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.)

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