Category Archives: Best blog posts

The Best Breakfast and Brunch in San Francisco

pancake_wants_to_die_breakfast_san francisco

I ate breakfast at 78 different places in the Bay Area last year.* Want to know who wore it best? Read on.

Best Fancy-ish Breakfast / Brunch
Serpentine – Dogpatch – $$ 
This place was heaven. It was one of those experiences where you could throw a dart at the menu and everything would come out tasting like God’s granny cooked it. I had the Red Flannel Hash, the Buckwheat Pancake and a biscuit. DON’T JUDGE ME. The Red Flannel Hash had pieces of meat in it that made me close my eyes to savor it. Do yourself a favor and eat here.

Runner-up: Plow – Portrero Hill – $$

Best Diner
Golden Coffee Shop – Tenderloin – $
For less than ten dollars, I got my pancakes, hashbrowns, bacon, toast, eggs, and coffee. And they have sriracha. And when I accidentally went there a second time, I saw the same well dressed elderly couple sitting at the counter and smiling at everyone. I think they’re angels.

Runner-up: Jim’s Restaurant – The Mission – $
Runner, runner-up: Mission’s Kitchen – The Mission – $

Best Faraway Breakfast Experience
Rocky’s Cafe –  Felton – $ (distance from SF: 67.9 miles)

Picture this, you just hiked 5 miles and you sit down in the shade on a white porch and watch the pine trees blowing in the wind and it’s late fall and there’s that warm wood smell that happens when the sun is shining on wood and someone brings you plates of hot pancakes and hashbrowns and you demolish them and then sit back and look  at the trees as they rustle in the sun. Everything’s going to be okay.

Runner-up: Page’s Diner – Santa Rosa – $ (distance from SF:  56.9 miles)

Best Experience Overall
Sear’s Fine Food – Union Square – $$

This was the breakfast that started them all. When I walked in at 6:30 am, it seemed the restaurant existed inside of a juke box and hadn’t changed since the good ‘ol days. I was sitting at the bar, drinking coffee and writing when some lawyer from Arkansas sat down near me and we got to talking.

Before he left, he asked if I wanted anything and I said gosh dernit I do, so I ordered, he paid for my meal and left, and then I ate my breakfast alone while contemplating the generosity of strangers. On my way to work afterwards, I ran through the (still mostly empty) streets of Union Square with the sun shining on the pigeons and the possibilities of the world seemed limitless. I actually did that thing where you jump and click your heels together. I did the jumping Dorothy.

Runner-up: Pork Store Cafe – Haight – $$

BREAKFAST IN SFMost Gluttonous in (first) a good way and (then) a bad way
Brenda’s – Polk Gulch/Tenderloin – $$

Get here early so you can get a seat without waiting 90 minutes. When you do sit,  order a flight of stuffed beignets, grits with shrimp hollandaise, pulled pork Benedict and a biscuit. Split between you and your mom. Ask for a box to take the leftovers home even though you know you’re going to throw them away. Sit back, take out your insulin, give yourself a shot and call someone to roll you up the hill.

Runner-up: Dottie’s True Blue – SoMa – $$

Best Ambiance
Stacks – Hayes Valley – $$

This restaurant is magical because it’s huge and filled with fake flowers. It’s like they took that riddle: “There is a room full of fake flowers and one real one. How do you find the real one?” and actually recreated it. The chocolate chip – macadamia nut – coconut pancakes weren’t bad either.

Runner-up: The Village Grill – West Portal – $

Most Surprisingly Good 

Home Plate Cafe – The Marina – $$ 

I had no expectations going here since I’d been burned by the Marina before, but the food and vibe was awesome. Lombard street is full of drive-in motels and crappy diners so I felt like I was on a road trip simply by being there. But the star of the show was the fresh homemade scone which I slathered with some butter and raspberry jam and counted myself a happy camper.

sexy_breakfast_kangaroo

The Traveler’s Award for the tourist destination that lives up to expectations

Mama’s – North Beach – $$ 

I got there 30 minutes before it opened and still had to wait 30 minutes in line before eating. I quickly discovered that the crowd was mostly from out of town and they’d found Mama’s by way of Fodor’s or similar. Yet the food, service and ambiance were delicious and efficient. I ended up sharing my meal with a man from Israel who loved telling me about his home country: “In Israel, we don’t like fat.” “American coffee is so bad. In Israel, we have real coffee.” “In Israel, we have something called the marathon.” Such wonders.

I also think he was in the process of screwing over his business partner because he kept on talking about business deals and seemed like he had a guilty conscience. We split the check evenly, unfortunately, and he never accepted my LinkedIn request afterwards.

*Full list of breakfast places here: 78 Breakfasts in the Bay Area

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , ,

When the World Ends, There Will Be No More Brunch

end_of_the_world_brunchWhen the world ends, there will be no more brunch. Dirty mimosa glasses will lie shattered on the sidewalks, cloudy with bits of orange pulp and the rubble dust that comes from the inside of walls. Uneaten bits of orange glazed brioche french toast will grow stale underneath piles of dry wall and brick, the hollandaise sauce splattered across the concrete pillars and grown crusty on exposed rebar.

The walk-in freezer full of organic and free-range meats will be cracked open, exposed to radioactive air and the never ending orange glow of fire. The wait list – a plastic dry-erase board with “Kelly – 3; George – 4; Emily – 3, etc. etc.” will be melted to a rock, no names to be crossed off again, no one to be relieved from their waiting ever again, never to sit down and get hot cups of organic locally-roasted coffee while looking over the freshly-printed paper menu, chatting excitedly about who will order what and can we split and swap and shouldn’t we have something sweet and something savory.

All of the coffee cups are broken, the wooden tables burnt up, the lighting fixtures exploded and the windows blown in, the electronics equipment completely melted into a more original, more natural form.

Vapors and ash gust through the empty streets of the city, no thing moving, no dogs barking, bits of charred paper taking wing and landing in charcoal squares that used to be parks, little mounds of dog poop turned into lumps of coal.

The sun rises red and sets red – like the homemade berry syrup the sous chef had drizzled over buckwheat pancakes. And then the endless poison clouds come, no longer rich and white like the home-made whipped cream that came on the belgian waffles but smeary and rust colored – like the milk that’s gone sour and molded in millions of fridges across the entire earth.

Aside from the fires, the only sounds are the settling of buildings as they move inevitably closer to the earth, something snapping and then falling, a creak and then a crash, and then more silence. Fire is the only living thing, except for the swarms of insects that breed in the burnt waste of mankind and thrive off the radioactive decay of the earth, relishing the noxious winds.

They grow strong, scorning the brunch remains of humankind, the arugula, the oats, the goat cheese. They bite into the concrete itself, into the tempered glass and the computer chips, devouring and digesting all physical things humans created, the monuments to themselves and their achievements, their books and park benches and bar stools, until nothing remains.

And then they turn to the earth itself and start digging down, down and down, with insatiable appetite they slurp up the mantle of the earth and bite into its tectonic plates, savoring the magnetic buzz they get as they get closer to the core of the earth. Millions of them, trillions of them all tunneling deeper until they reach the very center and, upon seeing their destination, they lick their lips and dig in until it is all gone.

And the earth, having lost its heart, is conscious that it is very sad about that and wishes it had it back, but now there’s nothing left to do, nothing left to feel, and so it sighs and then falls back into orbit, staring out into the endless universe and wondering what comes next.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Best Thing I Have Ever Written*


open_mouth_breathing

*This is how I felt immediately after writing this blog post. Upon reading it through a couple of times, I’m not so sure this is true. Nevertheless, the title remains.

You can feel it when you meet someone, when they let you in on their jokes or if you find they prefer to be the one making all the jokes or if they want you to entertain them, or if they expect something of you that you’re not going to give them.

Social interaction is a drug. It’s hard. It’s something most people have to do. It’s why humans are animals and animals are some of humans’ favorite things, because somewhere in there we’re laughing because what if we were the ones sniffing each other’s butts and isn’t that pretty much what’s happening at bars on Friday night anyways?

It can be wanting to be loved and cherished by everyone and wanting to get invited to their birthday parties, even the ones where you have to dress up and wear pearls and pretend that you like shaving your armpits because it’s better to have parties to refuse than no parties to go to at all.

It’s pretending to like people that you don’t like and pretending to hate people that you’re in love with and finding those people that you don’t have to pretend for, ever, and those are the best people of all. Because they’ll see you say something incredibly stupid in a crowd of people and know that that one statement isn’t who you are, because none of us are just one thing or just one sentence. And we have the lizard part of our brain and the dog part of our brain and the robot part of our brain and the iPhone and the troll and we’re all living together under one roof and sometimes it gets really crowded in here and a little smelly because – let’s be honest – we’re smelly people and the sheets have that human scent to them, but it’s kind of nice in the way that it’s a smell that reminds you where you are and signals to your body that it’s okay here, you can sleep with your mouth open.

And social interaction is everyone being the person that sleeps with their mouth open but only some people are allowed to know about that part of their lives even though if you took it one level beneath the surface you would see – and you would really see – that everyone has these embarrassing secrets that they only reveal to true friends and that we’re more alike than different even though we don’t know everyone’s names or their whole stories but that’s okay because sometimes words just get in the way of things and besides in 1,000-10,000 years all the words we use will be obsolete anyways and our Facebook pictures will have decomposed into virtual fossils that scientists will have to try to understand because our cultural customs – why are we always grinning at the camera – don’t make any sense anymore.

Photo credit: Subharnab, flickr

Photo credit: Subharnab, flickr

And the only thing that will be left after all is said and done is the feeling in the air and in the soul of every living thing that there were other living things here on this earth that felt things towards one another and created things together and despite their very thick skulls that kept them apart, managed to communicate something of who they were to another and were able to be heard. And it will be nothing more than an electromagnetic exhaust in the breeze, nothing more than a lurching in the belly of some kind of future-human with three heads and a heart bigger than the foot or in the aliens that have colonized us, but it will be there as sure as the sun is going to explode and as sure as the universe will continue expanding until all of us are asleep and no one can watch it anymore like a television left on after everyone’s gone to bed.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Context is everything – This message sent from right behind you.

picture taken in the Pope's living room.

picture taken in the Pope’s living room.

So you get an email from someone and at the bottom it says “Sent from iPhone. Please pardon typos” or something to that effect. That’s interesting.

Once upon a time, we didn’t automatically understand the context of the communications we received. Now we do – to a small extent and under limited circumstances.

But – I was wondering just how deep we can go with this, so I took that kernel of an idea and completely blew it out of proportion and came up with the following list of scenarios that provide the context behind messages you may have received or given in your lifetime.

Are there any contexts that could completely change the meaning of a message? This is not a test, I’m just asking. Think about it a little bit. Okay I’m done talking. My head hurts. Just read the list.

Message sent from the toilet.

Message sent from your bathroom.

Message sent from right behind you.

Message sent from my heart to your head.

Message sent while thinking about a past lover.

Smiley face sent to you while experiencing feelings of despairing rage.

Message sent while in love with you.

Sent while in love with your lover.

Message sent while wondering if you like me.

Message sent. I don’t like cats.

Sent from the bathroom at an Indian food restaurant.

Sent while figuring out how much this is going to cost me in the long run.

Sent from a real computer with a full keyboard. If there are any typo’s, it’s because I’m an idiot.

Sent while eating chef Boyardee from the can. Just to be clear, I’m not eating on the toilet, just sending a message while eating food straight from the can.

Sent while watching the first season of Project Runway alone on a Friday.

Sent instead of emailing my mom back.

Sent in place of meaningful communication with my family.

Message sent. I’m lonely.

Message sent. I’m more successful than you.

Sent from my iPhone. My devices make me feel important. I have more of them than I do friends.

Sent from my Android. You should read more.

Sent from the future. Enjoy the present while you can.

Sent from backstage at that show you’ve been meaning to go to.

Sent from the 38 Geary bus in San Francisco.

Sentence spoken to you while anxiously looking for someone else and not paying attention at all to what you were saying.

Sentence spoken to you while wondering what you think about me.

Sentence spoken to you while wondering how that man could be so good-looking.

Sentence spoken while trying to impress you.

Sentence spoken while being jealous of you.

Sentence spoken. Do you think I’m funny?

Sent from my laptop.  Do you think I’m smart?

Sent from my laptop. Do you think I think about myself too much?

Sent from heaven.

Sent from hell.

Sent from the outer reaches of the universe. Your problems are much smaller than you think they are.

Blog written at the intersection of 2nd and Folsom.

Blog written using a MacBook Pro at 4:18 PM PDT on 9/25/2013.

Blog written while wearing tennis shoes.

Blog written while wondering if this is too meta.

Message sent from Android. Don’t overthink it.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

When My Body Comes to Rest Beneath the Willow Me

Photo credit: Emily Drevetes

Photo credit: Emily Drevets

Let’s start with my sausage fingers and pie-dough hands. It seems like an appropriate place to start. Many things start here – the words I’m writing right now for example, or a properly tied sneaker.

My pinkies can’t even stand out straight. I’ve always thought it was because of the hump of fat my body put on them when my thighs were full, but now I think it’s because one of my sisters chewed off a tendon in the womb.

My fingers are the primary way I experience face grease and t-shirt texture. They’re seldom at rest – sometimes they do the thinking for me. I’ll be in a meeting at work, and before I know it, I’ve completely covered an entire page in flowers that look like they were screamed into being in a mad house. Problem solved, everyone. Let’s get coffee together.

But they can also be nosy little bastards, these fingers. Like, do you really have to pop every pimple on my right cheek, or frantically take off and then replace my ring while having a conversation with someone of high status, or scratch the back of my neck to feel that weird mole, just to make sure it’s still there? And seriously, playing with food is just not okay. So don’t do it, because we’re serious about the food we waste.

These hands don’t seem to understand that they shouldn’t obey every whim that fires through my synapses, like maybe they shouldn’t reach out and snatch the celery off Daryl’s plate at wing night, because he wants that celery. He really does.

When I’m watching closely, my hands do as I say, but if my mind is occupied elsewhere, it’s out to pasture and away they go, poking and prodding, fidgeting and snacking. How much do they know about each other? How much do I really know about them and their concerns? Maybe they wouldn’t hate having a stress ball around or another pair of hands to socialize with. Maybe they want to shake more hands or be part of more hugs or high fives – or maybe they just want to see the usual hands more often.

Maybe they’re tired of saying the same things over and over again, or want to give more instead of taking. Would they steal? Would they permanently lodge themselves into my ears? What would they do, if I let them do anything?

The body is one thing, and it has a life of its own. George Washington taught us that, right before he pulled the very first cherry tree out from behind his tutor’s ear. Without me inhabiting it, maybe my body would spend more time outside by the water, or go hiking in the redwood forests for a couple of months.

And then I could inhabit something else – a willow tree. I would whisper in the wind and tickle the necks of lovers as they made my roots uncomfortable. My body would come sit one day beneath the willow me and it would breathe in its oxygen and we’d see that things aren’t so different, after all.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,
Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: