Sunday, March 29, 2015

Cafe Mason

"The World only looks round when you're standing on the edge." 
~ Lieutenant Columbo

(No official web-site that I could find.)

Place: Cafe[1] Mason
Location: 320 Mason Street (between Geary and O'Farrell Streets); phonicular contact: (415) 544-0320
Hours: open 24 hours a day (and two more hours a day on Saturday and Sunday)
Meal: Pumpkin Crépes[2] ~ homemade pumpkin filling in crêpes, served with seasonal fruit; a side of (excellent) homefries; and a cuppa (and a coupla refillas, too) the house Coffee 

(You were expecting "All Along the Geary Street", perhaps?)

I have walked by Cafe Mason many times before and just never thought of checking them out for breakfast. I was very glad that I finally did so and I am sure that I will be going back again (maybe not as soon as I would like, but I will get back there one of these days; there are just too many places to try for breakfast). They cater mostly to the downtown hotels/Union Square tourista crowd and the (pre-and-after) theatre-going hordes along the Geary Street theatre district. I really can't confirm that they are actually open 24 hours every day (this is where an official web-site would come in handy), but the sign in the front at the doorway stated they open at 6:00am every day, which is good enough for me as I hardly ever go to breakfast before 5:59am, anyway; the sign also stated that they served breakfast until 5:00pm every day. 

It has a large dining space and almost everyone gets a booth (there were about twenty of varying sizes all around the joint; I even got a really cool, small two-seater dealy to myself). There are also a few tables down the middle of the space and about ten seats/stools at the counter area facing the kitchen.

There are four pages of breakfastary items alone from which to choose, with categories and items such as: 

(unfortunately, the incorrectly spelled) "Crépes" (of which they offer about six or seven types; well, seven if you count "Swedish Pancakes" and "Blintzes" as crêpes)

Omelettes and Frittatas (noted that both are spélléd corréctly, or at least to my liking; offering nine omelettes and five frittatas):
Spinach & Feta Cheese Omelette
Vegetable Frittata (zucchini, the vile weed, mushroom, bell pepper, onion, tomato, fresh herbs with Jack and Parmesan cheese melted under an open flame; and I would particularly like to applaud them from disdaining the use of the ubiquitous and odious moniker "Veggie Frittata")

Benedicts (seven kinds in total):
Portabella Benedict (poached eggs and portabella mushrooms topped with Hollandaise sauce); 
Irish Benedict (poached eggs and corn beef hash topped with Hollandaise sauce)

Pancakes or French Toast (five kinds of pancakes and two different French toasts)

As well as several other egg dishes and specials.

This came as two crêpes (or "crépes") that were filled with what I can only assume was fresh-cooked pumpkin (a botanical berry, of course) chunks as it did not taste like anything out of a can; it was all pretty tasty. The side of fruit that came with it was a meal unto itself: half a banana (sliced; also a botanical berry); half an apple (sliced and fanned out in some kinda fancy-shmancy way; and I think it was a McIntosh, Terry); two large strawberries (also sliced and fanned out; not botanical berries, though); several whole blueberries (I would just liked to have seen them try to slice and fan those out; also botanical berries); a few slices of kiwifruit (also a botanical berry); some chunks of pineapple; some chunks of honeydew melon; some chunks of cantaloupe; and a slice of orange. And there was a large plopping of whipped cream on the side, too.

I only have two words to say about their version of homefries: "Awe… some!" These are prepared as thin slices and homefried up with (green) bell peppers and (white and green) onions. Plus, the herbs and spices they toss in the mix really stand out. This gets my vote for Best New Potato Side Dish Find of 2015. Even if I hadn't already really liked my crêpes (or "crépes"), these bad-boys are worth a return visit on their own merits. These may very well be second only to the Excellent! Roasted Home Potatoes that are served at Eats.

I didn't get the brand name of the Coffee that they serve, but the pretty waitress-server lady person told that me it was a Columbian roast/blend. It was pretty decent, too.

For condimentary supplements, Cafe Mason offers both Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (Original Red Sauce) and Cholula® Hot Sauce (Original). I used some of my own The Wiltshire Chilli Farm Hell Mouth (Thanks, Cindy & Greg!) on the homefries. I probably didn't need to season/spice them up any, but I had it with me, so I used some.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Pumpkin "Crépes" ~ 6.5; side of homefries ~ 7.4

1. I am going sans accent aigu here because they do not have an official web-site with which to correct me and I did not see it as such anywhere in their menu, on their signage, or in any of the on-line information I located.

2. Now here, for some reason, they did go avec l'accent aigu. And as much as I commend them for the effort, why not use the correct circumflex diacritic ("^") over the "ê". I will give them half-credit for doing so.

(If they actually have the use of an "é", why not use it in their name? It's all confusing as Héll ~ or Hêll ~ to me.)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Hillside supperclub

"Sleep faster, we need the pillows." 
~ Leo Rosten

Place: Hillside supperclub
Location: 300 Precita Avenue (on the corner of Folsom Street at Precita Park)
Hours: open Sunday and Saturday at 10:00am for "Brunch"
Meal: Brown Rice Bowl ~ peas + carrots, ginger soy, sunny side egg, crunchy seeds, cilantro; a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice; and, before breakfast, a cuppa Philz Coffee, Philharmonic blend/roast (at the original Philz location on the corner of 24th and Folsom Streets)

(Do I have to really explain today's EweToobular juxtaselections?)

I hate having to drive "all the way over" to Precita Park for breakfast (especially when that breakfast has the snooty-assed nomenclature of "Brunch"), but it was another great sunny morning today (sorry, all of you Northeasterners; it looks like it's going to be another 70°-ish day today here) which almost makes up for the trip. I had espied Hillside supperclub last year when I had breakfast (not "Brunch", mind you) at Precita Park Café (see previous 'blog-entry from June 15th, 2014) last year. I made a psychotic epistle to check them out one of these days; and today just happened to be one of these days.

For being one of those "Brunch" kinda places, Hillside supperclub turned out to be actually a pretty nice neighborhoody joint. They offer seating of: ten to twelve tables for two; five to six tables for four; two tables for six; one extra large table for ten-plus in the back in their upper-deck area; and seven bar-counter seats. I even had a great view of Precita Park from my seat, too.

One major drawback of being a "Brunch" place is that their menu had very limited options for stupid vegetarians. The only other item on the menu that I could have ordered was Brioche French Toast (strawberries, pure maple syrup, crème fraîche[1]); I would have ordered this with a side of roasted potatoes + sage. (I think I even saw several sage plants growing wild on one corner of Precita Park just across the street. I wonder if they steal their fresh sage from there.) The pickings for stupid meatetarians weren't really much better, but at least there were a few more interesting choices: Savory Bread Pudding (beet greens, house cured bacon, sunny side egg, white Cheddar); Croque Monsieur (ham, Gruyère, béchamel, chervil, market greens[???]; I suppose it all depends on if you are in the market for some greens); or Crispy Housemade Goetta[2] (market greens and avocado; I had absolutely no idea what the heck "Goetta" was and had to ask the waiter-server dude ~ he told me it is some kinda Cincinnati-style breakfast sausage product; I was picturing this to be some sorta porky-offal dish… or awful porky dish… like scrapple).

At first I thought the name of this dish meant that the rice was going to be served in a brown-coloured bowl, but the bowl ended up being white and the rice was brown.  There is just something unnatural about "brown rice"; it is not as Uncle Ben had ever intended it! I was very happy to see that the "peas +" listed in the ingredients were snow peas; this was unexpected, but very welcomed. As best as I could tell, the "crunchy seeds" were pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds[3], sesame seeds, and probably a few other u/i seeds. I noticed that they offered "sous-vide[4] eggs" as a side choice on their "Brunch" menu; I bet that would have been even better on top of the mess than a plain ol' "sunny side egg". This was all actually rather good, but I just hate eating healthy for breakfast (even when it is called "Brunch"). 

The "fresh squeezed orange juice" was really fresh squeezed as could be seen from it being very pulpy and frothy.

Philz Coffee is located about four to five blocks away from Hillside supperclub. As I had arrive about forty-five minutes before the "Brunch" joint was scheduled to open, I figured a cuppa their Philharmonic would be a great way to kill some time while walking around Precita Park and sitting around dog-watching. (This is a great Dog-park as well as People-park. I saw dogs of all sizes and makes running around and having a blast: little Chihuahuas and Pomeranians, medium-sized Pit-mixes, a large Doberman, Poodle, and Weimaraner, as well as various other sizes and breeds.) The Philharmonic is made with dried powdered cardamom added to the Coffee grounds before doing the one-cuppa pour-over thing, and then finished with a large sprig of fresh mint in it. This is really one of my favourite Coffees in San Francisco. On their menu-sign it is said to have the flavour of cinnamon and fresh plums, but it tasted like just Coffee, cardamom, and mint to me… 

(Just for the heck of it, I asked the waiter-server dude what kind of Coffee that they offer at Hillside supperclub and he told me that they serve Mr. Espresso®.)

Hillside supperclub has a very interesting offering for its condimentary supplementation. They only have a hot sauce called Chicaoji. I had never heard of this brand of hot sauce before. Apparently, it is made with chipotle chillies (that would be the "Chi-” part of the name),  cacao (that would be the "-cao-") and goji[5] berries (and that would be the "-ji" or "-oji" part of the name). It was pretty tasty. They even have bottles of this for sale; if I didn't already have about twenty bottles (or more) of hot sauces currently in my refrigerator, I would probably have bought a bottle of this stuff, too.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Brown Rice Bowl ~ 6.5; Philz Coffee Philharmonic ~ 7.8; Chicaoji ~ 7.0

1. It never ceases to amaze me how Billy-boy and his spell-checkering Nazis at Microsoft have absolutely no problem with the spelling of "crème" (and even automatically add l'accent grave), but they can not discern another accepted Frenchy culinaristic term like "fraîche". 



3. Just as strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are not botanically "berries", and walnuts, peanuts, and almonds are not botanically "nuts", sunflower "seeds" are also a misnomer and are actually the "fruit" of the sunflower plant.

4. Stupid, useless cunning linguist/pseudo-culinaristic pointer of the day:

"Sous-vide" literally means "under vacuum" in French. 

(Of course, der Füher-Billy and his band of brown-shirted spell-checkers do not recognize this modern culinaristic Frenchy term either.)

5. Goji berries (also called wolfberries) are a botanical berry. They are part of the Nightshade family, as are potatoes, eggplant (a botanical berry itself; really), chilli peppers, and tomatoes (both of which also happen to be botanical berries, of course).

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Bayside Cafe

A breakfastary mini-roadtrip[1]:
Sausalito, Marin County, CA

Place: Bayside Cafe and Juice Bar
Location: 1 Gate 6 Road, Sausalito, CA (located by the Kappas Marina, in the Harbor Center)
Hours: open seven days a week at 6:30am (closed every other day of the week)
Meal: the Veggie[2] Storm ~ scrambled eggs, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, spinach, & Jack cheese, all egg dishes served with choice of hashbrowns (which they have as two words, but I prefer the compound noun) or homefries (which they also have as two words, but I like to compound this word, too) and choice of toast; and something from their Juice Bar ~ Dole Express: pineapple juice, fresh-juiced apples, and fresh-juiced ginger

(I'll bet that you didn't know that the word "Sambade" in Spanish means "roadtrip". Would Carlos lie to you?)

I headed way up North for breakfast at
Bayside Cafe and Juice Bar this morning. I really like that they open up bright (well, the Sun was still not quite fully up yet when I pulled into the parking lot, but still) and early every day. This place was the complete opposite of the swanky dive that I ate at yesterday morning. This is more of a family-owned, nebby diner-ish joint. It is located in the Sausalito marina/harbour area just off Highway 101/Highway 1. 

Bayside Cafe is a medium-sized place and has seating of: six chairs (not stools) at the diner-counter; six tables for four; two tables for two; and ten extra-large booths for four (but I am sure these could accommodate a family of six if there were two small children in tow ~ if not, you can always leave the little rugrats outside to play in the low-tide mud ~ see following photo taken just around the back of the restaurant). Plus, there is a nice, large, covered patio area with an additional six tables for four and two tables for two.

The breakfast menu (which is served all day long, too) is really pretty extensive and offered lots of great choices; there were twenty different omelettes alone (well, twenty of the same omelette would not be alone, but together, I guess). Here are just a few of the dishes I was a-figurin'-on: (off their ?weekend/daily? Specials board as you walk in) Swedish Pancakes (with raspberry-blueberry butter and fresh fruit; I was really tempted by that one; maybe next time, if they have it offered again); the Heart Breaker (an omelette made with artichoke hearts, mushrooms, spinach, & cheese; which is not very different from what I ended up getting); the Veggie Volt (scrambled eggs, zucchini, tomatoes, spinach, & Swiss cheese; this was another one that I was really debating on; another time, too); the Spinach Poacher (poached eggs on top of sautéed spinach, topped with pico de gallo and Feta; served with tortillas or toast; as if there weren't enough reasons for a return trip already).

And just so those of you that aren't stupid vegetarians don't feel left out, there were a few really interesting meatetarian choices, too: the Wannabe Reuben (an omelette made with Pastrami, Swiss cheese, tomatoes, & grilled onions; if they had offered that one with sauerkraut in it, I may have even ordered it, less the dead, decaying, brined bovine product, of course); Mexican Mambo (an omelette made with Louisiana sausage, jalapeños, sour cream, salsa, & cheese); or Munga, Munga! (scrambled eggs, Italian sausage, mushrooms, Feta cheese, & salsa; I can't be sure, but I think that "Munga, Munga" translates from Italian as "internationally confusing as Hell" ~ Italian sausage, Greek cheese, and Mexican salsa?).

This was a very good scramble mess. The artichoke hearts were of the brined variety (not the kind that are marinated in an oil and vinegar base; I like those in salads, but they usually tend to make a scramble or an omelette a bit messy). Artichokes and spinach have always been two of my favourite "veggies" (Ugh!) since I was a kid.

I really like that they offer a choice of potato sides, that gets extra points for that right there. I went with the hashbrowns this morning and was glad that I did as they were prepared in a very interesting manner. These also get extra bonus points as they were made with (red and green) bell peppers and (white) onions mixed in with the shredded potatoes; I have never seen that done before and really liked that idea.

For my choice of toast, I went with a country biscuit. This seemed to just be one of those that are ready-made (as opposed to fresh homemade), but it still beats what Mr. Thomas may have to offer with his faux crumpets (nooks and crannies be damned).

The Dole Express was excellent. The juiced apples make a nice frothy head on the drink and the fresh ginger adds a nice bite to it all. I am not really much of a fan of straight pineapple juice, it's usually way too sweet for my taste (however, I really do love fresh pineapple), but the apples and ginger really tempered the overt sweetness. (The only minus that I can think of was that it came with a plain ol' straight/non-bendy straw. Bendy straws are the best!)

For condimentary supplements, Bayside Cafe has on all the tables Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (bottles of both Original Red Sauce and Green Jalapeño Sauce). I just used some of my own The Wiltshire Chilli Farm Winter chilli sauce on the scrambled mess and smoked Chipotle chilli sauce on the potatoes (Thanks again for both, Greg & Cindy!).

This turned out to be one of the safest places for breakfast that I have eaten at in a long while as there were four Sausalito City Police officers and three California Highway Patrolmen all eating there while I was there. I would just liked to have seen Pumpkin and Honey Bunny try any of their foolish shenanigans there this morning (Vincent and Jules wouldn't even have been needed)!

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: the Veggie Storm ~ 6.5; Dole Express ~ 7.2

1. I am calling this a "mini-roadtrip" mainly because it took me less time getting there this morning (about fifteen minutes ~ it is a straight shot for me north across the ol' Golden Gate Bridge) than it normally takes me to drive to most places right here in the city. 

2. Oh, sure! Billy-boy and his spell-checkering Gestapo at Microsoft do not even recognise perfectly valid words like "breakfastary" or "condimentary", but they have no problem with such idiotic, made-up words like "veggies". Buncha brown-shirted Nazi bastages!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Scala’s Bistro

"Show me a woman who's tan all over ~ and I'll show you a woman who's done everything under the Sun." 
~ Anne Onymous

Place: Scala's[1] Bistro[2]
Location: 432 Powell Street (between Post and  Sutter Streets, just a half block up from scenic Union Square)
Hours: open for Breakfast Monday-Friday at 7:00am, Saturday and Sunday at 8:00am; open for "Brunch" Saturday and Sunday at 10:30am
Meal: (the simply enough named) Omelette ~ asparagus, forest mushrooms, and Gruyère, served with pan fried potatoes and toast; and a cuppa (well, actually, a Thermosa®) Mr. Espresso® Italian Roast (naturalmente)

(No real reason for today's EweToobular juxtaselection. I just couldn't think of a good "fishy" or "reptile" song.)

I wanted to check out a new (for me, not to San Francisco) place for breakfast; so I headed on over to Scala's Bistro. This is a large, swanky kinda place with real cloth napkins on the tables (a place that I would not normally let the likes of myself enter if I was running the joint). It is located right on Powell Street (where one of the main Cable Car lines is always clanging by) in the same building as the Sir Francis Drake (and I mainly know this as the restrooms for the restaurant are located inside the hotel; I actually got a bit lost while trying to find them, but at least I didn't end up on the 21st floor and at the Starlight Room).

Even though I had arrived about forty-five minutes before they had even started serving the snooty-ass "Brunch" crowd (and you just know them pretentious bastages always expect "real cloth napkins", too), for some reason they were already serving stuff off their "Brunch" menu. This turned out to be good because their standard breakfast menu really doesn't have that many items from which to choose. Here are some other good choices off the "Brunch" menu: Eggs Al Forno (2 eggs, roasted potatoes, coppa picante, Swiss chard, fresh Mozzarella, toast; of course, I would have ordered this senza la carne maiale morto e in decomposizione; I am not quite sure who this Al Forno guy is, but I have a sneaking suspicion that he is related to that Al Fresco guy); Chilaquiles (Gravemente?!? At an Italian bistro?); Brioche French Toast (pears, huckleberries, Chantilly); or (the appropriately named) Drake's Cakes (buttermilk pancakes, maple syrup, whipped butter, bananas, or seasonal fruit).

This was a very decent Omelette and all of the ingredients really seemed to work well together. I was very pleased to see that the Omelette was made with lots of fresh, tender asparagus and hen-of-the-woods mushrooms[3]; a lot of times when a place has asparagus as an ingredient they really go cheapo with it. I asked the waiter-server guy if they changed the ingredients seasonally, and he confirmed this. So, I can always go back again and get a different Omelette in the future (it would be very difficult to get a different Omelette in the past, of course).

Their version of pan-fried potatoes was made with lots of julienne red bell peppers and bits of scallions. The potatoes were not charred and crispy like I normally like 'em, but they were very nice all the same. The type of potato they used were small white ones and were nice and creamy (I didn't bother bothering the waiter-server guy exactly what kind they were, though).

I went with sourdough for my toast choice.

I really liked that they leave an actual Thermos® of Coffee on the table for you so that you can help yourself to as much Coffee as you would like ~ and I liked about a cuppa and two and a half refillas. This is kinda like they do at IHOP®, but just with a lot better quality blend/roast of Coffee.

I didn't really ask what they offered for condimentary supplementation, but I noticed that they had bottles of Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (Original Red Sauce) on some tables. I just went with some of my own (mainly because I really need to use these up soon) of The Wiltshire Chilli Farm Hell Mouth on the Omelette and some Mango hot chilli sauce on the potatoes (Thanks for both, Cindy & Greg!).

the Wild Parrots of San Francisco Interlude

I didn't see any of the fine-feathered little noise-makers this morning, but while on the bus over to the restaurant, I heard a small pandemonium of them overhead at the O'Farrell-Van Ness bus stop. I would guess there were anywhere from six to ten of them, but they chatter so much, it could easily have been just two or three.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Omelette ~ 6.8

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

"(la) Scala" in Italian can mean either "scale (as in fish or reptiles)", "stairs/stairway/staircase", or "ladder". I don’t know which meaning they meant to mean for the name of the restaurant, though.

Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day, parte b:

The word in Italian for a "balancing/weighing scale" would be "bilancia" or "libra" (like the Zodiac sign).

2. I think they went with "Bistro" in their name to avoid the whole "Caffè"/"Café"/"Caffé" obfuscation.

3. I wasn't sure exactly which "forest mushrooms" they meant (Aren't most mushrooms from the forest?), so I asked the waiter-server guy again.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Gallardo’s ~ Mexican Restaurant

"In the abundance of water 
The fool is thirsty" ~ Bob Marley, Rat Race

Place: Gallardo's ~ Mexican Restaurant
Location: 3248 18th Street (on the corner of Shotwell Street)
Hours: open every day of the week at 7:00am
Meal: Nopales[1] con Huevo ~ scrambled eggs with cactus, onion, tomato, and bell pepper, served with rice, beans (frijoles refritos), and tortillas; and a large glass of jugo Mixto[2] ~ naranja y zanahoria (it's a Mexican thing; a 50/50 blend of fresh squeezed orange and carrot juices… you can't get blood out of a turnip, but you can squeeze juice out of a carrot, apparently)

(Today's EweToobular juxtaselections are in celebration of the upcoming St. Patrick's Day. I bet you weren't aware of the Hispanic-Celtic connection of Los Lonely Boyos. Plus, I really don't ever need an Irish excuse to play a George Ivan song.)

Volví a Gallardo's ~ Mexican Restaurant para el desayuno (see previous 'blog-entry from April 27th, 2014). I had thought about sitting outside this morning, but it was still just a little bit too cool and breezy. So I did the next best thing, I sat inside in front of one of the open windows and enjoyed a nice, fresh, cool breeze at my back, which was tempered by the indoor temperature (the breeze was tempered, not my back). I really like the gold and deep red (maroon-ish) interior of the joint, all with matching tablecloths.

Go 49ers!

There are several other good ideas from which to choose off their menu: Huevos a la Mexicana (scrambled eggs with onion, tomato, and bell pepper; not much different than what I ordered, anyway); Huevos Rancheros (fried eggs on a tortilla topped with salsa ranchera and Monterey Jack cheese; I probably shoulda had this in comparison to yesterday's version of the dish); Torta de Huevo (scrambled eggs with onion, tomato, and bell pepper cooked in a crêpe style); or Papas[3] con Huevo (scrambled eggs with potato, onion, tomato, and bell pepper). They also have several omelette dishes from which to choose, just to name a few: Chorizo Omelette (filled with melted cheese and Mexican sausage); Spanish Omelette (filled with melted cheese, onion, tomato, and bell pepper); Spinach Omelette (filled with melted cheese, onion, tomato, bell pepper, and spinach); Nopales Omelette (filled with melted cheese, onion, tomato, bell pepper, and cactus; basically the same dish that I got this morning, but in omelette form); or (the probably forgettable ~ I kid you not) Banana Omelette (filled with melted cheese and, yes, banana; however, even I am not brave enough to try that one).

I have also seen this dish called "Huevos con Nopales" at other Mexican restaurants (you say papas o patatas… I say nopales…). Nopales are hard to explain if you have never had them, I just tell people they are somewhat the taste and texture of boiled green beans. I liked how all of the vegetables (including the nopales) were nicely charred/grilled and then incorporated into the scramble mess. I probably should have also asked for one or two fresh jalapeños diced up and thrown into the mix, too.

One of the highlights of eating at many family-owned Mexican restaurants is that they always make their own warm, fresh, homemade (restaurant-made, whatever) corn tortillas. Today I had three in my tortilla basket thing (there is probably an actual Mexican word for a tortilla warmer/holder, and one of these days I might remember to ask), but you can always ask for more tortillas if you like.

For condimentary supplements, I just used some of their own homemade (restaurant-made, whatever) salsa roja all over the scramble mess. I ended up using about a half of the small jar on the table. It really wasn't that picante, but it had un sabor muy buen. Bringing any of my own hot sauces to a Mexican restaurant would be like bringing carbones a Castillonuevo

Pay It Forward Weekend… or bugger off! ~ Part V (cont.)

For today's "pay it forward" effort, I am just making a shameless plug for all of the 'blogs that I am currently following. I would like to especially point out the newest one called "I Am a Stray/Thoughts from A Rambling Psyche" by a young college student named Dom. 

(see My Blog List in the right column here >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>)

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Nopales con Huevos ~ 6.5

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

"Nopal" and "nopales" come from the Nahuatl word "nohpalli" for the pads of the Opuntia cactus plant. 

2. Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day, número dos:

"Mixto" in Spanish simply means "mixed" (see, sometimes these aren't always cirugía de cohetes o ciencia del cerebro). I was surprised to hear that it is pronounced (and I asked the Mexican waitress-server lady person twice just to make sure) as "MIX-toe" and not "MIKH-toe" with the "x" pronounced like the "x" in "México".

3. Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day, número tres:

The word for "potato" in Spanish can either be "papa" or "patata".

Saturday, March 14, 2015


Pay It Forward Weekend… or bugger off! ~ Part V[1]

Place: Dunyā[2]
Location: 1609 Polk Street (between Clay and Sacramento Streets)
Hours: open Saturday and Sunday at 10:00am for "Brunch"
Meal: Mediterranean Ranchero ~ pita, Mozzarella, hummus, poached eggs, pommodoro[3] sauce, served with country potatoes; a glass of orange juice; and (before they had opened) a cuppa at Moka Coffee

(Today's EweToobular juxtaselection is just because this song was included in the soundtrack of the 2000 movie "Pay It Forward".)

I had passed by Dunyā before and made a mental note (or, in my case, more of a "psychotic epistle") to check them out for breakfast (which they unfortunately have labelled as "Brunch") one of these days. Today just happened to be "one of these days". They have a pretty cool space inside with wood paneling and old photos of San Francisco. It's not that large of a place, with seating of just five tables for two, one large table for eight to ten people, one table for four, one table for eight, and ten seats/stools at the bar-counter area.

I liked the choices that they had to offer on their "Brunch" menu. There were several other good ideas for stupid vegetarians: (the simply-enough named) Frittata (portabella mushrooms, red onion, tomato, roasted peppers, and Feta); Mediterranean Omelet (spinach, Feta cheese, eggplant, olives, and Tzatziki; this was going to be my "fall-back" choice); Cheese Omelet (Mozzarella, Feta, goat cheese, tomato, and green onion); or Vegetarian Omelet (seasonal veggies and Mozzarella cheese; while I was glad to see that they had the good sense to call the omelette "Vegetarian", I was disappointed that they still felt it necessary to use the aggravating term "veggies"). For those of you that like to partake of the dead, decaying porcine flesh, they also offer Prosciutto Omelet (sun-dried tomato, roasted peppers, Parmesan cheese; and I assume some prosciutto, too) or Polk Omelet (bacon, Mozzarella, avocado, parsley; "You poke-a my omeletta, I break-a you face!").

This turned out to be a great concept ~ kinda like a cross between a standard Huevos Rancheros and an Eggs Benedict dish. This was made with a toasted pita as the bottom layer (in place of the standard corn or flour tortilla), some hummus next (substituted for any frijoles refritos), poached eggs (instead of poached eggs) and (a really good amount of) Mozzarella cheese (as a substitution for Monterey Jack and/or Cheddar) for the next layer, and then all topped with a pretty decent red gravy (instead of a salsa ranchera).

I liked that there was some dried and ground sumac fruit (drupes, whatever) sprinkled on top of the country potatoes (which in this case was probably the country of Türkiye Cumhuriyeti). I was pretty sure that it was sumac, but I confirmed my guess with the waiter-server person guy. It's a Turkish/Arab thing.

Dunyā only has for condimentary supplementation some (homemade?) harissa[4].  I used a good amount of that on top of the salsa di pomodoro and some of my own The Wiltshire Chilli Farm Winter chilli sauce (Thanks, Cindy & Greg!) generously on the potatoes. I also "paid it forward" with this hot sauce and another The Wiltshire Chilli Farm Mango hot chilli sauce (Thanks, Greg & Cindy! ~ they happen to be no relation to the above two people) to some guys at the next table over. They really seemed to enjoy the Winter chilli sauce a lot, too.

It was at Moka Coffee where I did my "pay it forward" deed. I had about a half-hour to kill (strictly in self-defense, mind you) before Dunyā opened so I decided to get a cuppa at a local coffeeshop (which in this case happened to be right next door to the restaurant). Working behind the counter, there was a completely clueless barista (baristetta, whatever) that apparently can't count to five on one hand. To pay for the requisite $2.00 for the Coffee, I handed the lady behind the counter a $20.00 bill. I then explained that I wanted to "pay it forward" $5.00 to the next few people that were to order any Coffee or pastries; she really had no concept of which I was trying to do (and I suspect that her grasp of English was not entirely all there either), and I am sure that just confused her even more. She only had fives in the till (they had been open for over three hours by that time, and that there were no ones was a mystery to me and apparently to her, too) and ended up only giving me $12.00 back in change, of which there were two fivers, four quarters, and one Sacajawea dollar coin (which I later "paid it forward" to some homeless person guy at the bus stop near my apartment; I just hope he realizes that it is actually worth $1.00 and he doesn't mistake it for just another quarter). The Coffee was actually pretty decent, if not overly-pricey at the extended $3.00 cost. Of course, I didn't even notice being short-changed until I went to pay my bill after breakfast, which by that time was too late to go back and complain to the idiot next door (of course, I am also an idiot for not counting my change when receiving it, too). I am pretty sure they are the same owners as Dunyā as I saw the same waiter-server person guy behind the counter there that waited-served me later. So, I made sure to leave one dollar less tip for him than I normally would after the meal…

The next few Coffees are on you (via me), Scott (that is, IF the idiot behind the counter doesn't pocket the $5.00 along with the $1.00 in change that she owed me ~ hey, maybe she will put the $6.00 towards English lessons).

R.I.P., Mr. XV!

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Mediterranean Ranchero ~ 6.9; Moka Coffee (whichever blend/roast it was) ~ 6.5

1. For an explanation on exactly what this all means, see previous 'blog-entries from the first weekends in March 2014, 2013, and 2012, or the initial 'blog-entry from March 5th, 2011.

While technically "Pay It Forward Weekend" should be observed on the first weekend in March (as I have decreed it for the past four years now), I seemed to have missed it last weekend and am "paying it forward" now to this weekend. I blame it all on that bastage Daylight Saving Time.

2. Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day, bir numara:

"Dünya" means "Earth" or "World" in Turkish. I asked the waiter-server person guy what the name of the restaurant meant. I don't know why they have it spelled as "Dunyā", though.

3. Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day, numero due:

They had this spelled as "pommodoro" on their menu; however, the correct spelling in Italian should be "pomodoro". "Pomodoro" simply means "tomato" in Italian; the word root comes from the words for "apple" ("pomo") and "I adore/I love" ("adoro"). 

Extra-added stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day, iki numarali  ~ bölüm B:

The word for "tomato" in Turkish is "domates".*

Of course, prior to 1492, there would not have even been an actual word for "tomato" in Italy or Turkey.

*(I don't know what the words for "idiot barista/baristetta" are in Turkish, though.)

4. Stupid, useless cunning linguist pointer of the day, رقم ثلاثة:

As best as I can figure, "harissa" means "mash/mush" in Arabic. Which would make sense as it is basically a pounded mash of chillies, spices, and herbs.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Caffé DeLucchi

"Rome wasn't burned in a day." 
~ Leo Rosten

(However, I believe it took a lot less time for Pompeii and Herculaneum to burn. 

And, contrary to popular belief, the rumour that Nero was playing the fiddle while Rome burned is historically inaccurate. The fiddle had not been invented at that time and Nero normally sang at public performances, and he was probably in Antium at the time of the fire.)

Place: Caffé DeLucchi
Location: 500 Corso Cristòforo Colombo (on the corner of Stockton Street)
Hours: open Monday through Friday at 10:00am, Saturday and Sunday at 8:00am
Meal: Mushroom Spinach Pizza (Perche non "Funghi Spinaci Pizza"? Immano.) ~ mushrooms medley, spinach, Mozzarella & Fontina[1], and sunny eggs; and for a breakfastary dessert (for which I still have yet to come up with a decent portmanteau word) un doppio Espresso and a soft cannolo[2] at 
Caffe Trieste

(Today happens to be International Women’s Day; hence, the first video. The second video is more of a EweToobular juxtaselection for the dessert stop.)

Sono tornato a Caffé DeLucchi (or Café DeLucchi or Caffè DeLucchi; take your pick; it's all a little linguistically and grammatically confusing; for simplicity reasons, I will just refer to it as Caffé DeLucchi; see last 'blog-entry from November 10th, 2013) per la colazione. To make it all even a little more confusing, their new menu simply has the name "DeLucchi" (senza "Caffè"… o "Caffé"… ou "Café") on it. Maybe they have been reading my ‘blog…

I think it is funny how all of the six sidewalk tables have actual tablecloths and cloth napkins on them, but all of the tables inside are bare (but with really cool copper-covered tops) and have paper napkins only.

There are several other interesting-sounding ideas on the breakfast portion of the menu (and these are definitely worth a return visit… or rèturn visit… or réturn visit even): Elvis in North Beach! (housemade peanut butter, applewood smoked bacon, fig jam, and bananas on a toasted ciabatta[3] roll with house potatoes; I would order this senza la carne maiale morto in decomposizione, of course; they actually added the exclamatory mark to the name of this dish!); Polenta Gorgonzola (warm polenta, melted Gorgonzola, clover honey, thick cut applewood smoked bacon, and poached eggs); Polenta Fungi (polenta, melted Fontina, braised kale, mushroom medley, & poached eggs); or Mediterranean Scramble (two eggs, Feta, Kalamata olives, roasted red bell peppers, red onion, spinach, artichoke, capers, with polenta & toast; which is also known as "La Frittata Vegetariano Lavello della Cucina"). 

This had a strange culinary chiaroscuro of flavours working here and I liked it a lot. It was made with lots of baby spinach and the "medley of mushrooms" seemed to be three different types (definitely not for the faint of fungi). There were two "sunny eggs" on top of the Pizza; normally you would just get a breakfast Pizza with one only. There was no tomato sauce on this Pizza, which I would have preferred, but it was all still very good. 

For condimentary supplements, Caffé DeLucchi offers three types of Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce: original red, Green (jalapeño), and Chipotle. I went with a little of my own The Wiltshire Chilli Farm
smoked Chipotle chilli sauce (Thanks, Cindy & Greg! I am almost halfway through this bottle ~ I am not sure if that is being optimistic or pessimistic, though.) on about half of the Pizza.

Pizza for breakfast is always great! Add a scoop of Chocolate and Coffee Ice Cream (Cioccolato e Caffè Gelato), a side of French fries (patate fritte), and serve this with a Beer (Birra), and you may just have the World's Most Perfect and Complete Breakfast!

I had intentionally skipped any Coffee (o Caffè… ou Café) with the meal because I knew that I wanted to head over to Caffe Trieste (just a few blocks away) afterward for dessert. I should probably note that 
Caffe Trieste also spells the name of their establishment senza accento grave; more than likely so as to not cause any undue confusion with un intelligentone linguistica like myself. I was planning on getting a standard ricotta-filled cannolo, but I saw something in their glass display case that looked interesting and had to ask exactly what it was. I was told it was a "soft cannoli", which I had never heard of before. It was basically a long doughnut-tube filled with a custard filling. This was also available in a Chocolate custard filling, too. It was very good, but I still prefer the standard cannoli better.

One of these days I should probably do a series of 'blog-entries specifically dedicated to the caffès (or "caffés" or cafés) of North Beach.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Mushroom Spinach Pizza ~ 6.5 (probably 0.1 or 0.2 higher if it had any tomato sauce on it); doppio Espresso con cannolo morbido ~ 7.0

1. Oh, come on now! It seems that Billy-boy and his Spell-checkering Nazi porco-cani do not want to acknowledge this easily recognizable Italian cow's milk cheese. 

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

"Cannolo" (singular)/"cannoli"* (plural) means "little tube" in Italian, with the etymology stemming from the Latin "canna" (meaning "cane"** or "reed").

*(Guess which software company's auto-spellchecker does not seem to recognize this extremely ubiquitous Italian/Sicilian dessert?)
**(See? Sometimes this cunning linguistic stuff isn't always cerebrum chirurgia.)

3. (see footnote #1; bastardi stupidi)