Dissapointing Breakfast at the Mission
I have my former German Host Brother in town for a couple a weeks and have been showing him around.
He really loves american pancakes, which for some reason he has been unable to recreate in Berlin. So being in SD late this morning and the last place I can remember eating pancakes that were pretty good (blackberrry bannana) was at the Mission in OB a couple years back.
I am not a big pancake person so I ordered smth described as "Plato Verde" - over easy eggs with black beans and a sweet corn tamal topped with a salsa verde.
My buddy got the aforementioned pancakes with scrambled and bacon.
The place was packed at 11am and I started to notice something that got on my nerves. Our waiter - some blonde tan guy who played the typical incomptent 'whoa' character kept on munching down behind the coffee counter in plain view of customers. Having worked as a waiter -I know that this is a big No-no. Not to mention he brushed aside the poor single bus guy -who I even remember from my last visit and always made sure our coffees were full and taken care of - to pick up the check and not even help one bit.
My plate came out as if it was sitting on display in the window all morning - not a trace of residual heat from any cooking anytime soon. The tamal was split and freshly nuked.
I usually dont send things back but come on -who wants to eat cold food on a chilly morning?
The pancakes were meh....pretty bready and heavy...not like I remember. Too much as well.
When my plate came back out - everthing was nice and hot, but the metallic taste of the likely retort salsa verde overwhelmed everything. Tamal- again nuked - one of the worst tamales I have had but edible I guess. The Black Beans with sour cream were the only saving grace.
Maybe I should try out the one in NP.
A possible problem why your German Host Brother can't recreate the American pancakes in Berlin is the difference between american and german backing powder. They contain different ratios of sodium bicarbonate (which generates CO2 to make the fluffy american pancakes). I think he has to play a little bit around with different ratios of backing soda and backing powder to get the same amount of CO2 in Germany.
Oh, poop! That stinks. I can't say I've ever had an experience that bad at a Mission (regardless of location), though I've had some spotty service before.
Personally, I skip the pancakes at the Mission. I agree that they're kind of heavy and chewy, not to mention the fact that they give you twice the amount that a linebacker should eat ...
BUT ... OH ... the French Toast is gooey and cinnamony, and while the portion is also quite large, I'll stuff myself silly on that stuff any day, given the chance (and the metabolism of a 12-year-old). I also love the Mission Croissant - eggs, cream cheese, scallions, tomatoes on a pretty decent croissant (although I find it always seems to end up kind of soggy at the one in Mission Beach ... downtown and NP are better, for some reason)
The coffee is also good: strong and rich but not burned or bitter.
The atmosphere of the East Village location is the best IMO, it's not as hectic as the others. The service is a lot more "casual" than many restaurant, although I have thankfully not had my server eating while I waited. The rosemary potatoes at any of the Missions are the griddle potates I have ever had. There had been a couple of time where I just stopped in to pick up some potatoes to go.
I'm a fan of The Mission, at least in North Park! Their breakfast quesadilla with perfectly melted cheese and bits of crispy maple smoked bacon and fresh salsa is fabulous! I like their french toast as well, and they have some sort of apple sausage that's good. But the quessadilla (that comes with great black beans and sour cream) is so wonderful I have a hard time trying other things on the menu! Their service, is pretty uneven, but the coffee is Calabria and that's in their favor!