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").

No comments:

Post a Comment