All posts filed under “Brunch

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Friends with Benedicts

Friends with Benedicts is a brunch pop-up, currently operating out of Mykonos Greek Cuisine on Polk St. Not only is their name incredibly catchy, but they create a special weekly menu with a specific theme with decadent items and hilarious pun filled titles.

The pop-up, which only operates on weekends, has a steady menu along with the themed menu, which features classics like eggs benedicts (obviously), french toast, scrambles, omelettes, pancakes, and of course mimosas and other cocktails. When I visited two weeks ago, the special menu was “Conspiracy Theories.” Here are some of the menu items:

“Moonlanding:” Chocolate Moon Pies Pancakes stuffed with chocolate mousse and marshmallow

I ordered the “Long Live the King,” an Elvis reference, which was a pork belly eggs benedict with spinach, topped with a red curry hollandaise. I felt I had to get a benedict – and I’m glad I did! The eggs were perfectly poached, and the red curry hollandaise was a welcome twist from the classic hollandaise on the rich flavor of the pork belly.

Every weekend is a new special menu, ranging from Star Wars themed to Social Media puns, Hayao Miyazaki movie titles to Superheroes. The themed menus are only available on the weekend, but the regular menu is served during the week. See the past themed menus here.

The french toast below, off the regular menu, is the Grand Marnier French Toast, made into a combo with eggs and sausage. The regular menu still offers a wide selection of sweet and savory meals that would please any brunch go-er.

The food was great, and the concept of a pop-up as well as the witty weekend menus create a silly and fun atmosphere for a casual weekend brunch. Take a break from the San Francisco classics and try Friends with Benedicts pop-up – there’s always something new!

Stay tuned to this post for upcoming visits for more themed brunches!

1433 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94109

 

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Jane the Bakery

Jane is and always will be my favorite cafe in San Francisco, so I could not have been more thrilled when they opened a third location in December! Jane the Bakery, on Geary and Steiner by Japantown, is more focused on the bakery side of the business than the cafe side, a shift from the other two cafe locations (Fillmore & Larkin).

While it still has counter seating and a couple tables, Jane the Bakery is suited more for the to-go breakfast goer, as the bakery offers a larger selection of pastries and desserts, as well as 37 different kinds of fresh baked loaves of bread.

The usual menu of sandwiches, salads, avo-toasts, and breakfast options are still available, but with the limited seating, it may make more sense to grab pastries and coffee to go. At Jane the Bakery, they offer pastries that aren’t at the other locations, including many new creations that are produced right in that space, as well as flatbreads.

I had the immense pleasure of being invited to Jane by Amanda, the owner. She brought out all of these amazing pastries for me to try, like the lemon poppyseed knot, the raspberry danish, and my personal favorite, the cinnamon roll. The pastries are always the perfect amount of flakiness, butteriness, and sweetness, and are truly one of a kind.


I’m taking calculated bites of each of these three pastries, wondering how I’m going to be able to finish them, when Amanda walks out with a plate of two fresh-from-the-oven flatbreads.

These flatbreads were incredible. On the left is the Three Cheese, but with a hint of spice, giving it a bit of a kick. On the right is a seasonal special, which was a sort of Mediterranean style flatbread with tomatoes, cauliflower, and za’atar spices. I loved every single bite. The bread itself was perfectly fluffy with a thick crust, and the toppings literally made my tongue ache for more (especially with the savory flavors from the za’atar spice). One of these would make a perfect lunch meal (with a cookie too, because how could you resist?).

At this point, I’m sitting at the counter by myself with 5 pastries looking like a complete fatass. Amanda brings a to-go box over to me, so I start wrapping things up to take home. As I’m closing the lid, she brings over another plate, this time with an entire meal: the Mango Curry Chicken Sandwich. I’m thinking, how the heck am I going to eat this? But I proceed to take a few bites (because how could I not), and put it into another box to take with me. The sandwich was phenomenal, with the creamy, curry chicken with melted cheese, and it’s definitely something I would order.

I’m finally thinking I’m done when Alex, the Pastry Chef, comes over to me with this beautiful egg tart on a cookie sheet. Now this looks way too good not to eat, so I take a few nibbles, being careful not to break the yolk (that’s for later). This pastry, the Brunch Croissant, is a Jane the Bakery weekend exclusive; it is a baked over-easy egg on a bed of spring onions and Dijon mustard, sprinkled with chives, maldon, and black pepper. This is definitely one of the best things I’ve eaten at Jane so far. The croissant was buttery, flakey, and the perfect home for the silky egg with sweet mustard and onion flavors.

I pack everything up to leave, all of my 1000 pastries, when Alex scoots back over to show me his newest creation before it went into the oven, the Fruit Brioche. This is a pastry with lightly sweetened cream cheese in the middle scented with orange, basil, and lemon, topped with delicately poached blood orange and pistachio around the outside. I’m hoping to go back there soon to try it out!

Jane completely spoiled me with all of these pastries, and while I looked a little crazy having 7 different items to myself, I have absolutely no shame (and honestly I order that much when I usually go anyway). Jane’s third location has only proved how much amazing food they can produce, and I’m very fortunate to have had the opportunity to try everything out!

1881 Geary St.
San Francisco, CA 94115

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Duck & Waffle

Duck & Waffle may be hands down one of the best brunches I’ve ever had. Of course, it’s on the other side of the world and incredibly busy! Perched on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower, 2 floors up from the popular Sushi Samba, Duck & Waffle has the most amazing food and one of the best views in all of London.

The only reservation I could get for the week that I would be in London was a 3:30PM brunch on a random weekday. While it wasn’t packed inside, it was still bustling with people from all over the world enjoying their late-time brunch as we were, or transitioning to the late lunch menu.

As a sucker for all things brunch, we stuck to the classics – the Duck & Waffle and the Smoked Scottish Salmon flatbread.

The Duck & Waffle blew Chicken & Waffles out of the water (and I LOVE Chicken & Waffles. But I love duck more). The Duck & Waffle, the namesake of the restaurant, was a crispy leg confit and fried duck egg on top of a Belgian waffle with a mustard maple syrup on the side. While incredibly flavorful and filling, I could definitely eat 6 of these in one sitting. I could see why this is the favorite dish of the restaurant: the meat was tender and rich, with perfectly runny yolk and a fluffy Belgian waffle. The mustard maple syrup flawlessly tied the sweet and savory flavors of the dish together.

The Smoked Scottish Salmon flatbread was another mind-blowing favorite for me, as I’m addicted to all things smoked salmon. The flatbread was light, with the perfect amount of creamy shmear, and topped with pickled cucumber and sprigs of dill. I could have eaten 6 of these as well. With the Duck & Waffle.

The third dish on the table is the Puy Lentils, ordered by my vegetarian friend that doesn’t understand brunch (sorry Becca 😘 ). However, I’m glad she did because it was delicious! Although I wouldn’t order 6 of these (I’d be too full from the other two x 6), the combination of spinach, sweet onion, yogurt, miso, and nasturtiums (I had to google that, it’s the little edible flowers) was a sweet and savory surprise that went perfectly with the house bread (which looks almost like a flatbread too).

The brunch, however, would not have been complete without this view!

Duck & Waffle overlooks ‘The City,’ aka London’s Financial District, with the giant Gherkin (a pickle shaped building) right next to it, and a view of Tower Bridge, Tower of London, the Thames, and St Paul’s Cathedral on the opposite side. It was absolutely incredible and slightly terrifying at the same time, knowing we were casually sipping wine and eating a 3:30 brunch 40 floors high.

I would definitely recommend, or more like order you to book a meal at Duck & Waffle, if not for the delicious food at least for the amazing view!

Heron Tower
110 Bishopsgate
London EC2N 4AY
United Kingdom

PS. Dress well 😉

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La Note

La Note is one of the most highly sought-after brunch places in Berkeley. Boasting gourmet French cuisine, La Note most often has wait times of over an hour, and a large crowd waiting outside.

The food was phenomenal. La Note is mostly known for their French pastries, which you can order as a filled basket, and their incredibly fluffy egg dishes, all of which come with their garlic home fries.

Their pastries include croissants, coffee cakes, brioche, tartine, and baguettes. While the basket and a brunch plate might be too much, a select few are great to share – we ordered the Toasted Cinnamon Brioche with Lavender Honey and the Sour Cream Coffee Cake Maison. I was completely taken by the Lavender Honey – the airy Cinnamon brioche dipped in the Lavender Honey was heavenly, with the Lavender leaving a subtle but lasting taste.

The main courses included a variety of egg dishes, pancakes, French brioche (fancy for French Toast), and smaller oatmeal cups. The dishes come with a side of home fries, with meaty garlic cloves as big as the potatoes, and combo dishes include the fluffiest, softest eggs you’ve ever tasted.

Above is the Les Oeufs Lucas, with Scrambled Eggs and Goat Cheese on toast and a side of home fries and roasted tomatoes. Below is the classic Two Eggs + Bacon dish, sunny side up.

I ordered the Cote Est, which was a combo plate with eggs, a pancake, and bacon or home fries. I asked the waitress for the “Swirly Pancake” after seeing multiple people enjoying them. Not only are they incredibly photogenic, but the “Swirly Pancake,” which turned out to be the Creme Fraiche pancake, was creamy and delicious too!

The coffee and eggs completely won me over, and the Creme Fraiche pancake along with the aromatic garlic and potatoes completed this incredible brunch meal. The atmosphere is perfect for family meals and cute dates, with the bustling but gentle wait staff and the romantic French environment. La Note also has a large back patio covered in greenery. This is a place I will definitely be returning to!

2377 Shattuck Ave
Berkeley, CA 94704

 

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Skool

 What brought me and my friend to Skool, tucked into a section of the Design District of San Francisco, was the Uni Flan and our obsession with seafood. Skool offers ‘Seafood with Japanese flair,’ and offers meals all throughout the day, with Vegetarian and Gluten Free menus as well. Many of the dishes they offer are rich and use fine meats and seafood, such as the Roasted Duck, Kobe Beef burger, and Squid Ink Spaghettina.

We had a late brunch, and of course ordered a boozy brunch drink (Hibiscus Prosecco – which was amazing) and the Uni Flan.

It was definitely worth coming here JUST for the Uni Flan. We hadn’t even gotten our entrees and we were already sold. The Uni Flan was a soft, light Sea Urchin flan topped with Ikura (Salmon Roe) and Fresh Uni, the perfect mixture of salt and cream. While Uni can be a hard sell (you either love it or you hate it), spread onto the small bites of crispy baguette, it was the perfect savory appetizer with the ‘seafood flair.’

For my main course, I ordered the Ton Toro Cassoulet, which was almost like a light chili with Braised Pork Cheek, a Poached Egg, white beans, and pickled jalapeños in a tomato sauce. When ordering it, I wasn’t exactly sure what would come out, but the Braised Pork Cheek was incredibly flavorful and tender with crispy outer edges, the egg was poached to perfection, and the pickled jalapeños gave a slight Mexican flavor to the classy bowl of chili I was consuming. I liked it so much that I tried to recreate it at home, but of course it wasn’t the same!

My friend ordered the Smoked Salmon Benedict with Avocado, and I have never seen such a lavish benedict! The English Muffin was topped with Spinach, Avocado, and bright slabs of Smoked Salmon, covered in a Crimini Cream sauce, a rich and creamy twist from the typical Hollandaise sauce. Don’t let the dark color of the sauce turn you off of this decadent benedict!

We were both definitely very impressed with Skool, with its rich flavors and vibrant colors, and are looking forward to coming back for brunch or trying their dinner menu! With a full bar and great patio seating, Skool will be a hot spot for SF brunching and dining.

 1725 Alameda St
San Francisco, CA 94103

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Brown Sugar Kitchen

Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland is the soul food restaurant run by Tanya Holland of the Melting Pot, a show on the Food Network. What started as a small restaurant in a rarely visited area of Oakland is now a hot spot for one of the best Chicken & Waffle breakfasts in the Bay Area.

Brown Sugar Kitchen isn’t like the other Bay Area brunch spots with Benedicts and Pancakes. Brown Sugar Kitchen has a limited brunch menu, featuring a variation of Chicken & Waffles (or just chicken, or just waffle), and other items such as a Veggie Scramble and their Daily Special, which was the Pork Hash with Poached Eggs.

The Pork Hash with Poached Eggs was flavorful and had a small spice kick, which, covered in the yolk from the poached eggs, created a filling and savory breakfast. Other menu items included granola, BBQ shrimp & grits, side dishes such as sausages and eggs, and giant beignets.

The Beignets were gone within seconds. Since they weren’t too greasy or heavy, the sweet layer of powdered sugar and the fruity jams (Raspberry & Marmalade) that they were paired with created a dessert-like appetizer that didn’t make anyone feel too guilty before indulging in their Chicken & Waffles!

The Chicken & Waffles were everything I’ve dreamed of (yes, I dream about Chicken & Waffles) and more. The waffles were made out of cornmeal, which, while it was still airy and buttery, weren’t too heavy or overly sweet. The dollop of butter on top was mixed with a hint of brown sugar, lending a sugary but also molasses-y note to the waffle. The chicken, fried to perfection (one dark one white meat), was the perfect balance of savory and spice, fried with a Cajun seasoning that flavored them through to the bone. All of this with the Apple Syrup drizzle (tasted like cinnamon apple pie) created one of the best Chicken & Waffle dishes I’ve ever had. It wasn’t too heavy or greasy, and I didn’t feel overly stuffed afterwards (so naturally it left me wanting more!).


With mimosas, plenty of side items and sweet/savory options, Brown Sugar Kitchen is definitely a place I would recommend if you find yourself in this part of Oakland. The Chicken & Waffles is a MUST, and goes great with your morning coffee or mimosa!

2534 Mandela Pkwy
Oakland, CA 94607