Sunday, July 19, 2015

Art’s Cafe

"Hope makes a great breakfast. Eat plenty of it." 
~ Ian Fleming, From Russia With Love 

(Hashbrowns also make a great breakfast. Eat plenty of them, too, James.)

(Don't bother clicking on the above web-site hyperlink right now. Apparently the official web-site is still a "Work in progress" [Aren't we all?]. I think it's been that way since the last time I ate there over seven months ago now. However, who really cares? As long as Art keeps making his tasty, extra-crispy hashbrowns, who needs a web-site?)

Place: Art's Cafe
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: Tofu Omelette ~ with kim chee[1], hot sausage, and Korean hot bean paste (aka 고추장/
Gochujang), served with hashbrowns or rice and toast; a glassa orange juice; and, afterward, a cuppa Mocha Java from Beanery ~ the Little Roaster That Could… (the location on 9th Avenue, not the one on Irving Street, which is just two blocks away)

(No official web-site, either. With four Bay Area locations, you would think they might invest in one, though.)
phonicular contact: (415) 661-1255

Sometimes you just need an early morning, great hashbrowns fix. This is where Art's Cafe (see last 'blog-entry from November 29th, 2014) comes in mighty handy.

I actually got there a little before they had opened this morning and was the first person waiting when they did open up for business. I did let an older Korean couple (I think they are regulars there) enter before me, but I still was able to score the very last seat ~ which I am claiming is "Seat #1" ~ at the end of the diner-counter, so that I would be out of the way. With only fourteen diner-counter stools, this place does fill up very quickly, even at 7:30am on a Sunday morning. (Some people really need to get a life!)

(Yes, this is a shot of the entire restaurant/diner-counter space. That would be Art at the very back of the photo toiling away at his hashbrown trade.)

Other than this morning's extraordinary choice for breakfast, there are still a few other good ideas that I have yet to try: Spinach Scrambled Eggs (with onions, mushrooms, hot sausage, and Jack cheese; and I would assume some spinach, but it is not listed in the ingredients on the menu) or Spinach, Onions, Mushrooms, and Hot Sausage Hashbrown Sandwich (this is a great invention of theirs and always worth checking out; which I would have ordered without the dead, decaying, spicy porky bits). And there is always the completely unique (and also just a bit bizarre) Bi Bim Bop Veggie Omelette (with spinach, zucchini, bean sprout, carrot, and Swiss cheese); I have had that one before and really liked the oddity of it all, Mr. Bowie.

Of course, I had to go with the most oddest sounding of dishes that I have not yet tried there. I am very happy to say that I was not disappointed in the least in its sheer oddacity. The combination of kimchi (or kim chee, or kimchee, or gimchi) and tofu (or to fu, perhaps?) turned out to be a very nice one. Who knew? (Or maybe: "Who gnew?") I especially liked that both the tofu cubes (about half-inch size) and kimchi (or kim chee, or kimchee, or gimchi) were a bit char-grilled first, which added another level of flavour altogether (and all together). They make their own kimchi (or kim chee, or kimchee, or gimchi); I was sure to ask if it was vegetarian-friendly, and was assured by Mrs. Art: "No fish!" Of course, I ordered this omelette without the hot sausage stuff (I completely forgot to ask if the tofu was vegetarian-friendly, though). 

Naturally, for my side choice, I went with their most excellent, crispy, crunchy hashbrowns (but I do like the idea of a side of plain white rice with breakfast, too; they have two large Crock-pots[2] on stand-by for anyone that prefers that simple choice).

For condimentary supplements, Art's Cafe has both Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (Original Red Sauce) and Crystal® Louisiana's Pure Hot Sauce. Both of which are completely superfluous, though, as they have plastic squirt-bottles of Gochujang for use (I am not sure if it's their own homemade ~ well, restaurant-made ~ stuff or not, though), which is much tastier than both of those national brand hot sauces, anyway. I added a good amount of their Gochujang on top of the hashbrowns (about as much as one would do with standard ketchup-stuff). Mrs. Art happened to notice that I went rather heavy-handedly with it and commented: "That's hot sauce, you know?". I assured her that I could handle a little (well, a lot, really) Gochujang; after all, this stuff ain't gonna kill any unsuspecting Korean waiter-dudes (see 'blog-entry from January 7th, 2012 for an explanation to that one).

The cuppa Mocha Java at Beanery ~ the Little Roaster That Could… was a bit disappointing and weak this morning (perhaps the Little Roaster Couldn't… this morning). Generally, I get a decent enough cuppa at the place; so I am putting this one down to just a poorly brewed batch. I do like that they offer three choices of regular Coffee from which to choose (this morning's choices: French Roast, Roaster's Blend, and the uncharacteristically anemic Mocha Java); plus, a decaf (not that I would ever drink any of that kind of [de]Coffee).

the Wild Parrots of San Francisco Interlude

While I was walking along Irving Street waiting for Art's Cafe to open, I saw one pair (or maybe two singles) of the Wild Parrots of San Francisco flying overhead. They were heading north towards Golden Gate Park. I hardly ever see them this far west or south in San Francisco.

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Tofu Omelette ~ 6.5; Beanery Mocha Java ~ 6.1; the Wild Parrots of San Francisco ~ 8.5


1. (sic

This is how they have it spelled on their menu, and as two separate words. They are official Koreans, so who am I to argue (or ar gue)? 

Apparently, the accepted transliterations/spellings are "kimchi", "kimchee", or "gimchi". Take your pick (or pig).

For more information and history, let's let WikipediA do all the work (or worg):

2. Did you know that the term "Crock-pot" is a trademark that is usually used generically for slow cooker appliances? Something like Vaseline® and Kleenex®, etc.®.

I only know this as I wanted to spell this as just one word: "crockpot", but Wild Bill Gates and his Spell-checkering Nazi-boys at Microsoft didn't like that spelling. So I figured I'd just check with the World Wild Webs and see what they had to offer.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Love Brunch-what a great time to relax & enjoy amazing dishes!