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"?

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