Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Breakfast Gal Gets Her Fix in SF, "The Breakfast City"

Japanese breakfast: sweet, sour, salty and steamy in a bowl.

I wasn't born a breakfast gal. Up until a year ago, breakfast was something that I gulped, skipped or forced down. Grab it and go was my motto. Or, in more challenging times, grab it and just keep it down.

But then something happened and, like magic, I was transformed into a breakfast gal. I rise ravenous and my first thought of the day is, "How shall I break this fast?"

I just spent two days in San Francisco, heaven on earth for a gal who loves to celebrate the first meal of the day. As a matter of fact, I'm dubbing SF "The Breakfast City" because diners think nothing of waiting in line for an hour to break their fasts.

I didn't have to wait at all for my first SF breakfast, room service at the Kabuki Hotel in Japantown. The hotel staffer was rapping on my door at the appointed 7:30 am time with the designated meal, a traditional Japanese breakfast served in a bento box.

A feast for the eyes, a treat for the mouth. Soup, salad, seaweed and salmon - "The 4 Ss" of a Japanese breakfast. Oh, and pay no mind to the bottle of ketchup lurking in the background.

Savor the flavors: Crunchy fresh cucumbers, crisp sweet yellow radish, salty/sour plum

I spent Tuesday night at my friend Sisi's home, which is just a few steps away from Coit Tower.

On Wednesday morning, we walked down the hill into North Beach for breakfast at Mama's, a place so popular that 90 minute weekend waits are the norm.

Our Wednesday morning wait was less than 20 minutes.

I had the eggs Benedict with crispy fried bacon and roasted potatoes.

My friend had the French toast special. Don't forget to slather on the olliberry jam on the table. Tart and delicious!

Check out these top ten lists for best breakfast in SF:,CA/Restaurants/Breakfast/

And, if you get there before I do, save me a seat.


Jean Spitzer said...

I'm too hungry after this to do anything but make something to eat.

Desiree said...

Oh boy! Can't wait till breakfast now--

Margaret said...

Oh my gosh! Everything looks so good! I'm going to S.F. next week, and I can promise you I won't eat nearly as well. It's those darn unworthy dining companions.

Anonymous said...

When you volte face, you don't mess around.

Marcy said...

"How shall I break this fast?" <-- hahaha You make me laugh! ( I thought SF was the Rice-A-Roni city.) Enjoy tomorrow's breakfast, and sweet dreams to you. =)

Amy said...

Mama's, yay! It is well worth the wait. I have been craving that jam.

There is a wonderful focaccia place right across the street too.

Linda Dove said...

I was tempted to write about having sushi in NYC for breakfast at 6 AM, but when I look at your photos, I'm reduced to just one word: Yum.

The Food Librarian said...

Oh, soooo hungry. I heart the umeboshi! And to get this in your pajamas?! Heaven.

Susan C said...

Jean, I hope you fixed something good.

You too, Desiree.

Margaret, I hope you can find some good places that even the "unworthy dining companions" will appreciate.

AH, You got that right!

Marcy, I was trying to think of common nicknames for SF and came up with nada. I forgot about the Rice-a-Roni connection. What makes it a SF treat?

Amy, You really know the neighborhood. I'll have to try the focaccia place next time.

Linda, I was once served sashimi for breakfast at a Japanese Inn, but I couldn't bear to eat raw fish first thing in the morning.

FL, Let's hear it for umeboshi!

Patrizzi Intergarlictica said...

Eat up! You've been tagged, Susan, right here:

Petrea Burchard said...

I'm not so excited about my granola right now. Maybe I'll fix pancakes.

I love San Francisco. I miss it! Must make a trip. It's one of my favorite places EVUR.

cheryl said...

I've never had a traditional Japanese breakfast, but when you think about it, giant flying saucer-sized pancakes are kind of disgusting when compared to an elegant little bento box.

Next time you go to SF, try The Grove (2016 Fillmore Street). Get Dave's Downfall -- poached eggs with bacon, parmesan and avocado.

Cafe Pasadena said...

Oh, woMan, you gettin me hungry rite now. I gotta go eat!

I see all the males waiting in line outside their Mama's place. But, besides you, where are the women? Seems like females are a dying species in SF. said...

Anyone, anywhere, anytime can bring a bento box to me.

I'm learning how to cook a lot of different things at culinary school, but Japanee food is not one of them.

So I'm up for that bento box. Preferably overflowing!


Baby Bird said...

The photos of all of those breakfasts made my mouth watter..... literally.

Susan C said...

Miss H, Thanks for helping me stir up some great memories with the "assignment."

Petrea, Oh, SF is my FAVE city too. It's my fantasy live-in city, and I hope one day (who knows when) to make that fantasy a reality.

Cheryl, Thanks for the great tip about Grove. I usually hit Filmore St. after I've spent the day at Kabuki Spa, but I haven't been there.

CF, There were actually quite a few women inside the restaurant. (BTW, I tried the red velvet cupcakes at Auntie Em's. Not my favorite.)

CSC, I'm with you on that bento box. I bought a couple of beautiful boxes on sale in Little Tokyo a few months ago, but they have not yet been christened.

BB, I know what you mean. I get hungry all over again every time I come to this page.

Mermaid Sews said...

Great post. My hubby and I LOVE your blog layout. We were just reading about your breakfast in SF post and both said, well did she go to Mama's before we scrolled down - and indeed you did! We Love that place, and even though it is around the corner so to speak (5 blocks away) thankfully for our waistlines we don't go to often (but would love to).

Bec said...

We recently had a food-centered girls' weekend in SF - lots of fun. 2 great breakfasts: Boulette's Larder in the Ferry Market building and Squat & Gobble in Marina.

Susan C said...

Hi MS, Thanks so much for the compliment. That is too funny that you would mention Mama's. And, oh, how I envy you living just a few blocks from there. My fantasy life.

Bec, Thanks for two more great tips. I had gotten into a rut of always going to Tartine for breakfast, if Tartine can ever be considered a rut.

A. said...

Mama's is my absolute favorite!

BYX said...

DANNNNG, I love mama's. I've lived two blocks away all my life and the line has always been long! The worse part is they make you stand and wait in line. No pagers like typical SF places. :[ There's a really great place I love. It's in the sunset on ...9th between lincoln and irving I think. (don't quote me on that) It's called Park Chow. Make sure to go on a weekend morning for the brunch special and ask to sit upstairs! It's open on the nice SF days and it feels very much like a picnic! Let me know what you think if you decide to try it!

mina said...

Amazing site! The Japanese breakfast looks delicious.

Susan C said...

A, Nice to meet another member of the Mama's fan club.

Jz, Thanks for the great tip. I've got to check that out.

Mina, Thanks, I'm ready for another Japanese breakfast.

justme said...

OMG, i cannot wait to get there to try everything. thank you so much for this post...i think

karma said...

Wow thanks for this post! I didn't know they served traditional Japanese breakfast in a bento box in SF. I'll have to check it out! ^^

Anonymous said...

Wow, Everything looks delicious. It's photos like these that keeps me on the yo yo diet. Just gives me the cravings for something to eat. My husband just made a chocolate cream pie with sugar free pudding and lite cool whip. Does that make it ok to have another slice? Probably not. lol
Keep up the great work, this is a great site and I love your sense of humor.

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