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.

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