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".

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