Saturday, July 11, 2015

STRAW ~ Carnival Fare

"Everything being a constant carnival, there is no carnival left." ~ Victor Hugo

Place: STRAW ~ Carnival Fare
Location: 203 Octavia Boulevard (near the corner of Page Street)
Hours: "Brunch" is featured under the big top Saturday & Sunday at 10:00am
Meal: Donut Breakfast Sandwich ~ fried egg between two home-made (well, restaurant-made) glazed donuts with maple-glazed bacon, Cheddar, Jack, and home fries; a glass of (well, a Ball Mason jar of) Strawberry-Basil[1]-Lemonade; and, beforehand, a cuppa Blue Bottle Coffee, Three Africans

(I may have used that Smokey and the Miracles song previously, but you just try and find any decent EweToobular juxtaselections for a "carnival" theme. The second video is just a new one from some 7-foot tall, creepy clown to scare the bejeezus outta David Bowie.)

It had been a while since I last had breakfast (well, "Brunch") at STRAW ~ Carnival Fare (see last 'blog-entry from March 15th, 2014), so I figured it was about time for another return visit. Even though they open at 10:00am (and for "Brunch", and also have a stupid parklet in front ~ thankfully, for which they are not responsible), I really like the dishes that this place offers. I had arrived there early enough to be the third group of people to be seated this morning (okay, so I was a single person, but I was still in my own little group).

Having eaten there several times over the past few years, I have already eaten many of the stupid vegetarian dishes that are available. Even so, there are still a few other good ideas from which to choose:

  • Spinach Benedict ~ two poached eggs with sautéed spinach, Hollandaise, English muffin, home fries (this is generally known as "Eggs Florentine", but what can you expect from a buncha clowns doing the cooking); the best part about this one is that you can make it a Waffle Benedict ~ which is exactly what I will do the next time I eat there;
  • Spinach Omelette ~ caramelized onions, Swiss, home fries, toast (they don't state it anywhere on the menu, but I am pretty sure it includes some spinach, too); or
  • Huevos Rancheros ~ two fried eggs, chili-tomato Ranchero sauce, refried beans, flour tortillas with melted Cheddar & Jack cheeses, cilantro-avocado mousse, home fries; I am not sure if this can be made vegetarian-friendly, though.

I mainly went with this choice because it sounded the most 'orrible (and I knew I was going to love it). Of course, I got the sandwich without any of the dead, decaying porcine product (because that would have made this totally disgusting concoction even that much more totally disgusting). Their home-made (restaurant-made, whatever) glazed doughnuts were very similar to what you might get at Krispy Kreme Doughnuts®, but just better. Paula Dean herself would be very proud of this gastronomic monstrosity. Initially, I tried to pick up the entire mess and eat it like a sandwich, but that proved to be a big, sticky, gooey mess, and I ended up eating it posh Britishlander-style with a knife and fork. 

Their version of homefries are very good, too, with lots of red bell peppers and (white) onions in the mix.

STRAW ~ Carnival Fare only has for condimentary supplementation Tabasco® Brand Pepper Sauce (Original Red Sauce). I used some of my own Palo Alto Firefighters Pepper Sauce (Thanks agains, Amys and Brian!) on the sandwich (no, really) and some Florida Gold Premium Habanero Hot Sauce (Thanks, Kerry!) on the potatoes. I should point out that the Palo Alto Firefighters Pepper Sauce really paired nicely with this esculent abomination. (I know what you are thinking, "Hot sauce and doughnuts, Brian? Are you nuts?!" Sure, because that is the craziest part of the meal.)

I had arrived there about an hour before STRAW opened up and to kill the the time I decided to walk over to Patricia's Green in Hayes Valley and get a cuppa Blue Bottle Coffee at their shop in the alley (well, technically, it's on Linden Street, but it's an "alley" to those that don't really know the name of the street). This was made in the single-cuppa drip method. They state on their web-site that this particular blend/roast is: "A fairly dark roast, this inclusive blend will take milk or cream well. Some say damn well." Of course, I just say "damn the milk" altogether! I have had better cuppas from them in the past; today's seemed a bit weaker than normal. I did make sure to finish drinking it in the stupid parklet that is now ensconced in front of STRAW. This is my mini-protest to the stupid coffeeshop next door that has sponsored it. (In all honesty, this stupid parklet really isn't that much of an urban obstruction, as it is along a side street and not really taking up too much valuable parking spacing; and it was kinda nice to sit there drinking my Coffee waiting the last few minutes before STRAW had opened. But still…)

While this breakfastary meal may not be the greatest show on earth, it was all still very tasty, and I am not clowning around when I say that this ain't your Uncle Ronald's crummy ol' Egg McDoughnut!

Glen Bacon Scale Rating: Donut Breakfast Sandwich ~ 6.5; Strawberry-Basil-Lemonade ~ 6.8; Blue Bottle Coffee, Three Africans ~ 6.8


1. Before any of you snobbery snobs turn up your noses at the inclusion of a normally savoury culinaristic ingredient in a cold, summery beverage, basil happens to be in the Mint family. Of course, rosemary, sage, oregano, thyme, and lavender are all in the Mint family; and I bet they'd all make great additions to lemonade or summertime teas, too.

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