Waffle at Blue Bottle in Mint Plaza
Went to the market this morning to pick up Rancho Gordo beans and a sleeve of pretty eggs from Marin Sun Farms, and on the way home I stopped at the Blue Bottle in Mint Plaza, which has become my favorite place to pause after very occasional trips to the Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market.
The coffee most people love or don't--I like it quite a bit. The taste is not consistent across locations, due in part to the many roasts on offer and the styles of their baristas. My workaday BB is at the Piccino/Dogpatch location, which serves its own fruity Piccino variety, which may be my favorite.
The Mint Plaza location offers a limited brunch menu, usually french toast, a waffle, a compote of seasonal fruit and greek yogurt, a soup, a salad, and Acme bread served with butter and jam. I wouldn't arrive here with a group to eat brunch--the place is always crowded unless you get there early, so it can be a hassle to carve out a spot at the communal table or counters. There are some seats in the plaza outside, not officially part of the BB space, but it's a sunny day option.
To get Marin Sun eggs, I had to be up with the San Francisco sun, so I arrived at BB too early to get a printed menu, but early enough to grab a seat. I ordered the waffle, one big Belgian guy, cooked on an iron near the drip set-up and served with a lump of scalloped butter and syrup already pulsing down the veins. The waffle was nicely browned, with a pleasantly starched texture--not squishy, but not overly crisp. Syrup was OK, but I prefer the flavor of grade B.
With the unadorned coffee and waffle and steely, spare room, I felt like I was dining at some kind of futuristic German truck stop, with baristas programmed and costumed by Helmet Lang. Yet weirdly, I like it.
Unless it's a very good machine. But Brian made perfect espresso before Blue Bottle or Piccino. We had a French press at Piccino one night recently of what must be their house blend, and it was good but not noticeably better.
The space at Mint Plaza is beautiful. It's not too busy after work, but then you're up all night from drinking a pot of coffee.