So, having gotten very few responses as of this morning, I set out towards North Beach. I figured even if my search was a failure I would have plenty of other options, sit in the park, and grab an egg custard tart at Golden Gate Bakery in Chinatown to console myself on the way home. My mini crawl ended up including:
-Cafe Divine (sort of)
-Washington Square Bar and Grill
-Graffeo Coffee Roasting Co.
-Steps of Rome Cafe
-Golden Gate Bakery
I also took the opportunity to check out Cafe Divine, about which Wendy Lai posted a nice review a few days back. The place was sparsely filled at around 1pm, but seems to have a wallet-friendly menu. A lot of breakfast items are under $5 (eggs and toast, pastry and fruit, and other light fare). Prix fixe dinners are $15 for a soup/salad, pasta, and dessert. Sandwiches and pizzas are also modestly priced. I'll definitely keep it on my radar for the future.
Mama's on Washington Square had its usual line around the corner, so I stayed away. Didn't see anything I wanted to eat on the menu at Moose's, so I stopped by the Washington Square Bar and Grill. Bingo! $9 eggs benedict with a side of home fries. Just what I was looking for.
The eggs were cooked to perfection. The whites were tender, and just a little bit sweet tasting (natural egg sweetness, not a sugary sweetness). The yolks were golden with a hint of orange, and cooked to the perfect level of gooey-ness. The English muffins were standard, and the sauce was...just okay. The flavor was almost perfect, but the texture was not. C'est la vie. The home fries were large chunks of potatoes with a crunchy crust, tossed with fairly thick slices of onions. Delish, but nothing to write home about.
I did appreciate that my mimosa was made with a dru brut, not some weak sugary sparkling wine that's not fit for consumption on its own. There's also a lamb mint tartare that I have to try one day. Has anyone had it before?
After all that food I needed to sit in the park for awhile before finishing my NB mini food tour.
Justa Bite: I had to try a mini eclaire. Bleh. The chocolate tasted no better than melted Hershy's, the pastry was passable, and the custard slightly lumpy. I like the puff pastries in the freezer aisle at COSTCO better than I like these. Thank goodness the eclairs are adorable and only $1. They'll get by on sheer cuteness for awhile.
Graffeo: This place smelled wonderful, as usual. I picked up half a pound of the decaf, which the guy behind the counter assured me was water-processed without the use of traditional decaffeinating chemicals. I'm drinking a mug of it right now. It's wonderful.
XOX Truffles: Needless to say, a delight. I find that my favorite flavors here are the citrus ones--lemon and orange. All chocolate should be this smooth and mellow. I love that there's nothing in it that leaves a layer of film on your tongue and teeth when you're done.
Steps of Rome: I picked up a cappucino tartufo here. It's a ball of cappucino ice cream with a dark mocha goo in the middle. The entire thing is rolled in bits of meringue, and the effect is wonderful. The meringue is crispy but melts in your mouth, and the ice cream with mocha sauce is delicious.
Golden Gate Bakery: Okay, you're wondering how I ate so much sugar in one day. I took shopping breaks that don't belong on this board, okay? What's important is that I FINALLY had an egg tart fresh out of the oven. Up until today, I really didn't see what the big fuss was all about. Fresh out of the oven, however, these egg custards do deserve the credit they get from the entire City of San Francisco. The custard is so jiggly the tart almost jumped out of my hands, and the center was so hot I had to blow on it before proceeding. I think I could eat a big bowl of the custard by itself. Yum.