Saturday, February 1, 2014

Little Henry’s Restaurant/Italian Food

"I hate people who are not serious about meals. It is so shallow of them." 
~ Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

(No official web-site.)

Place: Little Henry's Restaurant/Italian Food
Location: 3600 Balboa Street (on the corner of 37th Avenue); phonicular contact: (415) 387-8761
Hours: open Monday-Friday at 10:30am, Saturday and Sunday 10:00am (however, their take-away menus just state 10:30am 7 days a week)
Meal: Fine Herb Omelette ~ three eggs - tomato, herbs, Parmigiano[1] and American cheese (comes with hash browns and toast); a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice; and (on the way there) a cuppa Simple Pleasures Cafe House Blend

(We really hate that Nancy person!)

I felt like keeping it local for breakfast this morning (and by "local" I mean very local, as in "within walking distance of my apartment local") so I sauntered over to Little Henry's Restaurant/Italian Food, which is only six blocks away. I write the name as such because the signage on the building (awnings and windows) reads "Little Henry's Italian Food", but the printed menu states "Little Henry's Restaurant". I'm sorry, but without an official web-site to correct me one way or the other, it will remain thus. I know I have eaten there before for lunch and/or dinner, but probably just once or twice in the past twenty-seven years that I have lived in this neighborhood; however, this was my first ever breakfastary adventure there. It's a strange little place. It is Asian family-owned, with Mexican cooks and servers, and they mainly make Italian food(?!). The available seating is six tables for four people, three tables for eight people, and one table for six people.

There is another Little Henry's Italian Food in San Francisco over on the corner of Larkin and Post Streets. That one is probably owned by the same family, as the on-line menu (the other place actually has a web-site; go figger?) is very similar to the printed take-away menu from the location that I ate at this morning.

On my way to Little Henry's (it's just easier this way) I had to pass by Simple Pleasures Cafe (see main 'blog-entry from March 15th, 2010) and, as I was running a little early anyway before Little Henry's opened up, I figured I might as well stop in there for a decent cuppa as I had no idea what the Coffee at Little Henry's might be like.

In addition to your standard Asian-owned/Mexican-cooked/Italian cuisine, Little Henry's has fourteen items on the Breakfast portion of their menu (hence, my reason for going there for breakfast this morning and not for a Chop Suey Burrito Marinara). There were a few other items on the menu that could have served my culinary apostasy from partaking of the dead, decaying animal flesh, such as: Provencale[2] Omelette (three eggs - mixed vegetables and Parmigiano cheese) or even Eggs Florentina [sic] (poached eggs and fresh spinach with Hollandaise sauce on an English muffin).

I really think the dish should be called "Fine Herbs Omelette" as I am sure there were more than just one type of herb used (which ones, though, I really couldn't detect). It was a decent enough omelette over all, but the best part was that they grilled/roasted the tomato slices before placing them inside the omelette; this added an extra .2 points on the Glen Bacon Scale for today. As for the Parmigiano cheese portion of the omelette, it was just the standard powdered/grated stuff that is in shakers like you would find in most Pizza joints (I really wasn't expecting any freshly sliced or grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, but that would have been great). My least favourite part was that there was way too much of the tasteless 'merican cheez stuff, but it is really not worth kvetching[3] about it. I know that the orange juice was extra freshly-squeezed, as I watched them actually make it for me; it was very good ~ extra pulpy and nice and frothy.

Little Henry's only provides Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red) for condimentary supplementation. They do have shakers of crushed red pepper flakes and more grated Parmigiano (which I saw fit to use even more of on my omelette, mainly because it was there and I could). I ended up using some of my own Youk's Hot Sauce (Thanks, Brian!) judiciously all over the omelette (it still couldn't mask the taste ~ or tastelessness ~ of that pseudo-cheezy product) and a little Dave's Gourmet® Ginger Peach Hot Sauce (Thanks, Jim!) on the hashbrowns.

An Afternoon with Rocky and His Masked Buddies ~ a zoological interlude

After eating, I decided to head over to my newest, bestest find in Golden Gate Park: Raccoon Island. I happened across this little gem of an urban isle just two days ago and I am sure I will probably head over there very often (well, until I am either attacked by one of the furry little bandits or the San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department decides to relocate the animals for their own safety). The island is located in the little lagoon that is near Fulton Street where the cross-over drive from the Sunset passes John F. Kennedy Drive. The actual name of the pond/lagoon is North Lake (and the road is called Chain of Lakes Drive East), but I am sure no one ever calls it that.

Apparently, one of the little islands in the pond/lagoon/lake has recently become inhabited by a number of raccoons. I actually saw nine adolescent raccoons this afternoon, but in talking with some other people that mentioned that they go over there more often, they said that there are anywhere from fifteen to thirty of the (normally) nocturnal rodents residing there. 

I can not stress this enough. Yes, these are cute little fur-balls, but they are still wild animals and, as such, really need to be treated carefully and people should try to keep a safe distance between themselves and the animals. That being said, the other day when I first saw them on the island, I had no idea how many there were or how adapted to stupid humans they had become. I crept down to the shore (about fifteen feet from the island) and started taking pictures of them. No sooner had I knelt down to get some steady (well, steady enough for my shaky purposes) shots, than they started to swim across the inlet right towards me. I was soon surrounded by three to four of them (a couple more joined them a little later on, too). 

I later found out that people stop by there all the time and feed the animals and now the raccoons have no qualms about coming right up to humans to beg for food. Luckily, I had no food on me the other day and they just looked at me disappointedly and walked on. And by no means should people stop by to keep feeding the raccoons. That would include any bags of peanuts that I may or may not have had in my pockets this afternoon.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Fine Herb(s) Omelette ~ 6.0; Simple Pleasures Cafe House Blend ~ 7.0; Raccoon Island ~ 8.5

1. Of course, the correct Italiano spelling of this word was completely unrecognized by the Spell-check Nazis at Microsoft

Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day, numero uno:

"Parmigiano" is simply the Italian adjective meaning "from Parma". The alternate word we use, "Parmesan", comes from the French name for it.

2. I think this was meant to be either the Italiano word "Provinciale" or more likely the French word "Provençal". Did I mention that it was an Asian-owned, Mexican-run, Italian restaurant?

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

"Kvetch" is a Yiddish word of German origin. It comes from the German word "quetschen" (pronounced "kvetchen" kinda rhyming with "Gretchen") meaning "to squeeze/to press".

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