Sunday, February 2, 2014

cafe barley

"What I say is that, if a man really likes potatoes, he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow." ~ A.A. Milne (founder of that non-drinking club in America)

(While this appears to be their official web-site, I honestly hope they are working on it as it is pretty useless as it is. It "barley" contains any pertinent information in it right now.)

Place: cafe barley
Location: 343 Clement Street (at 4th Avenue)
Hours: (?) open at 8:00am daily (?) (See? Here is where a working web-site with the hours of operation would come in very handy.)
Meal: Wild Mushroom Frittata ~ wild mushrooms, Burrata[1], basil, and Parmesan home fries with choice of Applewood smoked bacon or Canadian bacon; and a cuppa Sightglass Coffee

(Yeah, it's a pretty corny ~ or barley, even ~ song, but I was limited with available videos on EweToob about this particular grain.)

A few weeks back, when I last ate at Restaurant and Wine Bar, I passed by a new(ish) place on Clement Street called cafe barley. I was hoping to get a (very) early breakfastary repast out of the way this morning so that I would have time to write up this 'blog-entry and then head south to San Mateo for the big annual event… yup, it is Groundhog Day and Steve's birthday ("Happy Birthday, Spark!") once again! (Oh, and there is also some televised Football game going on this afternoon, I guess.) However, I checked several on-line sources (including cafe barley's own defacedbook page) and they all said that the restaurant opens at 7:00am every day of the week. Well… I got there at 7:30am, just to be on the safe side, only to find out that they do not actually open up until 8:00am (I don't know if that is just on the weekends or every day of the week). So, I ended up wasting a half-hour sitting in my car listening to the radio while it rained gently outside. One good thing about getting there that early is that I was just about the only idiot on the street and actually got a parking space right in front of the restaurant.

This is a brand new place (probably six months old or less… or is that "six months old or fewer"?). It used to be a dingy ol' Vietnamese sandwich and coffeeshop where dingy ol' Vietnamese guys would hang out all day in the front sidewalk patio area smoking cigarettes and such. I am happy to see that cafe barley kept the sidewalk patio area and that it has also been updated a bit. I almost sat out there this morning, as they have both overhead heaters and plastic screen covers for the windows; but, even so, it was still a bit too cold and breezy for me. It looks so much nicer inside now than it ever had in the past twenty years; sort of an upscale coffeehouse joint ("Dat broad has a lotta class!"). It does appear a bit smaller inside than it used to, but that can be attributed to the much larger kitchen area now. There is seating inside for just twenty people, but the outside patio area seats an additional twenty-eight people (weather, or whether, permitting).

Currently there are only eight items on the breakfast portion of the menu, and a couple of the other items also looked good to me: Vanilla Bean French Toast (served with diced maple-glazed Fuji apples, with choice of Applewood smoked bacon, Canadian bacon, Spanish chorizo, or grilled chicken breast); or Breakfast Sandwich (scrambled cage-free eggs with a choice of Applewood smoked bacon, Canadian bacon, Black Forest ham, Spanish chorizo, or grilled chicken breast on a croissant bun) ~ both of which I could always have ordered without the accompanying, offensive, dead, decaying animal flesh.

Of course I also ordered the frittata without any of the porky products; they were nice enough to substitute half of a sliced avocado for me instead. This was very good; however, I really couldn't detect very much Burrata and not a lot of wild mushrooms in it, but there were lots of red and green bell peppers in the frittata that weren't mentioned in the ingredients on the menu. This was not an awful lot of food, but what there was I found was very good; it's not as if I have a huge appetite, anyway. (For those with a larger appetite, I would suggest ordering a side of something else, or a pastry.) The homefries were extremely good, too, made with a good amount of real shredded Parmigiano (unlike yesterday's omelette with that powdered/grated stuff).

The cuppa Sightglass Coffee was absolutely HUGE and very good. I have had this local brand a few times before, but this morning it kept tasting better and better with each subsequent sip I took. I initially was thinking of rating it "just" a 7.0 on the Glen Bacon Scale, but kept upping the ante; I am just glad I finished it before it reached double digits as no Coffee is really that good (or, if it is, say "Hi!" to Jay-Cee and his buddies for me).

cafe barley offers as condimentary supplements Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (both the standard red, and green jalapeño) and Tapatío®. Those aren't bad choices, but I still used some of my own Nando's Extra Hot Peri-Peri Sauce (Thanks, Kerry!) on the frittata and Serious Food… Silly Prices Chunky Habanero Hot Sauce (Thanks, Greg & Cindy!) on the potatoes.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Wild Mushroom Frittata ~ 6.8; Sightglass Coffee ~ 7.3

1. Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-culinaristic pointer of the day:

"Burrata" means "buttered" in Italiano.

Again, the auto-spellchecker Nazi idiots at Microsoft do not recognize this word. Seriously, Billy-boy, you really need to eat out more often; Velveeta (which the auto-spellchecker had absolutely no problem with, of course) is not a real cheese!

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