Park Chow: Brunch

6 06 2014

If I were filling out a review of Park Chow on Opentable, I would check the box for “neighborhood gem”. And then I’d feel like that was super cheesy and uncheck it. Then I’d remember that it’s hecka accurate and check it again.

scramble

veggie burger

Park Chow is really just kind of your basic diner — old fashioned counter seating, a mounted board on the wall with menu items listed in individual little black clip-in lettering, and a menu of burgers, sandwiches, salads, and other American classics. But the difference is that the food is good. Like, better-than-your-basic-diner good.

And it’s just fun in there. It’s casual, unpretentious, and it’s inevitably crowded with hungry, happy patrons. It feels the way a diner should: comfortable and homey without being low-class or dingy. And last time I was there for brunch, I discovered something I never knew: they have a huge upstairs that’s partially enclosed by shade awnings! It was a beautiful sunny Saturday (an rarity in the Inner Sunset) and we were able to enjoy the outside without baking in direct sun. It was great.

scramble

IMAG1279

I wish I had taken more pictures, but, as usual, I was focused on the food. I went for the veggie burger* while my man-friend enjoyed a nice brunch scramble. The portions are pretty dang big, and we were ready for a happy nap afterward. Somehow I have to finagle a Thursday visit to experience the smoked salmon hash special… I can dream, can’t I?

*I ordered the veggie burger both to satisfy my craving for said food, and to further research the best veggie burger in the City. This one was good: nice texture, good taste, and the tzaziki sauce was a real win.

Park Chow on Urbanspoon





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








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