Tag Archives: breakfast

The Wild Plum, Monterey

The Wild Plum In Monterey, California

The Wild Plum In Monterey, California

In Monterey we started to look for somewhere to eat breakfast. Years ago we had breakfast in a restaurant which was good but when we tracked it down we discovered it was now a Denny’s. I know a lot of people like Denny’s but it is not our cup of tea so we consulted Tom’s phone. Believe it not there is a little place almost next door to Denny’s called The Wild Plum which looked inviting. Problem solved.

From the outside, with a big pot of lavender by the door and a couple of tables with umbrellas, it looked very attractive. It is a bakery cafe. Inside it is small with no booths or stools at the counter. The floor is painted concrete with a lot of the paint missing in places. To me that looks much better than a dirty, greasy carpet. We were welcomed with a smile and told we could sit anywhere. It sure smelt good in there – fresh baked bread with a hint of exotic spice.

The menu was appealing too with lots of interesting items. The food is organic as well so that is another plus. Tom chose the Northwest Melt for $10.95. As it was too hot for oatmeal (which they did offer by the way), I went for the Bagel and Smoked Salmon Platter for $9.95. Tom was already enjoying his first cup of coffee which he said was as good as Peet’s.

Just a side note here, Tom is now roasting his own coffee and home. It is a new venture for him which he started a couple of months ago. He is really into it and he gets a lot of fun out of it. Strong coffee was always his preference but now he appreciates the flavor and complexities of the lighter roasts.

Time to contemplate our surroundings. There were four small abstract pictures on one wall which were colorful and a huge mural dated 2001 on another wall. One wall was taken up with a window and on the remaining wall a blackboard displayed some of their breakfast and lunch menu items. Underneath, a cabinet contained some of their tempting bakery goods. Soft music could be heard in the background. All in all it was a very relaxing and pleasant atmosphere.

Then our breakfast arrived and I was blown away. Tom´s plate was a sight to see with the chopped smoked salmon and mushrooms piled on top of a scramble and covered in melted mozzarella cheese with country potatoes and two pieces of fresh baked focaccia bread. Jam and butter in two small ceramic pots were placed beside his plate. Now to my plate, which looked amazing. Just wish we taken a photo of it. The plate was large and oval and so was the bagel. I had never seen a bagel that shape. Also on the plate were a large cube of cream cheese, sliced tomatoes, caramelized onions, loads of fresh basil, blueberries, sliced strawberries and two sorts of melon – all fresh and juicy – and capers on top of a huge amount of the tastiest smoked salmon I have ever eaten. Not only was it a feast to the eyes but boy was it good to eat! Both of us thought we wouldn’t be able to clear our plates but we made a valiant effort and very nearly succeeded.

There was no restroom inside the cafe but I did visit the one in the shopping plaza and it wasn’t very nice.

Apart from that, as you can tell, we both really enjoyed our breakfast so there is no need to tell you that this is a place we will certainly return to again and again.

We definitely give The Wild Plum two thumbs up.

The Wild Plum Café, Bistro & Bakery

731 Munras Avenue Monterey, CA 93940

Flapjacks Country Cafe

Flapjacks Country Cafe in Tres Pinos, California

Flapjacks Country Cafe in Tres Pinos, California

Here we are in Tres Pinos for breakfast. I’m sure most of you have not heard of Tres Pinos. It is on Highway 25 south of Hollister. We have come this way to pick up our wine from Pietra Santa and Flapjacks  has been recommended as somewhere to have breakfast. We are always up to trying out new places for breakfast.

Tres Pinos is a small town out in the country. Flapjacks is right on Highway 25 and is hard to miss. For a start there is a sandwich board outside. On top of the board it says Fresh Coffee and Mexican Hot Chocolate. on one side and on the other Fresh Quesadillas. Also outside there is an old, rusty walnut duster. When I saw it I had no idea what it was but fortunately there was a sign telling me exactly what it was. The sign also mentions that more things like this can be seen at the Historic Park one mile south of Tres Pinos. They also have a patio to the side for outside eating. There is no sidewalk so you step up from the dust to a wooden deck with a hitching post on each side. It feels like you are in the ‘wild west’.

Inside we could sit at any of the small tables. As there were only two, we did not have much choice. The one we picked happened to be next to the window. There were about half a dozen tables already occupied but by the time we left it was very nearly full. The tables and chairs could be described as rustic with a rough, distressed look.

The menu choices were varied, including omelettes, scrambles, south of the border options and, of course, flapjacks. They served oatmeal so I honed right in to that.  It came with brown sugar, raisins, blueberries, bananas and walnuts ($7). Tom chose the stack of three flapjacks (6.95) with a side of  sausage ($5).  The coffee cost $2.

The decor lives up to the ‘country’ in its name. Scattered around are all sorts of animal art – a black and white wooden cow just inside the door; a flat wooden chicken on the wall; a brightly colored hen on a shelf; a china rooster on another shelf; small plastic farm animals on yet another shelf; a straw hat hanging on a hook; a garland of dried flowers, etc. Dotted around were old b&w photos of local scenes and framed prints of fruit.

My oatmeal was came in a large, round, deep bowl on a large oval orange plate. The raisins, blueberries and walnuts were mixd in with the oatmeal. It tasted OK but it was certainly hot. Tom had a large green oval plate with three huge flapjacks and a small blue oval plate with four sausages as a side. Tom barely managed to eat all three of the flapjacks. Neither of us found the food to be that special but it was filling.

I found the restroom to be large and very nice. The walls were adorned with a lot of art.  There was a 1901 rare plant and veretable print of a rose; two b&w modern prints by Rochelle Fischer – one of Sant Benito Fair and the other of blossoms; two colorful posters – one of butterflies of the California coast and one of the wildflowers found in Pinacles – and, to crown it all, a mirror with flowers painted on the wooden frame.

A decent place to stop for breakfast on your way from Hollister to Pinnacles or if you are staying in San Juan Bautista.

Flapjacks Country Cafe
6881 Airline Hwy
Tres Pinos, CA

Crepevine, Palo Alto

Photo of the Crepevine restaurant in Palo Alto

Crepevine in Palo Alto

After our brisk walk in the Coyote Hills, which we’ll tell you about in the next post, it was time to find somewhere to eat. Palo Alto, being just on the other side of the Dumbarton Bridge, seemed the ideal place, so that’s the direction we headed in. On University, we passed a couple of coffee houses but we were looking for food. Opposite the CVS drugstore ,we saw Crepevine. We have been to Crepevine on Irvine St. in San Francisco several times and loved it. As soon as we walked in, we found it to be a twin sister of the one in the city.

The procedure here is to order at the counter, then be led to a table by a server clutching a metal stand with a number on it, and wait to be served. There was a line which gave us time to peruse the menu. Not only were we handed a menu but everything was written up on half a dozen blackboards above the counter. The writing and decoration on the boards were pure art all on their own.

Tom ordered the Provence Scramble ($10.50), which came with potatoes and toast. Although oatmeal appeared on the menu, I went for the Milano Crepe ($9.95), with salad instead of the potatoes or French Fries. To drink, Tom had black coffee ($1.95) and for me a one shot Cafe Latte ($2.25).

Our table was on the side. A long padded bench ran down the wall. As soon as I sat down, I took out my iPad and started writing but, when the food came, I had to stop because the table was so small. In fact, all of the tables were small. It would have been better to have sat in a booth but of course they were being kept for parties of four.

The food looked amazing. My crepe was large, plump, folded into four and with the filling oozing out. There was plenty of the salad but I could have done without the dressing it was smothered in. Next time I will remember to ask for the dressing on the side. Our food was served on large, round plates and the smallness of the table became a problem once again. In the middle of the table sat a caddy holding the condiments, which meant our plates were hanging over the edge of the table. By moving the caddy to the side, I made just enough room for our plates. Whilst I’m moaning I will also mention that the padded bench was very low and the table seemed too high for me. Tom, who was sitting on an ordinary chair, didn’t have the same problem.

Tom’s scramble contained fresh salmon (smoked salmon was an option), spinach, onions and cheese and plenty of it. He did enjoy it. Coffee was pretty good; at least it was better than the usual swill. My crepe was filled to the brim with grilled eggplant, spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese and was delicious. Didn’t think I would be able to eat it all but I very nearly did.  All that was left on my plate was some of the salad and that was only because of the dressing.

The restrooms were at the back. Inside the ladies, it was large and multi functional in that it was suitable for wheelchair users and there were baby changing facilities. There was no art as such but there were a dozen toilet rolls artistically arranged on a glass shelf and a can of air freshener lying at an angle on the floor. No complaints about anything though as the water was hot and everything looked clean.

Would Tom and I go there again? The answer is yes. It was a very enjoyable experience (apart from the minor moans mentioned).

Crepevine
367 University ave
Palo Alto, CA. 94301

Gallardo’s Mexican Restaurant, Folsom St, San Francisco

Gallardo's Mexican Restaurant

Gallardo’s Mexican Restaurant in the Mission

Here we are in the Mission district in San Francisco and hungry for breakfast. As the Mission has a lot of Mexican restaurants, Tom had a hankering for Mexican food.

From the outside, Gallardo’s does not look that exciting and I was reluctant to give it a try but Tom said the reviews were good so we ventured inside. Granted it was 7.30 on a Sunday morning but there was only one other customer inside. I wasn’t sure there would be anything I would like to eat – remember my preference is for oatmeal – so I asked if I could look at the menu first (there was not one posted outside). The one and only server was very friendly and was happy for me to look at the menu. There were obviously a lot of Mexican dishes, like scrambled eggs and cacti, but, lo and behold, they had oatmeal. That was good enough for me, so we decided to stay and try it out.

The server said we could sit anywhere we liked. It is large restaurant and the tables are large too. We chose a table in the L-shape section. On top of each table is a thick sheet of glass. The chairs at our table were wooden but most of the chairs were metal with padded seats which would have been more comfortable I’m sure.

After a great deal of deliberation Tom chose the Pozole. He could chose between a large or a small bowl; he chose the large ($8) plus a serving of tortillas. My choice, of course, was oatmeal ($3.50).  I could have had bananas to go with it but declined. To drink Tom had coffee ($1.50) and I had fresh orange juice ($3.50).

As it was a Mexican restaurant, you would expect the decor to be Spanish with brightly colored artifacts displayed. Here it is not like that. Instead there are large black and white photographs from Mexican movies of the 40′s and 50′s. Of course we didn’t recognize any of the actors.

We were amazed when the food arrived. Both the Pozole and the oatmeal came in huge round bowls. Tom’s dish came with several side plates – one containing shredded cabbage, chopped radishes and sour cream; another with chopped onions, chopped parsley and quarters of limes; a small bowl of chopped sage and last, but not least, three tortillas. The Pozole consisted of a tomato based broth with big chunks of pork (some still on the bone) and hominy. My oatmeal already had the milk added and it came with toast. The orange juice came in a large glass. I knew it was really fresh because I had just seen our server juicing the oranges.

We got stuck in. Both dishes were hot, filling and delicious but neither of us could finish our meal as there was just too much. We knew lunch could be skipped as we had  had enough food to last us until dinner time. My oatmeal had a flavor to it but I wasn’t quite sure what it was. When the server cleared our dishes I asked her what it was and her answer put me off a bit as she said it came from a packet and the flavor was cinnamon. I’m very much against processed food and certainly would not have had it if I’d known it was instant.

Before we left, I had to visit the restroom of course. At least there were two restrooms here – one for men and one for women. Inside it was your standard multi purpose restroom which was suitable for wheelchairs as well. It was clean and functional with the added touches of a large artificial tree in a pot with very dusty leaves and a carved wooden and painted brightly colored flower.

With our check came two candies – a Tootsie Roll and a mini Crunch bar. We certainly couldn’t eat them there and then but I put them in my pack just in case we did get peckish later.

Our final verdict is that we would only go back if Tom wanted Pozole again as he was very impressed. If I had not known that the oatmeal was instant I would be raving about it too. All in all though I am very glad that we did decide to stay and eat there because on the whole we liked it.

Gallardo’s Mexican Restaurant
1807 Folsom St
(between 15th St & 14th St)
San Francisco, CA 94103

Walnut Avenue Cafe, Santa Cruz

The Walnut Avenue Cafe in Santa Cruz, California

The Walnut Avenue Cafe in Santa Cruz, California

The Walnut Avenue Cafe is in the heart of downtown Santa Cruz. On Sundays it opens at 8 am and we were outside with half a dozen other hungry customers just before 8 waiting for it to open. Outside there are a few tables with bright red and white plastic tablecloths under red umbrellas. The doors opened just after 8 and we all trooped inside. Normally you have to wait to be seated but we could all sit where we wanted to. We chose a booth and almost immediately a menu was brought to us.

Tom was served his coffee almost before we opened our menus. He took a sip and immedieately proclaimed that it was good. When I opened the menu, the first thing that lept out at me was the fact that not only did they offer oatmeal but it was homemade steel-cut oatmeal – definitely my sort of place. It came with bananas, walnuts and raisins for $5.95. Tom couldn’t decide between French toast or a Benedict. In the end he plumped for the Blackened Ahi Benedict for $10.95. We gave our order to the server, Michelle, who was excellent because she was friendly, helpful and efficient.

The Walnut Avenue Cafe is well laid out with both booths and tables. The interior is bright and cheerful which is helped by the original paintings hanging on the walls. They were all very colorful. The one right next to my shoulder was done by Cale Broz and depicted a table, chairs, vase and pears; the main colors being red, orange  and yellow. All the paintings nearby were painted by different people.

We didn’t have long to wait for our food and were impressed with the presentation. Really enjoyed my oatmeal. The only criticism I would make is that it could have been a bit hotter. Tom’s Blakened Ahi Benedict was really good. When I asked him at the end what he thought he just smacked and lips and smiled. I might just add that he had three cups of coffee because it was so good.

The final test is always the restroom. There were two unisex restrooms with a small lobby outside. The actual restroom was perfectly adequate but the one I used didn’t have anything of particular interest to mention. There was, though, a large colorful poster in the lobby of two Mexican ladies washing their hair in a bucket of water in front of huge sunflowers. It was called Des Mujeres and the artist was Simon Silva.

Our final verdict – The Walnut Avenue Cafe is another gem in Santa Cruz and it will be added to our places to visit again there, along with Cafe Brasil and Zachary’s. We can certainly recommend it.

The Walnut Avenue Cafe
106 Walnut Avenue
Santa Cruz, Ca 95060

Wagon Wheel Coffee Shop, Carmel Valley

The Wagon Wheel Coffee Shop in Carmel Valley

The Wagon Wheel Coffee Shop in Carmel Valley

We were heading out for a day trip to Big Sur and decided to stop for breakfast before we crossed the Carmel River Bridge. The Wagon Wheel Coffee Shop is roughly three and a half miles from Highway 1 so a wee bit out of the way but we thought we would give it a try. It is situated in a small shopping center, which is similar to the Barnyard Shopping Viallage on the corner of  Highway 1 and Carmel Valley Road, but on a much smaller scale. Just look out for the green awning with a wagon wheel on it.

The Wagon Wheel is a rustic little place with plenty of parking outside. It was not very busy at all, in fact there were just two customers sitting at the counter. It opens at 6.30 in the morning and we arrived just after 7. We chose a table by the window and we were warmed by the early morning sun.  It had been foggy in Monterey but here it was bright and clear. When the sun rose a bit higher it hit Tom right in the eye but immediately the server came over and dropped the blind. Our server was bright and cheerful and she soon took our order and gave Tom his coffee. Tom ordered one of the specials – Polish sausage and eggs for $9.50. As oatmeal was on offer, that is what I chose but instead of the regular oatmeal I went for the slightly dearer option – slow toasted, thick cut oatmeal. I also had a choice of a small or large portion s as I was hungry, I went for the larger size ($7.25). It included toast, so I chose the whole wheat.

It’s not called the Wagon Wheel for nothing because everything screams ‘cowboy’ at you as soon as you enter. The walls are covered in photographs of cowboys and horses and all sorts of tack hang from the rafters. Of course there are horseshoes on the walls. Even the mugs are decorated with cowboy hats, spurs etc.

My oatmeal came in a large, round, deep bowl on an oval plate, which had the same decoration round the edge as the mugs. The toast was on plate with the bowl. The sugar came in a pottery bowl but the milk jug was extraordinary. It was made out of white china and in the shape of a cow. It wasn’t immediately clear as to where the milk came out. At first Tom thought it was the rear end but I noticed the tail was curled, so obviously the milk came out of the mouth. The oatmeal was very tasty and hot – just how I like it. Tom enjoyed his spicy Polish sausage but wasn’t too impressed with the coffee as he likes it strong and bold.

The restroom  is outside, up a couple of steps. The key hangs just to the left of the door as you go out. The light didn’t work, which didn’t bother me as it was wasn’t too dark inside but might be a problem when the sun isn’t shining. There were two stalls inside, which I found unusual. The same cowboy theme from the cafe is extended to the restroom. On the wall were two wanted posters, one for Butch Cassidy and the other for the Sundance Kid. By the sink was an old sign showing charges to use soap, towel, water, etc. The total cost for using everything came to a few cents. A saucy photo of a lady getting out of a hip bath hung near the door and last, but not least, a sign advising you to squat when wearing spurs. The restroom facilities were clean and acceptable.

Overall we would recommend the Wagon Wheel Coffee Shop as a very pleasant little place to stop for breakfast if you are in the area.

The Wagon Wheel Coffee Shop
7156 Carmel Valley Rd
Carmel, CA 93923

Judy’s Cafe, Chestnut St, San Francisco

Judy's Cafe in San Francisco's Marina District

Judy’s Cafe in San Francisco’s Marina District

We were on our way to the Marina in San Francisco to watch the last day of racing in the first round of the America’s Cup World Series but needed breakfast beforehand. We found a nice little place on Chestnut Street in the Marina district called Judy’s Cafe. The cafe is one of several in an old art deco building and the sign on the canopy over the door looked as though it had been there for a long time. Outside there were lots of tables set out but when we arrived no one was sitting there.

Inside it looked tiny with just eight tables; seven tables for two and just one for four people. There were only a couple of tables occupied. We were shown to a table at the back and picked up the menu to check it out. Almost immediately a server came up and asked what we wanted to drink and reeled off a list of different drinks – fresh squeezed orange, grapefruit or carrot juice, tea, coffee, Bloody Mary or Mimosa. Tom ordered coffee and I chose the fresh squeezed orange juice. I just must mention that all the servers looked extremely smart with their white shirts and long green aprons and the two who came to our table were friendly and informative.

I took a quick look at the menu to see what was on offer but could not see oatmeal listed. The drinks were served and the server then told us about the specials, which all sounded good, and we both chose one of the specials.  For Tom it was the capers, smoked salmon and Hollandaise sauce omelette and for me the crabmeat, spinach and Hollandaise sauce omelette. Tom also ordered a blueberry muffin and I chose the pumpkin bread.

Time to check out the interior before our food came. Classical music was playing in the background. The walls were covered with celebrity photos, some of which were signed. We sat right under a photo with two shots of Robin Williams – one as  himself and the other as Mrs Doubtfire. Next to it was a picture of Dame Edna. Nearby I spotted a photo of Tony Bennett and one of Lily Tomlin plus some of people I have never heard of, like Jackie Mason and Bobby Slayton. Thank goodness Tom knew who they were!

The food when it arrived looked amazing. Both omlettes had a little bit of the inside on top so you could tell which was which. Both the muffin and pumpkin bread were warm. It looked like the omlette was placed on top of the filling because there was no bottom to it. There was a lot of filling though and it was very rich. I did find bits of shell in with the crabmeat but I guess it proved it was fresh. Tom remarked that his omlette was a bit salty. Although the presentation was good, neither of us were particularly impressed with the food.

I paid my visit to the restroom, which was upstairs, before we got the bill. As I walked up the stairs I couldn’t help noticing how dirty the carpet was. It was supposed to be brown but the middle of each step was black where so many people had trodden on it. There was more seating upstairs and here there were some bigger tables. Once again the carpet was supposed to be brown but the pathway to the restroom was a ribbon of black.

The restroom itselt was not very big and it struck me as being old fashioned. There was an unusual green plant on top of the cistern. The only decoration in the room was a large poster advertising the Ketia Gallery in New York which was dated 1982.

I met Tom outside where he was taking a photo and he told me how much the bill came to – over $40! His omlette was $14 and mine was $18. We didn’t think to ask the price when the server told us about the specials. Then came the real kicker – they only take cash. Fortunately Tom had the cash but before we went any further we had to find an ATM.

Our verdict – way too expensive and the food wasn’t that good to warrant it. Doubt we will be visiting Judy’s Cafe again.

Judy’s Cafe
2268 Chestnut St.
San Francisco, CA 94123

Plow, Potrero Hill, San Francisco

Plow in San Francisco

Plow in San Francisco

It didn’t take us very long to drive from Dogpatch to Plow on 18th and Texas. Even though Plow had  been open for less than half an hour, already there were people waiting outside. On the door is a notice saying that due to their modest size customers were asked to wait outside after giving their names. We left our name and a cheery server told us that we would have to wait 30-40 minutes. That was fine by us because we had already looked at the menu and were intrigued and excited by the offering.

Click on the photos for larger versions.

The amazing Noah Riley

The amazing Noah Riley

Outside there were benches to sit on and they were very unusual. They were were just thick planks of polished wood, set into the wall and, because 18th Street is steep, the last bench looks much higher than the first, whereas they are all the same distance above the sidewalk. There were also places to sit around the trees at the edge of the road. Already there, were the couple with their baby we had met outside Just for You, over in Dogpatch, and we chatted while we waited. Their names were Christie and Chad Riley and their 10 month old son, Noah, who really is the best behaved and engaging baby I have ever met. Christie is finishing her residency as a pediatrician and Chad is a wonderful fashion and lifestyle photographer.  Noah and Tom really hit it off when Tom waved at him and Noah immediately responded by waving back. Christie and Chad were amazed because it is the first time Noah had waved. He was already an expert at giving his Dad a high five though. In no time at all it seemed the young family were called in to their table and just a few minutes later it was our turn. Coincidently we were seated right next to Christie and Chad and had the great pleasure of carrying on our conversation with them again.

The inside of Plow is really small with seating for 25 at the most, at modern white formica topped tables and on bright blue steel chairs. At the counter, there is seating for six on steel stools in the same bright blue. On the walls were a couple of big pictures which I think were mounted on perspex (plexiglass in the US). One was of a red barn with a sea of white flowers in the foreground and the other of an under water seascape. On the far wall was a shelf with lots of books and bottles of preserves.

One of the best breakfasts we've had.

One of the best breakfasts we’ve had.

The menu is a joy just to read.  Let me tell you the descriptions of a couple of the items and you can make up your own mind – lemon ricotta pancakes with Vermont maple syrup; Dungeness crab scramble; cider-brined pork chop + eggs; Fatted Calf blood sausage + eggs; fried egg sandwich. It was hard to choose but in the end Tom ordered the soft scrambled egg with oyster mushrooms, lamb quarter, goat cheese and crispy potatoes ($13) with a side of Nueske bacon ($5) and I plumped for the house made organic yogurt + granola, market fruit + Potrero Hill honey ($8.75). I had no idea what lamb quarter was so asked the server and she said it was ‘a sort of spinach’. Of course I looked it up when I got home and though it looks like spinach (and tastes like it too according to Tom), it is in fact a type of goosefoot or pigweed.

The food looked amazing when it was served. The blend of colors were awesome. And when it came to actually eating our breakfast, words fail me. Everything was perfect and I was really impressed with the very fresh raspberries and blueberries on the scrummy yogurt, granola and honey. Tom thought his was one of the best ever. Everything to perfection. Eggs smooth and silky and the potatoes crispy and delicious.

The restroom was situated behind a curtain and, like the rest of the restaurant, it was very pleasant.  Of course there were pictures on the wall, of food this time. Like the pictures outside they were also mounted on perspex but much smaller.

All in all, the Plow is certainly somewhere we definitely plan on visiting again. Can’t wait to sample more of the dishes on the menu.

Plow in San Francisco

1299 18TH Street, San Francisco 94107

 

Hilda’s Coffee Shop, San Anselmo

Hilda's Coffee Shop in San Anselmo

Hilda's Coffee Shop in San Anselmo

Our destination was Point Reyes for a day trip to look around some of the open studios. As usual, we had an early start so breakfast became a necessity round about 7:30. San Anselmo was a convenient place to stop so we parked the car and wandered around a bit before we found place open. Hilda’s Coffee Shop is a small establishment and there were a few customers already eating inside.

There were no tables outside and no waiting area anywhere but as there were many empty tables we had no wait. Our server was extremely friendly and welcoming and Tom soon had a hot cup of coffee placed before him in a yellow and white mug. The menus were on the table so we were able to order when the coffee arrived. Tom ordered French Toast ($7.95) with a side of sausage ($4.00) and for me it was the Homemade Oatmeal ($3.95) with walnuts ($1.00).

The furniture is basic – Formica topped tables and black chairs with no booths and ten stools at the counter. Decorating the walls were watercolor prints of cute children from an earlier era – a plump, red cheeked girl on a swing; a boy and girl chatting and smiling crossing the road with a grinning cop in the background; a smiling girl wearing a yellow dress on hands and knees in a patch of white daisies, etc. There were also hanging baskets planted with green, trailing plants.

My oatmeal came in a large shallow dish on a doily lined plate. Around the rim of the plate two navy blue lines with one small, navy blue anchor between the lines. Tom’s French Toast was arranged elegantly on his plate covered in melted butter, powdered sugar and cinnamon, accompanied by the maple syrup in a stainless steel jug.

So how did it taste? Tom enjoyed his French Toast but the sausage and coffee were just average. My oatmeal was delicious. It filled the dish to the rim but the rim was wide and when I poured the milk on top it didn’t overflow the edge. The walnuts on top were candied and, as I don’t put sugar on my oatmeal, the sweetness from them was just right.

Now the restroom. Tom made the trip before I did and warned me that the facilities were basic, so I was prepared. Basic they certainly were but there was one picture on the wall and the water was hot.

Our overall verdict – food and service good but the whole place, especially the restroom, needs refurbishing.

Hilda’s Coffee Shop
639 San Anselmo Ave, San Anselmo CA 94960

Crepevine, Irving Street, San Francisco

Inside the Crepevine on Irving Street

Inside the Crepevine on Irving Street in San Francisco

Before heading to Point Bonita Lighthouse in the Marin Headlands, we required breakfast. We parked in a small car park just off Irving Street in San Francisco and set off to walk down Irving Street. The first breakfast place we came across was the Crepevine and it looked really interesting. We have been to the Rain Tree Cafe several times before so it was nice to try somewhere different.

Outside Crepevine there were a few tables and chairs which were full. Inside there were empty tables but they all had reserved signs on them. Orders are taken at the counter. Up on the wall were large blackboards with their many delicious sounding dishes dishes all written up in lots of different colors of chalk. There was a large choice of scrambles, omelets, crepes, pancakes and egg Benedicts. On the counter a nice display of cookies and muffins which smelt divine. At first, I attempted to avoid the temptation but in the end bought a slice of banana bread for later. Amazingly enough, they had oatmeal ($4.95) so I was happy. To go with the oatmeal, I also ordered wheat toast ($1.75). Tom’s choice was a cheese omelet with two cheese (Harvita and Cheddar) ($7.50). Both of us drank water. Once we had paid and been given a number to display on a table, a server  showed us to one of the empty tables and removed the reserved sign.  What a good way of stopping people hogging a table beforehand and the system really worked well.

Crepevine on Irving Street in San Francisco

Crepevine on Irving Street in San Francisco

The Crepevine is not all that large and the seating is just table and chairs but each table had a small vase of fresh flowers. There were large oil pintings on the wall with a diverse selection of style – contemporary, still life, sailing boats, a flamingo, buildings. They were all very colorful. The place was buzzing with chatter going on all around. Every so often I could hear music playing in the background but unable even to hear what sort it was. Clientele consisted mainly of families with the average age of the adults being in their twenties or thirties. We were the oldest people there.

My oatmeal came in a small bowl which was loaded with fruit on top – banana, strawberries and raisins.  A spinkling of cinnamon covered the fruit. A small stainless steel jug contained the milk. Tom’s omelet was not overly plump and it came with house potatoes and an English muffin on the side. I really enjoyed the oatmeal and the toast was thick and tasted almost homemade. As for Tom’s verdict on the omelet, he was really impressed and he really liked the potatoes with fresh rosemary.

Now for my trip to the restroom and that was an adventure in itself as it was at the back near the dishwasher. There were already four people waiting, and there was just a tiny space to wait in. All the while, the  servers were bustling their way around the line with dirty dishes and the poor guy working hard cleaning the dishes had a perpetual audience. While I waited in line, I admired three small African art pictures on the wall and chatted to the others in line.

Although the door to the restroom door was a bit battered with a wonky door handle and inside, as the lock didn’t work, there were two bolts instead, the inside was not too bad at all. Half a dozen pictures on the wall, all of flowers and on a stand were some fresh flowers. It was all a bit cramped but clean and perfectly acceptable.

Tom and I really enjoyed everything about the Crepevine and will certainly go there again.

Crepevine
624 Irving Street, San Francisco,
CA 94121
Ph: (415) 681-5858

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