Sunday, August 17, 2014

Cafe St. Jorge

"There is usually an easy solution to every human problem ~ neat, plausible, and wrong!" ~ H.L. Mencken

Place: Cafe St. Jorge[1]
Location: 3438 Mission Street (on the corner of Kingston Street)
Hours: open at 7:00am Monday to Saturday; open at 8:00am on Sunday (for what they call "Sunday Brunch")
Meal: Baked Egg Breakfast Slider (gf/o) ~ organic, free-range baked egg topped with melted Portuguese cheese (Ilha Azul[2]) served on a Portuguese sweet roll; one Pastel de Nata[3]; and a bottomless cuppa Stumptown Coffee Roasters

(Today's EweToobular juxtaselections are simply because the place is located on the corner of Kingston Street. Kingston, Jamaica/Reggae, get it? Good.

Besides, I could not decide on the right Jorge Harrison songs to use.)

I wanted to try a new place for a change and I had planned on going to Cafe St. Jorge  last Sunday, anyway. They have been open for just over a year now (July 2013), and this was my first visit there (either breakfastary or otherwise). They are located way down on Mission Street right where Bernal Heights meets the Mission, so it is not exactly conducive for me to do a quick pop-in to. 

Cafe St. Jorge is mainly a coffeehouse joint. They do have some fresh-baked (on premise) items, but most of the baked goods items are from local Portuguese or French bakeries. I liked the large open space (high-ceilinged and uncrowded). There are fourteen tables for two (or seven tables for four); one table for three; a window-bench seating area for five to six people, but there is no table there; and some sidewalk seating ~ several seats and a bench, but just one table for two. Like most coffeehouses, you order at the front counter, pay first, they give you a number (I got "Lucky #7" this morning), and then they bring out the food to you when it is ready.

Off the standard/printed menu, there really were only a couple of other items that looked good to me: Organic Quinoa Bowl (v/o, gf) (quinoa, steamed choice of milk, fresh fruit, walnuts, cinnamon, brown sugar, sea salt) or Orange Blossom Waffle (v) (which can have either fruit or granola/yoghurt added). They also had one weekend special on the board up front; it was some kinda fig jam toast, which did not sound too bad, either. Unfortunately, there were no side potato dishes on the menu that I could see.

I had to ask the front-counter guy (by that, I mean the guy working the front counter; he was neither a Communist, nor a transvestite from what I could tell; I wonder what a Communist transvestite looks like ~ do they have to wear red fishnet stockings with a sickle-and-hammer design on them?) what "free-range eggs" were. I mean, how far can one egg roll, anyway? I also had to ask the guy at the counter what "gf/o" meant; and, just in case you think like I do, it does not mean "Go f*ck-off!" (which after all the stupid, way-too-early morning questions I asked the poor guy, he must have been thinking), it simply means "gluten-free option". Not that I opted for anything "gluten-free", though.

While there was really nothing exceptionally outstanding with the Baked Egg Breakfast Slider (gf/o), it was decent enough, and the Portuguese sweet roll made for a nice change. The slider (gf/o) also came with sliced tomatoes and lots of baby spinach in it, the "baked eggs" just seemed like scrambled eggs to me. I have no idea what Ilha Azul cheese is, but it worked well enough in the slider (gf/o); there is an actual Portuguese cheese called Queijo São Jorge, why it is not used here, eu não sei.

The whole point of eating breakfast (or "Sunday Brunch" even) at a Portuguese coffeehouse/bakery was to try something new for a change. The Pastel de Nata was the perfect item for that. It was basically an egg custard in a puff pastry shell. It was a very nice bite or two, too.

Cafe St. Jorge does not serve any actual Portuguese brand of Coffee, but Stumptown Coffee Roasters (out of Portland ~ the one in Oregon, not the one in Maine or Portugal) is a very decent roastery.  They only serve two different roasts/blends: Holler Mountain Blend (a dark roast) and Hair Bender (a lighter roast). I liked the Holler Mountain Blend better than the Hair Bender and had two cups of it as opposed to just one cup of the lighter blend. Cafe St. Jorge also offers 12 oz. bags of several different blends/roasts of Stumptown Coffee Roasters for sale at the front counter.

I have no idea what Cafe St. Jorge offered in the way of condimentary supplements, I did not really see the need to ask. I used just a little of my own Florida Gold Premium Habanero Hot Sauce (Thanks, Kerry!) inside the slider. I have no idea what kind of hot sauces are available in Portugal, though.

There really is not enough on their breakfast (or "Sunday Brunch") menu for me to make the long trek over there again, but I can recommend the place to anyone that happens to live nearby and I could see stopping in again if I am ever in the neighborhood… and besides…

Here be Coffee!

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Baked Egg Breakfast Slider (gf/o) ~ 6.3; Pastel de Nata ~ 7.0; Holler Mountain Blend ~ 7.2; Hair Bender ~ 6.6

1.  Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer(s) of the day, número um:

(Parte A)

"Café" (com o acento agudo) means basically the same thing in Portuguese as it does in French and Spanish; it has the dual meaning of both "Coffee" and "coffeehouse". 

(Parte B)

There are several places in Portugal with this same name, but I am pretty sure this place is named for São Jorge (Island), Açores. I do not know why they used the English abbreviation for "street" in their name. The actual word for "Saint" in Portuguese is "São", and "São Jorge (Saint George)" is pronounced something like "San Zhorzhey".

And here is the real interesting "Cliff Clavin Little Known Fact of the Day": In addition to being the Patron Saint of both England and Portugal (and being despised by all reptiles worldwide), Saint George/São Jorge is also the Patron Saint of Coffee and Coffee Roasting!*

*(Nah, not really! But it sounded pretty believable, right? Besides, everyone knows the actual Patron Saint of Coffee and Coffee Roasting is São Maxwell da Casa.)

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

"Ilha Azul" means "Blue Island" in Portuguese. Faial, another island in the Azores, which is neighboring São Jorge, is sometimes referred to as Ilha Azul. It has something to do with a bunch of stupid blue-flowering plants that bloom all over the island in the summer.

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

"Pastel de nata" simply means "cream puff/tart" in Portuguese.

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