Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Fat Lady

A breakfastary roadtrip:
(Historic) Jack London Square, Oakland, CA

"It's much better to live rich than to die rich!"

(Of course, if your name happens to be "Richard", I suppose it is all the same.)

Place: The Fat Lady
Location: 201 Washington Street (on the corner of 2nd  Street), (Historic) Jack London Square, Oakland, CA
Hours: open for "Brunch" Saturday and Sunday at 9:00am
Meal: Farro[1] & Beet Hash ~ organic beets, asparagus tips, fire-roasted peppers, leeks, baby kale, & potatoes, topped with poached eggs; and a cuppa (and two refillas) Mr. Espresso® (I forgot to ask for the specific roast/blend, though)

(No, Robert Allen Zimmerman was not born in [Historic] Jack London Square [or in a brothel]. Today just happens to be his 74th birthday. 

The first EweToobular video is one of my favourite songs of his: 

"Crimson flames tied through my ears
Rollin' high and mighty traps
Pounced with fire on flaming roads
Using ideas as my maps…"

"A self-ordained professor's tongue
Too serious to fool
Spouted out that liberty
Is just equality in school
'Equality,' I spoke the word
As if a wedding vow…"

"Ah, but I was so much older then 
I'm younger than that now…" 

You just can't write stuff like that. Well, maybe you can, but I can't. 

And I just liked the ironic juxtaselection of the other two songs of his.

What do you think happens when Opportunity knocks on Heaven's Door and no one is home to answer?!)

For a mini-roadtrip on this Memorial Day 3-Day Weekend, I went "all the way over" to Oaktown and had breakfast ("Brunch", whatever) at The Fat Lady (or The Fat Lady Restaurant, or The Fat Lady Restaurant & Bar, or The Fat Lady Bar & Restaurant; take your pick, they are all listed somewhere either on their menu, web-site, or printed cards). As I had arrived there about twenty minutes before they opened, I went for a walk down by the water (that would be the Oakland/Alameda side of the San Francisco Bay) around (Historic) Jack London Square.

(That would be a statue of [Historic] John Griffith Chaney, not Robert Allen Zimmerman.)

This turned out to be a completely cool spot for breakfast ("Brunch", whatever). As the story goes, the building may (or may not) have been an old early 20th Century bordello and Jack London may (or may not) have actually "slept" there. Thanks(!) for this great suggestion go to an old Air Force buddy, Karl Brandt (son of top NASA scientist John C. Brandt, of course).

In addition to the awesome selection with which I ended up going, there were several other good ideas from which to choose (and if any of these are half as good[2] as today's stellar breakfast ~ "Brunch", whatever ~ they would still be worth a return trip all on their ownsome): Roasted Asparagus Omelet (fresh spinach, applewood smoked bacon, Mozzarella, & roasted asparagus; served with homestyle potatoes or mixed greens, and Ciabatta[3] toast; this would have been my first choice IF the meal that I ordered didn't also have asparagus… and beets… and kale ~ all favourites of mine; I would have ordered this without the smoked porky product, of course); Greek Omelet (Feta cheese, fresh herbs, spinach, & tomatoes; again, served with homestyle potatoes or mixed greens, and Ciabatta toast; I was informed by my knowledgeable, friendly, and very cute waitress/server lady-person that the owners are Greek); Greco/Roman Benedict (herb roasted Roma tomatoes [I highly suspect that is the "Roman" part of the name], fresh basil, Feta [which would probably then make this the "Greco" part of the name], drizzle of EVO [take your pick: either a good quality "Roman" olive oil or "Greco" olive oil] on Ciabatta); or Grand Marnier French Toast (cinnamon brioche bread, fresh berries, pure maple syrup, & powdered sugar).

All "Brunch" meals start out with a complimentary (or complementary) plate of mini-muffins and baked goods stuff. Mine included: a triangle of cornbread, two slices of some kinda fruitcake (or something like that; I liked it, whatever it was), a blueberry mini-muffin, a banana-walnut mini-muffin, a cranberry-orange mini-muffin, and another mini-muffin that I really couldn't figure out what it was (it was all still good, anyway). I made short work of all of them way before my meal came out, and they brought that out pretty quickly still.

They don't state it on the menu, but this hash all sits on a base of farro (hence the first part of the name of the dish). That was a piece of genius in my book (okay, we all know "my book" is just a wee 12-page colouring book, but I do try to stay within the lines). This interesting meal is going down as another "Great New Find for 2015" (I can actually say "New" here and mean it, as my knowledgeable, friendly, and very cute waitress/server lady-person also told me they had just added this specific dish on the menu last month). I especially liked that they didn't go "el cheapo" (which, of course, is Greek for "Hey, Yorgo! Where's all the asparagus at?!") with the asparagus, and it all worked very nicely together as a pile/mound of hash on which the poached eggs to sit. Heck, I even liked this meal so much that I finished all of the side of mixed greens for a change; they were nicely lightly dressed and went well as a nice addition to the rest of the meal.

For condimentary supplements, The Fat Lady had both Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (Original Red Sauce) and El Yucateco® XXXtra Hot Sauce Salsa Kutbil-ik® de Chile Habanero. I used some of my own Palo Alto Firefighters Pepper Sauce (the original strength kind) (Thanks, Amys and Brian!) on top of just one of the poached eggs to flavour just half of the mess/pile.

Even though they call their early morning meal "Brunch" (breakfast, whatever), this was definitely worth the hour (or 32.7 miles) roundtrip this morning, and I won't have any problem doing it again (probably just not within the next several months, though).

(I bet you are all surprised that there was not even one quip about "the Fat Lady singing" in this entire 'blog-entry… well, up until just now.)

(See? This is what happens when you allow children the use of crayons at the dinner table… "Brunch" table, whatever. 

Sorry. Not all of us can be as talented as Berkeley Breathed[4] or Bruce Ozella[5].)

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Farro & Beet Hash ~ 7.5


1. Oh… come… on… now! Billy-boy and his troupe of smarty-pants Brown-shirted spell-checkers at Microsoft do not even recognize this common wheat grain. 

2. I know what you are thinking (and just cut it out right now!), "But, Brian, if today's breakfast ("Brunch", whatever) was a 7.5 on the GBS, wouldn't half of that only be 3.75 on the GBS? 3.5 is not even up to the standards as such fine breakfast fare as one can get at Mickey D's Golden Arches."

Well, no. Generally, any actually palatable meal will start at 5.0 on the GBS (an Eggamuffin sandwich is probably just at 5.0... if I am being quite liberal with the GBS points). So, half of 5.0 to 7.5 would be 6.25 on the GBS. That is still a very decent rating and worthy of a return trip, too. 

(Hey, I didn't make up these complicated rules. Complain to Glen Bacon if you have any complaints.)

3. I won't even justify this lack of recognition (once again) of this well-known Italian bread type by Microsoft's spell-checkering "jeenyuses" with a footnote rant. 

Well, other than this minor one.



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