Brenda’s French Soul Food, San Francisco CA
To continue our exploration of San Francisco leading up to the Chocolate Salon tomorrow, we went to Brenda’s this morning with August’s parents. Zach had done the research to determine that this should be a great breakfast.
Unfortunately, we were greeted by the host/manager who seated another party before us, and then was uncouth enough to tell Zach that he didn’t think anyone would be so “nefarious” as to put themselves ahead of others on the chalkboard where diners do self check-in. We have two issues with this: A) There’s a flaw in the self check-in system with chalk on a chalkboard, in that yes, people are nefarious and they do sneak themselves ahead of others, which was clearly witnessed by Zach through the front window and when he tried to explain to the manager, he didn’t want to hear it; and B) Mr. Manager, you don’t know who any of your patrons are, so you should treat us all respectfully and not chortle over your shoulder as you walk away, “Specials are on the board.” We really don’t like calling people out on bad behavior, but he gave us a very sour taste that luckily our server Mariam helped wash away. She was very understanding and attentive. Brenda, please promote Mariam or give her some sort of well-deserved recognition.
Now, onto the food! The crawfish beignets were spiced with a cayenne-based creole mix, with cheddar and tender crawfish on the inside and scallions for garnish. The outside was crispy while the filling was creamy, gooey and savory.
Of course we had to try what this restaurant thinks of “traditional” beignets – they were definitely that. Without any filling, beignets are more like a doughnut with a slightly crispy exterior, but still with a little bit of pull like bread. They went really well with the chicory Community Coffee.
August’s father ordered this omelette with shrimp, goat cheese, caramelized onions, topped with tomato bacon relish, plus a side of grits and a biscuit. He ate every morsel, so it must have been good.
August’s stepmother leaned toward the sweet side in getting the french toast. Three thick slices of cinnamon-battered brioche were covered with butter pecan sauce. It looked divine.
August ordered the croque monsieur of baked ham and gruyère with béchamel sauce on thick sliced sourdough, and she chose coleslaw as her side. When she gave her order, though, Mariam suggested the croque madame, the only difference being that the madame came with an egg. Thank you Mariam, that was a great recommendation. August felt this was just a bit of powdered sugar short of being a Monte Cristo sandwich, and she loves Monte Cristos, so this was right up her alley. The coleslaw was a nice change from typical breakfast/brunch sides like hashbrowns or sliced tomatoes.
Sadly, we have nothing nice to say about Zach’s food because he had to send it back. The special of pork belly with cheddar grits, a poached egg, and spicy onion relish was not so great because there was physically no meat on the pork belly, only fat with sear marks meant to look like meat. He was turned off when he cut the pork belly and tablespoons of oil gushed out into the grits. Now, if you like your pork belly like that, because some people do, come on down.
Apart from the manager and Zach’s food, we had an okay time. Seriously, though, it was thanks to Mariam.