Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Best of 2013

"Hell is other people at breakfast." 
~ Jean-Paul Sartre 

Continuing the chroniclisation of my breakfastary peregrination, I am listing my 2013 Top Ten Best Breakfasts. Of course, this will also include a few "brunchified" joints along the way; after all, "Brunch" is just when humans crossed the threshold into culinary modernity… but not in a good way. When I first did this year-end list in 2012 (see last 'blog-entry from December 21st, 2012), I only listed five restaurants; however, I figured I would extend it a bit for 2013.

(Without any further adieu[1]… Drumroll, please!)

(Here is where you have to get interactive and actually click on that link and then "press" the red button with your mouse.)

1) Once again, my top choice is the Pain Perdu at Baker Street Bistro (see last ‘blog-entry from August 31st, 2012). This really is one of the best versions of French toast I have ever had, and not just in San Francisco, but possibly world-wide. I may need to rethink about listing it again in 2014 as #1 and instead give it its own category of "Best French Toast", but, for now, there it is.

2) Zucchini Cakes at Dottie's True blue café (see last 'blog-entry from August 25th, 2013). Think Eggs Benedict with an Italiano twist; sort of Uova di Benedetto if you will.

3)  Artichoke Hash Benedict at Caffé DeLucchi (see 'blog-entry from November 10th, 2013). Other than their obvious mispeling of "Caffè", I have to also mention that this was definitely the Most Interesting/Best New Find of 2013, for which it also earns the distinction of 2013 Rookie of the Year Award.

4) Oeufs Baker Street at Baker Street Bistro (see last 'blog-entry from April 13th, 2013). See, even if they didn't offer their stellaire Pain Perdu, I would probably go back again for this breakfast "find", anyway.

5) Vegetarian Hashbrown Sandwich at Art's Café (see last 'blog-entry from May 12th, 2013). Potatoes as the basis for a pseudo-omelette? Genius, simply genius, Arthur!

6) Kalua Benedict at grindz (see last 'blog-entry from September 15th, 2013). When was the last time you had taro leaves in your Benedict, Arnold?

7) Hash & Eggs at Citizen's Band (see 'blog-entry from October 26th, 2013). Vegetarian hash; made simple and sublime. This also receives Honourable Mention for Most Interesting/Best New Find of 2013

8) Cornmeal Waffle (especially including Apple Cider Syrup, which was even better than the waffle itself) at Brown Sugar Kitchen (see 'blog-entry from November 24th, 2013). Also Best Waffle Dish of 2013 (and Best Reason to Venture Across the Bay Bridge for Breakfast Early on a Sunday Morning).

9) Portobello Mushroom, Arugula & Fontina Tart at Dottie's True blue café (see 'blog-entry from January 27th, 2013).

10) Grilled Garden Benediction at MyMy CoffeeCoffee ShopShop (see 'blog-entry from March 31st, 2013). Another innovative winner in the Eggs Benedict regime. Sorry, Mr. Thomas, but sometimes your boring ol' nooks and crannies just don’t cut it (or split it in two with a fork, even).

2013 Honourable Mentions & Specific Categories

Best New Potato Side Dish Find ~ Weird Potatoes at Dante's Weird Fish (see 'blog-entry from November 3rd, 2013); GBS Rating: 7.5. An Honourable Mention must go to the awesome Potato Latke at Saul’s Restaurant & Delicatessen (see 'blog-entry from December 15th, 2013); GBS Rating: 7.4.

(Not to be confused with) Best Potato Side Dish ~ Excellent! Roasted Home Potatoes at Eats (see last 'blog-entry from September 2nd, 2013); GBS Rating: 7.5.

Best French Fries & Dips ~ frjtz (see 'blog-entry from August 3rd, 2013), I happened to choose both Spicy Pomegranate Ketchup and Chipotle Rémoulade[2] on that visit; GBS Rating: 7.8.

Best Breakfast Pizza ~ Morning Pizza at Sweet Maple (see 'blog-entry from December 26th, 2013), granted, there were only three versions of Breakfast Pizzas from which to choose this year, but it was still better than the other two; GBS Rating: 7.0.

Best Coffeehouse Coffee Selection ~ Stumptown Coffee Roasters at Little Griddle (see 'blog-entry from October 13th, 2013); GBS Ratings: 6.5-7.0 (they offer four to five different roasts and this is always a plus). Another Honourable Mention to Bean Bag Café (see 'blog-entry from December 14th, 2013) where they also offer several different blends/roasts of McLaughlin's Coffee, but (unlike at Little Griddle) there are no free refills, so I only got to sample one roast; GBS Rating: 6.9.

Best Vegan Sausage ~ Vegan Apfelwurst at Rosamunde Sausage Grill (see 'blog-entry from July 20th, 2013); GBS Rating: 7.2.

Best Tamales That Can Double As Breakfast ~ Tamal de Frijol at Roosevelt's Tamale Parlor (see 'blog-entry from June 22nd, 2013); GBS Rating: 7.0 (extra points noted for a very tasty mole sauce).

Biggest Surprise (Whodathunkit Category) ~ Vegetarian Benedict at O'Reilly's (see 'blog-entry from May 19th, 2013), again, not your run-of-the-mill, boring Mr. Thomas' Eggs Benedict dish; GBS Rating: 7.0.

Best Middle Eastern Dish with a Fun-sounding Name ~ Shakshouka at Saul's Deli (see ‘blog-entry from December 15th, 2013); GBS Rating: 7.0.

Best Hot Sauce Selection/Collection (that is bigger than mine even) ~ Market & Rye (see 'blog-entry from January 20th, 2013); no real GBS Rating given, just an unbelievable amount of bottles from which to choose.

Best Breakfast Dessert (Doughnut Category) ~ Dynamo Donut & Coffee (see last 'blog-entry from June 22nd, 2013), always many tasty and interesting choices; GBS Ratings: 7.0-7.5.

Best Breakfast Dessert (Pastry Category) ~ Cafe Golo (see last 'blog-entry from July 21st, 2013) ~ Can I interest you in a Blackberry-Mango Tart, a Cranberry-Kiwi Tart, or (best of all) a Sweet Potato Tart?; GBS Ratings: 7.0-7.5.

Best Bread/Toast Side ~ (Is there really any surprise here?) (World) Famous Cliff House Popovers(!) at the Bistro Restaurant at Cliff House (see last 'blog-entry from September 21st, 2013); GBS Rating: 8.2.

This year I thought I would also include my picks for 2013 Bottom Five Worst:

1) New York Y*nkees; GBS Rating: 0.0.
2) Los Ångeles D*dgers; GBS Rating: 0.5.
3) St*rbucks; GBS Rating: 1.0
4) Barney's & Ignoble; GBS Rating: 1.5
5) parklets; gbs rating: 2.0

Yeah, so what if they ain't breakfastarily related. Start your own damn 'blog-thing then!

All in all, 2013 was another pretty decent year for breakfasts everywhere. I was just surprised that there weren't more GBS Ratings over 7.5. Conclusion: Either I eat at a lot of crummy places or I am being a bit too austere with my ratings.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Pain Perdu at Baker Street Bistro ~ 8.2; Zucchini Cakes at Dottie's True blue café ~ 7.6; Artichoke Hash Benedict at Caffé DeLucchi ~ 7.6; Oeufs Baker Street at Baker Street Bistro ~ 7.3; Vegetarian Hashbrown Sandwich at Art's Cafe ~ 7.2; Kalua Benedict at grindz ~ 7.2; Hash & Eggs at Citizen's Band ~ 7.2; Cornmeal Waffle at Brown Sugar Kitchen ~ 7.2; Portobello Mushroom, Arugula & Fontina Tart at Dottie’s True blue café ~ 7.1; Grilled Garden Benediction at MyMy CoffeeCoffee ShopShop ~ 7.1

1. Yes, I am well aware that it should be "ado", Wild Bill, but that doesn't really lend itself to the year-end "farewell" theme.

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

"Rémoulade" is a French word from an original dialect "rémola", which is an alteration of Latin "amoracea" ("horseradish").

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