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April 17-23, 2007
April 23, 2007
It has been years since our last visit to Roscoe’s House of Chicken ‘n Waffles:
...but today there was no waffling about our need for chicken.
I got a Scoe’s #1 ($9.65):
Two pieces of fried chicken with a couple of their signature waffles appeared in short order. Foster Farms gave up temporary custody of these pieces of dark meat (you get your choice when ordering.) This odd pairing of breakfast breads and savory p.m. oriented fried food is not for everyone; only those ready to blur traditional meal boundaries need apply.
Chubby got the Scoe’s #2 ($9.75):
...which was the same as my dish except smothered in onion gravy (just in case you needed additional body core insulation along with the two layers of waffles, whipped butter and syrup.)
I think that gravy is unnecessary when dealing with properly fried chicken. It doesn’t need a moistening agent if it’s juicy inside and the liquid coating can only reduce its crispy longevity. More often than not, gravy is a crutch for dry birds and this one didn’t qualify.
A side order of mac and cheese ($4.20):
...was a homey, Cheddary take on this popular comfort chow.
The fan base for this culinary combo has grown to create not only the 5 Roscoe’s in the Los Angeles area, but also an Oakland (non-Roscoe) outpost for Bay Area fans of this fetish food. Their greatest stroke of brilliance is their name. I can’t resist any “house of...” restaurant. Sure, I have seen disappointments in this department. There are the prime rib, pie and Nanking establishments that may not have wowed me, but this naming convention comports an enticing promise of devotion, fanaticism and myopic drive.
Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles
April 22, 2007
We were excited to hear that Thomas Horton is Simmer Restaurant’s new chef. He has been around the block in local kitchens including The Fifth Floor, Mantra and One Market and has spent the last few weeks setting into his new position. We decided that it was time to pop in and check out the changes.
Even though most chefs pass off brunch duty, Mr. Horton oversees all the chow that leaves the kitchen.
I got the Moroccan Crepe ($12.00):
...which came with perfectly cooked eggs on a paper-thin fila dough. There were spring onions and grape tomatoes scattered deliciously around the edges of this flavorful, light meal. I spread the yolks and rolled it up into a delicate and tasty cigar.
Chubby got the Eggs Benedict ($11.00):
...which put the Hollandaise on holiday and had a crumpet base (I guess Thomas’ name isn’t synonymous with English muffins). It was topped with ham hash and salsa verde. The poached quail eggs were a little more cooked than the ideal runny yolked level of doneness, but they were still delicious.
The new brunch menu includes eggs any way with bacon or sausage, a frittata, French toast, a crème fraiche waffle and a salad.
They have French press coffee (no espresso machine) and a wine and beer license which limits the cocktails to sake or sparkling wine based concoctions.
The revised dinner menu looks promising with it’s veal ravioli, duck and dumplings, and fresh fish. The prices aren’t sticker shock material with apps from $6 -$10, dinner entrees from $18- $21 and brunch entrees from $9 - $12.
April 21, 2007
Okay maybe New York has it all over San Francisco as “the city that doesn’t sleep” but we definitely have a few après party options for late night dining.
Yuet Lee is a favorite from back in the day, but tonight we hit Grubstake:
...for our no frills diner chow. It’s a converted rail car:
... from the Key Line that went from Berkeley to the City. The best thing about this eatery is that it’s open until 4 a.m.
Don’t expect fancy chow. It’s what you would find in a normal diner except with the added twist of Portuguese selections. I also have a weak spot for places that serve breakfast all day and all night.
We got a Claim Jumper cheeseburger ($7.75):
...with sautéed mushrooms. It had a soft bun that squooshed immediately, but to be fair, we didn’t expect brilliance, just standard issue diner chow and it qualified.
The tuna melt ($6.50):
... delivered what this retro dish should. Toast, tuna salad and cheese. Homey and simple. Nothing mindblowing.
Our side of onion rings ($4.00) were those trick ones that have the nice crispy armor, but have that ribbon of jiggly onion that pulls out of it’s bready snakeskin in the first bite. To be fair, we still ate them all.
Grubstake is worth keeping in mind when you are hungry and want to sit in a railcar at 3 a.m. The people who work here are friendly and efficient and you won’t have to look too far for a parking space in the wee hours of the morning.
From today’s bunrab email, Aaron writes about our yeast slaughter for yesterday’s pizza:
How about all the bacteria we eat? I think they might win in the head count department. It didn't cross my mind until I saw an acidophilus capsule bottle that had a picture of little acidophilus bodies with cartoon heads. I don't know about that marketing strategy.
You’ve gotta be right about those numbers, but I’m wondering if you are killing them when you drop your acidophilus. I think that a lot of them lead happy lives taking up residence in your host organism.
Sounds like the sea monkey packaging art directors sideline at the acidophilus factory. In any case it would definitely freak out those people who don’t eat “food with a face.”
April 20, 2007
There is something incredibly homey about the smell of yeasty activity. I always feel as though I am re-animating an army of ravenous, gas producing zealots:
... and then vanquishing them for my dinner. I wonder if people for the ethical treatment of animals think about yeast. I’ll bet the number of these critters that are put to the ovens daily outnumber any other creature that we sacrifice for our nourishment, yet nobody makes a billboard saying, “I’d rather go nude than eat leavened goods.” And all those peta supermodels would (since they don’t eat bread anyway. )
It’s a good thing that we can kill yeast without the notice of any born and bread activists. You can’t help but put your politics where your mouth is with the minefield of hydrogenated, high fructose, imported, force fed, penned, antibiotic and hormone filled, genetically modified, irradiated, gene spliced, patented seed grown, illegal immigrant harvested, pesticide sprayed, ecoli laden, dining.
Luckily, our harnessing of these critters for our culinary pleasure doesn’t get a rise out of anyone.
April 19, 2007
... that was shrouded in a molasses glaze with thin slices of pickled fennel and a celeriac puree. The fish was cooked to a nice moist degree of doneness, but I found this combo of flavors a little outside of my realm of appreciation. All of the elements were fresh and high quality, but I was unsuccessful in my effort to reconcile the heavy molasses and delicate fish flavors.
My fish entree was small so I had plenty of room for dessert. I asked for a recco and was told that the persimmon pudding ($9.00):
... was the way to go. As expected, this hard sauce topped, gingery cake was a heavy combo (but that’s probably why they dispense sliver sized portions). I think I probably should have gone with the cheese instead.
The staff was friendly and efficient. They were very helpful with their wine guidance and had a relaxed, yet professional attitude.
The portions aren’t what I would label as standard issue. I was still hungry after dinner and ended up eating about the same amount of chow when I got home. Bin isn’t laden with my kind of food, (but they are terroirists after all.)
April 18, 2007
While checking out the hours on the Rustic Bakery website, I couldn’t help but notice some familiar looking photos (with bunrab logos in the corners) on their café page. We figured that since they have been visiting our cyberhutch, we should re-visit their bakery.
Their offerings have expanded since our last visit. Not only are they producing flat bread, pastry and cookies, they are making chocolate bubblewrap (they call it honeycomb here) and granola.
I got a salami sandwich ($7.50):
...made with Paul Bertoli’s Fra’ Mani salame and mozzarella. Although all the ingredients were high quality, the chub was a wetter style that caused the thin slices to play dough back together into a meat-mass like the newfangled terminator in T2 that went from little drops of liquid metal back into the full salami of terminating robot. It’s a shame, because I like Fra’Mani products, but this particular one may have been a misfire (but I’m not saying hasta la vista yet…)
Chubby got a tasty ham and cheese sandwich ($7.50):
...which didn’t remind us of a cyborg killing machine at all. The thin slices of organic Niman ham and Gruyere on the house made bun was a nice simple, honest lunch.
I really wanted a breakfast panini, but they stopped serving them by the time we came in. I’ll be back…
April 17, 2007
Today was the season opening for the Novato Farmers’ Market. We headed over specifically to check out Joel Baecker’s pizza. His mobile wood burning oven:
...was fired up but they couldn’t attach the chimney due to the gusty winds that almost blew the whole market into San Rafael.
Joel Baecker gets his street and oven cred from his stints at Bay Area restaurants including Chez Panisse and Mazzini. He and his partner, Naomi Crawford, (who has been around the block with her experience at local eateries such as the Slow Club and Woodward’s Garden) were serving up three different pizzas. The marinara and sausage pies sounded good, but we chose the green garlic and onion ($10.00):
...which had Bellwether Farms Carmody, a tasty cowsmilk cheese (that the Cowgirls carry.)
This thin crusted, nicely blistered pizza reflected the season with a fresh lightness and herbaceous chiffonade of sage.
You can check them out at the market on Tuesdays from 4-8 p.m.
We took Missy Elliot’s advice and “got our free cone.” Every year Ben and Jerry’s kicks off ice cream season just like any good dealer in addictive substances should:
They didn’t have the Stephen Colbert tribute flavor, “Americone Dream” so we both got a scoop of . “chocolate therapy”, as we saw the line:
... grow even longer with enthusiastic students. It wasn’t as memorable as yesterday’s Bi-Rite scoop, but hey, we have no rite to complain when they Bi.
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