Sunday, March 30, 2014

the Dipsea Café

A breakfastary roadtrip:
Mill Valley, Marin County, CA

Place: the Dipsea Café
Location: 200 Shoreline Highway, Mill Valley, Marin County, CA
Hours: open for breakfast at 7:00am every day of the week
Meal: Greek Omelette ~ Feta cheese, Kalamata olives, tomatoes, pepperoncinis, and oregano (served with home fries, homemade buttermilk biscuit or toast and homemade jam); a side of Τζατζικι
(because it was on the menu and because I could); and a large glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice

(The reason for the first EweToobular juxtaselection is because I heard it on the radio this morning on my way Way-Up-North; plus, it is Sunday still in most places. Brandi Carlile is the anti-American Idol ~ she actually is a talented singer-songwriter in her own right and didn't need any fake help from either Simon Scowls or the FAUX TeeVee network. The second video is because cousins Steven and John are both of Greek descent; additionally, it's a good song.)

I was very grateful that the Sun was out again this morning and shining its best shining, because I made the long haul all the way across the Golden Gate Bridge once again this morning to eat at the Dipsea Café, (see previous 'blog-entry from April 7th, 2012 ~ almost two years ago now). Probably because the restaurant is located all the way up in Marin County and they open up bright and early every morning at 7:00am (and, hipster doofi, please note, "for breakfast", not "Brunch"), I wasn't the first customer of the day for a change; there were already several small families (and I was very happy to see neither a pork-pie hat, nor a cravat in the entire joint) with young children eating pancakes and such. (Kids, try the Mickey Dipsea or Pigs in a Blanket.)

The walls of the Dipsea Café are festooned with all these old tin advertisement signs and there are several "No Smoking" signs in various ferren languages, and they have a few cool old stoves and coolers hanging around the place, too.

(I can't actually read the top sign. I think that it might be in Greek or something and probably reads: "Y*nkees Go Home!" ~ which is just fine with this Red Sox Fan.)[1]

When getting a "Greek" omelette, it is always great to see authentic Kalamata olives being used, and there was a good amount in the omelette, too. Another important factor is that the Feta cheese should be in large chunks (in this case, they were at least ¼" or larger pieces) and in copious amounts; and not in any minuscule amount of Feta crumblies. The tomatoes were actually grilled/roasted, which really added another depth of flavour ~ Μπράβο! My one complaint about the omelette would be that there was a inordinate amount of pepperoncinis inside it; I am not exaggerating any here when I say that there may have been a quarter of a jar of the sliced variety inside.

Of course, I went for the homemade buttermilk biscuit choice. Who in their right mind would choose plain ol' toast when there is the option of a fresh, warm biscuit? There really is nothing better than fresh, warm homemade (even if the "home" is a diner/restaurant) biscuits… and with homemade jam! Today's homemade jam was strawberry

The orange juice was the actual fresh-squeezed stuff, made by one of those the Jetsons contraptions that cuts the oranges in half and then makes the juice all in one machine.

This was good Τζατζικι, but like a lot of places in the States, they go way too lightly on the garlic; they always seem to temper it for the stupid Αμερικανάκι[2]. After eating Τζατζικι, one should be able to part large crowds by just breathing on them. I am pretty sure that strong, correctly-made Τζατζικι is the main secret ingredient in the chemical weapons being employed in Syria currently… oh, wait, that can't actually be happening… Obama did declare a Red Line, after all.

For condimentary supplements, the Dipsea Café has just Tabasco® Brand Hot Sauce (both the standard red and the green jalapeño). I used some of my own Youk's Hot Sauce (Thanks, Brian!) on top of the omelette. This turned out to be a highly superfluous move, as the pepperoncinis already kinda spiced the thing up a bit, but I was not aware of that until after I had cut into the omelette. The Τζατζικι was added primarily, and very liberally, I might add (I really can't stand those stupid Republicans and their stingy, conservative use of condimentary supplementation), all over the home fries. Nothing beats the combination of Τζατζικι and potatoes!

As I had skipped any Coffee beverages with my meal this morning, I decided on doing the whole
διπλό Καφές Ελληνικός ~ μέτριος at home. I used some of my Bettys Christmas Coffee for this (which was already pre-ground for standard Coffee machines; ideally, you really should use a very fine grind of Coffee to make this, but as I always say: "When in San Francisco, do as the Greeks would never think of doing!"). I had to break out my highly-technical Greek Coffee Maker (it's a little one-piece aluminium deelie) and prepare it just like my native Greek friend, Tim Fitzsimmonsopoulos, taught me: you start by adding the ground Coffee into the water (and just a λίγο amount of ζάχαρη); bring it all to a boil once (making sure to take it off the heat as soon as the Coffee starts to bubble up, otherwise it will foam-up all over the place and make a big mess all over your stovetop… or so I have been told) and remove it from the heat for a few seconds; replace it on the heat and let it boil/bubble up another time; remove from heat again; and then let boil for one last time (that would be three times in all for anyone not keeping count)… and Voila! (Okay, I do not know the Greek word for "Voila!") ~ the perfect cuppa Καφές Ελληνικός. When drinking a Greek Coffee (or Turkish Coffee or Arabic Coffee), you have to be careful to let the grounds settle to the bottom of the cup first and then sip down only as far as the grounds will let you. Another native Greek friend of mine, Bob Worthingtonassis, used to drink the entire thing to the bottom, gritty sludge and all; he swore it was the best way to stay awake during a Mid-shift.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Greek Omelette ~ 6.7 (this would easily have been a 7.0 or higher with a lighter hand on the pepperoncinis); Τζατζικι ~ 7.5

1. Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day, part the first:

a) Russkij = "Не Kурить", pronounced “Nee Kooreet”, and means just that "Do Not Smoke";
b) Deutsch = "Bitte Nicht Rauchen", pronounced "Bitta Neekt Rouken”, and again simply means "Please Do Not Smoke";

and extra-added bonusary:

c) Greek = "Απαγορεύεται το κάπνισμα" and loosely translates as "Y*nkees Go Home! And Smoke In Your Own D*mn Stadium!" (No, really, look it up yourself if you don't believe me.)

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

Αμερικανάκι" is basically Greek slang for "stupid Y*nkees". The term "Αμερικανός" is the correct term for "stupid 'mericans".

Saturday, March 29, 2014


"When you wish upon a star,
Makes no difference who you are…"
~ Jim N.E. Cricket

Place: Cassava
Location: 3519 Balboa Street (at 36th Avenue; however, you will not find their address listed anywhere directly on their official web-site ~ that is just a terrible web-design; who doesn't at least put the address of a business on their official web-site?)
Hours: open for breakfast at 8:30am on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday; open for "Brunch" at 10:00am on Saturday and Sunday
Meal: Japanese Breakfast ~ Koshihikari[1] rice, ichiban[2] dashi market veggie miso soup, sous vide[3] "onsen tamago"[4] poached egg, natto, wakame salad, and market vegetable pickle; and a cuppa Ritual Coffee Roasters Dukunde Kawa, Rwanda

(Today's EweToobular juxtaselection combines both Japan and [live in] San Francisco; plus, I always liked Graham Parker.)

I had breakfast this morning at Cassava, which is just five blocks away (making it one of the closest places to my apartment for breakfast or "Brunch"). Cassava had started out as a very small bakery two years ago (in a space that had housed an old barbershop many years ago) with just a few small tables ~ there was no real space for anyone to sit and enjoy breakfast (or "Brunch"). Last year, they extended into the space next door and more than doubled their space. While it is still a rather smallish joint, they now have ten two-seat tables, eight counter seats, and two to three sidewalk tables/benches. I had stopped by a few times since they originally opened, but just for Coffee and pastries only; this was my first actual breakfastary trip there.

I had to ask the counter-server lady, "Why 'Cassava'?". There were no obvious dishes on the menu that incorporated either cassava, manioc, or even any tapioca drinks (see 'blog-entry from March 13th, 2014 for an explanation). I was informed that the Japanese owner's name is "Yuka" (or close enough for government work) and she figured this was a cute way of naming the joint after herself. Okay, it kinda was.

Even though Cassava is really a bit of a hipster doofi hangout, there are lots of books for little kids to read and play with… and there were a lot little hipster doofi rugrats there early this morning (with their hipster doofi parental units, I suppose). (Can hipster doofi still be legally called "hipster doofi" once they have procreated? Don't they have to turn in their pork-pie hats, pretentious cravats, and hipster doofi union cards once they have squeezed out a puppy or two?)

Anyway, you order and pay at the counter, then they give you a number (well, an actual playing card ~ mine today was a 7 of Clubs… and I saw that there were plenty of higher/winning cards to give out still; what a rip-off!) and then they bring the food out to you (I am truly surprised that hipster doofi stand for such pedestrian tactics).

There really were only a few other possible ideas for "Brunch" for me: Liege Waffle[5] Plate (Liege waffle [whatever the heck that might be] with sugar crystal [again, ygiagam, on what that is supposed to mean], scrambled egg [sic - singular], house made preserve and thick cut bacon ~ which I would have skipped) or Breakfast Croissant (Black Forest ham, eggs [plural here], Vermont white Cheddar, tomatoes, arugula, on butter croissant ~ again, I would have 86-ed the dead, decaying porky flesh).

(In deference to the whole "Japanese" Breakfast theme this morning, I purposely added elements of bokeh to the above photo. Yeah, that's it.)

I really wasn't quite sure how to eat the "onsen tamago", so I just dropped it on top of the pile of Kawasaki rice. Natto is not really for everyone (it is a bit stinky and slimy), but I like it and it is one of my favourite makimono sushis. I just ended up dumping most of the natto in with the egg/rice mess, too; it all worked for me. Hopefully the dashi base was vegetarian (I asked the counter-server lady ahead of time and she said that it contained no katsuobushi, but that sounded kinda fishy to me). Why do so many places insist on using the term "veggie" when "vegetable" would make much more sense? They had no problem calling the other side dish "market vegetable pickle". Whatever. As best I could tell, today's "market veggies" were: kale (which is related to the vile weed, but so much tastier, of course), two different types of mushrooms, potatoes(?), and a few other "veggies". Of course, I always think that potato side dishes (of any kind) are better than plain ol' white rice (even if it is prepared specially by Koji Uehara) any day.

The Ritual Coffee Roasters was a very good cuppa. I think it was prepared as "single-drip", which is always nice, but there are no free refills that way unfortunately. I have had this local brand a few times before at other coffeeshops in town, but this was the first time that I had their Dukunde Kawa, Rwanda blend/roast.

I don't really know what Cassava might offer in the way of condimentary supplementation as I didn't bother to ask (it's basically a fancy-shmancy bakery/pastry joint, after all). I did use a little of my own Mama Africa's Zulu Sauces Chilli Mint (Thanks, Kerry!) on top of the egg/natto/rice mixture; it actually went very well.

While eating my breakfast with chopsticks was a lot of fun (it was very difficult to eat the miso soup with them, though), the close proximity of the restaurant was very handy, and this was a nice change from an ordinary breakfast (or "Brunch"), there really are not enough interesting or diverse items on the (very limited) menu to rate going back again for breakfast (or "Brunch"). I will probably just stop in for a pastry and Coffee once in a while.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Japanese Breakfast ~ 6.3; Ritual Coffee Roasters Dukunde Kawa, Rwanda ~ 6.9

1. Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day, 一番:

"Koshihikari" can be translated from Japanese as "the light of Koshi" (in reference to the old Koshi Province).

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

"Ichiban" means "first" in Japanese; it can also mean "the best" (as in "You are 'A'-number one, Joe-san") when used as an adjective. "Ichiban dashi" would just be the "basic first brewed dashi soup stock".

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

"Sous-vide" is French for "under vacuum". It is a method of slow-cooking food sealed in airtight plastic bags in a water bath. 

4. Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day, 数4:

"Tamago" simple means "egg" in Japanese.

Additional information from our friendly friends at Wikipedia:

5. Actually, I looked it up, apparently a "Liège Waffle" is a specific style of Belgian waffle. Then why not just say "Belgian Waffle"?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Vile Weed

"He could do this. He'd survived boot camp. He'd survived combat and the harsh weather of Afghanistan. He could survive br*ccoli. Probably."
~ Shannon Stacey, Yours to Keep

When both the 41st President of these here United States of the U.S.A. and the most important character on the #1 TeeVee show from the 1990's agree that br*ccoli[1] is a "vile weed", you just know that it truly has to be some form of terrorist biochemical warfare, a Communist plot, or a Soup Nazi scheme.

The vile weed is part of the Brassicaceae (mustard/cabbage) family. Other (actually edible) cruciferous vegetables in the same family are: cauliflower, turnips, radishes, daikon[2]/white radish, kale, Brussels sprouts, br*ccolini, bok choy[3],  kai-lan/Chinese br*ccoli/Chinese kale, rutabagas/swedes/Swedish turnips, rapini[4]/br*ccoli raab, and collard greens ~ all of which I enjoy immensely. 

Unfortunately, I am more than resigned to the fact that the vile weed is present in many Asian dishes and will eat it if absolutely necessary; however, I won't go out of my way to specifically order it either (which is why I never order Br*ccoli Beef at a Chinese restaurant ~ and hopefully that will be the last mention of that offensive expletive from here on out; I do apologize to any of the more genteel readers out there). And, no matter what the circumstances, there is absolutely never any reason to ruin a perfectly good Pizza by adding the vile weed as one of the grilled vegetable toppings; that is just an unforgivable and blasphemous act.

When I was a kid, I used to sneak my helping of the vile weed to our dogs under the table; luckily, the dogs were stupid enough to think that any "people food" must be palatable. (Seriously, how picky can their tastes be? They like drinking from the toilet and lie around all day licking themselves, anyway.) I just hope that PETA isn't reading this 'blog-entry and that the Statue of Limitations[5] has expired for those offenses.

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

"Br*ccoli" comes from Italian; it is the plural of "br*ccolo", which comes from "brocc(o)", meaning "sprout" or "spike", plus "-olo", a diminutive suffix. Hence, it basically means "little spike" (which is exactly what the vile weed tastes like, of course). 
(See also: "broach" or "brocade")

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

"Daikon"/"大根derives from the Japanese word and literally meaning "large root".

3. Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day, 第三:

"Bok choy"/"白菜" comes from Cantonese and literally means "white vegetable" (even though it is usually green). 

4. Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day, numero quattro:

"Rapini" comes directly from Italian. "Rapa" in Italian means "turnip", and, in Italy, rapini is also known as "cime di rapa" (meaning "turnip tops").

5. Which is an actual well-known statue, much like the Statue of the Liberty, the Statue of the four Marx Brothers on Mount Rushmore (Chico and Zeppo look nothing like they did in the movies, but Groucho and Harpo are spot-on), and Rodin's famous "Statue of a Guy sitting on the john" (well, in French that would be "La Statue d'un Homme assis sur le jean").

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Cafe Golo

"We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie." 
~ David Mamet, Boston Marriage

(No official web-site.)

Place: Cafe Golo
Location: 1602 Lombard Street (at Gough Street, of course); phonicular contact: (415) 673-4656
Hours: open at 8:00am every day of the week;
Meal: Breakfast Quesadilla ~ melted cheese with avocado, black bean and corn salsa in a flour tortilla; a side of Country Potatoes; and a glass of orange juice

(There is no correlation between today's breakfastary destination and these EweToobular juxtaselections; I just felt like linking "Every Time You Go Away" and "Lowdown".)

I went back to Cafe Golo (see last 'blog-entry from July 21st, 2013) for another fine breakfast this morning. Miss PB was just opening up (and on time, I might add, too) as I arrived this morning. I am thinking about adding Cafe Golo to my Breakfastary Rotation, but then I would have to make the hard decision on which restaurant to send back down to the Minors.

There are a few other good ideas (for stupid vegetarians) left on the menu that I have not yet tried: Golo Ranchero (corn tortillas topped with eggs, cheese, jalapeño pepper, salsa verde, and sour cream) and Spinach Scramble Omelet (spinach, mushrooms, cheese, and a few other items that I didn't write down; I was really intrigued by its ambiguous name ~ are you a "scramble" or are you an "omelette"? This is the 21st Century; come out of the food closet and show your true breakfastary colours); as well as Veggie Tater Scramble (country potatoes topped with sautéed onions, peppers, the vile weed, artichokes, mushrooms, zucchini, and cheese; which I had on my first visit there and wouldn't mind having again).

This morning's "pastry bites" (which are also known as "baked-goods crack" ~ see, they give you a "little taste of the good stuff" expecting you to be stupid enough to fall for it and purchase whole pieces of their fresh-baked goods. Well, you will never see me succumb to such pedestrian marketing tactics and buying one of their pastries… nope, I usually am a sucker for at least two or three pieces.) were: Kiwi-Cranberry Tart, Cranberry Scone, and Apple-Pear Tart. And, of course, I got some fresh-baked pastries to go(lo): a Sweet Potato Tart (one of my favourites of theirs) and a Mixed Fruit Tart (I was told that today's mixture included: pear, apple, apricot, and blueberries).

(I happened to notice that I am using B&W photos again for a visit to Cafe Golo ~ see previous 'blog-entry from August 26th, 2012. This was completely coincidental. Blame Tim Rice for the timing if you must.)

The Breakfast Quesadilla was very good, and the ingredients description that they have listed on the menu really don't do it justice. Of course, it also included scrambled eggs inside the quesadilla with lots of cheese to bind it all together nicely. The black bean and corn salsa is a great addition on its own, made with lots of onions and jalapeños in it. The Country Potatoes, made with both sweet potatoes and regular potatoes, is always a good side. This was definitely a carbo-overload for me this morning (I like to tell people that I do not adhere to the Paleo Diet; I have evolved a little bit and am on the Mesolithic Diet).

Cafe Golo offers for condimentary supplements Crystal® Louisiana’s Pure Hot Sauce and a few other hot sauces. I had come fully prepared with a couple of my own and used some Hula Girl Chipotle Habanero (Thanks, Jim!) liberally all over the quesadilla and some Dave's Gourmet® Ginger Peach Hot Sauce (Thanks, J.T.!) on the potatoes. The ginger-peach flavours went extremely well with the sweet potato-potato combination.

As I was leaving, Miss PB pointed out to me that in April or May, she and Jay will be opening up a new restaurant at 210 Jones Street (between Eddy and Turk Streets over in the Tenderloin, where Manor House Restaurant used to be). They do not have a name picked out yet for the new place. I suggested (in keeping with the whole Cafe Golo theme) maybe either Cafe Edjo (or Joed) or Cafe Tujo (or Jotu), none of which really seemed to be a hit with Miss PB. I also suggested the obvious: Cafe PB&J or PB&J Bistro. I will have to keep my eyes open for when it finally opens and check them out in early Summer.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Breakfast Quesadilla ~ 6.7

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Primo Patio Cafe

"It seemed like a matter of minutes when we began rolling into the foothills before Oakland and suddenly reached a height and saw stretched out ahead of us the fabulous white city of San Francisco on her eleven mystic hills with the blue Pacific and its advancing wall of potato patch fog beyond, and smoke and goodness in the late afternoon of time…"
~ Jack Kerouac, On the Road, Chapter 9

Place: Primo Patio Cafe 
Location: 214 Townsend Street (between 3rd and 4th Streets)
Hours: Mon-Sat open at 9:00am (well, sometimes)
Meal: Monterey Scramble ~ Eggs scrambled with black olives, green onions, Jack & Parmesan cheese, served with Caribbean potatoes and black beans; and a cuppa San Francisco Coffee Company 

(Just some Caribbeany EweToobular videos to set the mood.)

I finally made it back to Primo Patio Cafe (see previous 'blog-entry from October 8th, 2011); and by "finally" I don't mean that I had other things pending that kept me from getting back there, I mean that they were actually open for a change when they were supposed to be. After two failed attempts to eat there in the past few months when they were either closed or not open at the intended time (once was due to rain, which is perfectly acceptable), I suppose the third time's a charm.

Once again, I sat outside back in their courtyard patio area (as that is all there is really available ~ hence the "Patio" portion of their name; I am still trying to figure out where the "Primo" and "Cafe" parts come in, though). For the winter months, they have a large covered awning to sit under, I was informed that starting next week, when the San Francisco Giants are back in town, they will take it down until next Fall again. There are even a few of those overhead gas heater jobbies ~ I chose to sit as far away from those as possible. (What is the point of eating outdoors if you need a stupid heater to do so?) Seating consists of twenty-six tables for two (or combinations of three to four people thereof), and there is an ocean/aquatic theme going on ~ some fishy decorated tables and seashells and stuff along the walls; of course, San Francisco couldn't be further from the water itself.

(You can really see the bright, vibrant colours that they have here.)

the Wild Parrots of San Francisco Interlude

I had parked over on South Park where there are 
(?where there is?) two hours of free parking during the day all week long (well, all day free on Sundays) and saw and heard several of the Wild Parrots in the taller trees around the park loop. I figure it won't be very long before most parks throughout the city are infested… er, inhabited by these little winged joys.

There were a few other good ideas for stupid vegetarians off the breakfast section of their menu: Scooter (Scrambled eggs on a soft French roll, lettuce, tomato, Primo sauce; if I had ordered that, I would have ordered it with a side of Caribbean potatoes) or Seasonal Scramble (Eggs scrambled with spinach, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, onions, & garlic).

This was just an okay scramble. It had a mess o' cheese in it, which is always good, but the black olives were just the boring, sliced canned variety; it was missing something else ~ some fresh, sliced/diced jalapeños would have been great even. Unfortunately, as I had gotten there just a few minutes after they had opened (and actually on time this morning), they did not have any of the Caribbean potatoes ready yet. They substituted those with a toasted/grilled French roll (the potatoes would have been much better, of course). ¡Mierda! Once again, I missed out and should have ordered a side order of plantains

The cuppa Coffee came in an extra large/tall mug, because of which I only needed a half-refill once. This was served in a pretty cool mug, too; and like me (and Eddie's Cafe and Straw), it seems they do not own a matching set of mugs either. Apparently this roast/blend is made specially for them by San Francisco Coffee Company.

The only condimentary supplementation that I saw out on some of the tables was El Yucateco® Salsa Picante Roja de Chile Habanero. This was kind of à propos as I had brought a bottle of my own El Yucateco® XXXtra Hot Sauce Salsa Kutbil-ik® de Chile Habanero (Thanks, Brian!) with me this morning, which I used a bit of all over the scramble mess. The dish comes with a small tin cup of their own Primo sauce, too, which, as best as I can describe it, seemed like French dressing with some hot sauce added to it; a little sweet with a little heat. I added some of that to the scramble, too, and mixed with my own hot sauce, it made for a pretty nice flavour combination.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Monterey Scramble ~ 6.1; the Wild Parrots of San Francisco ~ 8.2

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Home Plate Restaurant

"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words." ~ Winston Churchill

Place: Home Plate Restaurant  
Location: 2274 Lombard Street (near the corner of Pierce Street)
Hours: they are open every day at 7:00am
Meal: Parmesan Pesto Omelette ~ mushroom, spinach, pesto, Parmesan cheese (served with 2 potato-carrot pancakes, or hash browns, and toast: wheat, white, rye, or sourdough; and a fresh baked mini-scone is served with each breakfast entrée); and a medium glass of (pink) grapefruit juice

(Today's EweToobular mini-concert was brought to you by the Borås House of Blues.)

Because it is nearing the start of Baseball Season yet again, I decided to head back to Home Plate Restaurant for a breakfastary repast (see last 'blog-entry from October 13th, 2012; I can't believe it has been that long since my last visit ~ this place is good enough that it could easily be in my Breakfast Starting Rotation). I love that they open up very early every day (and for breakfast ~ none of that "Brunch" nonsense); of course, this is probably just due more to their location along tourista motel-hotel row, but at least it's another early morning option for locals, too (as long as they don't mind schlepping all the way over to the Marina/Cow Hollow area that early; one big plus is that there is plenty of legal and free parking right on Lombard Street at that hour).

Home Plate offers several different types of scrambles, omelettes, and frittatas. So this made for some other hard choices: Fried Polenta (mushroom, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese; homemade fried polenta (2), two eggs any style); Bangkok Frittata (shrimps [sic], mushroom, tomato, green onion, cilantro, jalapeños, kaffir lime[1] leaves, galangal[2], lime juice; served with 2 potato-carrot pancakes, or hash browns, and toast ~ I would have ordered this without the dead, decaying aquatic insects, of course); or my standard fall-back there, Greek Frittata (spinach, tomatoes, Kalamata[3] olives, Feta cheese; also served with the same sides as my omelette this morning ~ this is a major winner as it has both copious amounts of Feta cheese and authentic Kalamata olives in it).

The mini-scone was still warm right out of the oven when they served it to me this morning. It was served with a little homemade apple butter/sauce/jam and mango jam this morning (both had deep, rich colours, as can clearly be seen in the above photo).

Simply put, this was a very good omelette (and entire breakfast, too). Unlike a lot of places that have Parmesan cheese as an ingredient, you could actually taste the Parmesan and pesto in every bite (and this is a good thing, of course, if you like Parmesan and pesto, but if you didn't, you would have ordered something different, right?). Like yesterday's meal, there was a decent amount of fresh spinach again in my eggy-breakfast dish. So what? The only person that may have a problem with that is someone that ascribes to a Blutonian way of thinking. 

Of course I opted for the potato-carrot pancakes. Even if the meal didn't come with these, I probably would have ordered them as a side dish; they are that good. My toasted bread choice was rye this morning. I had actually wanted to order either a fresh cantaloupe juice or particularly a  honeydew melon juice (in keeping with the whole greenery theme today in honor of that guy that isn't really a Såint, isn't really from Ireland, nor really named "Patrick"), but it was too early in the morning and they were not up to full staff and these were not available yet. For any of you "late-risers" (after 8:00am or so), that head to Home Plate, I really suggest trying one of their fresh juices.

Home Plate has a nice selection of condimentary supplements: Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red), Cholula® Hot Sauce, Tapatío®, and Huy Fong Foods® Sriracha (this is basically the San Francisco Triumvirate of Hot Sauces + One). I just used some of my own Serious Food… Silly Prices Chunky Habanero Hot Sauce all over the omelette. If I had gotten the Bangkok Frittata, I probably would have used some Sriracha on it. On the potato-carrot pancakes I just kept with the provided dollop of sour cream and apple butter/sauce/jam (though a bit of the habanero hot sauce did get on one and it went really well with a mixture of applesauce and sour cream).

As I had skipped any caffeinated beverages with my meal, I prepared a cuppa Bettys Pai Mu Dan White Tea[4] (Thanks, Cindy & Greg!) at home to enjoy while typing up this 'blog-entry.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Parmesan Pesto Omelette ~ 7.0; potato-carrot pancakes ~ 7.1; mini-scone with homemade jams ~ 7.4

1. Kaffir Lime is used extensively in Southeast Asian cuisines, both the actual citrus fruit and the leaves of the trees.

2. I really had no idea what "Galangal" was, so here is some information from our friendly friends at Wikipedia again:

3. What the heck?! "Kalamata" was once again unrecognised as a valid word by der Führer Wilhelm Tore and his Microsoft Spell-check Nazis. I guess they only enjoy those tasteless black jobbies that come out of a can.

4. Which should never be taken with any "Harvey Milk" in it, of course, but I hear it goes very well with a snack of Twinkies®.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

STRAW ~ Carnival Fare

"The clever cat eats cheese and breathes down rat holes with baited breath." 
~ W.C. Fields

Place: STRAW ~ Carnival Fare 
Location: 203 Octavia Boulevard (near the corner of Page Street)
Hours: "Brunch" is served on Saturday and Sunday starting at 10:00am
Meal: scrambler ~ scrambled eggs (hence the carnie moniker)/goat cheese/crimini[1] mushrooms/spinach/caramelized onions/toast; and a glass (well, a Mason jar) of strawberry basil lemonade

(I don't care what anyone else says ~ especially any snot-nosed, hipster dufus-wannabes ~ Puddles is the best 7-foot tall, cabaret-singing, scary clown from New York City that there ever was! Check out his cover of another of Lorde's song, "Team", on EweToob, too.)

I had "Brunch" (their term, not mine) at STRAW ~ Carnival Fare again (see last 'blog-entry from March 16th, 2013; coincidentally enough, this was exactly one year ago this Saturday; and, of course, if this trend holds forth, next year I will have to remember to eat there again on the ultimate "Pie Day": 3/14/15 ~ especially at 9:26:53).

stupid, useless parklets mini-rant of the day

When I first arrived at STRAW this morning, I went all skelly-eyed[2] at the sight that confronted me there. I happened to notice that there is a brand-new stupid, useless parklet under construction right in front of STRAW. Here is where it is always important to ask questions first; you can always still jump to conclusions afterward. I asked my waiter-service guy what was up with the construction of the two-car space blockade in front of the restaurant (and also in front of the coffeehouse next door). He informed me that the café next door was the real instigator in providing this little idyllic resting spot for people to enjoy… instead of having to walk all the way over two entire blocks to an actual city/neighborhood park (Patricia's Green) on Octavia Boulevard between Fell and Hayes Streets, or even enjoying the actual city-provided tree-lined spaces with benches all along several blocks of Octavia Boulevard. (I won't even bother to mention that there is also another nice city-provided greenery spot ~ Koshland Community Park and Learning Garden ~ just two blocks up Page Street. But one would have to walk UPHILL all the way to get there. So, it is completely understood that a person with a full cuppa Large Decaf Chai Mocha Latteccino, made with non-fat skim soymilk and just a soupçon of nutmeg, would not want to make that extreme trek for fear of spilling any of their drink upon their precious Doc Martens.) These stupid parklets really are getting out of hand and are becoming more of an annoyance; they only serve to show the public that the respective stores/shops/restaurants that sponsor them are thinking: "Look at us! Aren't we so chic and hipster-dufusy?! We provide anyone stupid enough to think that this is an actual park with a completely useless space to sit in! However, if you own a car in the neighborhood, it is just too bad if you needed one of the two spots we now are uselessly occupying!" And because STRAW really isn't to blame and they are not footing the bill of the stupid wastelet, I will not be boycotting them (for now) as I first thought I may have to when I initially saw the stupid obstruction in front. The stupid next-door coffeehouse, however, will not get the same reprieval. The stupid coffee shop's name is immaterial (No, really, I think they call themselves "Immaterial Café") as I will never see fit to darken their door a shade or two of ecru ever again (truth be told, in all the years that they have been in operation, I might have been in there just once). (Why is it that a "mini-rant" turned out to be actually larger than the bulk of the rest of the 'blog-entry?)

(Now back to our regularly scheduled 'blog-entry with only a minor reference to stupid parklets or two.)

I have eaten many of the vegetarian-friendly "Brunch" dishes offered at STRAW already. Other than today's choice, there are just two others left: bumper car (sautéed spinach omelette/caramelized onions/swiss cheese/home fries/toast) or rancher's reserve (fried eggs/chili-tomato ranchero sauce/refried beans/tortillas/cilantro-avocado mousse/home fries ~ if this can be made vegetarian, that is). I can always try either of these on a subsequent visit now that I don't need to make any abstentions from eating at STRAW (and I might even just get a cuppa at the nearby Blue Bottle Coffee kiosk beforehand and sit in the stupid parklet out front drinking it in mockery of the stupid coffeehouse there). 

(Okay, maybe sometimes black-and-white isn't the best medium for a breakfastary photograph.)

My main reason for going with the scrambler this morning over the bumper car was that spinach, caramelised onions, and goat cheese trumped spinach, caramelised onions, and Swiss cheese. This proved to be a good choice as the caramelised onions added a genuine sweetness to the scramble and offset the tanginess of the goat cheese perfectly. The fresh spinach was just a good ingredient as always. The homefries were a decent version, made with red bell peppers and onions. The strawberry basil lemonade was good, but could have used just a bit more basil and a little less strawberry, I thought (but that's just me, I am neither a chef, nor mixologist, nor city planner, I am just someone that doesn't mind walking two absolutely, completely, whole, entire city blocks to enjoy the open outdoor areas already provided for that specific reason).

The only condimentary supplementation that I noticed that STRAW had on all the tables was Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce. I used some of my own Youk's Hot Sauce (Thanks, Brian!) (which I had carried with me in my hot sauce holster ~ Thanks, Sean!) on the homefries and some Florida Gold Premium Habanero Hot Sauce (Thanks, Kerry!) on the scramblered stuff.

Conclusional ratiocination: stupid parklets suck, but breakfast (or "Brunch" even) is always good.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: scrambler ~ 6.5; strawberry basil lemonade ~ 6.8

1. Crimminy Jistmas! Seriously, little Billy Gates and his Nazi Spell-checkers did not recognise this simple word as a valid epicureanistic word. They really need to get out and sample different foods once in a while (even if that food is fungi). (This can also be spelled "cremini", but the Brown-shirt bastages at Microsoft do not seem to recognise that accepted spelling either.)

2. Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-etymological pointer of the day:

I came across the expression "skelly-eyed" recently while reading a book that takes place in North Yorkshire. "Skelly" is another word that has come into English (well, Yorkie-English) from ye olde Scandinavian invading hordes. It probably comes from Old Norse "skjalgr", meaning "wry"; it is related to Old English "sceolh", meaning "a squint".