How to Have a Great Chinese New Year Bay Area Brunch:
1) Pray to the Inner Richmond Parking Gods.
2) Go to GOOD LUCK DIM SUM.
3) While waiting in the long line, fill out the pink paper with your dim sum order.
Make sure the order includes plenty of Har Gow (shrimp dumplings), chive and shrimp dumplings, Shumai (pork dumplings), crispy Taro Dumplings, and Lo Mai Gai (sticky rice with meats wrapped in lotus leaves).
Try not to roll your eyes at the older Chinese folks that cut the line and the tourists who talk about their hankering for egg rolls. Continue reading
Happy 2012 Bay Area Brunchers!
Resolution #1: More brunching and more blogging!
The Liberties was the first Bay Area Brunch for 2012. It was convenient, not too crowded, and being a fan of their late night (till 1am) menu thought the brunch would be worth a try.
How do I love thee Rustic Bakery? Let me count the ways:
1) I can get my fix via your kiosk at the Marin County Mart Farmer’s Market, a cute and cozy bakery in Larkspur, and a store in Novato too.
2) Ritual Coffee. ‘Nuff said.
3) Organic Pastries galore! Continue reading
Tapas aren’t the first thing that come to mind when you think “Bay Area Brunch”?
Lalola‘s Huevos Estrellados will change your mind.
Although San Francisco’s Lalola is open only in the evenings rather than typical Bay Area Brunch hours, this tapa is great any time of the day. Jamón serrano lovers will find that the salty and fatty slivers of meat taste even better with some diced potatoes and fried eggs. Lalola’s version is great but I wished the potatoes were a bit crisper. It comes in two sizes Tapa ($12) or the larger Ración ($15) which you “must share.” But it is so good, next time I’ll get the Ración and keep it all to myself!
Bay Area denizens love their food trends like pop up restaurants and food trucks so a Bay Area Brunch truck was bound to happen. Lucky us!
The Brunch Box‘s design is definitely eye-catching and whimsical but this is what my eye ultimately gravitated towards:
On Saturdays, the Brunch Box is conveniently located in front of Ritual Coffee on Valencia in the Mission District. Items are made to order so after placing your brunch order, you can get your coffee fix (iced coffee for me, mocha for J). Then you can grab a seat inside with your compostable brunch boxes.
When I’m on a Mission for Pie, Mission Pie is an apropos place to go.
(Although I imagine Mission Pie’s moniker may have had something to do with the fact that it is located on Mission Street in the Mission District in San Francisco. Just a hunch.)
I regularly pop in this cozy spot to pick up pies for parties (the amazing Banana Cream Pie and elegant Fruit and Frangipane tarts are crowd pleasers) but did you know they have some great brunch items too?
Unsurprisingly, they make a very good quiche that you can purchase by the slice or by the pie ($4/$22). They typically have only one flavor available and on this visit it was Niman Ranch ham, cheddar cheese, and greens. Add some of Mission Pie’s crumbly and buttery crust, some free range eggs, and organic milk and cream and you will be in quiche heaven.
I have been to brunch places.
I have been to pop-up restaurants.
But I hadn’t had a Bay Area Brunch in a pop-up restaurant.
Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen has popped up at Heart Wine Bar in San Francisco’s Mission District on Saturdays from 10am – 2pm. Judging from the steady stream of customers when we arrived at 10:30am until we left, it is a welcome addition to the neighborhood.
The menu states that “Wise Sons bakes, brines, and smokes our own products.” J is partial to bagels and lox so he had the open faced Beauty’s Bagel & House Smoked Steelhead Trout. The sesame bagel was toasted, nice and chewy, with a generous slather of cream cheese. The trout was fantastic especially with the briny capers and sliced cucumbers lightly pickled with dill ($11). This isn’t a brunch item that I typically crave but I’d order this again in a heartbeat.
Boon Fly is a pretty great name don’t you think?
The Boon Fly Café‘s website says that its namesake was a Carneros Pioneer whose actual name was Boon Fly and he “had the vision to plant vineyards and orchards in the Carneros Region in the early 19th century on land that is now partially occupied by Bouchaine Vineyards.” Perhaps it was apropos that we ended up there for a Bay Area Brunch on Father’s Day since Mr. Fly had nine kids (!) of his own.
The restaurant looks like a barn with a cheery red exterior complete with porch swings and servers bustling inside attired in matching red and white checkered shirts. This is one of those brunch places where I’d go with a small party earlier in the morning since they don’t take reservations. Luckily, our hovering at the bar paid off and we only had to wait 10 minutes.
The menu informed us that the Bacon Bloody Mary is famous and contains “Smirnoff, Special Spice Blend, Tomato, Juice, Strip of Bacon, and Celery Salt Rim.” It was delicious, spicy with just the right amount of heat, and the strip of bacon was thick and crisp. It wasn’t very strong and a bit pricey at $11 a pop but an enjoyable splurge.
When a person is willing to spend a Saturday morning fighting traffic, circle for parking, wait 45 minutes in line, to bring you goodies from Tartine Bakery for your birthday breakfast?
THAT is love.
For this Birthday Bay Area Brunch we had our usual: slice of Quiche (for me), Almond Croissant (for him), and Morning Bun (to share). Tartine usually makes two quiches a day, one with meat and one with seasonal veggies. The ham one did not skimp on the meat but I think my favorite one earlier this year when Asparagus was in season. The egg filling is so creamy it is like a heavy egg custard and the crust is made of croissant dough so it is light and flaky.
Move over Krispy Kreme.
I have a new Bay Area Brunch donut love.
I’m actually not hugely into donuts save for the occasional “hot now” Krispy Kreme glazed. But when the lady in line behind you at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery is a local and tells you that she goes there every week for the donuts, I can make an exception.
Bouchon Bakery’s donuts are made only on the weekend and there are two flavors available: a decadent looking chocolate one and a seasonal one. I tried the seasonal one and was so glad I did! It was one of the best donuts I’ve ever had with a light dough and plenty of homemade blueberry jam in the middle. The best part was the thick dollop of frosting on top with sugary crumbles. It was sort of a cross between a donut and cupcake. (Docake? Cupnut? Just eat it!)