Sunday, November 30, 2014

MyMy CoffeeCoffee ShopShop

"You only live once, but if you work it right, once is enough." ~ Fred Allen

(No official web-site.)

Place: MyMy CoffeeCoffee ShopShop
Location: 15001500 CaliforniaCalifornia StreetStreet (on the corner of LarkinLarkin StreetStreet); phonicular contact: (415415) 800800-74667466
Hours: open at 8:00am8:00am dailydaily 
Meal: zucchini pancake w/parmesan crust ~ house made sourcream flour pancake(s, 2 each), chipotle honey drizzle, served w/ two eggs sunny side up; a large(-ish) glass of orange juice; and (afterward) a cuppa Ethiopia Yirgacheffe[1] at Contraband Coffeebar and a Chocolate Rose dynamo donut

(I have already used Mr. NoelNoel YangYang's classic "MyMy, HeyHey" once before here, so these will have to sufficesuffice for any EweEweToobToobular juxtaselections.)

Continuing my weekend of reruns (Don't you just hate all of these Network "Mid-Season Finales" crap?), I went back to MyMy CoffeeCoffee ShopShop (see lastlast 'blog'blog-entryentry from March 31st, 2013; and also a previous visit to their sister location GriddleGriddle FreshFresh ~ see 'blog'blog-entryentry from June 29th, 2013). I was the first one in there on this rainy Sunday morning, but the restaurant slowly filled up quickly. They now have a small sidewalk café seating area on the LarkinLarkin StreetStreet side with four tables for up to four people each; there is an awning covering a large portion of the sidewalk, but, even so, with the rain this morning, it would not have been any fun sitting outside . As it was, I sat at the window-counter seating (where there are four single stools) overlooking the semi-wet sidewalk café area, watching the CaliforniaCalifornia StreetSteet CableCable CarsCars coming and going.

Even though they call this meal "weekendweekend brunchbrunch" on their menu, they open up plenty early enough for me to forgiveforgive that snooty-asssnooty-ass monikermoniker. They offer so many other good ideas (for both stupid vegetarians and stupid dead, decaying meat-fleshatarians alike) that I always think about adding them to my Breakfastary Rotation (and the first time one of my Starters stumbles, I am DFA-ing them faster than you can say "TimmayTimmay LeroyLeroy LincecumLincecum"): 

Off the eggs & relatives section of the menu:

peasant lorraine flat omelette (bacon, leeks, shallot, asparagus, Gruyere, Lorraine Swiss, topped w/ grilled tomatoes; this sounded really good less the baconbacon junk); harvest time scramble (eggplant, Roma tomato, fennel, Kalamata olive, pesto, grilled asparagus, pine nuts, Grana Padano sprinkle; which I have had a few times before and really liked); or mambo italiano scramble (Italian sausage, oyster mushroom, basil, sun dried tomato, Roma tomato, Kalamata olive, smoked Mozzarella, tomato garlic relish; this also sounded really good, but I would have ordered it without the Italian sausage, and I am finally down to smoking just one pack of Mozzarella a day, so I would have to watch out for that, too).

Off the sweet & savory griddle section of the menu:

chive pancake with crispy crumbled bacon & gorgonzola dolce (house made ricotta flour pancake, honey drizzle, served w/ two eggs sunny side up; I am not quite sure how the Gorgonzola is incorporated in this dish, but I always like Gorgonzola in any dish); vanilla sponge French toast w/butterscotch drizzle (thick cut pain de mie French toast, seasonal fruit toppings); or banana blueberry soufflé pancake (house made Mascarpone flour pancake w/ vanilla curd, candied walnut; they have "walnut" in the singular, but I would expect it was more than one walnut that is candied and included).

As well as six different benediction dishes.

These were basically regular pancakes with shredded zucchini in them; plus, Parmesan cheese melted into the outside (I suppose they just sprinkle both sides with some Parmesan cheese) and this made for a nice crunch on the outside (Have you ever had Parmesan chips? It was kinda like that, but baked/griddled into the pancakes). I liked the chipotle honey drizzle stuff, which they give to you in a small glass ramekin to pour on/over yourself (well, to pour on/over the pancakes by yourself; you can always take some home if you really are into pouring it all over yourself, I suppose) a lot, and I drizzled it all over both of the pancakes (Okay, I admit, I did drizzle a little on one of my fingers to taste it first, too). It goes without saying (but I will say it here, anywayanyway) that the Zucchini Cakes at Dottie'sDottie's TrueTrue blueblue cafécafé are much better, and the Zucchini Latkes that I had at Tangerine (R.I.P.) a few years back were also better. I wonder how these might work as a basis for one of their "benediction" dishes; I even thought about taking both of my sunny-side up eggs and placing them on top of the pancakes. This was not an awful lot of food and I probably should have ordered a side of hashbrowns.

As I had skipped any CoffeeCoffee with breakfastbreakfast (even though their name states "CoffeeCoffee" right in it, I have found that the CoffeeCoffee that they offer is good enough, but really nothingnothing much to write aboutabout), I felt it necessary to head right around the cornercorner. Contraband Coffeebar offers several different roasts/blends that you can order as a pour-over/single drip cuppa. The Ethiopia Yirgacheffe had a very good flavour and robustness to it. As I was still a little hungry, I also ordered a breakfastary dessert of the dynamo donut. This was a very good doughnut, too.

MyMy CoffeeCoffee ShopShop offers for condimentarycondimentary supplementationsupplementation the San Francisco Triumvirate of Hot Sauces: Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red), Tapatío®, and Cholula® Hot Sauce. I still went with a little of my own Nando's® Extra Hot Peri-Peri (and that lastlast duplicationduplication is not making fun of MyMy CoffeeCoffee ShopShop, that is the actual name of the chillichilli pepperpepper, Mr. Tillis) sauce (Thanks, Kerry! And I probably have just one more serving left in this bottle now.) on both of the eggs. I just used the provided chipotle honey drizzle on the pancakes.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: zucchini pancake(s) w/parmesan crust ~ 6.5; Ethiopia Yirgawhatever ~ 7.0; Chocolate Rose doughnut ~ 6.8

1. Yirgacheffe/Irgachefe/Yirgachefe, as best as I can figure, is a town or district in Ethiopia where they grow a specific type of Coffee bean. 

Yir(gacheffe) guess is as good as mine on how to actually pronounce this word, though. The guy at the counter at Contraband really didn't know how to pronounce it, either.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Art’s Cafe ~ Fine Food

"You can't tell a man by the song he sings." ~ Philip Roth, title of one of the short stories in Goodbye, Columbus

(But a good ornithologist can usually tell the difference between the calls of Scrub Jays and Steller's Jays, I am sure.)

(This used to be their official web-site; however, it seems to be under construction currently.)

Place: Art's Cafe ~ Fine Food
Location: 747 Irving Street (between 8th and 9th Avenues); phonicular contact: (415) 665-7440
Hours: open at 7:00am Tuesday-Saturday; open at 7:30am on Sunday
Meal: Art's Special (Omelet) ~ mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, Swiss and American cheese (served with hashbrowns or rice and toast); a large glass of orange juice; and (afterward) a medium cuppa Roaster's Blend at Beanery ~ The Little Roaster That Could… 

(No official web-site.)
phonicular contact: (415) 661-1255 

(Would you believe me if I told you that the lead singer of the Brothers Comatose was named "Art Comatose"? No?! Well, I couldn't think of any good Simon & (Art) Garfunkel[1] EweToobular juxtaselections.

Besides, I felt like highlighting some breakfastary songs by a new-ish group that I just recently discovered.)

This weekend seems to be one of re-visits to some old places. Today I went back to Art’s Cafe ~ Fine Foods (see last 'blog-entry from May 12th, 2013) over in the Sunset. Art's Cafe really has to be one of the smallest place that I usually go to ~ with only fourteen seats total at the diner-counter. There were still a few open seats this morning when I first got there, so there was no waiting involved for me today. However, you can expect anywhere from a fifteen minute to a half-hour wait otherwise.

This little joint is the perfect definition of a "Mom & Pop" (or, as this is a Korean family-owned place, maybe that is an "Omma & Appa") diner. "Mom" ("Omma") takes all the orders (and their son ~ "Yaeya"? ~ also helps out serving and clearing dishes) and "Pop" ("Appa"; who I can only guess might be the eponymous "Art") does most of the cooking (with the help of another Mexican cook back there). It can really get a bit crowded when all four people are hustling and shuffling around to get the meals to customers.

One other thing that I like about going to this part of town is that there is usually a good amount of available (and free) parking nearby. For example this morning, I parked less than two blocks away over in Golden Gate Park in front of San Francisco Botanical Garden, where the parking is free every day, and with no time restrictions on Saturday and Sunday.

They have several other decent ideas for breakfast (both for stupid vegetarians and stupid carnivoritarians alike): Vegetarian Hashbrown Sandwich (onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, and tomatoes; which I had the last few times I ate there and the ingredients are pretty similar to the omelette that I had this morning, anyway); Spinach Scrambled Eggs (with onions, mushrooms, hot sausage, and Jack cheese; I assume this also has some spinach and eggs in it; of course, I would have ordered this less the dead, decaying porcine sausage junk); or maybe Tofu Omelet (with kim chee, sausage, and Korean hot bean paste; they have "kimchi" transliterated as "kim chee", and they are Korean, so I am not one to argue with them on their preference; I would have had to ask them if their kimchi was vegetarian-friendly or not, though; I can only assume that the "Korean hot bean paste" refers to gochujang).

My omelette was good, and all of the vegetables were fresh and crunchy, but both the Swiss and 'merican "cheeses" were of the sliced/packaged pseudo-cheese variety; while these are great for melting, they really lack on any kind of flavour. It really didn't matter, because their hashbrowns are really excellent and always worth a return visit. Their hashbrowns are what they are know for and are extra thin and crunchy.

I had purposely skipped any Coffee with breakfast, so that I could stop at Beanery ~ The Little Roaster That Could… The shop on 9th Avenue (at Irving Street, not the one two blocks away on Irving Street at 7th Avenue), which I consider their main shop/roastery. They have a large Coffee roaster up front in this location where they actually roast bags of their own green Coffee beans. They usually offer three different roasts (plus a decaf blend) in thermoses from which to choose, today's choices were: a medium roast (which I forgot what it was specifically; I tried a sip of it first, but it was too light for me); a dark roast (Roaster's Blend); and a darkest roast (French Roast). I took my cuppa and walked over to San Francisco Botanical Garden to enjoy it while walking around in the fresh air and taking in the scenery for a bit.

(This is a photo of a Western/California/Nicasio Scrub Jay ~ Aphelocoma californica oocleptica.)

Art's Cafe has for condimentary supplements both Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red) and Crystal® Louisiana's Pure Hot Sauce and the Korean hot bean paste ~ gochujang (which you have to ask for, as they keep the good stuff behind the counter in plastic dispenser bottles). Knowing that they had gochujang, I didn't even bother bringing (How do you say "schlep" in Korean?) any of my own hot sauces with me this morning, and I used a bunch of it all over both my omelette and the hashbrowns. Some idiot had unscrewed the top on the black pepper shaker in front of me and when I went to shake some onto my plate, it poured out about a quarter of the shaker onto the potatoes and omelette. Oops! That "Idiot" would have been "Me"; I "Ralph Malph"-ed myself it looks like. I usually take the tops off the pepper shakers as they tend to shake out way too slowly for my liking and I like to use a lot of this normally. It was all still good and the black pepper and gochujang made for a very nice (if not a bit gritty/spicy) paste with the meal.

I was in and out of Art's Cafe this morning in under half an hour. I have noticed that most people don't tend to dawdle or linger once they have finished; with just fourteen seats, there really isn't any room for it and it isn't that kinda joint, anyway. Which is a good thing, because I really think that "Mom" ("Omma") is all no-nonsense and wouldn't stand for any lollygagging about and expects people to get up and pay as soon as they are finished to make room for any other waiting customers.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Art's Special Omelet ~ 6.1 (with the excellent hashbrowns factored in, I would bump this to a 6.3)

1. Which the jeenyuses at Microsoft's Nazi Spell-checkering do not even recognize and want me to change it to either "Arundel" or "Carbuncle". Apparently Billy-boy Gates* must have been more of a Paul Simon fan growing up. 

*(Here's a little-know Cliff Clavinist fact: the "Me" in "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" was actually penned about a very young William Henry Gates III. Apparently Billy-boy grew up in the same neighborhood that Paul Simon lived in in the 60's and was constantly bugging the older musician and was also a bit of a trouble-making truant. In fact, the name "Windows" for the operating system for MS-DOS came from Billy-boy's penchant for breaking neighborhood panes of glass.)

Friday, November 28, 2014

Sandy’s Café

A breakfastary roadtrip:
Gilroy[1], CA 

The Wild, the Innocent, & the Monterey Street Shuffle?

(No official web-site.)

Place: Sandy's Café
Location: 6120 Monterey Street, Gilroy, CA; phonicular contact: (408) 848-1200
Hours: open at 6:00am every day of the week
Meal: (Me) Veggie Omelet ~ spinach, mushrooms, and asparagus, topped with your choice of cheese; (Dave) Canadian Bacon and Cheese (Omelet) ~ (they did not specify what the ingredients in this omelette were); and (both Dave and Me) cuppa(s) their house Coffee (and a few refillas, too) 

(Okay, maybe Bryce Springfield had his Holidays mixed up; just pretend that this EweToobular juxtaselection is about Thanksgiving and not the 4th of July.)

This morning's breakfastary roadtrip was all the way back down to Gilroy (the one in California). I happened to be down there already anyway after spending Thanksgiving Day with Dave, Patryce, Zoey, Nellie, and Comet (the last three names happen to be the canine members of Dave's family). Dave and I went back to Sandy's Café (see previous 'blog-entry from November 26th, 2010). This restaurant has had a name-change since the last time I went there. I think that they are probably trying to distance themselves as far away as possible from any association with the old "Death Café". As best as I can figure, "Sandy" is the owner/wife of the same owner from our last visit there.

They no longer have either Greek Scramble (which I was looking forward to and would have chosen for sure; everything's betta with Feta) or Gyro Omelette on the menu, but there were still a few other decent options from which to choose: Blueberry, Strawberry, or Apple Pancakes ([3] topped with whipped cream); Blueberry, Strawberry, or Apple Waffles (topped with whipped cream); Sandy's Skillet Special (prepared with country potatoes, onion, ham, Cheddar cheese, mushrooms, tomatoes, and green peppers; topped with [2] eggs any style); Ortega Omelet (chopped Ortega chilies, Jack cheese, black olives, and sour cream; served with fresh salsa); Maserati Omelet (sausage, mushrooms, Jack & American cheese, topped with Italian meat sauce and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese; I liked the name of this one, but without any of the dead, decaying meaty additions, it would have just been a cheese and mushroom omelette); and Chef's Favorite Omelet (tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, sausage, and topped with Feta cheese; Dammit! If I had noticed this one on the menu initially, I would have ordered it for sure, less the sausage, of course… next time).

(Sorry, there is no corresponding photo of Dave's omelette. It was basically the same looking as mine, anyway. Besides, if he wants people to see a photos of his damn food, he can start his own damned 'blog-thing.) 

As they state on the menu: "Omelets made with (4) eggs and served with hash browns or fruit and choice of toast or (1) pancake". Yes, four eggs! This was so much food that I skipped any lunch this afternoon and may not eat again until dinner.

They didn't really ask me what my choice of cheese was, and brought it out with two kinds of cheese on top, which is always nice. I think there was Jack and American on mine. My omelette was good and had a lot of spinach and asparagus in it. However, my one complaint with my omelette would be that the asparagus in this was not fresh, but the frozen kind. It was still good, but fresh asparagus is always much better.

For our bready side choices, Dave went with plain ol' boring white toast, but I was much smarter and went with the (1) pancake; it was a very large (1) pancake at that (even I can "cook" toast myself at home) ~ plus, it came with a little cup of heated maple syrup (little touches like that are always nice, too). We both were smart (well, I am always smart, but Dave was smart, too, for a change) and had the hashbrowns (over plain ol' boring fruit) as our side choices.

The house Coffee was actually pretty decent for a family-style diner kinda joint, too (hence the several refillas that both Dave and I had).

For condimentary supplementation Sandy's Café had Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red), Tapatío®, and A.1.® Steak Sauce. I went with a mixture of some Tapatío® and A.1.® Steak Sauce on my hashbrowns (Dave left his un-supplemented, though).

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Veggie Omelet ~ 6.4 (an extra 0.1 was added for the excellent option of "[1] pancake"); Canadian Bacon and Cheese (Omelet) ~ 6.5 (Dave is very versed in the GBS and can be trusted with his rating)

1. I never knew this before, but Dave explained to me how the City of Gilroy got its name. 

I am taking this information directly off the plaque on the statue of John Cameron Gilroy in front of the old City Hall building:

"John Cameron Gilroy, native of Scotland, arrived in Spanish California in 1814, and became the first permanent English speaking settler.

He married Maria Clara de la Ascencion Ortega, daughter of the family that owned Rancho San Ysidro, and together they had seventeen children.

Inheriting a third of the rancho through his wife, Gilroy became a prominent landholder who served many years as the local alcalde (mayor) and later as a Justice of the Peace."

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Ångel Cafe & Deli

Breakfast on Geary (redux), Part 16

"The heart is half a prophet." 
~ Yiddish proverb

(And the irony is not lost on me with using a Yiddish proverb for a Lebanese café/deli 'blog-entry.)

(No official web-site.)

Place: Ångel Cafe & Deli
Location: 700 Geary Street (on the corner of Leavenworth Street); 
phonicular contact: (415) 931-3467
Hours: open at 7:00am Monday-Friday and at 8:00am Saturday & Sunday for breakfast
Meal: Breakfast Burrito ~ (scrambled) eggs, cheese, potatoes, salsa & your choice of bacon, ham, or sausage; a piece of Pumpkin Cobbler Bar; and a cuppa whatever the house Coffee was (I forgot to ask)

(The first song's EweToobular juxtaselection should be apparent from the name of the café/deli this morning. Sorry, the Rollink Stonz never did a song called "Sweet Lebanese Ångel" that I know of. 

The second song is just off the same album, Exile On Main Street ~ probably one of the Rollink Stonz best EVAH, and is easily on my list of All-Time Top Ten Rock-and/or-Roll Albums of All-Time. Plus, it's nice to see Captain Jack Sparrow's father singing one instead of Sir Michael for a change. Does that mean that Sheryl Crow is really Johnny Depp's mom, too?!)

I wanted to keep it "local" for breakfast this morning, so I headed straight down Geary Boulevard/Street… about 4.2 miles or so. Okay, maybe it wasn't exactly locally for my neighborhood (more like four or five neighborhoods away), but Ångel Cafe & Deli is still right along the same street on which I live. This is mainly a Lebanese café/deli (Do you think that dyslexic Lesbians claim to be from "Rayboot"?) and they really have only a small breakfastary menu ~ mostly bagels and such (I was glad to see that they also offer a Hummus Bagel ~ hummus, cucumber, tomatoes, red onions).

I must have missed this little place a few years back when I was doing my "Breakfast on Geary" series. It's understandable, as this is a pretty small joint with seating of just three tables for two inside and another four or five seats along the window-counter; plus, there is sidewalk seating (where I sat on this somewhat sunny morning) with four tables for two on the Geary Street side and another four tables for two on the Leavenworth Street side ("Rufus T. Firefly: I suggest that we give him ten years in Leavenworth, or eleven years in Twelveworth. Chicolini: I'll tell you what I'll do: I'll take five-and-ten in Woolworth." ~ the Marx Brothers, Duck Soup). I ate there for lunch a few months ago and had an excellent lavash[1] wrap (Dolma[2]Wrap ~ with hummus, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, cucumbers, lemony yoghurt-tahini sauce), so I made a mental note (and anyone that knows me, knows that is really more like a psycho-reminder) to get back there for breakfast. There were a few other ideas on the breakfast portion of their menu that I thought about: Spinach & Feta Breakfast Wrap (eggs, Feta cheese, spinach); The Heavenly Breakfast Bagel (eggs, cream cheese, tomatoes, cucumber, red onions, avocado & sprouts); or the above-mentioned Hummus Bagel.

Completely à  propos of nothing strange interlude

Last weekend I happened to mention spending a Christmas Holiday on the island of Tenerife in the archipelago of Islas Canarias (Thanks, Greg & Cindy!). I can't believe that I missed the perfect opportunity for a "Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-ornithological/pseudo-canine pointer of the day". You see, Thylvethter, the island chain is actually named after the large dogs originally found on the islands and not the little yellow birds[3]. "Canariae Insulae" means "Island of the Dogs" in Latin. (However, it is a well-known fact that "Tenerife" translates from Spanish as "I tot I taw a puddy-tat.") 

This was a decent enough version of a breakfast burrito. They substituted some avocado in place of any of the dead, decaying swine flesh products (somehow, I don't think these guys are Muslim Lebanese). I would liked to have seen some other fresh ingredients also included, even some red onion or sliced/diced jalapeños (for flavour, crunch, and freshness) would have been nice.

I only went with the Pumpkin Cobbler Bar as they were all out of Baklava and this was right next to the empty space in their pastry cabinet. This was good, but I bet Baklava would have been better for breakfast.

I have no idea what Ångel Cafe & Deli might offer in the way of condimentary supplements. I didn't really bother to ask, but seeing as they are just a little corner café/deli, I would expect they carried at least Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (the standard red). It really didn't matter, as I had come prepared with a few of my own hot sauces and used some Fat Cat® Strawberry Serrano Hot Sauce (Thanks, Cindy & Greg!) on half of the burrito and a little (and by "little" I mean literally just three drops of this junk; I have had the same bottle for over two years now and have barely made it past the neck of the bottle) Blair's After Death®Sauce with Liquid Fire (Thanks a lot, Sean!) on the other half of the burrito.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Breakfast Burrito ~ 6.0; Pumpkin Cobbler Bar ~ 6.3

1. Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-culinaristic pointer of the day, թիվ մեկ:

"Lavash" comes from the Armenian word "լավաշ". This word possibly has its word root in the Armenian word "լովազ" ("lovaz") meaning "palm, flat of the hand" or the word "լավազ" ("lavaz") meaning "very thin".

Of course, Wild Bill and his Nazi-boys at Microsoft Spell-checkering do not recognise this common flatbread item.

2. Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-culinaristic pointer of the day, iki numaralı:

"Dolma" is a verbal noun of the Ottoman Turkish verb "dolmak" ("to be stuffed"), and means "stuffed (thing)". 

And is it really any surprise that Wild Bill and the Microsoft Spell-checkering Nazis do not recognise this Turkish word either?

3. So, yes, Atticus, these little finches are actually named after the islands (where they sometimes reside) that are named after the large dogs.

"Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a canary."

Saturday, November 22, 2014

phoenix bar

"Laugh and the world laughs with you… snore and you sleep alone." 
~ Anthony Burgess

Place: phoenix bar
Location: 811 Valencia Street (between 19th and 20th Streets)
Hours: open at 10:00am Saturday & Sunday for "Brunch"
Meal: Vegetable Hash ~ grilled potatoes, mixed vegetables, poached eggs, with goat cheese sauce; and a large glass of ½-orange juice and ½-grapefruit juice

(I know I could have used Glen Campbell's classic version of this song, but I just liked these versions much more.)

Today's breakfastary destination was just a few blocks down the street (if the street happens to be Valencia, that is) from last Sunday's entry. I had "Brunch" (their actual term, and that they don't open until 10:00am for the first meal of the day on the weekends kind of dictates the use of this snooty sobriquet) at phoenix bar. It is mainly an "Irish Pub and Gathering House" (it says so right above the awning in the front), but they have some pretty decent dishes on their food menu. There are several large-screen TeeVees around the joint, and they were showing some Barclays Premier League Football games (aka "English Soccer" to you bloody Y*nks[1]) this morning.

There is plenty of seating throughout the place. There is probably enough for fifty to sixty people at several copper-covered tables (made for two to four people), and many of these tables have benches along the wall side that look like they may have been pews in a church at one time (I made sure to get one of those to get the whole religious effect of the meal). Plus, there are another fifteen to sixteen seats along the bar.

They offer a pretty small "Brunch" menu (I counted only eleven items, which I almost needed to take my shoes off to do so) and there were just a few other good ideas for stupid vegetarians. However, I was also looking at getting either Veggie Omelet (fresh seasonal vegetables, cheese, and breakfast potatoes) or Huevos Valencianos (roasted chiles, guacamole, black beans, eggs any style, corn tortillas with grilled Irish bacon or spicy sausage; which I would have ordered sin carne, of course). For those of you that are huge fans of the dead, decaying porcine products, they also offer the traditional Irish breakfast, coincidentally enough, called Traditional Irish Breakfast (sausage, Irish bacon, pudding [don't let the name fool you, this ain't none of the sweet stuff that Bill Cosby used to shill], baked beans, roasted tomatoes, mushrooms, and potatoes); this meal is also known alternatively as "Cardiac Arrest on a Plate".

I really liked that they bring out before each meal slices of homemade Irish soda bread[2]; and they will give you more if you ask for it, too (I asked for it). I bet this would make for a great base for a Celtic version of Eggs O'Benedict, too. (Actually they do offer just this on their "Brunch" menu as Irish Bacon Benedict ~ grilled Irish soda bread, Irish bacon, poached eggs, Hollandaise, and potatoes; I may need to try that one in the future, too.)

In addition to the grilled potatoes mentioned above, today's mixture of vegetables was: kale, cauliflower, mushrooms, green beans, carrots, (red, green, and yellow) bell peppers, zucchini, and the vile weed. All except for the vile weed were welcomed ingredients, and kale is one of my favourite leafy greens, anyway. Strangely enough, in this hash there really wasn't any discernible garlic or onions; perhaps the owners are Mahāyāna Buddhist Irish. I had completely forgotten that this had a goat cheese sauce on it; I was wondering why the poached eggs seemed extra creamy. It all worked very nicely with the vegetable hash.

I asked the waitress/server/bartender-lady  (there was just one person working the bar and taking food orders when I first got there) what kind of juices they offered and she told me both orange and grapefruit juices. So I asked her for a glass with "half-and-half". She must have misunderstood me and brought me out a pint o' Guinness® and Harp® Lager… (Nah, not really. But that would have been pretty funny at an Irish pub for breakfast.)

For condimentary supplementation, phoenix bar actually had a pretty decent offering: Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (three types, too: the standard red, green jalapeño, and Chipotle); El Yucateco® Salsa Picante Verde de Chile Habanero (the green kind); Tapatío®; and HP Sauce (the standard kind, not the Guinness® one, though). I really didn't expect them to have that many salsas from which to choose, so I had brought a few of my own and used some Born to Hula presents Devon Allman's All Natural Hot Sauce Chipotle Blues (Thanks, Kerry!) on top of one of the eggs and a little (just a few drops, as this one goes a long way) Fat Cat® Chairman Meow's Revenge (Scorpion Pepper Sauce) (Thanks, Cindy & Greg!) on top of the other egg. I did make sure to use a good amount of the HP all around on the potatoes and vegetable hash.

This is another one that is definitely worth a return visit… one of these days, me droogs.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Vegetable Hash ~ 6.5 (I gave this an extra .2 for the inclusion of the kale, but I also took away .1 due to the vile weed); homemade Irish soda bread ~ 6.7

1. But, Brian, aren't you also a "bloody Y*nkee"? Not on yer life, boyo! As a devout Red Sox fan, being called a "Y*nkee" would be as bad as calling an Irishman English!

2. For anyone not familiar with Irish soda bread, here is some information from the friendly people at WikipediA:

Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day:

"Soda bread" in Irish is "arán sóide".

Sunday, November 16, 2014

¡venga! empanadas

"Sometimes the wolves are silent and the Moon howls…" ~ U/I bathroom graffito in some gas station in Santa Cruz, CA, circa 1978

(And sometimes the wolves will howl during a New Moon.)

Place: ¡venga![1] empanadas[2]
Location: 443 Valencia Street (between 15th and 16th Streets)
Hours: open at 8:00am Monday - Friday; 8:30am Saturday & Sunday
Meal: Breakfast Menu: ~ Egg empanada and Coffee; one five pepper manchego[3] cheese (empanada) ~ poblano chile, bell peppers, jalapeños, Spanish Manchego, Mozzarrella [sic]; and one three cheese & walnuts (empanada) ~ Mozzarrella [sic], blue jack, onions, carmelized [sic] walnuts  

(Today's EweToobular juxtaselection can easily be discerned with the translation of the restaurant's name; see footnote number 1 below.)

I felt like trying something a little different for breakfast (or desayuno) this morning, so I headed over to the Mission and ate at ¡venga! empanadas. As their name implies (and their business slogan is also: "Artisanal Empanadas in the Mission"), this place mainly serves empanadas and Coffee, but they offer more than enough variety for me to make up a decent breakfastary repast. It's a pretty small bakery (empanadería... whatever)/café-ish joint with seating of just ten counter seats, and two tables for two inside; they also have four tables for two outside on the sidewalk. It's mostly a small take-away joint, anyway; I don't think they expect people to hang around there all day drinking Coffee and eating empanadas. 

Random Rant of the Day

While I was sitting there eating my empanadas and there were a few more customers at the counter ordering their breakfasts, some random street dude (hombre, chololo que) stormed up to the counter and demanded the lady behind the counter turn down the house stereo because it was too loud on the street. It really wasn't loud at all inside, but they do have two speakers outside above their awning and it may have been louder outside. "Too loud"? There are no businesses that were even open within two doors either way of this little place on this placido domingo. (It's mostly a warehouse area of town.) Who knew there were Policía de Música en la Misión? Even after the lady turned it down a bit, the crazy dude came back a few minutes later and complained again; at that time, I think she just turned it off entirely.

(Okay, maybe that really wasn't a "rant", so much as a "story", but it does bring up another…)

stupid parklet min-rant of the day

There is another Coffee place on Valencia (between 14th and 15th Streets) that has a three-car space parklet in front of it. I won't even bother naming the place as they don't deserve any free publicity (well, okay, that, and I didn't really bother to note the name of the place). I just know that they are now "on my (ever-growing) list", too. At least one of the parking spaces that has been absconded is being used for a bicycle parking spot. "But, Brian, there really is no need for three extra parking spaces along Valencia Street." I saw two cars illegally parked in the middle of the road (in the "Left or Right" turn lane) when I was walking back to my car. "But, Brian, maybe those idiots… er, people were not buying Coffee at the stupid place that sponsored the stupid parklets." Nope. I saw one of the jerks getting into his car after patronising the damn place. 

(Back to the good stuff.)

There were several more Meat Empanadas or "Veggie" Empanadas from which to choose and they all sounded pretty good, too: mushroom (mushroom mélange with onions and fresh herbs and Mozzarrella [sic, again]); sweet corn (corn and red bell pepper, Mozzarrella [sic, still]); and california veggie (baby spinach, Napa cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, raisins, almonds, garlic ~ it didn't list any sic-ening Mozzarrella as an ingredient in this one) to name just a few. I am sure that I will need to make a return visit for lunch sometime (empanadas are not necessarily just for breakfast any more).

They offer two different breakfast/egg empanadas even: a vegetarian (sorry, not Vegan, though) one made with scrambled eggs, spinach, and cheese (I think it was Mozzarella, or "Mozzarrella") ~ which is the one that I got ~ or a dead, decaying animal-fleshatarian one made with scrambled eggs, chorizo (or bacon or ham), and cheese (again, probably either Mozzarella or "Mozzarrella"). This was probably the best breakfast empanada that I have ever eaten in my life! (Of course, I think it is probably the very first breakfast empanada I have ever had in my life.)

I liked all of the ingredients a bit more in the five pepper manchego cheese empanada. Even with the two different types of chillies (and, for the record, I only counted three different kinds of "peppers" total, not five), it really wasn't that spicy, just tasty.

I was still a little peckish (… esurient… a bit 'ungry-like) after the initial two empanadas, so I ordered one more to curb my Walpoling appetite. The three cheese & walnuts empanada was very good, too. (Not seen in the above photo, but it looked basically the same as the other two.)

The Coffee was also very good this morning. They serve Rogers Family Company Coffee & Tea Market, a local Northern California roastery. I have had this brand before at other cafés and restaurants. I couldn't locate the specific roast/blend that I had this morning on the official web-site, but it was marked as Mission Blend on the bags of Coffee at the counter; it may very well be a custom blend made specifically for ¡venga!.

I didn't notice, nor ask for, any bottles of pre-packaged condimentary supplements, and none were really needed as ¡venga! has two of their own homemade salsas in plastic dispenser bottles. There was a reddish-orange one that was pretty tasty, but more "sweet" than "heat". There was a reddish-brown one that was a bit more picante; I liked this one the best and saw fit to use a lot of it on all three of my empanadas. Neither of the two were overly spicy, but they both had a nice, fresh flavour to them.

"Come on" over for lunch and dinner, too!

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Egg empanada ~ 6.4; five pepper manchego cheese ~ 6.7; three cheese & walnuts ~ 6.6; Mission Blend ~ 7.0; reddish-orange salsa ~ 6.8; reddish-brown salsa ~ 7.0

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

"Venga" translates from Spanish as either: "Come here", "Come on", "Come in", or "Come on in". The counter-server lady really couldn't give me the best translation. It's actually an Argentinean place and she was Mexican. 

The verb "to come" in Spanish is "venir". This comes from the same word root of the Classical Latin verb "venire" (as in: "Veni, vidi, vici.").

2. Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-culinaristic pointer of the day, número dos:

"Empanada" is a Spanish loan word and is the past participle adjective (feminine) of the verb "empanar", meaning "to roll (bread) and fry".

3. Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-culinaristic pointer of the day, número tres:

"Manchego" simply means "from the La Mancha region" in Spanish.

(I have to note here again that the pinche Spell-checkering Nazis at Microsoft did not even recognise this variety of cheese. Really, Billy-boy, you guys need to expand your culinary intake. I am sure that Henry Wensleydale would know exactly what it is and would always have it in stock… as long as the cat hasn't eaten it.)