Review: The Square Bar & Kitchen

I would like to hereby welcome one of North Beach’s most recent additions to the restaurant scene: The Square Bar & Kitchen. Just across the street from Washington Square Park (see what they did there?), and taking the place of the former Bottle Cap (and even more former Washington Square Bar & Grill), The Square opened in March of this year serving upscale, creative takes on classic American dishes.

Delicious homemade bread starter at The Square

Delicious homemade bread starter at The Square

IMG_4185small

Artistic butter.

… 

Read More »

Review: Plow — Brunch

Sometimes I feel like there should be a sign as you enter San Francisco that reads: “SAN FRANCISCO: WE LIKE BRUNCH”. That would pretty much cover it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: brunch is like a sport in SF. Good places are swarmed with people every weekend, especially Sunday. There’s probably a dozen places I could name off hand that will have over a hour wait if you saunter in for brunch around 11am on a Sunday sans reservation. Plow is one of these places.

breakfast

As Plow does not take reservations, we had to engage one of the many common SF brunch tactics. But this time, we had a trick up our sleeve: daylight savings time.

… 

Read More »

Review: The Cliff House — Mother’s Day Brunch

Mom likes a nice view and an elegant atmosphere. Cut to: The Cliff House Restaurant perched nicely atop a (wait for it) cliff on the very western reaches of San Francisco, overlooking the grand old Pacific. The beautifully renovated 1909 facility has been around since 1863, at least in name — two former incarnations succumbed to fire over the years (once even after surviving the 1906 earthquake — doh!).

Mom

Happy Mom’s Day Mom!!!

… 

Read More »

Review: Boogaloos

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.

… 

Read More »

Review: Presidio Social Club — Brunch

There aren’t too many restaurants way out in the Presidio, but the Presidio Social Club is one of them. Housed in a remodeled 1903 barracks building on the east side of the Presidio, this fairly large restaurant has an old-timey, classic, yet comfortable feel to it. The sweeping verandas and old fashioned counter seating juxtapose the open space, modern furniture, and abundant natural light.

IMG_3648

 

… 

Read More »

Brenda’s

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

“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

Something Shiny

Or tasty. Hi. I went to Spain. I’ve been stumbling over life trying to catch up with writing and other things I love. But I haven’t had time to sort my pictures, collect my thoughts, etc. So here — something shiny for you to look at in the meantime. I’ll be back soon… :)

French toast from Park Tavern’s brunch, North Beach.