Boogaloos

16 03 2014

Sometimes brunch in SF seems like some sort of Black Friday marathon event. By the size of the lines at some places, you’d think they were giving away gold-encrusted Eggs Benedict for free. The key to these situations? Have a strategy.

IMAG1032

As far as I’ve seen, there are two effective strategies: 1) go hellza early, or 2) come prepared to wait hellza long. Strategy number two can consist of going elsewhere nearby for a coffee or bloody Mary, which generally helps ease the pain. Note: if you have a third strategy, do share.

Boogaloos is a restaurant in the Mission where you will need to enact one of these two strategies. Our approach last month began as the former, but ended as the latter (we dawdled). No bigs.

Their juke-box themed menu is described as “Pan-Caribbean/American Diner” on their website, and has a crazy variety of options to make your decision rather difficult. Eggs. Chorizo. Omelettes. Pancakes. Biscuits and gravy. Quesadillas, fajitas, salads, sandwiches, and sides of pretty much anything on the menu. It’s nuts. It’s hard to even pick a category, but even when you’ve decided “eggs”, you’re still choosing from over a dozen delicious-sounding dishes. It’s a bit overwhelming.

Usually I don’t have quite as many choices as a meat eater, which sometimes makes life easier, but they offer almost everything on the menu with a veggie option. It’s amazing. I had to start simple and try the Boogaloo Classic: “two eggs, homefries, and a bog ol’ biscuit smothered in even more famous veggie herb-cream gravy, green onion” ($9.25). Veggie gravy?!! It was so good. Behold:

boogaloo classic

boogaloo classic

One of my favorite ladies had Soyrizo-n-Eggs: “two eggs scram with ‘Soy-rizo’, served with black beans, salsa, sour cream, green onion, corn tortillas” ($9.25). Soy-rizo is a soy-based version of chorizo, and it was pretty dang good in those eggs.

soyrizo-n-eggs

soyrizo-n-eggs

My other favorite lady had The Basic: two eggs, famous homefries (or fresh fruit) with choice of bread ($7.75). And, she chose the option to “Temple those spuds!” which consists of slathering them in jack cheese, salsa, sour cream, and green onion (+$2.50). It was like nachos camping out on your breakfast.

the basic

the basic with “templed” spuds

Everything was really good and the veggie gravy was my total favorite (I’m so glad I ordered it). Such a rare treat! Also, this happened while we were there… I hope you can see the physical contact between this child’s tongue and the glass door. Ga-ross.

child

child

Regardless, I’d highly recommend going. Just wash your hands after you open the door. ;)

Boogaloos on Urbanspoon





Caffe DeLucchi – Breakfast

16 10 2013

If you happen to be awake and ready to head to a nice breakfast before 9am on a weekend in North Beach, prepare to see a whole lot of “closed” signs, probably a bit of vomit on the sidewalk, and droves of Chinese ladies exercising in the park. Because apparently that’s all that’s happening in the mornings in North Beach — we’re a late night neighborhood.

Artichoke Hash Benedict

Artichoke Hash Benedict

Alas, recently I was awake and hungry at 8.30am on a Sunday, and started roaming the neighborhood for breakfast. The classics aren’t yet open — Don Pisto’s, Park Tavern, Bottle Cap. Mama’s is open and the line is already around the block. I pretty much hate standing in around-the-block lines unless I absolutely have to, so that’s out. Cafe Divine isn’t even open yet. Alas, we found Caffe DeLucchi.

They have a ridiculously extensive breakfast menu for an Italian restaurant. Omelettes, hashes, benedicts, and… breakfast pizzas. Breakfast pizzas are a whole lot like other pizzas, but with a couple eggs-over-easy tossed on top. Brilliant. Also, they have pretty great vegetarian options, which can sometimes be overlooked at breakfast, even in SF.

We ordered an artichoke hash benedict (poached eggs over artichoke hash with sliced tomatoes, hollandaise sauce, polenta (not potatoes) and toast — $10) and a mushroom and spinach pizza (mixed mushrooms, spinach, mozzarella cheese and sunny eggs — $12). Neither was actually spectacular, but hey, we got to eat at one of their outside tables, and they served us before 9am.

Mushroom Spinach Pizza

Mushroom Spinach Pizza

Side note — though our waitress was sweet, she was not terribly attentive. I definitely had to snag my own silverware/napkin burrito, and I never did see that toast that was supposed to come with the benedict. Fortunately, the quantity of food in those two items was so immense, I would have entirely wasted the toast anyway, so I didn’t make a fuss about it. And I did take home some of the pizza and polenta and enjoy it far more than I expected to later that evening.

It’s not gourmet, but it certainly does get the job done.

Caffe Delucchi on Urbanspoon





Brenda’s

5 05 2013

Hello world! I am back. After a brief hiatus to take some dumb engineering test, and then some subsequent rest to do things like see the sunshine, remind friends that I exist, and generally sit doing nothing at all, I am ready to bloggulate again. Let’s kick this biatch off with Brenda’s.

Beignets

Brenda’s Beignets

Brenda’s French Soul Food is in the TL. That’s SF-speak for the Tenderloin. Which is the filth-ridden, junkie-laden, pristinely located neighborhood right in the middle of the city between all the other neighborhoods you like (ex: downtown, Hayes Valley, Nob Hill, etc.). The Tenderloin is like San Francisco’s booby trap for visitors who stumble into the area accidentally, and just a puss-filled blemish on the landscape that natives avoid most of the time.

Sunlit Brenda's

Sunlit Brenda’s

Sometimes something good takes up residence in the TL. Brenda’s is one of these diamonds in the rough, if you will. Last time I took a cab here, my driver was very confused.

Driver: “You want to go where?”

Me: “Polk between Turk and Eddy.”

Driver: “Are you sure?”

Me: “Yes, it’s ok, I’m meeting people there.”

Drivers are overly concerned when I request seemingly perilous destinations, for some reason.

Anyway, Brenda’s is awesome. It’s a decent-sized place and it will have a good SF wait for a table during weekend brunch. They do breakfast, lunch, dinner, and aforementioned weekend brunch. I’ve been for brunch and dinner, and both were very good.

Florentine $10

Florentine $10

Fried Catfish $11

Fried Catfish $11

For brunch, Alicia and I both ordered a Benedict of sorts. They have four choices of Benedicts, all $10 or $11. Comes with nice potatoes or grits.

The “dinner” I had there was just a mash of appetizers/sides shared between me and my two lady friends. The Brie en Croute salad was amazing. Fried shallots, sweet yummy dressing and a ridiculously good flaky bread-covered piece of warm brie. So good.

Brie en Croute Salad $8.50

Brie en Croute Salad $8.50

Other sides we shared were mac ‘n cheese, hush-puppies, and collard greens, and then a dessert of the (nearly mandatory)  Beignets and their special of peanut butter mud pie. The mac and puppies were really good, but the collard greens had an unidentified meat product in them which chased off the two veggies at the table. Plus, didn’t really love the taste, oddly. Usually I love any greens.

Mac & Cheese $5

Mac & Cheese $5

Hushpuppies $4.75

Hush-puppies $4.75

The Beignets are somewhat of a specialty; you get three per order and they’re massive! Choice of plain (no filling), chocolate, or apple. The sampler comes with one of each. Note also that the price of all these goods is relatively cheap, which makes any SF meal exciting. Aside from the location (which actually isn’t too far south of Nob Hill), it’s a great place.

Beignet Floght $6

Beignet Flight $6

Peanut Butter Mud Pie

Peanut Butter Mud Pie

Brenda's French Soul Food on Urbanspoon





Stacks

7 01 2013

“My mom and sister are coming to the city for breakfast, where should we go?”

“Stacks.”

Excellent. One question, one answer. No fuss. No reservation. It was a Monday (New Year’s Eve), so none of the hip brunch-y places in North Beach near my place were going to be open. And, apparently, my knowledge of City breakfast places outside my brunch neighborhood is slim. So, Stacks it was.

Bloody Mary with bacon. Mother was pleased.

Bloody Mary with bacon. Mother was pleased.

Stacks is bigger than your average SF restaurant. Which means the turnover is greater. Which seems to mean the wait is less. Booya. After 15 minutes, free coffee outside the front door, and one oddly-timed power outage (I think it was just a flipped breaker), we were seated in the lushly decorated establishment right in the heart of super cute Hayes Valley. There was even (metered) street parking. Imagine such bliss.

The menu is immense. It’s like a Cheesecake Factory but not shitty. Crepes. Omelettes. Scrambles. Pancakes. Waffles. Fritattas. They even had lunch available as well: sandwiches, salads, burgers, panini, savory* crepes. The selection is intense. And the food does not disappoint. Also, the hash-brown-ish potatoes are amazing.

Behold, food:

Eggs Louis. Like an Eggs Benedict except with crab instead of ham. yummmm.

Eggs Louis. Like an Eggs Benedict except with crab instead of ham. Yummmm.

Chorizo Scramble for Mom. Mom loves scrambles.

Chorizo Scramble for Mom. Mom loves scrambles.

Sister had a Mighty Meat Crepe. Mom voted it the winner of the three of our dishes. I did not try it.

Sister had a Mighty Meat Crepe. Mom voted it the winner of the three of our dishes. I did not try it.

Also, their mimosas look like this, which is adorable:

Mimosa!

Mimosa!

And lastly, all the miscellaneous stuff on our table looked like this, and I liked it:

Stuff on table!

Stuff on table!

*My mom does not understand the definition of the word “savory”, with respect to food. I have described it as “not sweet” or perhaps “salty”, and used examples such as a “ham and cheese crepe”. The internet did not readily help with an all-inclusive definition (via a 30 second Google search). If you have any thoughts, please do comment.

Stacks Restaurant on Urbanspoon





Ashley’s Cafe

2 12 2012

So you’re in the Richmond. And you want breakfast. And you don’t want to wait in line for an hour on Clement. Enter: Ashley’s.

I love this place. It’s a small cafe, order at the counter, (wo)manned by two nice ladies. They have wireless. And coffee. And fresh-squeezed orange juice from one of those fancy machines. And home-made, organic pastries and breakfast snacks. And onigiri. It’s like Japanese/breakfast fusion that was made just for me. Love.

Inside Ashley's Cafe

Inside Ashley’s Cafe

The menu is small but more than adequate. The serve a variety of breakfast items, a bunch of lunch sandwiches, a handful of bagel sandwiches, a couple salads, and two pot pies (curious, have yet to try these), along with coffee, cooler bevs, and even wine and beer. The counter space hosts a neatly arranged variety of fresh baked goods like lemon poppy-seed bread, organic chocolate chip cookies, and scones. It’s both adorable and yummy.

Counter goodies

Counter goodies

Baked goods

Baked goods

And for some reason it’s never packed in here. There’s always a few people at the tables with their laptops, but I’ve never had to wait any amount of time to order, and only a short amount of time for them to whip up my order. I think, with the encouragement from a note on their business cards, many people order ahead and come pick up their breakfast. Genius.

Today I shared an egg and cheese croissant (toasted in the oven, yum) and a avocado, tomato, cream cheese bagel. I also splurged for a tuna onigiri, which was delicious (as expected). Thank you, Ashley’s, I will be back.





Beachside

7 04 2012

Word to the Sunset district! I never go out here. Ever. I don’t know if I’ve ever even been before going to Beachside. The Sunset was meh, but Beachside is a good draw out of the beating heart of the city.

This was a Brunch Club venture of a few weeks ago, and it was pretty amazing. Although, you know how if you see a movie with a person who loves that movie it kinda rubs off on you and you like it more than you might have otherwise? If you followed that drawn-out analogy, I think Beachside was kinda like that. None of us had ever been, but we were all oooh-ing and ahhh-ing the whole time, so I think there was a bit of a blindly praising feedback loop going on. I digress.

So, let’s start with the finale. Here is everything we ordered in overhead glory:

Overhead meal for four. Cheesy grits. Waffles. Eggs. Tater tots. Pie. Happiness.

It was all pretty amazing, even considering aforementioned feedback loop. Since I have a lot of pictures to showcase, I will try to summarize the experience textually:

  • Super busy, order at the counter, breakfast only (except dinner on Fri/Sat, apparently), table vulture-ing is an art form
  • Dessert case. I don’t think I need say more.
  • Gnarly intense selection of coffee bevs.
  • It’s kinda cheap. Like, for San Francisco. A waffle is $3.75. Fried egg sandwich $5.50. So I took it upon myself to order $20 worth of food for just me. Classic.
  • Tater tots!
  • Winner: Grits. So. Damn. Good. And we ate them too fast for me to take a picture, oops.(See Alicia’s spoon position in photo above.)

And, since we went with the one and only M. Quinn Sweeney, he obviously knew the chef (who, apparently, revamped the menu recently — GOOD JOB SIR) who gave us the VIP treatment. Which meant free pie and cookies. You might imagine that this did not displease me.

VIP Chicken and Waffles

Poached florentine. With tots.

Fried egg sandwich with tomato. (Tots on the side, don't even worry.)

Intermission: Why didn’t I take a picture of those grits? They were so good, I want some right now. Continuing on:

Tater tots

The glory!

Coffee time.

Moon pie!

Cooooooookies!

The chocolate cookie hiding under the chocolate chip cookie was amazing. I’m not a chocolate cookie person; I always think I want one and then I realize it’s just not as good a chocolate chip. Not to me, at least. But there was something pointedly yet unidentifiably* special about this particular chocolate cookie. I even wrapped the last piece of it up in a napkin and put it in my pocket as we left. Like a hobo.

OH — and they make their own cotton candy. I hate cotton candy, and this kind was apple flavored which is like the most disgusting possible flavor, but the kids I was with loved it. Loved.

*F you, spell check, unidentifiably isn’t a word? WTF?

Beachside Coffee Bar & Kitchen on Urbanspoon





Cafe Divine

19 03 2012

Welcome to North Beach. We have lots of food to eat here.

If you’re looking for breakfast or brunch (or lunch or dinner), we have Cafe Divine. It’s pretty amazing. Also, their website has lots of over-saturated photos of people grinning hugely. A must-see.

Three egg scramble: Italian sausage, bell peppers, scallions, mozzarella. And the delicious biscuit. (and potatoes)

Let’s talk breakfast/brunch. I love brunch. It’s just such a happy meal*. Cafe Divine is pretty accurately named, as far as I’m concerned. Can I start with homemade chive and cheddar biscuits? I seriously wake up on the weekend and have to bargain myself out of getting one of these every day. Slap some jam on that puppy and your day is pretty seriously guaranteed to be amazing. And you’ll totally be ready for a nap afterward.

Breakfast menu: poached eggs, egg scrambles, Bennies from Heaven (see below), waffles, and other lighter fare (bagels, fruit… blah blah — get the Bennies). Fresh OJ. Coffee with alcohol (that’s the Cafe Vov). This place is money.

It's not the best picture I've ever taken, so calm down. But: two poached eggs, smoked salmon, spinach, all on a fresh cheddar and chive biscuit covered in Hollandaise sauce. You cannot resist the goodness.

If you’re keeping breakfast simple, go with the poached eggs. They poach a good egg. And you get a biscuit. Have I mentioned I like the biscuits?

Poached eggs. Potatoes. Biscuit. Yum.

I’ve been here quite a few times now and really like everything, not just the breakfast. With the exception of the cheese and pickle sandwich (which, honestly, they had to really botch to get me not to like it — I love cheese and pickles), their pizzas, salads, and desserts are fab. TRY THE CHOCOLATE CAKE. Just do it. You will be grateful. Not to me, but to whatever heavenly messenger delivers it to you.

*You’re like, “Ah, it’s Sunday, I slept in and it’s sunny and I’m happy. And gee, I’m kinda hungry. It’s time for brunch.” Also, it’s really just breakfast with alcohol. What’s not to love?





Dell Cafe

10 04 2011
Atmosphere: 2/5   ♦   Service: 2/5   ♦   Food Quality: 3/5   ♦   Value:5/5
Times Visited: Once  ♦   Will I Return?:  Why not
___________

Dell CafeIt’s Saturday. You want breakfast. Unfortunately, you’re in or around Hayward. Where to go? There are a few choices. I’m not a personal fan of the chain restaurants, so rule out your Denny’s and IHOPs right away. The next steps up are your Emil Villa’s, JD’s, Main Street Diners and Doug’s. Unbeknownst to me, Dell Cafe is also around for your breakfast eating pleasure.

Dell Cafe can be found at 2637 Castro Valley Boulevard, just after the mini golf place but before Redwood Road. I don’t actually think I’ve noticed it before. We passed it trying to find it. But, Yelpers like the place and I wanted a waffle. And hence we arrived at Dell.

This place is a diner. Actually, it’s more like a Diner. Old school style, capital “D” Diner. It’s small with a dozen or more patent leather booths, cheap varnished wood-veneered tables and two rows of counter seating that meet at a corner right as you walk in.

Dell Cafe

Inside Dell Cafe.

A man behind the counter announced a minimal greeting upon our arrival and we found a booth of our choosing. He presented menus and brought water. The menu is simple. Eggs. Pancakes. Burgers. Sandwiches. They’re only open for breakfast and lunch, 6am-3pm, 7 days a week.

Menu

Menu at Dell Cafe.

We ordered. An avocado and cheese omelette for the Boyfriend and a blueberry waffle for me. They arrived shortly thereafter. Everything was actually quite good; the food was certainly the highlight of the trip, which I suppose I can’t really complain about.

Omelette

Omelette view.

Hash Browns

Hash brown view.

The omelette had a generous amount of cheese and we suspected that an entire avocado went into its creation. This is a change from the standard few slices typically perched on top of an omelette ordered anywhere else. The hash browns were well done (my favorite) and the Boyfriend was pleasantly surprised.

Blueberry Waffle

Blueberry waffle.

My blueberry waffle hit the spot like cold lemonade on a Summer day; it was really good. And cheap. It wasn’t one of those immense waffles that ruins your day to eat; it was instead reasonably proportioned and slathered in a ton of previously frozen blueberries in goopy, delicious sauce. I didn’t even need the additional maple syrup that I originally thought I might. It was wonderful.

Overall: if you’re ok with a run down type diner, don’t mind the bare minimum in service, and aren’t expecting to reunite with any friends from college during breakfast, head over for a good old fashioned omelette, pancake or sandwich. Cheap, simple, good food.

Dell Cafe on Urbanspoon





Crepes de Art

11 02 2011
Atmosphere: 3/5   ♦   Service: 3/5   ♦   Food Quality: 4/5   ♦   Value: 3/5
Times Visited: A few  ♦   Will I Return?:  Most likely, sir
___________

Crepes de ArtCrepes de Art is a creperie — yes, a creperie — in Hayward. You read correctly, the forces of the world have combined in statistically improbable ways and delivered a slice of French chic right smack in the middle of downtown Hayward. And I accept this benevolent gift with promises to keep crepe-ing it up so long as they stay in business.

So, crepes. Have you met me before? It’s going to be hard for me to muster a complaint about anything crepe-related. Fortunately, I have no complaints about the crepes from Crepes de Art to date, they are quite good. The price is right (two crepes for around $11) and they are full of delicious foodstuffs as ordered.

Crepes de Art

Interior of Crepes de Art.

Crepe

Egg, mushroom, cheese crepe from Crepes de Art.

There is a variety of choices — both sweet and savory — including all the usual suspects: strawberries, bananas, apples, lemon, Nutella* and chocolate for the sweeties, and ham, eggs, cheese, mushrooms, turkey and veggies for the savories. And much more, actually, they get a bit creative with the combos (see menu). Plus you can always do a mix and match situation for all the crepe-control-freaks out there (you know who you are).

Crepe

Strawberry, banana, nutella crepe from Crepes de Art.

Crepe

Oh yeah, pose for the camera, you delicious crepe, you.

The presentation is nice (and well captured in my photos if I do say so, thank you for the nice lighting CdA), and the crepes are well crafted and just plain tasty.

Complaints: The times we’ve been here there were a few hiccups that bugged me a bit.

  • On our first visit they were closed. A sign on the door indicated that their water had been shut off. What was that about?
  • On our second visit the woman who worked there kept having to retrieve something from the refrigerator at the back of the space, which is right next to the tables where we were eating. I felt a bit like I was in her house.
  • The last two times we’ve been there the espresso machine has been broken. Our visits were two weeks apart, can we get a repair guy out here, please?
  • While the service is generally very good and the employees are kind, a couple of our visits found only one staff member present. This meant delays for ordering, busing tables and cooking food as one person had to “man” all the stations at once.

All in all, I do keep going back because I just plain love crepes and theirs are really good. I wish they would get it together a bit on the restaurant peripherals because it makes me wonder if they’re in for the long haul or not, but overall a totally great find in Hayward.

*If you don’t know what Nutella is: A) we should probably not be friends, and B) you should try some as soon as humanly possible (then we can be friends again).





JD’s

28 11 2010
Atmosphere: 2/5   ♦   Service: 3/5   ♦   Food Quality: 3/5   ♦   Value: 3/5
Times Visited:  A Few   ♦   Will I Return?:  Likely
___________

JD'sJD’s can be found at 2837 Castro Valley Boulevard in (yep) Castro Valley, just next to the Chabot Theater. It’s true that we don’t have a large variety of good breakfast places around the mid-east Bay, but JD’s is as close as I’ve come to filling this niche.

Historically, I’ve always liked breakfast. In recent years, however, I find that a full egg, hash brown and toast meal makes me feel a bit queasy. Hence, I don’t patronize the breakfast foods, especially at restaurants, nearly as often as I used to. Regardless, if you’re looking for breakfast out on a lazy Sunday, JD’s isn’t a bad place to go.

There’s also Doug’s, Emil Villa’s and a variety of chain restaurants ranging in quality (Denny’s, Carrows, Mimi’s, Marie Callender’s) in the area, but out of what I’ve had before, I’d probably pick JD’s. They (oddly, but not entirely surprisingly) don’t appear to have a website and hence don’t have a menu online. So we’ll have to go from my memory.

They serve breakfast and lunch every day and are only open from 7am-2pm (I cheated on that one — it’s on Yelp). They have all the standard breakfasts with eggs, a large variety of omelettes, waffles, pancakes, french toast and then dabble in the lunch category with cold and hot sandwiches, soups and salads. If this website is correct, their lunch menu actually extends quite a bit further and includes fancy sandwiches (Reuben, Linguica, Cheese Steak), fresh roast beef and turkey along with burgers (and the breakfast menu showcases the pies), but I’m not sure where this site gets their intel*.

I’ve been to JD’s a handful of times over the years and they seem to be perpetually remodeling, which is odd. The place never really looks finished and they have a weird partially outdoors area that seems like an enclosed patio that I’ve never really liked very much. The inside is small and diner-esque. The waitresses are typically older and the one we had last time wasn’t particularly nice or attentive, though that may have been an isolated incident. I suppose I’m not really talking up the place, am I? Let’s talk food then:

They do a standard egg breakfast well. Granted, it’s not terribly difficult, but they’re on top of their game there. Omelettes are good as well and the selection on the menu is quite large. Feeling non-breakfasty, I ordered a lighter lunch dish of a half tuna sandwich and salad. This was exactly as expected and was neither extremely delicious nor extremely bad for me, so I called it a win. Here, feast on pictures:

breakfast

2 eggs scrambled, bacon well done, potatoes.

english muffin

Dad asked that I make specific mention of the English muffin he received which was appropriately crispy. This is rare at restaurants. I'm sure he will append this with a comment to this post.

omelette

Avocado, tomato and jack cheese omelette, potatoes, pancakes behind. This was all one meal for $8.50; God Bless America.

sandwich and salad

Half tuna sandwich on wheat, green salad with blue cheese, obligatory pickle coins.

My sister had the eggs Benedict which I have no experience with and hence cannot comment further than what she told me. She thought JD’s EB were…odd. Not horrible, just not great. She mentioned that she’s generally not terribly fond of the round Canadian bacon-type ham that comes on EB and that the hollandaise was off. Plus, the portions were huge and it’s not a great taker-homer, so that’s not real fun even if it is a better value. The picture turned out well though, see?

eggs Benedict

JD's eggs Benedict with potatoes.

*Yeah, I totally used the word “intel” instead of information or info. And I’m typing with my sunglasses on. So. Cool.

J D's Restaurant & Pies on Urbanspoon








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 60 other followers