra, fresh-sliced limes to squeeze even more juice on top of the whole mess). They don't mention it on the menu anywhere, but this also had pinto beans and avocado in it, which are always much welcomed ingredients.

Luna Park has just Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce for condimentary supplementation. I used a goodly amount of my own Hula Girl Chipotle Habanero (Thanks, Jim!) all over the heap for some extra added oomph (which I am not sure how to say in Spanish).

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Chilaquiles ~ 6.8

1. There are several different Coney Islands in both Ireland and Northern Island. The Coney Island in Brooklyn was probably named after the one in County Sligo, Ireland.

Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day:

"Coney" is an English word for a rabbit, deriving from the Latin "cuniculus", meaning "rabbit". Similarly, the word for "rabbit" in Spanish is "conejo", in Italiano it is "coniglio", in Portuguese it is "coelho", in Catalan it is "conill", in Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish it is "kanin", in Dutch it is "konijn", in Greek it is "κουνέλι", in Irish it is "coinín", and in Welsh it is "cwningen".

2. Łódź (pronounced "Woodzh", and one of my favourite sounding Polish place names because of it) is the third-largest city in Poland.

3. I posilutely hate it when people make up completely superfluousary words.

Friday, November 29, 2013

San Martin Café

A breakfastary roadtrip:
San Martin, CA

Place: San Martin Café
Location: 13475 Monterey Highway, San Martin[1], CA
Hours: open at 7:00am 7 days a week
Meal: (Me) San Martin Café Special  (2 scrambled eggs with ground beef, spinach, mushrooms, and onions, topped with melted cheese; served with potatoes ~ hashbrowns or country potatoes ~ and toast); (Dave) Huevos Rancheros with 2 eggs (2 eggs over a corn tortilla, topped with a spicy ranchero sauce and cheese; served with potatoes and toast); and we both had cuppas coffee 

(If I have to explain the relationship between this song and today, you really need to get out more often… just not today to shop.)

For the past few years my Thanksgiving Day tradition has been to head due south (about 82 miles worth) to the garlicky city of Gilroy. I am most thankful that I have old friends that will actually put up with me for the holiday (and put me up for the night). (Thanks, Dave, Patryce, Zoey, Nellie, and Comet!) The morning after (that would be today) it is always nice to go out to breakfast (see last 'blog-entry from November 26th, 2010) to work off the big meal from the day before and to give Dave a break from more cooking (Don't worry, I still made him pay for breakfast; I was his "guest" after all). Today's breakfastary destination happened to be to San Martin Café.

San Martin Café is located right along (Old) Monterey Highway, as is  most of San Martin itself, too. San Martin is a small town located between Morgan Hill and Gilroy. Anyone that had traveled from San Francisco to Monterey back in the 70's (before Highway 101 was completed in that long stretch between Gilroy and San Jose) would have passed right through San Martin and probably not even noticed it. 

San Martin Café is a small, local diner-ish place. It seemed to be doing a pretty decent business this Friday morning, filled probably mainly with localites and none of the idiots heading to the Gilroy Outlet Malls to save $2.00 (but waste six hours in line) on that newest iPhone mobular contraption for a Christmas gift. There are also two picnic benches out front for al fresco dining (I don't know how to say that in Spanish, though) on nicer days (Well, it was pretty sunny out this morning, just a bit coolish still). Their breakfast menu is pretty extensive and some of the other choices that looked interesting were: Mexican Omelette (Ortega chilies, avocado, sour cream, Jack and Cheddar cheese, and Spanish salsa); Chile verde with 2 eggs (Our most popular breakfast dish! Tender pork in a zesty green sauce. Served with potatoes and toast); and Breakfast Burritos (Fresh tortillas stuffed with scrambled eggs, potatoes, beans, cheese, Pico de Gallo salsa, and your choice of meat: Sausage, Linguica, Chorizo, Bacon, Ham, Beef, Chicken, or Chili Verde).

Naturally, I skipped the ground-up dead, decaying bovine flesh in my scramble, but I liked all of the other ingredients. I was particularly happy to see that they used fresh, sautéed spinach and not the frozen stuff; this was a nice detail for just a small, local place. I hope the mushrooms were a local product, too. I had hashbrowns and sourdough toast as my side choices.

Dave didn't really get a choice of potatoes or toast, but his meal did come with a mess o' frijoles refritos (which actually makes more sense with this dish). However, I thought this really should have come with some warm corn tortillas to sop up all the good salsa ranchera, too. (I tasted some of it while Dave wasn't looking and it was really very good; con sabor mucho gusto y más fuego.) I didn't bother taking a picture of Dave's meal; he can start his own damn 'blog-thingy if he wants to highlight his own food!

For condimentary supplementation San Martin Café has Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce on all the tables. But if you ask, they will bring out a fresher concoction of their own in plastic squeeze bottles. I really liked that one and used it generously all over my hashbrowns. It had a pretty decent spice and flavour to it. I asked what was in it and they told me it was simply Tapatío® blended up with some fresh red jalapeños. It fooled ME, Jerry!

Walk Like a Franciscan? 

Anyone that has traveled along Highway 280 and driven past the Crystal Springs Safety Roadside Rest Area (just south of Hillsborough) has probably seen the large monument to Father Junípero Serra:

All that I can think of whenever I see it is that he was either the very first surfer-dude in California history or the song ♪Walk Like an Egyptian ♪.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: San Martin Café Special ~ 6.4 (particularly due to the addition of their "special" salsa; I forgot to ask Dave for the GBS Rating of his Huevos Rancheros, but based on the salsa ranchera alone, I would give it at least a 6.4 or 6.5)

1. You may ask yourself, who the heck was this "San Martin" guy? You may ask yourself, why the heck does he deserve a town named after him?

Well, here's some information from our friendly friends at Wikipedia (saving me the trouble of typing it all out):,_CA

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Brown Sugar Kitchen

A breakfastary roadtrip:
Oakland, CA

Place: Brown Sugar Kitchen
Location: 2534 Mandela Parkway[1], Oakland, CA
Hours: open at 7:00am Tuesday - Saturday,
8:00am Sunday
Meal: Cornmeal Waffle (with brown sugar butter & apple cider syrup); side of breakfast potatoes; and a cuppa ROASTco Artisanal[2] Coffees Brown Sugar Kitchen Blend

(Did you really expect any other song?)

This morning was my first trip across (and back, too) the new half of the Bay Bridge (Nice job, but what the heck took them so long?) and my destination was Brown Sugar Kitchen. This is a somewhat newish (well, about six years old now) nouveau-soul food-diner kind of place. 

(There is no photo of the Bay Bridge, as I was busy driving and that would have just been foolish and dangerous… and I really only thought about it after already having entered the Yerba Buena Island tunnel on my way home.)

To label them just a "Diner" would be very unfair and far from the truth, but, in addition to many standard tables (about 15-20 two-to-four seaters), they have a long diner-style counter overlooking the kitchen area which seats twelve people. That was where I sat this morning.

For not really knowing where Brown Sugar Kitchen was located, it wasn't that bad a trip over there. It was actually very easy to get to from Interstate 80 and it took me less than half an hour to get over there this morning (compare this to about the same amount of time getting to the Ramp yesterday morning on city streets). Let's face it, most San Franciscans won't travel to Oakland unless it's right along a BART line, and even only then if the destination is no more than two blocks from a station. (Okay, Mrs. Nichols, I will admit that this wasn't exactly the posh Nob Hill area, but it was easy enough to get to, and I could see clearly for blocks if there were any minor skirmishes happening around the corner. As it were, I only got shot at twice, but I blame myself for wearing Crips colours in the wrong neighborhood.)

Brown Sugar Kitchen opens up at 8:00am on Sundays. I got there probably at 8:10 and they were already three-quarters full (or one-quarter empty, if you are rather pessimistic). They had three waffle-makers going constantly the entire time I was there. The Kitchen specials seemed to be: Buttermilk Fried Chicken & Cornmeal Waffles, Organic Cheddar Cheese Grits (with or without two poached eggs), and (to start) Beignets (three very large, oblong ones from what I saw, but it looked like they dusted them with wayyyyy too much powdered sugar ~ which was just the plain ol' white variety, not brown ~ on top for my liking) served with BSK seasonal jam (I am not quite sure what this "BSK" stands for, but I am sure that it is something quite tasty).

The cornmeal waffle was excellent and definitely worth the early morning roadtrip over to Oak-town! My one minor (well, major, due to their actual name) complaint would be that they didn't give me enough brown sugar butter on my waffle; there was just one small dab (about enough to fill one grid) on just one quarter of the waffle only. From what I could tell, it was pretty good, but I really would have liked just a little bit more. However, that omission was all made up for (and major-ly eclipsed by) as the real find here is their extremely awesome apple cider syrup! It was absolutely fabulous and extremely tasty! They do offer plain ol' regular maple syrup (and for an additional $2.00 charge at that), too, but I don't know why anyone would not want to try the completely original apple cider syrup. I used my entire little pourer thingy on my waffle and probably could have used more still. I won't say that I was caught trying to lick the last few drops out of the bottom (well, I think the only one to notice was the guy sitting next to me).

The side of breakfast potatoes (which would be "homefries" to those of you named Mrs. Huneycutt) was very good, too. These are made with lots of spices and herbs. It had large chunks of potatoes, but also had lots of potato crumblies, like hash, in it.

The coffee was also very good this morning (well, good enough for at least two refills). ROASTco Artisanal Coffees is a local Oakland coffee roastery and they make an originally crafted blend specifically for Brown Sugar Kitchen. There are also bags of this coffee available for sale at the front. I tried to get the last few drops of the apple cider syrup into one of my refills to see how that would work, but to no avail.

Brown Sugar Kitchen has for condimentary supplements both Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce and Crystal® Louisiana's Pure Hot Sauce. I had come prepared with a few of my own bottles, but only used some Palo Alto Firefighters Pepper Sauce ~ XX Habanero (Thanks agains, Amys & Brian!) on the potatoes.

"I said yeah, yeah, yeah, woo!
How come you… how come you taste so good?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, woo!
Just like a… just like a waffle should
Yeah, yeah, yeah, woo!"

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Cornmeal Waffle ~ 7.2; Apple Cider Syrup ~ 7.4; ROASTco Brown Sugar Kitchen Blend ~ 6.9

1. Mandela Parkway is a relatively new street/boulevard. It basically runs along the area where the Cyprus Freeway used to cut through the neighborhood overhead prior to the Loma Prieta Earthquake on October 17th, 1989 which mostly leveled all of that freeway extension. 

I am not really sure of the parkway's nomenclature, but I think it has something to do with an Italian large, fretted, stringed instrument.

(This is a mural across the street from Brown Sugar Kitchen on a building which is probably a survivor of the demolition.)

2. I swear that Billy-boy and his brownshirt staff of spell-checkers really need to eat out more often. They did not even recognize this as a valid word.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

the Ramp

Is a semaphore equal to a pair of flags?

Place: the Ramp
Location: 855 Terry Francois Street (at the end of Mariposa Street)
Hours: open for "Brunch" on Saturdays & Sundays at 9:30am
Meal: Sam's Scram (a vegetarian scramble; served w/ homefries and a hearty slice of 9-grain toast); and a cuppa (well, and two refillas) America's Best Coffee 

(The first EweToob link is just a cover of the second classic. I like the backup singers in the first video, but that lead singer really needs some work.)

This was the perfect November Saturday morning to go to the Ramp for a breakfastary (well, "Brunchiary") repast; the Sun was out and shining brightly, and there was just a slight breeze off the Bay. The Ramp is technically right on the border of the Mission Bay and Dogpatch neighborhoods (Mariposa Street being the bordering decision); however, less than twenty years ago, this would just have been called Potrero Hill or Central Basin. I got there a few minutes before they opened this morning, so I walked along the public shore to get the best out of the day.

(Just to let you know that the eponymous name of the restaurant isn't superfluous, here is an actual photo of the boat ramp that runs next to the place.)

The majority of the seating is outside in the fresh air on the huge patio (probably 30-40 tables for two to four people) with a great view of Oakland, Alameda, and the Bay. The Ramp has live music on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoons/evenings. They even have an outdoor "Tiki Bar" with a corrugated tin roof (but I don't know if the drinks are all free or not).

(This was the view from my table.)

They really don't have that extensive of a "Brunch" menu, but there were a few other items that sounded interesting: Daniela's Scram (Chorizo, Jack cheese, green chillies, & green onions) or Molly's Brioche French Toast (topped with nutella® and strawberries).

My scramble was okay, but nothing really special. It was just tomatoes and mushrooms (the standard button/small crimini/immature Portobello ~ take your pick ~ variety). I really would liked to have seen a few other vegetables in it at least; maybe some bell peppers, zucchini, eggplant, or something (anything) else. I know they have green chillies and green onions as they are available in the Daniela's Scram ~ vegetarianism doesn't mean tastelessness. Luckily the homefries were very good ~ made with lots of caramelized (white) onions, which I ended up mixing into the scramble to subsidize the lack of items in it.

For condimentary supplementation the Ramp offers both Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce and Cholula® Hot Sauce (two-thirds of the San Francisco Restaurant Hot Sauce Triumvirate). I ended up using some of my own Nando's® Extra Hot Peri-Peri Sauce (Thanks, Kerry!) with the Scram and some Serious Food… Silly Prices Mango Hot Sauce (Thanks, Cynthia Ann and Gregory Alan!) on the potatoes.

I wonder if Mr. Redding ever ate breakfast (or "Brunch") while watching the ships roll in and then watch 'em roll away again, yeah…

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Sam's Scram ~ 5.9 (this is figuring in the homefries); Million $$$ Views & Atmosphere ~ 8.5 (Mother Nature had something to do with today's beautiful weather, so I will begrudge her a few GBS points)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


"A morning without coffee is like sleep." ~ Author Unknown

Coffeehouses, coffee shops, XM Channel 31, etc. ~ whatever you like to call them. These are generally establishments where fresh-roasted coffee can be purchased in either whole bean or ground form. Additionally, there are usually small bites of food that can be purchased to eat along with a fresh-brewed cuppa: sandwiches, bagels, pastries, etc. There does not always have to be a full breakfast menu involved. These are not to be confused with "Café" (or "Caffè" ~ but just never "Caffé", or "Cafè") when it is used as a hoity-toity name for a place to eat (see also: "Bistro", "Brasserie"[1], "Cafeteria", "Etc."). 

There have been examples of local coffeehouses that serve a decent enough variety of food in some of my past 'blog-entries: 
  • Simple Pleasures Cafe (see 'blog-entry from March 15th, 2010)
  • Java Beach Cafe at the Zoo (see ‘blog-entry from June 14th, 2010)
  • Garden House Cafe (see 'blog-entry from March 17th, 2012)
  • Velo Rouge Cafe (see 'blog-entry from June 2, 2012)
  • The Blue Fig (see 'blog-entry from September 16th, 2012)
I am surprised that I have never made a specific label with "Coffeehouse" or "Coffee Shop" already. However, it's too far gone now to go back and amend all of the older 'blog-entries (not that there were that many as it is). I suppose, that going forward now, I will use the label and maybe just add it to those older 'blog-entries when I come across them again.

And if these places are usually purveyors of more than one kind of coffee, shouldn't they technically be called "Coffeeshouses" or "Coffees Shops”?

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

"Brasserie" in French literally means "brewery", from Middle French "brasser" (the verb "to brew"), from Old French "bracier", from Vulgar Latin "braciāre", of Celtic origin; compare Welsh "brag" ("malt").

(Also not to be confused with "brassiere", which is the place where babies dine.) 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

café bean

Bacon Warming?[1]

(That is supposed to be their official web-site, but I can't seem to get it to work. I suppose it is either a new one that hasn't been set up yet or an older one that is no longer valid. Whatever. Their phonicular contact is: 415-928-0888.)

Place: café bean
Location: 800 Sutter Street (on the corner of Jones Street)
Hours: (unconfirmed, but from a few other Intro-Net sources) open at 7:00am every day of the week (plus, they were just setting up the sidewalk tables when I had arrived there around 7:20am this morning)
Meal: Cinnamon Apple[2] Dutch Pancake[3] and two eggs over-medium; and a very decent cuppa coffee 

(The first EweToob video just goes to prove that back in 1979 Debbie Harry could even make a potato sack look good.)

Voor het ontbijt ik naar café bean. This is a little neighborhoody Dutch-style café located in lower Nob Hill or the upper Tenderloin (it all depends on your point of view, or how you like to point your nose). I like that they officially spell their name with "café" (avec accent aigu). But why is it not koffiehuis boon, though? Ik weet het niet.

In the middle of the space, there is just one main large, communal table that can seat eight people. There are four window-counter seats (where I chose to sit even though they were basically empty when I had arrived). There are two more tables in the corner window area with cushions that seat five people total. There are also four sidewalk two-seater tables when the weather allows it (today allowed it).

For being just a smallish, corner café (of koffiehuis), they actually have a pretty sufficient menu. They only offer the Dutch Pancakes on the weekends, but they have around fourteen different options (fourteen of the same options wouldn't really be much to speak about). There were several omelettes that looked good, too: Rembrandt (ham, mushroom, olive spread, and cheese); De Groot (pork sausage and spinach); Van Gogh (bell pepper, onion, avocado, and cream cheese); De Vries (egg white, tofu, bell pepper, onion, and tomato); and a few others. There were also several items on a daily/weekend specials chalkboard. The only thing that I can think to complain about is that there are no breakfastary potato side dishes of any kind on the menu.

This version of a Dutch Pancake was sort of a thicker crêpe batter and about the size of the entire plate. It had lots of cinnamon, sugar, and sliced apples on top. It was unlike the oven-baked version I had at Outerlands (see 'blog-entry from April 15th, 2012), but it was still very good. (Of course, café bean doesn't have any stupid parklets associated with it; so it all evens out in my book, of boek.) I wonder if this would be a good meal to order on a first date and you are a cheapskate and didn't plan on also paying for the woman's meal (I am sure you could also plan on not getting a second date with the woman).

I never found out what the actual brand of coffee was that they serve, but it was a Dark French Roast. It had the name "Chester's" on the thermos, but the lady behind the counter said that wasn't the name of the coffee roastery, it was just the name that the owner had given it. Who names their thermoses?!

As there were no potato side dishes, I didn't bother to ask what café bean had for condimentary supplementation. I did use some of my own Palo Alto Firefighters Pepper Sauce (Thanks agains, Amys and Brian.) on the eggs. The pancake didn't really need any spicing up and I just used some of the maple syrup that was provided. (Okay. I confess. I did use just the smallest amount of my Youk's Hot Sauce ~ Thanks, Kevin! ~ on a portion of the pancake. And I am not ashamed to say, it really wasn't half-bad. Of course, I suppose, that just means it really wasn't half-good either.)

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Cinnamon Apple Dutch Pancake ~ 6.6

1. This is not a reference to Glen of the eponymous Scale Rating above. This (especially ironic for me) phrase came about when I awoke this morning at 3:00am and just couldn't get back to sleep. For some reason, the idea popped into my head to do anagrams of my name. Here are some (telling in places) examples:

"A Narcing Womb"
"Banan Cow Grim"
"Baring Cowman"
"Barman Cowing"
"Bang Warm Icon"
"Bowman Arcing"
"Brag Manic Now"
"Cab Warming On"
"Comb A Warning"
"Crab Win Mango"
"Macaw Born Gin"
"Manna Big Crow"
"Wanna Brim Cog"

If you would like to try with your own names, check out this web-site (Ain't the World Wild Webs fun?):

"I haven't slept for ten days, because that would be too long." ~ Mitch Hedberg

"I thought I had insomnia once; but then I woke up and realized it was just a bad dream... ironically, I could not get back to sleep for hours after that." ~ Steven Wright

"I am only truly awake when I am sleeping." ~ Mr. Bean

Of course, I'll probably be two hours off all day now. Maybe I shoulda got the Denver Omelette for breakfast to even it all out…

2. The stuff you learn when you are just minding your own business.

One time I was walking through the San Francisco Botanical Garden and happened to see the botanical name for a crab apple tree (they have a lot of the plants and trees labeled for all of the Latin botanist wannabes out there apparently). The crab apple is in the Genus: Malus and in the Family: Rosaceae. Rosaceae is just another name for "the rose family". I never knew that apples were in that same family. If you weren't aware of that simple fact either, now you have also learned something new today.

In addition to apples, the Family Rosaceae includes many other edible fruits, such as: pears, quinces, peaches, apricots, plums, cherries (which are not true botanical berries, by the way), strawberries (also not botanical berries), and raspberries (another not-botanical berry). Almonds are also in this same Family.

And just because I felt like it, here is stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day, number one:

Albanian ~ "mollë"
Bosnian/Croatian ~ "jabuka"
Catalan ~ "poma"
Czech/Slovak ~ "jablko"
Danish ~ "æble"
Dutch ~ "appel"
Esperanto ~ "pomon"
Estonian ~ "õun"
Filipino ~ "mansanas
Finish ~ "omena"
French ~ "pomme"
German ~ "Apfel"
Greek ~ "μήλο"
Haitian Creole ~ "pòm"
Hungarian ~ "alma"
Icelandic ~ "epli"
Indonesian ~ "apel"
Irish ~ "úll"
Italian ~ "mela"
Latin ~ "malum" or "pomum"
Latvian ~ "ābols"
Lithuanian ~ "obuolys"
Norwegian ~ "eple"
Polish ~ "jabłko"
Portuguese ~ "maçã"
Russian ~ "яблоко"
Serbian ~ "јабука"
Slovenian ~ "jabolko"
Spanish ~ "manzana"
Swedish ~ "äpple"
Turkish ~ "elma"
Vietnamese ~ "táo"
Welsh ~ "afal"

"An apple by any other name would taste as tart…"

"So, how do you like them rose fruits?!"

3. Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day, nummer twee:

"Pancakes" in Dutch is either "pannenkoeken" or "pannekoeken". "Apple" is "appel" (see above), "cinnamon" is "kaneel", and "sugar" is "suiker".

Saturday, November 16, 2013


Don’t teach your grandmother to suck eggs.[1]

Place: Zazie
Location: 941 Cole Street (between Carl Street and Parnassus Avenue)
Hours: "Brunch" is served on Saturday and Sunday from 9:00am to 3:00pm (however, it is good to note that they call basically the same meal "Breakfast" Monday through Friday and are open an hour earlier at 8:00am)
Meal: Eggs en la Marais[2] ~ savory challah bread pudding w/wild mushrooms, arugula[3], thyme, goat cheese, and two over easy eggs baked in a cast iron skillet, w/salad or homefries; and a cuppa LaCoppa[4] Coffee Organic French Roast (o Caffè ou Café ~ now would be an okay time to use either of these words con un accento grave, ou avec accent aigu aussi

(This wasn't going to be my first choice for a EweToob-ular link. I first had the idea to use Louis Jordan's "Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens" and then I had a better idea to use Lightin' Hopkins' "Meet Me At The Chicken Shack", but I couldn't locate that particular song/video. As is usually the case with EweToob, Norah Jones' name popped up on a list of other songs along the right column, so I just decided to use one of her songs instead.)

Je suis retourné à Zazie (see last 'blog-entry from October 14th, 2012) pour mon petit déjeuner. Mais qui est "Zazie"? One of these days I really should ask them if one of the owners is actually named "Zazie" or if they just named the restaurant after the main character in a 1960's Louis Malle movie (from an earlier French novel of the same name). It was a little too cold and damp still this morning to sit outside either in one of the two sidewalk tables or out back in their large backyard patio area (which is usually my preferred spot). I happened to notice that Zazie sells bags of both their Gingerbread and Buttermilk pancake batter mixes if anyone wants to make them at home (I doubt they would allow you to purchase the bags and let you make them in their own professional kitchen, though).

My meal this morning was off their "Brunch" specials menu. Seeing as they are "a French bistro in the heart of Cole Valley" (it is stated as such right on their menu and web-site), je ne sait pas why this dish wasn't called "Oeufs en Le Marais". Take heart, no Glen Bacon Scale Rating points are ever taken off due to confusing linguistics, though. Also off the seasonal "Brunch" specials menu, Miracle Pancakes (1, 2, or 3 sugar pie pumpkin spice pancakes w/ fresh whipped cream) sounded very good. A few other good ideas off the standard "Brunch" menu that are options for another return trip: Fontainbleau[5] (scrambled eggs with portobellos, shiitake, porcinis, spinach, and Fontina), or Italie (scrambled eggs with tomatoes provencales, cream cheese, and basil ~ they probably should have had this as "tomates provençales", but, again, no GBS points are deducted for not keeping with a Frenchy theme).

This was another very good recent find (even if it is only a seasonal special). I really had no idea what to expect from the description on the menu, but this ended up being very interesting and tasty. It was basically two eggs over easy (or "over easy eggs" ~ damnés Français!) placed on top of a bread pudding made in a small round cast iron skillet. It all worked nicely for me; sort of a baked Eggs Benedict dish (simplement sans sauce hollandaise stupide). There were three cloves of roasted garlic (trois gousses d’ail rôti) in with the homefries this morning ~ always a good thing.

The LaCoppa Coffee Organic French Roast was very good, too. They are a local coffee roaster in Marin and used to have a few coffee shops (o caffès ou cafés). From what I can discern, they have sold off all of their coffee shops now, but are keeping the roastery for wholesale coffee. This is a shame as I had been to their flagship coffee shop in downtown Mill Valley a few times and really liked the place.

Upon request, Zazie has for condimentary supplements Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red only). I used some of my own Dave's Gourmet® Ginger Peach Hot Sauce (Thanks, Jim!) on top of the eggs and some Florida Gold Salsa Picanté[6] Premium Habanero Hot Sauce (Thanks, Kerry!) on the homefries. The Ginger Peach Hot Sauce went very nicely with the bread pudding as it had its own elements of savoury and sweet.

The Wild Parrots of San Francisco Interlude of the Day
Before breakfast I heard probably 6-10 of the noisy little buggers flying around the neighborhood, but didn't see any of them until afterward while walking around Richard Gamble Memorial Park (at the West Portal of the N-Judah MUNI line). I then saw a semi-large pandemonium of parrots (at least 20-30) flying southward (probably towards Twin Peaks). I wonder if they roost in this small park. There are several tall trees that they could call home. 

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Eggs (ou Oeufs) en le Marais ~ 7.1; LaCoppa Coffee (o Caffè ou Café) ~ 6.8

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

This old saying in Russian would roughly be: "Яйца курицу не учат.", which literally means: "The eggs do not teach the chicken." 

I only know this as I came across it many years ago in my copy of Smirnitsky (the standard Russian-English dictionary that was used throughout the Military at the time) while I was still taking Basic Russian at the Defense Language Institute at the Presidio of Monterey, and not really being familiar with the English saying, it stuck with me. 

This knowledge came in very handy a few years later when I completely amazed one of my co-workers, John Kurovsky ("long 'o', no 'v'…"), during a Mids Скрэббл® game session at the 6916th. (See, I was his supervisor and trainer at the time and we were supposed to be doing actual work and studying, but there was usually nothing much to do for us. So I brought in my Russian version of Scrabble® to play with to pass the time on boring Mids shifts. Yeah, it pissed off the Hebrew and Arab linguists some, but I just claimed we were utilizing our vocabulary. I am not saying they actually bought any of that хуй, but they usually left us alone after that.) Anyway, during one heated game, John had challenged my spelling on "egg" or "eggs" (silly boy) and looked it up in our Russian-English dictionary at work. He saw the saying "Яйца курицу не учат." in the entry and read it out loud, and I told him that just meant colloquially: "Don't teach your grandmother to suck eggs." He was absolutely flabbergasted and truly couldn't believe that I even knew that. Of course, he never challenged any of my words or spelling/grammar thereafter.

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

"Le Marais" means "the swamp" or "the marsh" in French. Le Marais is also a historic district in Paris. 

Now was this dish meant to mean "Eggs (I still can't believe they didn't use "Oeufs") in the swamp" or "Eggs in the mode of a historic district of Paris"?

3. Herr Gates and his stupid Spell-checker Nazis at Microsoft do not recognize this as a valid word. Really, Billy-boy?! You guys need to get out of die verdammten Bierhallen and go out to eat more often.

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

"La Coppa" means "the cup" in Italian. What that has anything to do with coffee (o caffè ou café), I will never know.

5. Not really a stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer, but more of just a stupid, useless geographical/historical pointer:

This should be "Fontainebleau" not "Fontainbleau". Again, no GBS points are ever taken off for any mispelded werds.

6. Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day, número cuatro:

I am pretty sure that "Picante" should be sin acento agudo. "Picante", meaning "hot, spicy" in Spanish, is the past participle of "picar", meaning "to prick, bite". (see also: "pique" and "piquant", Jean-Luc)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Caffé DeLucchi

"Coffee, which makes the politician wise,
And see through all things with his half-shut eyes."
~ Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock, Canto iii, Line 117

Place: Caffé DeLucchi (or Caffé Delucchi, or Caffe DeLucchi, or Caffe Delucchi, or Café DeLucchi, or Café Delucchi ~ take your pick; either way it was all very good)
Location: 500 Columbus Avenue (or 500 Corso Cristòforo Colombo; on the corner of Stockton Street)
Hours: Breakfast served Monday through Friday from 10am to 4pm; Saturday and Sunday from 8am to 2pm
Meal: artichoke hash benedict (poached eggs over artichoke hash with sliced tomatoes, hollandaise sauce, polenta[1], and toast); and a cuppa coffee (or caffè, just not caffé or café)

(I couldn't locate any good Veterans Day/Remembrance Day/Armistice Day songs in honour of tomorrow, so this will have to do. I suppose I could have linked the Beatles "Birthday" in honour of the United States Marine Corps 238th Birthday today; I will just say a quick "Oo-rah!" and "Semper Fi!" instead.

Sorry, Mrs. Morin, I couldn't figure out a good way to incorporate "chevron"[2] into today's 'blog-entry. Oops, looks like I just did!)

There aren't really that many good early morning breakfast places in North Beach, but I just discovered another great one (or is it several?): Caffé DeLucchi (or Caffé Delucchi, or Caffe Delucchi, or Café DeLucchi). I am not making fun of the spelling ~ well, not much. It is just that their web-site (or is that "wéb-sité"), their business cards, and the large sign on the corner all have it as "Caffé DeLucchi" (or "Caffe Delucchi"), but a few of the window signs also have it as "Café DeLucchi". For simplicity purposes, I am going with "Caffé DeLucchi" from here on out (or in). This place is a very good alternative breakfastary option if Mamas on Washington Square is ever really busy (or just on its own merits from what I found out this morning).

Now this is not really a stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer, but I sometimes wonder why the word "Caffé" (con un accento acuto) ~ or sometimes even the French "Café" (avec un accent aigu aussi) ~ is used by un ristorante italiano. (See also: Caffé Roma four doors down; where there is also a stupid parklet in front of it ~ not in front of Rose Pistola as I had incorrectly mentioned in a past 'blog-entry. Sorry about that, Rose, you are no longer on my list, but Caffé Roma now is!) The correct word in italiano should be "Caffè" (con un accento grave), which is the actual word for both "coffee" (the drink) and "café" (the place to eat small meals and to actually drink caffè). (Don't ask me the Italian words for "bistro" or "tea", though.)

I asked one of the "friendly, knowledgeable and attentive staff" (it says so right on their web-site, but that could mean "friéndly, knowlédgéablé and atténtivé staff" for all I know) members, Ray (or is that "Réy"?), and he explained that the differences in "Caffé" and "Café" on their signage might have something to do with when they first got their web domain, there may have already been a "Café DeLucchi" (or "Café Delucchi") being used. It's all too confusing for me, and they could call themselves "Cafféè DéèLucchi" as long as the food remains as interesting and tasty as the meal I had this morning. (And, for a change, I actually got the name of one of my servers; he introduced himself at the start, but I still had to rememorize[3] it.)

I had eaten at Caffé DeLucchi a few times before for lunch or dinner (the gnocchi[4] piemontese is excellent, by the way), but this was the first time I ever had mia colazione there. I like that they are open at 8:00am on the weekends (and that it is for "breakfast", not "Brunch"). It isn't a very large place (it is triangulated due to the building being right on the corner of a sharp building) with inside seating for about thirty-four people; plus another five stools at the bar/counter. There are also five 4-seater tables along the Columbus Street sidewalk. While it was actually nice enough to eat outside this morning (as long as I kept my coat on), I decided to eat inside all the same. The restaurant was completely empty when I first got there (five to ten minutes after they had opened), but it filled up very quickly and there was a small line out the door by the time I had finished eating. I also liked their copper tabletops; you can see the ghosts of water glasses past all over them.

There were a few other interesting-sounding breakfastary items: mushroom spinach pizza (mixed mushrooms, spinach, mozzarella cheese and sunny eggs); polenta gorgonzola (warm soft polenta topped with melted gorgonzola, clover honey, thick cut applewood smoked bacon and poached eggs); or elvis in north beach! (housemade peanut butter, applewood smoked bacon, fig jam and bananas on a toasted ciabatta roll with house potatoes). After Ray had assured me the "artichoke hash" was indeed vegetarian (not Vegan, sorry), I knew that was going to be my choice. I will definitely get back again one of these days to try some of these other dishes. 

This meal is a little hard to explain, but it was simply "Magnifico!" (Sorry, I don't know how to say that in italiano, though). I would have to rate this dish as my "Most Interesting (New) Find of 2013". The hash was made with diced artichoke hearts that are breaded and mixed with tiny bits of carrot and then it is all crisped up (either in the oven or in a pan ~ I didn't want to bother Ray yet again). The two poached eggs are then placed on top of some tomato slices on top of a pile of the hash, and then the Hollandaise sauce is added on top. This was great for originality alone ~ shades of Chayote Benedict at Q Restaurant and Wine Bar (see 'blog-entry from July 21st, 2010) or Dottie's True blue café Zucchini Cakes (see last 'blog-entry from August 25th, 2013); and that it included artichokes ~ one of my favourite fruits ~ was just an extra added bonus. If I were to have one minor quibble (un piccolo cavillo), it would be that maybe the tomato slices might have been just a shade thinner.

And, take note, Mrs. Huneycutt, there was no potato side dish this morning ~ "polenta" is just italiano for "greets".

The toast was either sourdough or Italian bread. 

I am not sure what the brand of coffee (caffè) was, but it was very good; I couldn't find any mention of the brand on their web-site (I just hope it's not from Caffé Roma).

Caffé DeLucchi offers for condimentary supplements a trio (which is, strangely enough, the same word in italiano) of Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauces: the standard red, green jalapeño, and Chipotle (just not Chipotlè or Chipotlé). I used a fair amount of the Chipotle with the polenta (corn and chipotle are always a great combination). I also used some of my own El Yucateco® XXXtra Hot Sauce Salsa Kutbil-ik® de Chile Habanero (Thanks, Brian!) on top of the eggs to mix in with the Hollandaise sauce (just to add a bit of extra flavour).

I was happy as a monkey in a monkey-tree this morning with my meal; however, I didn't notice any sweet watermelon or buckwheat cakes on the menu, Mr. Néwman.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: artichoke hash benedict ~ 7.6

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

"Polenta" is of Italian origin, derived from the Latin for hulled and crushed grain (especially barley-meal). It comes from the same base as "pollen".

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

"Chevron" comes from Middle English "cheveroun", from Old French (meaning "rafter, chevron"), from Vulgar Latin "caprion-" (stem of "caprio-"), derivative of Latin "caper" ("goat"). The likely connection between goats and rafters being the animal's angular hind legs."

(See also: "chèvre"*, "Capricorn", and "caper".)

*(Mais oui, avec accent grave.)

3. I thought I was making up this word, aber Billy und die Microsoft Spell-Check Nazis actually accept this as a valid word. 

4. Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-culinaristic pointer of the day, numero tre:

"Gnocchi" is the plural of "gnocco" and it may derive from the Italian word "nocchio" (meaning a "knot in wood") or from "nocca" (meaning "knuckle").