Saturday, December 14, 2013

Bean Bag Café

(No official web-site.)

Place: Bean Bag Café 
Location: 601 Divisadero Street (at Hayes Street)
(phonicular contact: 415-563-3634)
Hours: Saturday open at 7:30am; Sunday open at 8:00am; Monday - Friday open at 7:00am
Meal: Baja Scramble (soy chorizo, avocado, & black beans, with salsa & sour cream; served with homefried potatoes or side salad, and choice of toast); and a cuppa mighty fine McLaughlin Coffee, Max's Blend

(There really is no connection between beanbags, Mumford &[1] Sons, Simon & Garfunkel, Ryan Adams, or boxers even. They just happened to be playing some songs by Mumford & Sons and Ryan Adams ~ both are double okay with me ~ on the house stereo, and I figured I'd link a couple of EweToobular videos by them, both of which are covers, too.)

I decided to try a new place for breakfast (well, for me; they have been open for many years now and I am pretty sure I have stopped by in the past for a cuppa or two) and went to Bean Bag Café. (I am going avec accent aigu here as they have it that way on one sign in their window which shows their hours of operations; however, they do not have the word "CAFÉ" painted over the doorway with an "É", but without an official web-site upon which to confirm or deny this, I can't know for sure.) First off, there are no beanbag chairs in the place any more; I think they used to have some several years ago. They are not that large of a place and probably have seating for less than thirty inside. However, additionally, there are several (four or five) sidewalk tables that seat two each. (See? No need for any extra, stupid parklets  ~ or "extra-stupid parklets" ~ seating at this fine establishment.)

As with most coffeehouses, you order and pay at the counter, they give you a number to place on your table (I would figure that food would be much better on your table, though), and then they bring out your meal to you when it is ready. For just a neighborhood, corner coffeehouse, they do actually offer pretty decent breakfastary choices:

from the Omelets or Scrambles section of the chalkboard menu:
Vegetarian (spinach, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, & Cheddar); Greek (portobello mushrooms, pesto, & Feta cheese); or Soy (tofu, roasted peppers, mushrooms, & spinach);

from the Savory Crêpes selections there were several I liked the sounds/looks of: 
Barcelona (Fontina cheese with cottage cheese, spinach, mushrooms, & onions); Santorini (spinach, Kalamata olives, almonds, onions, Feta cheese, and a yogurt cucumber mint sauce ~ better known as Tzatziki, of course); Vienna (mushrooms, spinach, almonds, sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, roasted garlic, & Provolone cheese); Bangkok (tofu, mushrooms, bell peppers, spinach, & spicy peanut sauce); San Miguel (black beans with soy chorizo, Fontina cheese, & scrambled eggs ~ which was very similar to my choice this morning, just stuffed into a crêpe); Tuscany (artichoke hearts, portobello mushrooms, roasted garlic, & a sun-dried tomato cream sauce); and Jaguar (chipotle peppers, avocado, beans, tomato, green onions, and Sharp Cheddar with salsa and sour cream);

and they also have a weekend specials board called The Benedict Way, where, in addition to four versions of Eggs Benedicts, you can get a Benedict Wrap (basically an Eggs Benedict burrito, but still a pretty cool option).

The really nice thing here is that most of the egg dishes can be made as scrambles or omelettes. I went with a scramble this morning as I think these ingredients worked much better as a scramble than an omelette. I have had black beans inside an omelette before and they didn't seem to quite work as a filling. The only thing is that the black beans give the whole scramble mess a bit of an off-putting colour, but it didn't make it any less tasty. Their salsa was a decent enough pico de gallo and there was plenty of sliced avocado on top (which is always nice). 

I had to laugh when the counter-lady (the female person that took my order; she wasn't a Marxist revolutionary or anything that I could tell) asked if I wanted potatoes or a side salad. Yeah, right! The homefries were almost a "mashed" consistency, but this just made them extra crispy on the outside edges. And I had sourdough as my toast choice.

It is very nice that there are five different coffee blends/roasts from which to choose. They give you a tall glass mug to serve yourself from several thermos coffee-dispenser thingys. I debated on getting the Sumatra or Peru Organic, but I wasn't sure what their countries of origin were. I made the right choice after all, as according to McLaughlin's Coffee web-site:

"Max's Blend is our signature blend and has been our most popular blend since its inception back in the early 1980’s. This coffee is a blend of five different coffees giving it a complexity that is unmatched.

Flavor Profile 
Full-bodied with rich flavor and a smoky finish."

(Of particular note, on their web-site it should be noted that McLaughlin's Coffee even offers a Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee for "only" $38.00 per 12 oz bag, which works out to "just" $50.57 per pound, and, believe it or not, that is really a great deal. However, if you buy a five-pound bag of this you can really save big money and it only works out to $49.85 per pound.)

Bean Bag Café has for condimentary supplementation both Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red) and Tapatío®. As always, I had brought some of my own bottles and went with some Youk's Hot Sauce[2] (Thanks, Kevin and Brian!) on the scramble and some Born to Hula presents Devon Allman's All Natural Hot Sauce Chipotle Blues (Thanks, Kerry!) on the potatoes; I really like how chipotle flavour goes with potatoes.

After breakfast, for dessert (and I really need to make up some kinda term for desserts after breakfast), I walked across the street to Bi-Rite Creamery & Bakeshop and got a scoop of Pumpkin and a scoop of Brown Sugar with ginger caramel swirl. These two flavours paired together (because "pairing separately" is not an option) much better than last week's combination. And these were both freebies as I had filled up my "Buy 10 Ice Cream Products Get A Single Scoop For Free!" card with last weekend's purchase. Again, a "Single" is actually two flavour choices. Go figure.

While enjoying my "breakfast dessert", I walked the whole two blocks all the way over to Golden Gate Park (well, the Panhandle) to prove to the stupid parklets in the neighborhood that it can be done without too much strenuous exercise… I did feel it necessary to take a taxicab back the two blocks to where my car was parked, though.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Baja Scramble ~ 6.5; McLaughlin's Coffee, Max's Blend ~ 6.9; Bi-Rite Creamery Ice Creams ~ 7.0-8.0 (in general)

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

Sure, most people know that this symbol is called an "ampersand", but how many really know why? 

I could go into a long and boring (and, let's face it, mostly plagiarized from Wikipedia, anyway) description here, so I figured it is just easier to use this hyperlink (After all, why do we pay our monthly dues to them?):

Of course, the next time you recite the alphabet, just try and end it with "and per se and" and see what kinda looks you get.

2. Maverick (see 'blog-entry from July 24th, 2011) is temporarily closed due to a fire last month. Hopefully Youk's Hot Sauce can still be found and purchased at other Bay Area restaurants.

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