Sunday, December 15, 2013

Saul’s Restaurant & Delicatessen

A breakfastary roadtrip:
Berkeley, CA

Place: Saul's Restaurant & Delicatessen[1] 
Location: 1475 Shattuck Avenue (at Vine Street), Berkeley, CA
Hours: Open Every Day at 8:00am (Except Thanksgiving and Yom Kippur)
Meal: Shakshouka[2] (One egg baked in a rich spicy cumin tomato sauce, oregano and parsley. Served with potatoes, dipping bread and mixed green salad); and a cuppa Ruby's Roast

(Ha! This Leon Cohan boyo doesn't even know the correct words to the song. Leave it to an Irishman to ruin a perfectly good song.)

At the suggestion of an old Air Force buddy (Thanks, Karl!), I had breakfast this morning all the way over at Saul's Restaurant & Delicatessen. (Karl had recently seen a EweToob video by a Jewish Surf group[3] ~ I think it might have been one by Meshugga Beach Party ~ that was filmed at Saul's Deli.) It was no big deal as it only took me about half-an-hour to get there on this quiet Sunday morning, Mr. Placido Domingo. Saul's Deli is located right on one of the three main streets (well, that most San Franciscans know of, that is) in Berkeley: Shattuck Avenue; the other two main streets are: University Avenue and Telegraph Avenue. If it ain't located along one of these streets, most San Franciscans would accidentally end up lost in the hills of Berkeley/Oakland.

It has probably been at least fifteen years since I had last eaten at Saul's Deli (and then for lunch only, not breakfast). They have a huge space with plenty of burgundy vinyl-covered booths (for either two people or four people); plus, there are lots of tables down the middle for when all the cool booths are full. It seemed to fill up pretty early this morning with families and such.

There were several other tempting breakfast ideas, specifically: Challah French Toast; Mrs. Anderman’s Matzo Brei (Fried matzo and eggs with a touch of sweet onions. Served with sour cream and applesauce ~ I have absolutely no idea what that means, but it sounded very interesting, and this was going to be my back-up option this morning; it might just need a return Breakfastary Roadtrip to try it one of these days); and (only available Monday through Friday) Malawach Yemeni Pancake (Fresh tomato, labne yogurt cheese, zhoug, Tripolitan red sauce and a poached egg ~ this definitely would have been my choice if it weren't a Sunday, as this sounded the most interesting).

Additionally, their deli counter offers many fresh-baked desserts: New York Cheesecake; Black and White Cookies (just for you, Jerry); Chocolate or Poppy Babkas (sorry, Elaine, no Cinnamon Babkas, though); Baklava; Linzer Cookies; Macaroons (Plain and Chocolate Dipped); and Hamantashen[4]. I can't believe that I left without picking up something to nosh on later today while watching Football. D'oh!

This was a very good dish!

The sauce was mostly a tomato-based one, but it did also have lots of onions in it (which is a good thing in my book). This had lots of spice flavour to it, too…  Cumin Feel the Noize! This dish is somewhat similar to the Turkish breakfast dish Menemen, which I had at Troya (see 'blog-entry from February 25th, 2012), but just with a lot more chunky tomato sauce to it. Think of this as something like a breakfast stew. On the menu it says that you can "Sub latke for potatoes", which is exactly what I did, Mr. Kauffman ~ Hell, yeah! (or even "Hallelujah!") ~ because it was available and an option. This turned out to be a great decision as the latke was most excellent, too.

Not only was the meal very good this morning, the coffee served was just as good as the entire meal. This was another great local (as in Berkeley-local) artisan coffee find: Ruby's Roast. One of the owners of Ruby's Roast even works as a hostess at Saul's Deli; I spoke with her briefly as I was leaving (but I didn't catch if she was Debbie or Sherry… or Ruby even). However, this brand of coffee is only served on Saturdays and Sundays; otherwise, Saul's Deli serves Mr. Espresso®, which is also a local ~ out of Oaktown ~ roastery, just much larger and less artisanal. But you don't have to take my word for it; I only had three cuppas with breakfast.

I had come prepared with a few bottles of my own condimentary supplements, but wasn't sure if they would be needed. However, I was happy to find out that Saul's Deli offers their own homemade (well, deli-made) hot sauce, and I used some of it with the Shakshouka for a bit more picanteness. Their hot sauce was a bit hotter than standard red Tabasco®, and it also had a lot more spices to it. I used a little of it on one portion of the meal and really liked its flavour. I don't suppose that the Shakshouka really required any extra spicing up, as it had a decent enough flavour to it already, but it never hurts. I just used the provided sour cream and applesauce on the latke, though.

This entire meal was definitely worth the trip over the Bay Bridge this morning! Shades of the exceptional roadtrip-worthy breakfast at The Dipsea Café (see 'blog-entry from April 7th, 2012). The roundtrip mileage was just 36 miles (so, about eighteen miles both ways… give or take). Not only was the main meal extra tasty, but the real finds for me were both the latke and the new coffee choice.

♪"Matzo-Matzo-Man… I've got to be a Matzo-Man!"♪

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Shakshouka ~ 7.0; Latke ~ 7.4; Ruby's Roast ~ 7.1

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

"Delicatessen" is a German loanword in English; it is the plural form of "Delikatesse". The German word itself is also a loanword from French "délicatesse" (meaning "delicious things"). The root word is the Latin adjective "delicatus" (meaning "giving pleasure").

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

"Shakshouka" means "a mixture" in Arabic slang. It is likely that it was first known as "chakchouka", a Berber word meaning "vegetable ragout", although according to a cookbook about Jerusalem cuisine, the name is derived from the Hebrew verb "leshakshek", "to shake".

3. I know what you are thinking: "Oy vey! A Jewish Surf group?!"

Well, let's not forget that Dick Dale's Surf Rock hit song "Misirlou" was originally a Greek folk song influenced by Middle Eastern music.

Which brings up stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day, number three:

"Misirlou" ("Μισιρλού" in Greek) is the feminine form of "Misirlis" ("Μισιρλής"), which comes from the Turkish world "Misirli", meaning "Egyptian".

4. For those of you goyim that are not familiar with the pastries Hamantashen/Hamentaschen:

1 comment:

  1. Brian, you Mensch! It sure was Meshugga Beach Party! Glad to hear the breakfastery repast was good eatun.