Friday, February 28, 2014

Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee

"I'd rather take Coffee than compliments just now." ~ Louisa May Alcott, Little Women[1], Part Two: Chapter Thirty-seven

(Do I actually need to explain the juxta-selection of this particular EweToob video?)

I can't believe that I completely forgot to mention Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee (or Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee) in my previous 'blog-entry on Coffee. I was going to go back and edit it and add in a single paragraph on Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee; however, that is okay, as Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee actually deserves an entire 'blog-entry all unto itself. It is truly "the Marilyn Monroe of Coffees" (and, by that, I mean that both of the Kennedy brothers were crazy about this blend). It is incontrovertibly the Best Coffee Ever; plus, it's my absolute favourite, so that makes it the Second Best Coffee Ever… er, I mean, the Double-Best Coffee Ever.

Coffee was introduced into Jamaica in the early 18th Century by British colonialists. Apparently, the conditions (climate, soil, location, etc.) make the Blue Mountains of Jamaica a perfect environment in which to grow superior Coffee. Like Kona Coffee and Colombian Supremo (and most high-quality gourmet Coffees), Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee is a varietal of Coffea arabica (and discerning this piece of information wasn't exactly as easy as it sounds; it took me a bit of time with Intro-Net searches to determine this simple fact, as it is not mentioned on either the web-site of the official the Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica, nor in the Wikipedia page specifically about this Coffee).

The Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica has strict Quality Specifications for Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee

Blue Mountain No. 1 ~ the largest of the bean size;
Blue Mountain No. 2 ~ the next smaller size;
Blue Mountain No. 3 ~ the next smaller size;
Blue Mountain Pea Berry ~ where only peaberries[2] are allowed, Sherman; and
Blue Mountain Triage ~ where they can mix and match all different classification sizes, while maintaining basically the same quality standards of the other sizes.

"This Coffee has an intense aroma, fairly good body, sweet taste and free of all off-flavours." (Hmmm? Sounds like a girl I used to know…)

I distinctly remember the first time I ever had Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee. A few years ago, friends of mine in England, way up North Yorkshire way (Thanks, Greg & Cindy!), had sent me a small bag of Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee that they had purchased at their local fine tea and Coffee purveyor (and, I might also add, a fine food restaurant) Bettys Café Tea Rooms (see last 'blog-entry from December 16th, 2011). When I first saw the small bag (it was a 125g bag, which is about ¼-pound), I thought, "What cheap bastages! Why such a small bag?" However, if we examine the actual cost of this small bag ~ £15.00 per 125g, which currently works out to $90.90 ('merican) per pound ~ we can see why they had "only" sent me a small bag. There is no way I would even spend that kind of money on myself, but if I did, it would be money well spent.

Even without knowing how much the Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee cost (and I didn't actually discover that until several months later while visiting Greg and Cindy), after the first sip, I knew right away that this was a Coffee of Special Import (this is the real CSI, by the way; CBS stole that denomination from me). I am a bit of a Coffee-snob (no, really, I am); however, I doubt that I could tell the difference between an Arabica and Robusta bean. I just knew that after tasting this, it was THE BEST COFFEE THAT I HAD EVER TASTED EVER.[3] As stated above, Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee is already naturally sweet (with a mild flavour and lack of bitterness), so please do not befoul this transcendent beverage with any added sugar (natural or chemical) products. 

And I bet most people thought that the biggest money-making crop to come out of Jamaica was da ganja, mon.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Bettys Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee ~ 8.5 

1. Despite what many people may think, this book is not the autobiography of Woody Allen.

2. Peaberry is a type of Coffee bean. Where normally Coffee cherries (the fruit) contain two seeds (or beans), sometimes only one of the two seeds is fertilized and a single seed develops. The resulting bean is oval ~ or pea-shaped. Peaberries account for about 5% of all Coffee beans harvested.

3. Please don't point out to me that I used two "Evers" (and no "Tinkers" or "Chances") in that sentence, or you may have to wait an eternity for me to point out to you that "hyperbole" isn't really an outer-space skittles game.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Coffee ~ Part II

"Coffee - the favorite drink of the civilized world." ~ Thomas Jefferson

This is just a little follow-up to another 'blog-entry that I had written specifically about Coffee earlier on (see initial 'blog-entry from March 25th, 2010).

There are a few different stories on the possible history of how Coffee was first discovered and used. There is the story of a 9th-Century Ethiopian goat-herder who noticed how his goats were energetically capering about after eating the bright red "cherries" of a Coffee bush. There is another story involving a 10th-Century Yemenite Sufi Muslim mystic, Abul Hasan ash-Shadhili; the legend goes, that while traveling in Ethiopia, he observed birds flitting about with unusual vitality, and, upon trying the same red fruit that the birds had been eating, he had the same experience of flitting about with unusual vitality (or maybe that was really a hemp plant the birds were eating from). The earliest credible evidence of Coffee drinking appears in the middle of the Fifteenth Century in the Sufi Muslim monasteries of Yemen[1]. Whatever the case may be, you can take your pick; I kinda like the story of the hyper-caffeinated "jumping goats", myself.

The first reference to Coffee in the English language is in the form "chaoua", dated to 1598. In English and other European languages, "Coffee" descends from the Italiano word "caffè". In turn, "caffè" derives from "kahve", the Ottoman Turkish word for Coffee, which is itself derived from the Arabic "قهوة" (pronounced/transliterated as "qahwah", or close enough for Government work). The word for "Coffee" is pretty universal in many other languages (as opposed to being universal in just English), just like the words for "tea" and "Beer" (see respective 'blog-entries from June 18th, 2012 and October 11th, 2012):

koffie ~ Afrikaans/Dutch;
kafe ~ Albanian/Haitian Creole;
qəhvə ~ Azerbaijani;
kafea ~ Basque;
кава ~ Belarusian (pronounced/transliterated: kava);
কফি ~ Bengali (pronounced/transliterated: kaphi);
kafa ~ Bosnian;
кафе ~ Bulgarian/Macedonian (pronounced/transliterated: kafe);
cafè ~ Catalan; kape ~ Cebuano/Filipino (Tagalog);
咖啡 ~ Chinese (pronounced/transliterated: kafei);
kava ~ Croatian/Lithuanian/Slovenian;
káva ~ Czech/Slovak;
kaffe ~ Danish/Norwegian/Swedish (and, of course, everyone knows that Coffee goes great with a Danish);
kafo ~ Esperanto;
kohv ~ Estonian;
kahvi ~ Finnish;
café ~ French/Galician/Portuguese/Spanish;
ყავა ~ Georgian (pronounced/transliterated: qava);
Kaffee ~ German;
καφές ~ Greek (pronounced/transliterated: kafés);
કૉફી ~ Gujarati (pronounced/transliterated: kophi);
kofi ~ Hausa/Yoruba;
קפה ~ Hebrew (pronounced/transliterated: kah-fey);
कॉफ़ी ~ Hindi (pronounced/transliterated: kofi);
kas fes ~ Hmong;
kávé ~ Hungarian;
kaffi ~ Icelandic;
kọfị ~ Igbo;
kopi ~ Indonesian/Malay;
caife ~ Irish;
コーヒー ~ Japanese (pronounced/transliterated: kohi);
ಕಾಫಿ ~ Kannada (pronounced/transliterated: kaphi);
កាហ្វេ ~ Khmer (pronounced/transliterated: kahve);
커피 ~ Korean (pronounced/transliterated: keopi);
ກາເຟ ~ Lao (pronounced/transliterated: kafe);
coffee ~ Latin (See? I remember some Latin from the three years I took);
kafija ~ Latvian;
kafè ~ Maltese;
kawhe ~ Maori;
कॉफी ~ Marathi (pronounced/transliterated: kophi);
кофе ~ Mongolian/Russian (pronounced/transliterated: kofe);
कफी ~ Nepali (pronounced/transliterated: kaphi);
قهوه ~ Persian (pronounced/transliterated: just like it looks);
kawa ~ Polish (pronounced kava);
ਵਿੱਚ ਕਾਫੀ ~ Punjabi (pronounced/transliterated: vica kaphi);
cafea ~ Romanian;
кафа ~ Serbian (pronounced/transliterated: kafa);
qaxwaha ~ Somali;
kahawa ~ Swahili;
காபி ~ Tamil (pronounced/transliterated: kapi);
కాఫీ ~ Telugu (pronounced/transliterated: kaphi);
กาแฟ ~ Thai (pronounced/transliterated: kafæ);
кави ~ Ukrainian (pronounced/transliterated: kavy);
کافی ~ Urdu (Google Translate doesn't show the pronunciation or transliteration of this word; let's just assume it is something close to "Coffee");
cà phê ~ Vietnamese;
coffi ~ Welsh;
קאַווע ~ Yiddish (pronounced/transliterated: Q'aww');
ikhofi ~ Zulu… 

So, that is "Coffee from A(frikaans) to Z(ulu)".

There are three major species of the Coffea plant: Coffea arabica, Coffea canephora (also called Coffea robusta), and Coffea liberica. Arabica is said to produce better tasting Coffee than the other major commercially grown Coffee species; and it accounts for 75-80% of the World's Coffee production. Robusta is higher in caffeine content (2.7% compared to 1.5% in Arabica); and accounts for about 20 percent of the Coffee in the World. Liberica tastes more like Robusta than it does Arabica; it is named for Coffee that is found in Liberia. The Coffee that is served in most of the better coffeehouses is generally Arabica. Robusta is the Coffee that is usually the mass-produced, lower grade blends found in cans on most grocery store shelves; however, good quality Robusta beans are the basis for traditional Italian Espresso blends. 

"Coffee is a $60 Billion industry…" or so it is as stated by Todd Carmichael at the beginning of his TeeVee show, Dangerous Grounds (which airs Tuesday nights at 9:00pm on the Travel Channel). In America alone, we spend $40 Billion a year on our liquid black gold habit (and 54% of Americans over the age of 18 drink Coffee every day)[2]. There is even a designated National Coffee Day (in America) on September 29th.

There are probably only two blends of Coffee in the world that I won't ever bother to drink. One is Black Ivory Coffee from Thailand (priced as much as $1,100 per kilogram, wholesale ~ that equates to about $500 per pound) and the other is Kopi Luwak (priced between $100-600 per pound). And it is not the exorbitant costs of the Coffees that will keep me from drinking these (but there is that, too); it is the process used to produce these particular beans. The Black Ivory Coffee beans are fed to elephants and then collected after they have passed through the pachyderms' digestive system; and Kopi Luwak[3] is similarly produced, but with the aid of Asian Palm Civets.

Sorry, if I really want to overpay for Coffee that tastes like sh*t, I will just go to St*rbucks…

1. The port city of Mocha (or Mokha), Yemen (in Arabic المخا‎, transliterated as al-Mukhā; not to be confused in any way with the NBC Today weatherman, Al Roker ~ which is very ironic, as the word "rokah" in Amharic actually means "Coffee"*) is famous for being the major marketplace for Coffee from the 15th Century until the 17th Century. The city now lends its name to a variety of Coffee beans (which is derived from Arabica). Nowadays, the term "Mocha Coffee" can refer either to the "Coffee-with-chocolate" drinks or simply to Coffee brewed with Mocha beans.

Similarly, the term "Mocha-Java" comes from blending two different varieties of Coffee beans: the above mentioned Mocha Coffee beans and Java Coffee beans (an Arabica bean, again). Of course, the term "Java Coffee" comes from a very popular 1930's Hollywoodland coffeeshop called "Java Joe's"; apparently the owner, Joseph, was originally from Jakarta.** Particularly also of interest, this was the local coffeeshop where a very young Norma Jean Mortenson ~ later to become famous as Marilyn Monroe ~ was discovered while sipping on a cuppa "Mocha-Java" at the counter. What was the name of the guy that discovered her? One Max House, of course.***

You can consider those as stupid, useless cunning linguist pointers of the day… or not.

*(What have I told you about believing everything you read on the Intro-Net… or anything that I ever write here?)

**(See above caveat.)

***(Really?! If you actually fell for any of that, you must be Chock full o' Nuts.)

2. Statistics provided by Harvard School of Public Health:

As sourced from National Coffee Association USA (NCA):

3. Additional stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day:

"Kopi Luwak" basically translates from Indonesian as "(Mongoose) Civet Coffee". 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Boudin Sourdough Bakery & Café

"A slice of bread eaten is a million times more nourishing than a loaf of bread imagined." ~ Mokokoma Mokhonoana

Place: Boudin Sourdough Bakery & Café ~ Bakers Hall
Location: 160 Jefferson Street (on Fisherman's Wharf)
Hours: open for breakfast at 8:00am(?) daily (good luck trying to figure out their actual hours of operation from their useless web-site; I just know that they were open at about 8:05am this morning when I got there)
Meal: Vegetable Scramble ~ spinach, tomatoes, red pepper, Cheddar cheese, served in a bread bowl with potato wedges; and a medium cuppa Peet's® Coffee (I didn't catch the particular blend/roast, but they generally have Major Dickason's Blend®, House Blend, or Blend 101® for the daily café use)

(Get it? A "Bread" song 'cause I ate at a bakery… and a "Water"boys song, well, 'cause Coffee is made with water of course.)

I wouldn't normally think of eating at a bakery for breakfast, and particularly not one located in the of tourista country, but it is the off-season for most migratory touristas (I think they flock to Mexico or Florida this time of year) and Boudin Sourdough Bakery & Café is kind of a San Francisco institution. There are two locations on Fisherman's Wharf: the main (tourista) bakery/museum/marketplace right on Jefferson Street (which was the one I ate at this morning) and another one on Pier 39 (where you can share your breakfast with… and unfortunately smell… all the free-loading pinniped[1]). 

There are three different seating areas for the Bakers Hall café: the main (indoor) seating area in the atrium between the marketplace and Demonstration Bakery; an outside covered (and plastic-sealed) area with about twenty tables for four people (this is where I chose to sit this morning; and I had the entire area to myself the whole time I was there); and another outside area (uncovered, so you get to share your meal with all the local seagulls and pigeons) with about ten tables for four. Another really nice thing about this location is that it has an actual Peet's® Coffee & Tea counter where you can get a decent cuppa with breakfast.

the Wild Parrots of San Francisco Interlude

As I had parked at the end of Van Ness Street (hint: the parking is free all day long on Sunday and for four hours every other day of the week; just don't let this secret get out) underneath the tall Eucalyptus trees which overhang the street from Fort Mason, I saw and heard probably a couple dozen of the Wild Parrots as they roost in the trees there overnight (well, at least one major group of them now, probably 100+). One caveat: when parking beneath Eucalyptus trees, be very wary of Koala poop on your car.

As seen on one of the widows on the Demonstration Bakery area of the building:

What is Sourdough?
Ever since 1849, we have been baking San Francisco Sourdough according to the Boudin family's time-honored methods. Our secret: the mother dough, an ancient method of making bread rise using only the wild yeast present in the local environment, "caught" from the air and cultivated with a mixture of water and flour. Surviving only in our fog-cooled climate, our mother dough imparts a flavor and texture unlike any other bread in the world.

(In the top photo there are some sourdough bread alligators, turtles, lobsters, crabs, and bears that they display ~ which are also for sale ~ in the windows of the Demonstration Bakery. The bottom photo shows a basket of sourdough breads that are being cooled by circling above the heads of slack-jawed touristas in the marketplace store.)

The story also goes that the bakery still uses the same starter yeast-bacteria culture that it developed during the California Gold Rush. Supposedly, they just keep adding it to new batches of bread as they go along.

Boudin only offers a few items on their Breakfast menu (just eight items in all), and a couple of other ideas for me might have been: Sourdough French Toast (cinnamon sugar, whipped butter, maple syrup; however, I just had French toast yesterday, and sourdough bread used for French toast in San Francisco really isn't that original a choice) or Sourdough Belgian Waffle (fresh whipped cream, seasonal fruit, powdered sugar and maple syrup; now using a sourdough batter for waffles is very unique). This restaurant/bakery is a very decent optional place to go if you are a tourista stuck to the confines of Fisherman's Wharf for breakfast, I suppose.

The scramble was good enough (and extra kudos to the Boudin corporation for not calling this dish a "Veggie Scramble") and there was nothing to complain about, but really nothing special about it either; however, the idea of using a toasted sourdough bread bowl for the breakfastary receptacle was genius ~ plus, it tasted much better than a lot of paper plates I have eaten in the past. Additionally, the fork and knife were made of compostable materials, too (just not from sourdough bread; I asked).

I really didn't bother to ask what Boudin had to offer in the way of condimentary supplements; it's just a bakery, after all, but I figure they probably have bottles of Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red) if you asked. I just ended up using some of my own El Yucatero® XXXtra Hot Sauce Salsa Kutbil-ik® de Chile Habanero (Thanks, Brian!) on the scramble mess and some Youk's Hot Sauce (Thanks again, Brian!) on the potato wedges.

Overheard along Fisherman's Wharf on my way back to my car by some "dude" on a bicycle talking to his pedestrian "dude" friend:

"Dude, I have been hit by four cars and a bus already…"

1) You are either the unluckiest person in the World (or maybe the luckiest to have survived being hit five times), or
2) You are the stupidest person on Earth for having been hit five times by automobiles; if it were me, I would have given up the stupid bike after the second or third accident (and, more likely, after the first time being hit), but
3) At least now the odds of me (or any other intelligent "dude") getting hit has been drastically reduced; Thanks, dude! (Sadly, the bicycle does not abide.)

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Vegetable Scramble ~ 6.0; toasted sourdough bread bowl ~ 7.0; Peet's® (generic what-ever blend/roast) ~ 6.8

1. Microsoft did not recognize this simple word as a valid choice. Seriously, Billy-boy, you and your Nazi Spell-checkers really need to increase your vocabulary. You guys really should visit the Marine Mammal Center in Marin one of these days.

Stupid, useless cunning linguist (well, more etymological) pointer of the day:

"Pinniped" is from New Latin "pinnipēs", from Latin "pinna" (meaning "feather" or "fin") + "pēs" (meaning "rectangular-shaped fruit-flavoured candy").

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Slow Club

"If you wish to make an apple pie truly from scratch, you must first invent the Universe." ~ Carl Sagan

Place: Slow Club
Location: 2501 Mariposa Street (on the corner of Hampshire Street ~ the signs don't specify "New’" or "Old", though)
Hours: "Brunch" is served on Saturday and Sunday at 10:00am
Meal: bourbon french toast ~ spiced roasted pears, candied walnuts & bourbon maple syrup; a side order of homefries; and a cuppa Mr. Espresso® Organic Seven Bridges[1] Blend (formerly Organic Special Blend)

("Slow" Club ~ "Fast"ball/"Frequency"… get it?! 

Well, I really don't care if you like my musical juxta-selections or not, I couldn't think of any good lack of speed or velocity songs.

Would you believe me if I said I chose those songs because they have a Bo Diddley[2] beat?)

I went back to Slow Club (see previous 'blog-entry from June 4th, 2011) for "Brunch" (their terminology, not mine) this morning. They are supposed to open at 10:00am, but they were running a little late this morning and didn't open until 10:05am (someone must not have read my mini-Rant last weekend), which really isn't that bad, and they more than made up for it by their expediency in taking my order (around 10:10am) and bringing out the food in a less than slow manner (probably by 10:25am or sooner). It really wasn't that busy yet when they first opened, but it did fill up rather quickly.

Slow Club is located just a block down the street from KQED. There is lots of available (read: free) street parking in this neighborhood on the weekends. I thought it was funny that where I parked the sign stated "12 HOURS LIMIT"; luckily, I only planned on eating breakfast for 11 hours tops. 

Slow Club is a medium-sized restaurant and they have two tall tables with four or five high stools for seating, three tables dedicated specifically for four people, and fourteen tables for two. They also have five sidewalk tables for two people each that can be enjoyed on sunny days (like today); these were mostly filled when I had finished and left.

Stupid Pet (mainly Dog) Owners mini-Rant of the Day

It is understood that animals (of any type and size) are not allowed in many stores or restaurants (as well as most places that are open to the human public), right? So, what would ever make you think that your sweet, little… mangy, flea-infested, disease-carrying mongrel is any better than anyone else's pet?! "But I didn't want to leave the poor thing unattended while I was inside eating." Well, shouldn't you have considered that this morning before you decided to schlep the mutt with you?! And it's not as if I am a dog-hater. I love the massively drooling, butt-licking fools, but just outside, not inside where I am trying to enjoy a meal.

(Thus endeth the mini-Rant for today. Idiots!)

Slow Club doesn't have that extensive of a "Brunch" menu, but I did see a few other items that looked good: frittata ~ or fritatta even ~ (spinach, king trumpet mushrooms, red onion, swiss cheese & balsamic reduction served with greens), but this was almost the same as the weekend special frittata ~ or fritatta ~ that I had there on my last visit and I wanted to try something different; or grilled flatbread (montasio[3], arugula, yukon gold potatoes, bacon, caramelized onions & a fried egg), which I saw someone at another table had ordered and it looked like a pretty decent version of a breakfastary Pizza ~ solo senza sugo rosso.

The French toast came as three large slices (and about ¾-inch thick each). My one minor complaint would be that they had already poured the bourbon maple syrup on the French toast before bringing it out to me. I would much rather have them bring out a little syrup pitcher and be able to use as much or little of the stuff as I liked and pour it on myself (well, to be able to pour it on the French toast, not on my body… Hmmm?! That doesn't sound that bad either.). And in this case, it would have been "as much as" as the bourbon maple syrup was really very good. This is easily the Best French Toast that I have had this year… after Baker Street Bistro's Pain Perdu, of course.

The potatoes were also good and had lots of caramelised red onions, and they came with some kind of herbed aioli/mayonnaise stuff to dip the potatoes in.

The Coffee seemed rather weak at first, but, by the third cuppa (the second refilla), it was much better and probably from a newly brewed batch.

I only noticed Cholula® Hot Sauce for condimentary supplementation on all of the tables. I used some of my own hot sauces on different areas of the potatoes: just five to six (and believe me, you want to count how much you use of this stupid stuff; I was given this 5 oz. bottle over two years ago and have barely made a dent in its volume; and this isn't even the absolute hottest of their brand) drops of Blair's After Death® sauce with Liquid Fire (Thanks a lot, Sean! ~ with requisite sarcasm) and some (this one I went a lot more liberally with) Mama Africa's Zulu Sauces Chilli Mint (Thanks, Kerry! ~ without any real sarcasm noted there). The aioli/mayonnaise stuff seemed to temper the Blair's a bit, which was nice. 

Between the large portion of French toast and potatoes, I am so full now that I may not eat again until tomorrow morning's breakfast…

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: bourbon french toast ~ 7.2

1. Off the top of my head, I could only name six bridges in the Bay Area:

Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Bridge, San Rafael Bridge, Carquinez Bridge, San Mateo Bridge, and Dumbarton Bridge.

The one that I couldn't think of was "that other 680 Bridge", which is actually called Congressman George Miller/Benicia-Martinez Bridge.

2. a) see previous 'blog-entry from June 4th, 2011 to get that reference;

b) the name "Diddley" isn't recognized by the Nazi Microsoft Auto-spellchecker thingy. Apparently, Billy-boy doesn't know Jack… or Bo!

3. Montasio is a type of Italian Alpine cheese. It is named for the Jôf di Montasio peak in the Julian Alps.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Market & Rye

"Compare the times they say they are open and actually are. Simples!"[1]

Place: Market & Rye
Location: 68 West Portal (between Ulloa and Vicente Streets)
Hours: "Brunch" is served on weekends starting at 8:00am
Meal: Huevos Verde[2] ~ stewed eggs, black beans, Roma tomato, salsa roja, guacamole, sour cream, queso fresco, crispy tortilla, cilantro; and a cuppa mighty fine Palio Brand Gourmet Coffee

(Okay, today's EweToobular video selections don't really have any sort of correlation with "Market" &/or "Rye", and it would seem to fly in the face of nature and really can not be emplaced by normative fiat[3]. I just like the group and their songs. 

You can completely ignore the fact that these are basically "Christian" Rock-and/or-Roll-ish songs; just listen to the sounds and music. Besides, it is Sunday, and if you can't share a little love and understanding and obtain a little religiosity on this day… you can all go straight to Hell

Yeah, so, today I decided on going with four songs, too. Just shut up and deal with it, ya buncha heathens! 


Isn't it nice when a place says that they are open at 8:00am and then they are actually open for business at 8:00am? (This is compared to yesterday's double late openings debacle, of course.) Well, that was precisely the case this morning when I ate at Market & Rye (the one on West Portal; see last 'blog-entry from January 20th, 2013 at their Potrero Hill location on). Both locations have probably been open for a little over two years now, but the West Portal store has only recently (within the past few months or so) started serving "Brunch" (and I can always forgive that snooty breakfastary moniker as they open up nice and early... and, more importantly, when they are supposed to open). 

One really cool thing about this place is that they have lots of toys and games for kids to play with (and I would also like to point out that they have several games for adults, too ~ dominoes, Yahtzee®[4], or even Candy Land). I saw one family with a couple of ankle-biters head straight for the corner area with all the toys as soon as they came in. (No one told me ahead of time that there were toys to play with. If I had known that, I would have beaten the little bastages to them first.)

It is interesting to note that the "Brunch" menus at the two locations differ in a few items. But they both offer a very decent array of choices, and I know that there are a couple that I would like to get back and try: Scrambled Egg Sandwich (soft scrambled egg, Cheddar, roasted tomato, aioli, greens, on a house-made English muffin, served with potatoes & salad); M&R Breakfast Burrito (chorizo, eggs, black beans, fried potatoes, Poblano aioli, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, queso fresco, served with Breakfast Potatoes and mixed greens ~ I am not quite sure what the "M&R" refers to, though); or Scramble of the Day (served with Breakfast Potatoes and mixed greens ~ I only asked after I had already finished my meal what today's scramble included and was told "Brussels sprouts and Parmesan", which sounded like a great combination to me).

This was served in a deep bowl and there were either two or three (or possibly four) poached/stewed eggs in a very nice salsa verde with a good amount of black beans, too. There are several crispy corn tortilla strips piled on top of the mess for a bit of texture. My only minor complaint (un quibblito) would be that they didn't provide any fresh tortillas (either corn or flour) with which to sop up the remaining tasty salsa verde.

The counter-guy (he wasn't being a contrarian jerk or anything, he was just the guy that was working the cash register at the counter) told me that they serve Mr. Espresso® Coffee at their other location on Potrero Hill; however, looking back at the 'blog-entry from that other visit, I showed that they also serve Palio Brand Gourmet Coffee. Either way, I think both are very good, local roasteries.

Market & Rye really excel with their condimentary supplements; they offer two entire shelves full of different hot sauces. They even have an extended version of the San Francisco Triumvirate of Hot Sauces: Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (three types: the standard red, Garlic, and Chipotle), Tapatío® (just the one type), and Cholula® Hot Sauce (also three types: Original, Chili Garlic, and Chili Lime). And as many different types (there had to have been twenty to thirty different kinds from which to choose) they have at their West Portal location, there are probably two to three times that amount at the Potrero Hill restaurant. 

Unfortunately, there was really nothing in my meal that needed extra flavour or spicing up as the salsa verde that the eggs were swimming in was pretty tasty on its own. I couldn't leave there without sampling some, so I did try a couple drops of a few different hot sauces on some of the corn tortilla strips: Shiloh's Caribbean Hot Sauce, Jufran® Banana Sauce ~ Hot, and some of the Cholula® Chili Lime. The Shiloh's was very good, made with habanero chillies and pineapple; it is worth looking for if you like a "sweet heat" kind of hot sauce.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Huevos Verde ~ 6.8; Palio Brand Gourmet Coffee ~ 6.9; awesome collection of hot sauces ~ 8.0 

1. Only a few (well, probably just one) faithful readers in North Yorkshire might get that stupid reference.

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

I hate to get picky with them, but I think the correct term should be "Huevos Verdes" in the plural. Whatever the case may be, I didn't notice any jamón verde on the menu, Señor Geisel.

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

"Fiat" ~ despite what some anti-Italiano pundits may think, this does not mean "Fix it again, Tony!" ~ comes from Latin, meaning "let it be done", and is the 3rd singular present subjunctive form of the verb "fieri" ("to become").

4. Okay, in addition to Billy-boy and his Spell-check Nazis not knowing many standard food terms or famous place names, it appears they never played many games when they were children as they do not recognise this as a valid word.

Just in case you also aren't familiar with this long-standing 'merican dice game either:

Saturday, February 15, 2014


"Life is a combination of magic and pasta." ~ Federico Fellini

Place: Greenburger's
Location: 518 Haight[1] Street (between Fillmore and Steiner Streets)
Hours: "Brunch" available Saturday and Sunday from 10:30am
Meal: Veggie Scramble ~ 3 eggs, caramelized onions, mushrooms, and baby spinach with smash browns and your choice of toast 

(The EweToob videos used here today in a prolegomenon sense should be pretty self-evident.)

I ended up eating at Greenburger's for breakfast this morning. However, this was not my originally intended destination (feel free to follow along for an explanation), but, after last week's unsuccessfully attempted visit to Primo Patio Cafe, I had this as a back-up plan all ready. Greenburger's is a new-ish place in the Lower Haight (they have been around for less than two years, I believe). There are original photos (for sale) along one wall and old family photos along another wall (but I am pretty sure that those are not for sale). You order and pay first at the front counter, they give you a number, and then bring out the food to you when it is ready. They open at 10:30am sharp, just like they state they do; and I only mention that as (get ready for it)…

Restaurants that do not open when they state they are supposed to open mini-rant 

Okay, I know that the restaurant business is not exactly run on a strict timetable like the banking industry is, but why do restaurants (at least from what I can see a lot of in San Francisco) feel that if they state (on both their web-sites and also on the signage on their doors) they are open at 9:00am (or 9:30am) that they don't have to actually open their doors until after 9:45am (or later)? I had originally planned on eating again at Primo Patio Cafe as they were closed last Saturday due to inclement weather. Well, today there was pretty clement weather and I arrived over there at about 9:20am. I saw some workers milling around inside and just figured that they were running a little late this morning. So, I decided to walk around the neighborhood and see what else might be open. Just around the corner is  farmerbrown's little skillet ~ they have a sign stating that they open at 9:30am on Saturdays ~ so, I figured I'd give both Primo Patio and little skillet a chance to open, and whichever one opened first, I would just eat there. Well, 9:30am came and went and neither place was open yet. No problem, I can wait a few more minutes… 9:35am ~ still nuthin'… 9:40am ~ no signs of either place opening any time soon… 9:45am ~ forget it… on to "Plan B".

(Now back to your regularly-scheduled 'blog-entry.)

As you enter the joint, there is a cool old Wedgewood cast iron stove that they now use as a planter.

I have eaten at Greenburger's a few times for lunch/dinner ~ both the House Made Greenburger (veggie patty made from organic black beans, beets, oats, brown rice, and spices on a brioche roll) and the Vegetarian Sloppy Joe (organic tempeh[3], sautéed onions, Poblano and bell peppers in a tangy chili barbeque sauce served on a soft roll with a dollop of coleslaw) are very good (and available as a Weekday Lunch Slider Special where you can get both). They are mainly a burger joint (hence the "Green" part of their name) and don't really offer that many different "Brunch" items on the menu, but a few other good breakfastary ideas for stupid vegetarians are: Buckwheat Blueberry Pancakes (with organic maple syrup and seasonal fruit); Simple Breakfast (2 eggs any style served with smash browns and your choice of toast and bacon, sausage, Canadian bacon, or avocado); Breakfast Sandwich (2 fried eggs with Cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayo with your choice of meat on an English muffin served with smash browns; *Vegan upon request).

Other than the pedestrian moniker of the "Veggie" Scramble, this was a pretty good breakfast. I completely missed the "Add goat cheese .75" (which I assume means for an extra 75¢, not that you only get a ¾-serving of the normal amount) on the menu; which I probably would have done if I had seen it. Goat cheese is always good with a scrambled egg dish. I went with sourdough bread as my toast choice. The smash browns were the real find this morning and worth checking out even as a side if you are only getting pancakes or French toast. These are basically just mashed potatoes formed into a patty ("potato patty"? Try saying that ten times fast.) and browned up on the grill (somewhat like "Bubble & Squeak" ~ the British breakfast potato dish, not a Greek Cockney ~ but just without any extra added leftover junk in them). I always love any different take on potatoes, and these were a very good take, too.

For condimentary supplementation, Greenburger's offers Frank's® RedHot and two different types of Pretty Dog Hot Sauce (Louisiana Style and Sea Salt & Peppercorn w/Lime). I had brought a few of my own collection with me, but I knew from past experience that Pretty Dog Hot Sauce is really very good. I used a little of the Louisiana Style on the smash browns and some Sea Salt & Peppercorn w/Lime on the scramble (all over the mess, and I used quite a mess of it, too). The Louisiana Style (Ingredients: red chiles, ground Cayenne, white vinegar, water, sea salt.) is not just another lame version of Tabasco® Brand's standard red; this was chunky and very flavourful. The Sea Salt & Peppercorn w/Lime (Ingredients: Habanero chiles, red chiles, white vinegar, water, fresh squeezed lemon juice, fresh squeezed lime juice, ground black peppercorn, ground white peppercorn, ground Cayenne, onion powder, sea salt.) was even better.

Pretty Dog Hot Sauce is "a local artisan hot sauce company based out of Oakland, CA". Their products are all handmade and all natural (and all very tasty). According to one of the pretty, friendly worker-server-lady-persons, she told me that Greenburger's usually only has two different flavours at a time (always the Louisiana Style and another seasonal flavour), and that they sell bottles of the product, too. I will have to keep that in mind for the next time my collection dips below ten bottles or so (it's holding at fifteen bottles currently). 

Now 10:30am is usually a little later than I would like to eat breakfast (or "Brunch" even), but at least I didn't have to wait in vain to get in, Mr. Marley.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Veggie Scramble ~ 6.5; smash browns ~ 7.2; Pretty Dog Hot Sauce ~ 7.0 (Louisiana Style) and 7.3 (Sea Salt & Peppercorn w/Lime)

1. Not only do the Spell-check Nazis at Microsoft not seem to know the spelling of many simple, common culinaristic words, but they also don't seem to recognize many famous place names either. Seriously, Billy-boy, you really need to broaden your horizons a bit.

2. Case in point: die Braunhemden Idioten at Microsoft have absolutely no idea what this vegetarian soy product is.

Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day:

"Tempeh" comes from the Javanese word "témpé", simply meaning "soy meat made next to Phoenix".