Category Archives: Brunch

Berkeley Brunch, Again

The Alameda @ The Sunny Side Cafe, Berkeley

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The Alameda features a crispy french toast sandwich with ham, tomatoes, mushrooms and cheese, crowned with eggs in Hollandaise sauce. Verdict in three words: Delicious, heavy, overrated.

Berkeley Brunch

Banana Pancake @ Ann’s Kitchen, Berkeley

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Western Country Omelette @ Ann’s Kitchen, Berkeley

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TGIF

What better way to start a Friday morning than by indulging in a gastronomically delightful brunch at one of San Francisco’s top brunch places? The hour long wait was painful but there was plenty to gain.

French Toast Sampler @ Mama’s on Washington Square, San Francisco
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This dish is so beautifully set up that I am almost tempted to deem it a work of art (not very credible coming from an engineering student who knows close to nought about art). Three different types of bread — banana-nut, cranberry-orange and what I believe is the swedish cinnamon — topped with fresh fruits. My favourite out of three has got to be the one with the cinnamony bread. When it comes to french toast, conventional cinnamon hits my sweet spot.

Vegetarian Benedicts

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Oh, how much I yearned for the dungeness crab benedict or omelette but was fazed by the price tags. I ended up with the Vegetarian Benedicts instead.

Monte Cristo

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Monte Cristo is hands down my favourite dish out of the three I had. Totally heads over heels for this grilled turkey, ham and cheese sandwich! Essentially a savoury french toast because the bread is dipped in egg before it is grilled and is reminiscent of the cheesy french toast sold near my hometown. The Monte Cristo is also served with light raspberry jam on the side that beats my Smucker’s by a mile.

Three dishes for two turned out to be plenty (did I just hear a “You don’t say?” somewhere out there?) so a walk around the neighbourhood seemed necessary.

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Grace Cathedral on the perimeter of Washington Square.

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Coit Tower, a salient structure in San Francisco’s skyline.

Found myself exploring Yerba Buena Gardens after a failed attempt at walk-in bowling and ended up sipping cafe latte at La Boulange for most part of the afternoon.

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Brendas, We Meet Again

Brendas Soul Food @ Civic Center, San Francisco

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Hangtown fry — an omelette with crispy oyster, bacon bits and scallions. Reminiscent of Singapore’s tasty oyster omelette 😀

Brenda’s French Soul Food

With too much time to spare and a desire to pick up from where I left off at Angeline’s Louisiana Kitchen, I made a trip to San Francisco for brunch to delve deeper into the world of Southern cuisine. Brenda’s French Soul Food has been acknowledged as one of the best brunch spots in San Francisco by many fellow Yelpers and SF Weekly (if you consider those credible sources) so I came in with pretty high expectations. My friends and I made our orders based on online recommendations and ended up ordering their refillable watermelon tea, crawfish beignets, grillades & grits, hash on the side and catfish po’ boy.

Sweet Watermelon House Tea: This tea is extremely refreshing, which is what you would expect from a beverage derived from watermelons. I like the watermelon pulp in the tea and the lightness of the drink as a whole — I could still drink a lot of this after I was done with my meal without feeling any more bloated. It is also not too sweet which makes it a great thirst quencher.

Crawfish Beignets: I was excited to try Louisiana’s official state doughnut for the first time in my life. Beignets are usually served sweet as desserts but I decided to go for Brenda’s famous savoury beignets.

Warm cheese, crawfish and scallions oozed out of the heavily peppered beignet. I wish the stuffing to dough ratio was greater though because the filling was the best part of the beignet and the dense dough stuffed me up pretty quickly. That aside, the crawfish beignets are pretty good stuff.

Grillades & Grit: 

“Anything I could do? I could make a tea, or is that not American enough? How about some grits? What are grits anyway?”                                                                  –  Doctor Who to the American President

Exactly my thoughts. Yelpers say them grits are the bomb but this corn slash cheese porridge left me very confused. I think I will stick to rice and oatmeal porridges.

On the bright side, the spicy creole gravy that came with the beef was tasty and I love the soft and crumbly biscuit. Definitely go for the biscuit if given a choice between the biscuit and toast of your choice.

 Hash: Pretty good.

Catfish Po’ Boy: Customers get to choose between cornmeal-fried shrimp, oyster and catfish. At $9.75, this Louisiana sandwich is hardly a poor boy’s meal as its name may imply but it sure is worth every penny. The fried catfish was so delicate and flaky on the inside and the chipotle remoulade complemented the catfish very well and beats traditional tartar sauce any day. This lunch  sandwich is by far my favourite at Brenda’s!

My friend mentioned that the fish fillet sandwich at Bette’s Oceanview Diner in Berkeley is comparable to this po’ boy so it looks like I’ll be going back to Bette’s for their sandwich, and perhaps their souffle pancakes too if I have a sweet tooth that day and feel like splurging.

On my way in and out of the restaurant, I could not help but eye other customers’ meals. The brunch and lunch menu at Brenda’s looks amazing and there are at least six other items that I would try. This place is definitely worth stopping by if you happen to be within the vicinity of Civic Centre, SF, or if you are on a food adventure and are willing to do a little bit of travelling to try out some pretty great Southern food.

Good Morning!

Sun dried tomatoes were superb and complemented the omelette very well. I am never ever having home fries with my eggs at La Note again.

A must-have for the sweet toothed!

IT’S SO FLUFFY!

Bette’s Oceanview Diner was featured on the Food Network for its souffle pancakes. Reviewers on Yelp had strongly divided opinions about Bette’s souffle pancakes. Some believed that they are simply meh given the hype surrounding them while others think they are the bomb. If I had to choose a side, I would be amongst those group of people who perpetuate the hype, and this is based on the banana-rum pancake I had.

This was the first souffle pancake I have ever had and I absolutely love its fluffiness and lightness!  It also had a strong egg taste to it, reminiscent to that of Asian egg tarts. Due to its plainness, the souffle pancake did not stand out on its own but it tasted pretty damn good with maple syrup. I ended up paying about $15 (including tax and tip) for this but I do think it is worth trying if you have never had anything like it  before, and don’t forget the maple syrup.

Celebratory Brunch

Yes, this was how I started the Summer of 2012.