Sunday, September 28, 2014

Dolce Amore

"It is a paradox that in our time of drastic rapid changes, when the future is in our midst devouring the present before your eyes, we have been less certain about what is ahead of us." ~ Eric Hoffer

(There is an official web-site for the restaurant; however, I am not linking it here right now. When I clicked on it again this morning, I got an anti-virus warning. My anti-virus software did its job and eliminated the "Malicious URL/type: phishing[1] URL". I did inform the restaurant of this a few days ago when I first went on it to check out their menu and what times they were open on the weekend, but, like their service, I think they are just a tad bit slow in getting anything done about it.)

Place: Dolce Amore
Location: 1477 Van Ness Avenue (on the corner of Pine Street); phonicular contact: (415) 674-7716
Hours:  open at 9:00am on Saturday and Sunday
Meal: Signature Soufflé[2] Pancake ~ house made light & airy soufflé pancakes served with fresh berries, Tahitian vanilla butter, Crème Chantilly, Earl Grey Crème Anglaise, & Lavender maple syrup; and a large cuppa brewed illy® Coffee

(The first EweToobular juxtaselection is just a "sweet" ol' song… get it? The second one is because tomorrow is National Coffee Day.

Shana's father also happens to be a musician of sorts ~ and this is a cover of one of his songs [I think he has written a few over the years]. Shana may not sing as great as her father, but she does look much better in a tight sweater than George Ivan ever did.)

I am usually more of a fan of "savoury" than "sweet" for breakfast, but I wanted to try a new place that mainly offers sweet stuff and I have heard nice things about Dolce Amore. See? It states that they love sweets right in their name. It is located on the borderline Lower Nob Hill or Lower Pacific Heights (or even the designated pseudo-neighborhood called "Polk Gulch") area. 

Dolce Amore is a pretty smallish place with seating of just: two tables for four (however, one of these two tables ~ the one closest to the front door, up near the cash register/counter ~ had a "Reserved" sign on it. Seriously?! "Reserved"?! Who the heck "reserves" a table for breakfast at a little bakery/Ice Cream joint? Just of note, this table remained empty the entire hour or more that I was there.); one table for five; one table for two; one table for one (which is where I got to sit this morning ~ it was a pretty sweet little round table and the seat was a big, black vinyl, square, living room chair kinda thing); and five window-counter stools. There are also four tables for two on the sidewalk.

Again this morning, it was nice to see this early morning meal called "breakfast" and not "Brunch" on a menu. There were several other interesting possibilities: Matcha Green Tea French Toast (I don't have an actual description to use here as the menu still had this as Tiramisu French Toast, which also sounded pretty good, but was not really offered today; I only learned of this dish after I had finished eating and heard it mentioned to another table that wanted to order the Tiramisu French Toast; if I had known of either versions of French toast being offered on the menu, I may have opted for that); Salted Caramel Waffle (served with sliced bananas, fresh berries [which I bet was really just one type of actual botanical berry and a few other varied fruits], Maldon salted caramel sauce, Vahrona chocolate, Tahitian vanilla butter, & orange zest Crème Chantilly; this would have been another really interesting choice); Crêpe Omelet (eggs, Gruyère[3], spinach, bell peppers, tomatoes, & onions wrapped in house made crêpe); or Baked Eggs Benedict (baked eggs on house made puff pastry served with artisan cheese, house special sauce, & your choice of hot link sausage, ham, or Canadian bacon).

In addition to bakery items (pastries and desserts), they also sell Ice Cream. Well, gelato[4] e sorbetto; and they have about ten or eleven flavours of gelato and four to five flavours of sorbetto, which I was told they get from Caffè Classico Foods LLC.

This little guy was on the counter above the freezer (gelato/sorbetto) area greeting people as they walked by.

Okay, normally I don't comment (or complain) about the service (and, don't worry, no GBS points are ever deducted for slow or poor service), but the service this morning was really very, very slow. They opened at 9:00am (and I was the fourth person/group to be seated), but they didn't even start taking orders until fifteen to twenty minutes later. It actually took them twenty-five minutes just to bring me a glass of water. And, even after I had ordered, it took another ten minutes just to bring me the cuppa. The service may have been very, very slow, but, luckily, that didn't mean that it sucked, the servers were really nice and doing the best they could; it was just very, very slow. I don't know if it is always like that when they first open in the morning, but it can be a deal-breaker if you don't like waiting. After about twenty minutes of sitting there like an idiot and no one had stopped by to take my order, I thought about just getting up and leaving, but I didn't really have a back-up plan in mind for a place to go in the neighborhood (and I am not really sure if there were any other good places nearby), and, by that point, I figured that I had already wasted a good amount of time there, anyway. Plus, I did have my very own cool round table and large square seat.

They have it as "Pancake" singular on the menu, but I was glad to see it was actually three pancakes worth. The soufflé-style pancakes were pretty good. They were a bit lighter than most pancakes, but really nothing to shout about; they were still just pancakes after all. I was really expecting some kinda thick, fluffy soufflé-ish thing. 

The real find this morning was the Lavender maple syrup. It was definitely outstanding (it even had little bits of dried lavender flowers floating around in it). It is not like I can really tell a "Crème Chantilly" from a "Crème Anglaise hole in the ground" (whether it is Earl or Lady Grey-flavoured or not), but I am pretty sure that I was screwed out of the Crème Chantilly stuff entirely (it should be a version of whipped cream stuff). Luckily, the Crème Anglaise was pretty tasty, though. I also liked that the Tahitian vanilla butter was tasty.

The "fresh berries" were actually blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries. Seeing as only blueberries are a botanical berry, that probably should have read "with fresh berry and some assorted other fruits". 

I really have no idea what Dolce Amore might offer in the way of condimentary supplements, but, seeing how I only went with a sweet meal for a change, it really didn't matter. They may want to think about bottling their excellent Lavender maple syrup and sell that junk on the side, though.

I can highly recommend going to Dolce Amore and it is on my list of places to revisit (what this just means is that I will probably get around to going back in a year or two). Now, I bet no one saw me recommending this place after the mini-complaint about the very, very slow service, huh?! Well, did you hear that I had my very own cool little round table and large square vinyl chair, too? Not to mention the excellent Lavender maple syrup.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Signature Soufflé Pancake ~ 7.2 (this rating is mainly due to both the tasty Earl Grey Crème Anglaise and awesome Lavender maple syrup; the syrup all by itself was probably a 7.8) 

1. Really?! How on Earth (or the Intro-Net) do Wild Bill Gates and his merry band of brown-shirted Microsoft Spell-check Nazis not recognize this word/term? They are probably just a bunch of stupid Deadheads* themselves. 

*(Of course, it should be noted that they have absolutely no problem with the term "Deadhead".)

2. Stupid, useless cunning linguist (and somewhat pseudo-culinaristic) pointer of the day, numéro un:

"Soufflé" is the past participle of the French verb "souffler" which means "to blow up/inflate" or "to puff (up)".

3. This is a real nit-pickery call, but this was spelled as "Gruyere" (sans accent grave), not "Gruyère" (avec accent grave) on their menu. I only mention it as they had other correctly accented fuzzy li'l ferr'ner words (e.g. "crêpe", “crème”, êtç.) throughout the menu. So, why did they not use it for this word, too?

4. Stupid, useless cunning linguist (and somewhat pseudo-culinaristic) pointer of the day, numero due:

"Gelato" literally means "frozen" in Italian, Mrs. Morin. It is the noun use of the past participle of the verb "gelare" ("to freeze"). It is derived from the Latin word "gelātus" (meaning "frozen"). (See also "gelatine")

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Café Mystique

"Where all men think alike, no one thinks very much." ~ Walter Lippmann

(I don't really know what to think of all that. I will just wait to see what everyone else has to say.)

Place: Café Mystique
Location: 464 Castro Street (between Market and 18th Streets)
Hours:  open at 8:00am on Saturday and Sunday
Meal: the Mystique (spicy) ~ corn tortilla, jalapeño serrano (sic.; this was how they had it on the menu; I don't know if they meant "jalapeño" and "Serrano" chillies, but I only detected jalapeños in it),  green onion, fresh salsa, fresh cilantro, & Cheddar cheese (served with house potatoes); a large glass of ½-cranberry juice and ½-apple juice (I was also gonna ask for it with ½-pineapple juice, but didn't think they had any 1½-sized glasses); and (afterward) a cuppa Castro Coffee Company, Jamaica Blue Mountain

(I know that I already have linked this George Ivan Morrison song a few times in the past ~ and even just a few weeks back for his birthday ~ but: 1) you try finding any good "mystical" or "mysterious" songs; 2) it happens to be one of my favourite songs of George Ivan's; and 3) if you don't like it, tough ~ start your own 'damn 'blog-thing!

The second song is simply off the Fleetwood Mac album "Mystery to Me". See, sometimes these EweToobular juxtaselections aren't really Rocket Surgery.)

It is always with a wry glas wên[1] that I try to park on Beaver Street whenever I head over to the Castro. There is usually plenty of free parking and it was only two blocks from my intended destination this morning, anyhow. My original intention this morning was to have breakfast at a new place (both for me and new-ish to San Francisco, too); however, Fork Café had a hand-written note in the front door which plainly stated: "Fork is closed". There was no embellishment as to when (just today, for the week, the rest of the month?), why, or for how long (for good?). I know I had been by there just last month and it was open at the time. I liked what I saw of their breakfast menu and that was why I wanted to check it out. (Sometimes that Lenny Small is a real genius. Just don't forget to tell him about the rabbits, George.) No biggy; luckily there are many other options for a breakfastary repast in the Castro. I walked directly across the street and Café Mystique was just opening for the morning; plus, I had never eaten there before either, so it was also a new place for me, anyway. 

Café Mystique looks mysteriously bigger from outside than it really is and its seating is just twelve tables for two and three tables for four to five people. The breakfast (and I was very happy, but not really mystified, to see they call their early morning meal "breakfast" and not "Brunch") menu had several other good items for both stupid vegetarians and those that partake of the dead, decaying animal flesh alike. I thought about getting either: Vegetarian Frittata (all diced vegetables ~ but no specification as to which, my feeling is that it probably included the vile weed); Tuscan Omelet (artichokes, spinach, tomatoes, red onions, & Mozzarella cheese ~ at first, I read this as "Toucan Omelet" and was wondering if that tasted just like chicken, too); or Healthy Choice Omelet (egg whites, asparagus, spinach, & Swiss cheese ~ I don't think I have ever had an "egg white" omelette before; one of these days).

I ordered my meal off the Scrambles & More section of the menu. I wasn't really quite sure if this would be more like Chilaquiles or Huevos Rancheros. It turned out to be more like a Tex-Mex dish that I have seen called "Migas"; it is made with crispy strips of corn tortillas in it. It also had a nice amount of fresh slices of jalapeños (but, as stated above, no Serrano chillies that I could see) and lots of fresh cilantro. I would have liked a little bit more cheese in it (and probably something a little more Mexicany, like Queso Fresco or even Monterrey Juanito). The scramble had a decent enough salsa roja in it. The house potatoes had lots of (white) onions in them, and both the potatoes and onions were all nicely caramelized, too.

Purposefully (Purposely? Porpoisely? ~ whatever; I always get those mixed up), I had skipped any Coffee with the meal as I knew there is a very good local Coffee roastery just up the street. I was surprised (but, again, not really mystified) to see that they actually offer Jamaica Blue Mountain by the cuppa ~ at $5.00/12 oz cuppa. It is not that often that a place actually sells Jamaica Blue Mountain, and I have never seen it for sale in the States by the cuppa, so I had to go for that one. I have had better versions of this (*cough-cough*Bettys*cough-cough*), but it was still nice that a place actually offers this by the cuppa. This was a pretty good roast/blend (and actually "worth the money", if you can believe that). It was very smooth, but just not as flavourful as Bettys. And, whatever you do, please NEVER EVER add any cream/milk and sugar to this Coffee; I hear that this is one of the main reasons that those fanatics at IS/ISIS/ISIL/Da'ish hate most Westerners. (You can read more about Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee here.)

I was very surprised (okay, and a bit mystified, too) to see that they even sell 12 oz cuppas Kopi Luwak ~ at $39.00/12 oz cuppa (that is not a typo); but I still feel that is $40.00/cuppa too much. I told the owner: "No thanks! If I wanted overpriced, crappy Coffee, I could always go to St*rbucks."[2] I was happy to see that he not only enjoyed that joke, but a couple of other customers that were in the store got it, too. The owner even agreed with me and said there is no way he will ever try that stuff himself. 

Café Mystique had only Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red) for condimentary supplementation. This gave me a great opportunity (those "not-so-great opportunities" no one ever likes to talk about, anyway) to use a brand new (as in I just received it in the mail on Thursday afternoon) addition to my collection: Fairhope Favorites, Inc. Aged-N-Charred Moonshine Hot Sauce XXX (Thanks, Phyll!), which I used a decent amount all over the potatoes. Ingredients: Vinegar, Onion, Garlic, Pepper, Salt, & Natural Flavoring. (I expect the "Pepper" is probably the Tabasco or Cayenne cultivar, as those are the two most popular chillies used in most 'merican hot sauces.) Moonshine Hot Sauce XXX is not too spicy, (about the same as the standard red Tabasco®), but with lots of garlic flavour. It went nicely with the potatoes (as I had expected). And as it is a vinegar-based and mostly liquid hot sauce, I bet it would go great on French fries, too.

While Café Mystique may not have been très magnifique, it was still better than averagique

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: the Mystique ~ 6.5; Castro Coffee Company, Jamaica Blue Mountain ~ 7.7

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

"Glas wên" in Welsh literally means "blue smile", but, in this case, it means "a smile that is sarcastic or mocking".

2. To get that joke yourdamnself, you can read the excremental explanation in a previous 'blog-entry here.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Nob Hill Grille

"Even when the experts all agree, they may well be mistaken." ~ Bertrand Russell

Place: Nob Hill Grille
Location: 969 Hyde Street (on the corner of Pine Street, and, as their name implies,  on Nob Hill)
Hours:  open at 8:30am on Saturday and Sunday for "Weekend Brunch"
Meal: huevos rancheros ~ choice of red beef sauce or vegetarian tomatillo sauce (I will give you two guesses which one I chose) with corn tortillas, two fried eggs, Mexican rice, black beans, shredded lettuce and sour cream; a side order of homefries; and a cuppa (and a few more refillas) Contraband Coffee, Black Market blend/roast

(Tomorrow is Johnette Napolitano's birthday, so I am doing another mini-EweToobular concert just like I did yesterday for little Lenny Cohen. Video #2 is to prove that Dennis Miller was once actually relevant; just still not very funny, though.

Sorry, Puddles Pity Party doesn't have any covers of any Concrete Blonde songs that I know about.)

Today's breakfastary sojourn brought us (well, me) back to Nob Hill Grille (see last 'blog-entry from July 22nd, 2012)[1]. I still think they really missed the Joycean mark and should have named the restaurant "Nob Hille Grille". Even though they actually call their early morning weekend meal "Brunch", the fact that they open up at 8:30am is good enough for me. I like that early on a Sunday morning, parking in the neighborhood is pretty easy to locate.

Nob Hille Grille is a nice neighborhoody joint (well, if your neighborhood happens to be Nob Hill) and isn't that large of a place. The seating is just: seven stools at the counter overlooking the kitchen area; three tables for two and one table for four in the original/main/front dining area; the back room dining area (which is actually down a set of stairs and was once part of a different building; they even have it demarcated as "1315 [Pine Street]" at the top of the stairs down to the area) has another three tables for four and four tables for two; and, on days when it is nice enough to sit outside (this morning was, but I still ate indoors), there are two tables for two along the Hyde Street sidewalk (believe me, it's way too steep to have any tables along the Pine Street side).

There is a cool new piece of artwork above the counter just as you enter. It is a of collage of Mel Ramos' Superman. The original oil-on-canvas painting's current Fortress of Solitude happens to be the de Young, Fine Art Museum of San Francisco, in Golden Gate Park.

There are only about eleven items on the "Weekend Brunch" menu. If I hadn't ordered the huevos rancheros this morning, I was thinking about either getting: build your own omelette or scramble (three eggs with your choice of cheese plus homefries and wheat toast; I probably would have built mine with avocado, tomato, and goat cheese; they call this "build your own", but I am pretty sure they have cooks to actually make these for you ~ no one wants me making junk in their kitchen) or french toast (vanilla brioche bread topped with berries and crème anglaise; I have had this a few times before and know that it is very good). And for anyone that partakes of the crisped-up belly of dead, decaying little piggies, they also offer a bacon fritter (sweet bacon filled fritters served with bourbon maple syrup ~ I could probably do a few shots of that syrup, at least).

I had never seen Huevos Rancheros done this way before, but the two eggs were between two corn tortillas ~ sorta like a Huevos Rancheros sandwich ~ and I liked it a lot. This had a very good tomatillo salsa ~ con mucho sabor. This had a nice pico de gallo on top of the pile; however, I am not gonna lie to you, there was a good amount of white onions in it (which is fine with me, I like a lot of onions; of course, if you happen to be a Mahāyāna Buddhist, you will have to forego this topping ~ I recommend going with the red beef sauce instead). They state that this comes with "black beans" on their on-line menu, but these were actually whole pinto beans this morning (I like both, so no grande cosa); I think that some Cotija cheese or queso fresco crumbled on top of the beans might also have been a nice touch.

I really like their rendition of homefries (which is one of the reasons I didn't have a problem with the addition of yet more carbohydrates in my meal). These are always done nice and crispy and made with lots of green and red bell peppers and (more still) white onions (Sorry, Gautama).

Contraband Coffee is about as "local" as you can get for this place. It is located just two blocks away (also on Nob Hill). This was a very nice blend/roast. I wasn't quite sold on it with my first cuppa, but, by the third refilla, I really enjoyed it. It also seemed to pair very nicely with all of the sabores mexicanos of the meal.

Nob Hille Grille had Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red) and Huy Fong Foods Inc® Sriracha "Rooster" Hot Chili Sauce for condimentary supplements. As I was just talking about the dreaded Scorpion Chilli this morning on defacedbook (Hey, Victoria!), I decided to go with some of my own Fat Cat® Chairman Meow's Revenge (Scorpion Pepper Sauce) (Thanks, Cindy & Greg!) on the potatoes (but I used it very sparingly, probably just eight to ten drops; this hot sauce does have a bit of a sting to it, but it is still not the worst of my collection). I didn't add any hot sauce to the tasty tomatillo salsa (I tasted it first just to make sure and it really didn't need me messing it up).

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: huevos rancheros ~ 6.9; Contraband Coffee, Black Market ~ 6.8

1. I have only been doing this stupid li'l 'blog-thing for a little over four-and-a-half years now, and I finally figured out how to make a hyperlink in the text. 

I probably should say a big "THANKS!" to Cabin Jim for his help and expertise in these stupid 'blog-things (he keeps two, himself)… I should, but I won't.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

People’s Café

"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary." ~ Fred Allen

(No official web-site.)

Place: People's Café (I really don't know whether it is supposed to be avec ou sans accent aigu, but, seeing as there is no official web-site to correct me, I am going with my preferred choicé); Phonicular contact: (415) 553-8842
Location: 1419 Haight Street (between Masonic Avenue and Ashbury Street)
Hours:  open at 8:30am(???) on the weekend (I really have no idea, as, once again, there is no official web-site to consult and there were no signs stating their actual hours of operation anywhere to be seen; I just know that they were opening up and setting up when I arrived around 8:30am this morning)
Meal: Greek Scramble ~ spinach[1a], roasted mushrooms[1b], onions[1c], & Feta cheese[1d] (served with choice of hashbrowns or house potatoes and a choice of toast); and a large glass of "Fresh-Squeezed" watermelon[1e] juice

(The reason for today's mini-EweToobular concert is that tomorrow is the 80th birthday of Leonard Norman Cohen. While I really love his lyrics, I am not particularly enamoured of his actual singing ~ much like that Robert Zimmerman fellow. So, I figured one song by Leonard himself and a cover of probably his biggest hit would suffice. 

Unfortunately, I could not get the second video to embed correctly, so it will need to be either listened to separately, or just cut and paste the URL to another tab. This cover version by Puddles might not be the best of all available, but how many others are sung by a creepy, seven-foot tall clown with a golden voice?)

I figured I would give it another go and try to eat at People's Café (see last Saturday's 'blog-entry for an explanation) this morning. As luck would have it, they were actually opened (or just), and I was able to check them out. People's Café is a typical San Francisco coffeehouse type joint. I am not sure just how long they have been in operation, I am pretty sure they have been in the same location on Haight Street for at least thirty years. I have eaten there for lunch and/or dinner a few times in the past, but this was my very first breakfastary visit.

It's a medium-sized place with seating of nineteen tables for two (or a combination of tables for four and two if pushed together). I liked that the tables are Coffee bean-laden. Now those are some real Coffee tables, Cosmo! I sat at one of the four or five tables that are by large, sliding windows right on Haight Street. This way you don't have to feel as if you are eating alone, as there are always many of them "street Hippies" walking by and camped-out just in front of the place. There was even one overly loud and obnoxious virago that came running past screaming unintelligible expletives ~ perhaps she was recently released from the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic around the corner.

the Wild Parrots of San Francisco Interlude

On my way back to my car after breakfast, I saw a small pandemonium of about ten to twelve Wild Parrots flying over the Panhandle.

Like most coffeehouses, you order and pay first at the counter, get a number (mine was "10" today), and they bring the food out to you when it is ready (because if it wasn't ready when they bring it out to you, what are you really paying for?). People's Café offers a pretty decent variety of both breakfast dishes and burgers, sandwiches, and salads. A few of the other ideas that looked pretty good to me: Fresh Herb Scramble (tomatoes, fresh basil, Parmesan cheese, & zucchini ~ I had to ask if this scoundrel, Herbert, was the cook); California Omelette (avocado, salsa, sour cream, & melted Jack cheese); plus, Huevos Rancheros (available in either "Veggie" or "Meaty" ~ with braised pork loin; these were their actual terms, by the way, not mine) or Breakfast Burrito (also available as "Veggie" or "Meaty" ~ with chorizo sausage).

Later this afternoon, I am heading over to "A Taste of Greece", San Francisco's only Greek festival (where I plan on getting my annual fix of Καταΐφι and other sundry γλυκά ~ you may not walk in there as a diabetic, but they make sure that everyone leaves with a complimentary shot of Insulin). So that was one of the reasons I went with this choose this morning, to get in the mood for more good Greeky stuff. This was a decent enough scramble; it had lots of spinach and Feta in it, both of which I like and expect in a Greek Scramble or Omelette. I went with sourdough for my toast choice and house potatoes (I always like it when there is a choice of potatoey sides).

The watermelon juice was not an already-made Aguas Frescas served from a big cistern (which I was fully expecting), but actually made fresh from watermelon chunks (in a juicer, not really "squeezed", though).

For condimentary supplementation, I noticed that People's Café had Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red), Tapatío®, and Huy Fong Foods Inc® Sriracha "Rooster" Hot Chili Sauce. While that is a pretty decent selection, I still used some of my own Born to Hula presents Devon Allman's All Natural Hot Sauce Chipotle Blues (Thanks, Kerry!) on the potatoes and some El Yucateco® XXXtra Hot Sauce Salsa Kutbil-ik® de Chile Habanero (Thanks, Brian!) on the scramble mess.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Greek Scramble ~ 6.2; the Wild Parrots of San Francisco ~ 8.5

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

Here are the Greek words for each ingredient:

a. spinach = "σπανάκι" (pronounced "spanAki")
b. mushroom = "μανιτάρι" (pronounced "manitAri")
c. onion = "κρεμμύδι" (pronounced "kremmEEthi")
d. Feta cheese = "Φέτα" (surprisingly enough, pronounced "Feta"; technically, the word "φέτα" in Greek simply means "slice", and that is the proper way to serve this cheese, in a nice, thick slice)
e. watermelon = "καρπούζι" (pronounced "karPOOzi")

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Lori’s Diner

"It's great to be great, but it's greater to be human." ~ Will Rogers

Place: Lori's Diner
Location: 900 North Point Street (in historic/touristic Ghirardelli Square)
Hours:  open at 8:00am every day of the week (however, both downtown locations are open 24 hours ~ or probably 23:35 hours ~ every day)
Meal: Veggie Omelet ~ Mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, & tomatoes, seasoned with herbs (served with hash brown [noted as two words] potatoes, toast, butter and jam); and a cuppa organic Coffee

(Today's EweToobular juxtaselection is from a relatively newish Electropop group out of North Carolina and the title of the song fits a breakfastary theme. Someone recently showed me this song/group on defacedbook and I liked it/them well enough. Sorry, I don't remember who actually showed it to me, but if you are reading this 'blog-entry: "Thanks!")

Sometimes you just need a nice helping of Americana for breakfast. With that in mind, I headed over to Lori's Diner. They are a local mini-chain of 50's-style diners; they also have two downtown spots (the original one on Mason Street and another one on the corner of Sutter and Powell Streets) and two more at San Francisco International Airport. There used to be three downtown locations, but the third restaurant, which used to be on Powell Street (at O'Farrell Street), closed about two years back; and all were within two blocks of one another ~ kinda overkill if you ask me (even if you don't ask me, it's still a bit overly homicidal). I have eaten lunch or dinner at a few of their locations before, but this was my first breakfast venture there.

Lori's Diner at Ghirardelli Square is supposed to open at 8:00am every morning (or at least that is what is stated on both their official web-site and even on signs in the door); however, when I got there around 8:20am, the doors were closed and the "SORRY… Closed" sign was still in the window. Unlike yesterday, unfortunately, I did not have an official back-up "Plan 9 From Outer Space" (nor even a back-up "Glen or Glenda"), so I was about to go for a little walk around Aquatic Park and Fisherman's Wharf, but one of the workers must have seen me lurking around outside and flipped the "OPEN" neon sign switch on and finally opened around 8:25am. (Now does the silly 23:35 hours joke make any sense in the "Hours:" section above?) It's a good thing, too, as Fisherman's Wharf may cater to large tourista hordes, but it is grossly lacking in the amount of good places to go for breakfast (or "Brunch"). I ended up being the only idiot sitting there for about another fifteen minutes until another tourista family decided to intrude upon "my restaurant" solitude.

As it was a great morning, I had to sit outside in their open-air patio deck, where there are nine tables for four ~ with umbrellas on four of the tables. The main inside dining area probably has seating for twice that and there is another smaller indoor dining room that has at least as many tables, too. There is the front half of a '56-'57(?; sorry, my automobile I.D. is about as acute as my knowledge of how best to prepare a Rib-eye steak) Chevy on the patio deck, too. As far as I could see, it really serves no purpose other than taking up a valuable parking space (well, half a space) that could easily house one of those great little parklets that I have heard so much about lately.

the Wild Parrots of San Francisco Interlude

Seeing as there is a major pandemonium (or, possibly, several pandemonia) of Wild Parrots that roosts in the tall Eucalyptus trees at the end of Fisherman's Wharf (where it abuts Fort Mason), I was pretty sure that I would run into at least a few of the noisy feathered freaks. As it turned out, I saw three of them right away playing on a lamppost on my way over to Ghirardelli Square from where I had parked.

There really were only a few other items on the breakfast menu that seemed interesting to me: Taco Ole Omelet (Vegetarian chili, avocado, salsa, sour cream & Jack cheese) or maybe Fresh Spinach Omelet (Chopped spinach, sautéed onions, a hint of garlic, fine herbs & cream cheese); otherwise, there were simply pancakes or French toast.

I liked that all the "veggies" (Seriously, is this still the 1980's?! How hard is it to actually call them "vegetables"? Do the extra three letters used to spell it correctly cost that much more in printing the menu?) were grilled first before stuffing them into the omelette. This would not be for those that suffer from Fungiphobia, as there was a good amount of mushrooms in this. My choice of toast was sourdough. 

The organic Coffee was just your typical diner fare stuff ~ hot, black, and basically tasteless. I even found it necessary to break one of my Cardinal rules and added two packets of sugar to it (okay, maybe it is more of a Blue Jay rule, but still). I ended up adding the rinds from the orange slice/garnish into it which really made it half-way passable, and, because of which, I even felt it palatably necessary to get another half-cuppa refilla (sure, it wasn't really that good, but it is still Coffee, after all).

I only noticed that they had Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red) inside in the condimentary supplements area, but they probably also have Tapatío® (I had lunch here a few months back and I seem to remember they had it then). I just used some of my own Fat Cat® Surprisingly Mild Guajillo Ghost (Thanks, Cindy & Greg! The really nice thing about this one is that it sounds like it will be demonically spicy, but it really is pretty mild and can be used copiously.) generously all over the omelette and some Born to Hula presents Devon Allman's All Natural Hot Sauce Chipotle Blues (Thanks, Kerry!) on the potatoes ('cause, as I have stated many times before, chipotle and potatoes are a great match).

Even though the food may have only been "just okay", the view from my Patty O'Furniture table-seat (and the subsequent awesome late-Summer sunny weather) was a million $$$ one this morning.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: "Veggie" Omelet ~ 6.0; Million $$$ views of San Francisco Bay ~ 8.5; the Wild Parrots of San Francisco ~ 8.5

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Pork Store Cafe

A Breakfastarian[1] "Plan 9 From Outer Space"?

Place: Pork Store Cafe
Location: 1451 Haight Street (between Ashbury and Masonic)
Hours:  open at 7:00am Monday-Friday; open at (right on the nose, too) 8:00am Saturday-Sunday
Meal: Nadia's Vegetarian Scramble ~ Eggs, onions, mushrooms, fresh spinach, Jack cheese, fresh salsa & spices (served with Hash Browned [sic, and noted as two words] Potatoes or Grits, Biscuits or Toast or English Muffin); and a large glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice

My initial plan of attack this morning was to indagate a new/different place for breakfast; however, you know what that poet Robert Frost guy said: "The best-laid eggs o' mice an' Ed Wood gang agley in the afternoons." (or something like that, who could ever understand what the drunken Scotsman was ganging on about). I had originally planned on going to People's Cafe, Chairman Mao, but they do not have their own official web-site (or little red book) to find out what their actual hours of operation are, so I had to determine the hours that they opened from a few different on-line urban guides, and a few different sites had it opening at either 7:00am or 8:00am. I got over there about 7:45am and figured I could just kill some time on Haight Street with the rest of the indigenous streeties if they didn't open up until 8:00am. However, there were no signs on the building as to when they actually open and there were also no signs that they would be actually opening any time soon, either.

Oops! Looks like it was time for a whole 'nuther "Plan B", Bela. I knew that there is a "new" crêpe/breakfast joint, 1428 Haight, right across the street from People's Cafe. I write this as "new" as they are really just the same location that was once part of the whole Squat & Gobble Cafe & Crepery mini-chain of crêperies in San Francisco (see last 'blog-entry from July 26th, 2014;; apparently there was a little (squat and) squabble amongst the partners, and one of them ended up with this location and changed the name to what it is now. And also three doors down from People's Cafe is Pork Store Cafe (see previous 'blog-entry from September 6th, 2010 ~ coincidentally enough, almost four years ago; Both 1428 Haight and
Pork Store Cafe had signs stating that they open for breakfast at 8:00am (and both showed signs of doing so shortly), so I just left it up to whichever opened up first. Consider this a sort of temporal coin toss.

Pork Store Cafe is a rather small place, but it is very popular with the "Brunch" crowd. Their seating is just: two front window/alcove tables for four people; two tables for two; three more tables for four; and twelve to fourteen counter stools (and that is it; because of which, there is usually a long line and extended wait outside on the weekends). Luckily, there were only about six other people waiting to get inside when they first opened up. I ordered quickly and my meal was served in about five minutes; this would not be the case later in the day when they are very busy (after the stupid "Brunch"-sters have rolled out of bed around 10:00am or later).

Pork Store Cafe has a pretty substantial breakfast menu (and I am glad to see they actually call it "breakfast", not "Brunch" on their menus). There were a few other decent ideas that I was looking at: Green Benedict (Scrambled eggs with asparagus over fresh avocado on toasted sourdough bread, topped with Hollandaise, served with grits or hash browned potatoes ~ asparagus and avocado sounded like a winner to me); Pesto Feta Scramble (3 eggs scrambled with homemade pesto sundried tomato sauce [they make a point of noting on their menu: "pesto contains parsley and walnuts"; I think they have to legally state that for any of you with severe parsley allergies], "the vile weed" [it is always a foregone conclusion that I would have foregone this ingredient; and how come they never have a "the vile weed" allergy warning?], and Feta cheese, served with hash browned potatoes or grits, and choice of bread or biscuit); or The '49er (2 eggs any style with potatoes or grits, biscuits & sausage gravy or veggie gravy). There are even three to four Vegan options (I really didn't pay much attention to those specifically; next thing you know those damned Vegans will be requesting their own schools). And, as their name implies, they do offer many different dishes with the dead, decaying porcine flesh in them.

the Wild Parrots of San Francisco Interlude

After breakfast, on my way back to my car, I saw about four to five of the little winged noisemakers flying over the Panhandle. I am pretty sure a small pandemonium resides in some of the tall eucalyptus trees there.

This was all a nice cheesy, gooey mess. I liked it. For my breakfastary sides, I went with hashbrowns (natch') and (two) fresh-baked buttermilk biscuits (even I can "cook" toast and English muffins on my own). I ended up just adding the hashbrowns to the rest of the scrambled mess when I was about half-way done (or half-way started?), it was just easier that way (and it was all good).

For condimentary supplementation,
 Pork Store Cafe has a pretty decent selection: Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red); Tapatío®; Frank's® RedHot Original; and El Yucateco® XXX Hot Sauce Salsa Kutbil-ik® de Chile Habanero (I had even brought a bottle of my own of that very same hot sauce with me this morning). Even so, I still used some of my own Hula Girl Chipotle Habanero (Thanks, Jim! And that about killed the last of that bottle now.) on the potatoes and some Florida Gold Premium Habanero Hot Sauce (Thanks, Kerry!) on the scramble mess.

I did notice that People's Cafe had finally opened by the time I finished eating (a little after 8:30am), so maybe I will give them another chance in a few weeks.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Nadia's Scramble ~ 6.5; homemade buttermilk biscuits ~ 6.6

1. A few years back, I had come up with the completely made-up word "breakfastary". I have even used it as the adverbial "breakfastarily" and a few other variations. I noticed during a recent Google search that not only is "breakfastary" referenced many times, but both "breakfastarian" and "breakfastarianism" are, too. I kind of like the idea of it being seen as not only a movement, but also in a pseudo-religiosity sense.