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")

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