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December 16-23, 2007
|Sunday, December 23, 2007
... to take the chill off. This tureen comes with a ladle stuck in it to dish out generous hunks of chicken on the bone, noodles, carrots, celery, potatoes, rubbery mushrooms and a matzo ball. It looked so promising but it turned out to be a nursery safe comfort dish with a bland, herb-deficient broth. If you have a nasty, tastebud-deadening illness, this would be an excellent thing to order, but if you seek a savory soup with great depth, this ain’t it. To be fair, I enjoyed the warming properties of this tub o grub, and carving away at the regulation sized matzoball was enjoyable, but it’s not something I would re-order without a cold.
Chubby went for the June & Basil ($11.25):
This pastrami and chopped chicken liver sandwich featured Niman meat that was on the gristly side. The chicken livers weren’t so much chopped as pureed in this texturally unorthodox version of an old deli standby. The ingredient distribution was an uneven wedge of muscle in the center and bread intensive eating at the borders.
Unlike most ‘rami-wiches, this was not the tower o’ meat with a thick mortaring of liver to hold it together, this was a diminutive construction that was okay, but did not sate Chubby’s craving for a more meat-intensive, flavor-packed deli product.
We visit Saul’s:
... once every few years and I think we will keep to our sporadic check ins.
|Saturday, December 22, 2007
... it took no imagination to understand that the chow will be brilliant. Brett put together an amazing spread:
... including a squid, garbanzo and frisee salad, crab and avocado with cilantro:
... crostini with Fatted Calf blood sausage:
winter crudités with cardoons, parsnips, cauliflower, and squash, ripe and juicy pear slices wrapped in prosciutto, cheeses:
... and the richest hot chocolate imaginable.
It was great to catch up with friends that we had not seen in a while including Heidi and Jennifer, who both have cookbooks published by Ten Speed Press…and speaking of which…
Menu for Hope has been extended until through the weekend so there’s still time to make a bid for 3 Ten Speed Cookbooks of the winners choosing (code UW03). There are some great titles to choose from including Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson and Crab by Jennifer Jeffrey and Andrea Froncillo.
The Boccalone box of Tasty Salted Pig Parts (code UW04) contains prescription strength salumi. If you win this prize, you will be in hog heaven.
If tonight’s buffet is any indication of the praiseworthy dinner that awaits the lucky winner, it’s definitely worth coughing up a tenner for a raffle ticket.
|Friday, December 21, 2007
We got away from the mall zombies and found Table Café to be busy, but there was still a table for us to sit and have a pot of hot tea and some lunch.
We split a smoked salmon and scrambled egg dosa ($9.75) and from the specials board we chose the duck, onion and arugula dosa ($11.00):
Both came rolled in their pleasantly sour, crisp edged, lacy, rice flour and dal crepes accompanied by an avocado and an apple salsa. We’d had the toothsome fish scram before, but this duck leg, balsamic onion and rocket tube was so ducky that it quickly migrated south into our bellies.
Table is always populated with locals chatting with the friendly owner. It is one of those places that we always leave recharged and happy.
|Thursday, December 20, 2007
We went by for lunch to see if Spam was being imported into local cereal ports.
We split a Big Kahuna Combo ($10.50):
... which was not the burger and tasty beverage meal that Brad ordered in Pulp Fiction, instead we found it to be a meat trio of beef short rib, BBQ chicken and steak teriyaki. This came on a sectioned paper plate (even though we ate on site.) The steamed rice was the way we like it (sticky and glutinous) alongside a Mauna-tone macaroni salad that was a bland, series of tubes.
The steak was more tender than flavorful, but the chicken and short ribs were savory bites of protein.
Fried Hawaiian noodles with chicken and spam ($6.50):
... was a spiced ramen dish with bits of chicken and slivers of grilled Spam. Cutting up the potted meat product produced some good crispy bits, but the overall effect of this dish was unsurprisingly processed. Shredded cabbage with mayo-based dressing had some crunch, but didn’t erupt with flavor. I wouldn’t reorder this, but to be fair, the description was truth in advertising.
Next time we’ll probably upgrade to the Loco Moco or Kalua pork with sautéed cabbage and rice which sounds more user friendly at this cheap and cheerful plate lunch stop.
The service is friendly and efficient but my green side wishes they didn’t rely on all the disposable plates and cups.
Reminder – Friday is the last day to participate in Menu for Hope. For ten bucks you can buy a chance at a box of Boccalone Tasty Salted Pig Parts (code UW04) or buy a ticket for a chance to win three Ten Speed Press cookbooks of your choice (code UW03) You will be contributing to a good cause and who knows? You may win some cool stuff in the process.
|Wednesday, December 19, 2007
... as they were stacking the outdoor tables and getting ready to pack it up for the evening.
Our calcetines weren’t knocked off on our last visit, so we took it off rotation, but today’s visit was a bump up.
Chubby got a carnitas taco ($4.00):
... which was a generous portion of braised pork with a good kick of tomatillo salsa. This double ply house made tortilla mitt was cilantro and onion accented and definitely a keeper.
My quesadilla mijita ($4.50):
... wasn’t the tortilla flap that I envisioned. It was a sealed, cheesey hot pocket topped with guac and a chile salsa. This queso-football was the chow you want when watching a televised game, but the taco scored the real goooooal.
|Tuesday, December 18, 2007
... so we started with some crawfish beignets ($6.00):
... instead. We had never heard of a mud bug filled Louisiana-style fried bread, but this cheddary, greaseless pillow of bottom feeder got its pinchers from the cayenne in its creature colored coating. There are also apple, chocolate and plain beignet options or you can have a assortment for $8.00, but these crawdads were fine by us.
The specials sounded enticing enough to get us to put aside the regular menu for the chicken fried chicken ($10.75):
... which is technically chicken fried steak fried chicken (but that’s way to confusing to ponder.) This pounded, battered and fried chunk o' chick was doused in white gravy with a border of peppery, green onion spiked, potato hash. The green beans were cooked past showing off any crispness, which may or may not be an homage to this style of chow.
I loved the hangtown fry ($10.00):
... the eggs were cooked just until they melded the chunks of bacon and oysters together in this marriage of fetus, gastropod and swine. The accompanying grits:
... weren’t the albino bowl of corn porridge that we expected. This Chubby color coordinated mush was polenta-ful and filling. An innocent looking biscuit was so moist and flaky with a fat content that any football coach would endorse. This carbo round is the most efficient calorie delivery system that we have ever encountered. I’m not sure why they serve a pat of butter along side, but I’m guessing it’s as a palate cleanser for this enticing energy puck.
We liked their large coffee cups filled with their own blend from Guatemala:
My first cup was lukewarm, but the refills were all fresh and hot.
If you drink too much coffee, you must squeeze (and I mean squeeze) through the kitchen, and make a U-turn into their compact bathroom. Regular customers can use their ease of maneuverability as a gauge to whether they are entitled to order more biscuits. It’s like a non-surgical, environmental stomach band…
Brenda’s is a great little neighborhood breakfast and lunch spot with inexpensive and flavorful chow.
It’s not meant to be fancy, it’s a place to fuel up on comfort food where most items are under ten bucks and speaking of ten bucks – Menu for Hope is wrapping up in a matter of a few days so lay down a tenner for a chance to win some Tasty Salted Pig Parts from the Bay Area’s Boccalone (code UW04) and one for a chance to win your choice of three Ten Speed Press books (code UW03.)
|Monday, December 17, 2007
... along with a cup of hot, bottomless, coffee and catching up with my friends who work there. This place will always be on the Bunrab rotation for it’s honest chow and homey vibe.
|Sunday, December 16, 2007
Thomas was incredibly hospitable and Corey made sure we were well fed. The signature salmon tartare cones were eaten as quickly as they were filled:
... but we always look forward to Thomas’ chopped chicken livers:
Beef tenderloin, duck rilliettes, truffled pork pate:
... amazing cheeses:
... and desserts:
... lobster rolls and truffled popcorn were worth the valuable stomach real estate.
Kids could skip the liver and go straight for the cotton candy, cookie decorating or balloon animals:
The valrohna hot chocolate with house made marshmallows snipped into the rich, thick, warming pool of cocoaliciousness was popular with all age groups.
The wassailers were wonderful as always.
Everyone either had a smile on their face or was too busy chewing.
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