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Seeking unique breakfast in San Francisco (see wish list)

dimsumfan Mar 3, 2011 08:18 PM

Looking to go beyond eggs benedict and the usual pancakes/French toast as I try to figure out where to find a few good breakfasts in SF. I'll take something mainstream if the setting is particularly special/unique (I'll hit Tartine Bakery, also, based on quality), but I'm especially looking for something off-the-beaten-path. Ethnic is totally fine. Hole-in-the-wall is totally cool.

Non-pho Vietnamese soup?
Early morning tacos or burritos, but not the usual breakfast kind?
Something I've yet to even dream about? The more unusual, the better.

Will travel a little for food. Will be ready to eat as early as 8am.

Will look forward to your replies. (Thanks!)

Tartine Bakery
600 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110

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  1. Robert Lauriston RE: dimsumfan Mar 3, 2011 08:28 PM

    Have you had Chinese breakfast?

    6 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston
      dimsumfan RE: Robert Lauriston Mar 3, 2011 09:02 PM

      Yes. (Note the name.) I think I'm going to pass on dim sum this trip, unless you want to wow me with a suggestion!

      1. re: dimsumfan
        Mr_Happy RE: dimsumfan Mar 3, 2011 09:42 PM

        I think he might mean jook, chinese donuts, cheung fun, etc. Like at Hing Lung in SF.

        Or, maybe a northern style breakfast with warm soy milk, buns, etc. I don't know where to find this in SF though.

        Hing Lung Restaurant
        674 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133

        1. re: Mr_Happy
          Robert Lauriston RE: Mr_Happy Mar 4, 2011 07:30 AM

          Exactly. Dim sum is not breakfast.

          1. re: Mr_Happy
            betterbeheaven RE: Mr_Happy Mar 4, 2011 09:59 PM

            Not traditional Chinese breakfast, and not a hole in the wall, but Charles Phan's Out the Door in Pac Heights comes to mind:


            Out the Door
            845 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103

            1. re: betterbeheaven
              Cynsa RE: betterbeheaven Mar 5, 2011 06:38 AM

              the slow cooked egg with brisket will satisfy every wish

            2. re: Mr_Happy
              hyperbowler RE: Mr_Happy Dec 21, 2011 11:02 AM

              Five Happiness does a Sunday chinese breakfast (soy milk, long fried doughnut sticks, etc.)

        2. mariacarmen RE: dimsumfan Mar 3, 2011 08:36 PM

          maybe not super exotic but i had really delicious breakfast a couple months ago at Palacio Latino on Mission Street between 18th and 19th. It's Guatamalan, and everything about the food was just great. Delicious, thick, flavorful and tender corn tortillas, black bean puree, longaniza sausage, crema, fried plantains, queso fresco ... your usual Central American breakfast but done really well. Sorry, the only menu i find doesn't list the breakfasts.

          Palacio Latino Restaurant
          5925 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94112

          3 Replies
          1. re: mariacarmen
            Cynsa RE: mariacarmen Mar 4, 2011 06:19 AM

            Red Cafe is my destination on Mission Street - now I'll bookmark your Palacia Latino, too - thanx

            Red Cafe
            2894 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

            1. re: Cynsa
              mariacarmen RE: Cynsa Mar 4, 2011 07:07 AM

              i've been wanting to try Red Cafe! what do you recommend?

              1. re: mariacarmen
                Cynsa RE: mariacarmen Mar 4, 2011 10:45 AM

                Platanos con casamiento, huevos, queso fresco y crema.

                Red Cafe
                2894 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

          2. JasmineG RE: dimsumfan Mar 3, 2011 08:47 PM

            What about chilaquiles? Here's a good thread with options http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/697385

            2 Replies
            1. re: JasmineG
              Eat.Choui RE: JasmineG Mar 4, 2011 06:18 AM

              I second chilaquiles! My favorite in SF is from Red Cafe, on the corner of 25th and Mission.

              1. re: Eat.Choui
                mariacarmen RE: Eat.Choui Mar 12, 2011 04:16 PM

                I had the chilaquiles at Red Cafe today -delicious! crispy tortillas, fluffy scrambled eggs, fresh peppers and tomatoes.... loved it. the pureed beans on the side weren't very flavorful, tho, but overall a good meal. also ordered a side of plantains expecting 3 or 4 slices. there were 8 fat quarters - way too much, but they were tasty. I'd only had chilaquiles one other time - at La Oaxacana, where they were terrible - i was in no hurry to try them again. We walked right in at Red Cafe and got a table for 2 at noon. Thanks, Cynsa and Eat.Choui for the tip.

                Red Cafe
                2894 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

            2. s
              sfbing RE: dimsumfan Mar 3, 2011 09:52 PM

              If you're here on Saturday, maybe grazing at the Alemany farmers market or the Ferry Building.

              1 Reply
              1. re: sfbing
                sfbing RE: sfbing Mar 4, 2011 07:34 AM

                Also on Sunday, there are two Thai temples that serve brunch:

                Wat Mongkolratanaram in Berkeley near Ashby Bart and
                Wat Buddhapradeep in San Bruno.

                The Berkeley temple has a wider selection of food, the San Bruno temple has a smaller selection, but the food is noticeabley gamier.

                Wat Buddhapradeep
                310 Poplar Ave, San Bruno, CA

              2. m
                Mr_Happy RE: dimsumfan Mar 3, 2011 09:53 PM

                I like the pork and beans with poached egg and tomato salsa that the golden west sometimes has. It's a take out window.

                Golden West
                8 Trinity Pl, San Francisco, CA 94104

                1 Reply
                1. re: Mr_Happy
                  ceekskat RE: Mr_Happy Mar 4, 2011 11:28 AM

                  +1. Just had this & cornbread with chorizo gravy...sooo good & very comforting on a cold morning. We spent a couple of days in the City (from the 'burbs) with our girls & this was one of the highlights of our mini vacation. Took the food & sat at table in Crocker Galleria. Also grabbed a corned beef sandwich for a late lunch from Sentinel (very good, they were sold out of everything else). Kids can't wait to go back to these places!


                2. Cynsa RE: dimsumfan Mar 4, 2011 06:10 AM

                  Canteen's weekend breakfasts are the top of my morning list; then Brenda's French Soul Food, and for my cheap thrills/comfort food rice with eggs:
                  Art's Cafe at 747 Irving Street for bibimbap
                  Curly's Coffee Shop at 1624 Powell Street
                  won ton soup and rice with eggs at Joe's Coffee Shop
                  at 6134 Geary Blvd.

                  Sol Food in San Rafael

                  PLOW has lemon ricotta pancakes
                  Mission Beach Cafe at 198 Guerrero Street

                  breakfast sandwich (Belfast Bap) at John Campbell's Irish Bakery

                  817 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                  Mission Beach Cafe
                  198 Guerrero St., San Francisco, CA 94103

                  Brenda's French Soul Food
                  652 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                  Curly's Coffee Shop
                  1624 Powell St, San Francisco, CA 94133

                  Joe's Coffee Shop
                  6134 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121

                  John Campbell's Irish Bakery
                  300 De Haro St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Cynsa
                    ssfire RE: Cynsa Mar 4, 2011 01:24 PM

                    I recommend the lemon souffle pancakes at Aurea, the restaurant in the Stanford Court Hotel. It's less of a souffle-type pancake, and more of a pancake-like souffle. Very pricey. On the other end of the spectrum: Art's Cafe has the added bonus of being an authentically gritty dive.

                    Art's Cafe
                    747 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122

                    905 California, San Francisco, CA 94108

                    1. re: Cynsa
                      Cynsa RE: Cynsa Mar 4, 2011 05:04 PM

                      another good breakfast: McAllister Scramble at Velo Rouge with Blue Bottle coffee

                      Velo Rouge Cafe
                      798 Arguello Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94118

                      1. re: Cynsa
                        alanbarnes RE: Cynsa Mar 4, 2011 07:40 PM

                        Canteen definitely makes one of the better breakfasts around, but much of the menu falls within the Eggs Benedict / pancake range the OP wants to get beyond. So a more specific recommendation: the Chupacabra. It's a Yucatecan-influenced achiote-scented bean/egg/sausage thing that's really pretty amazing.

                        1. re: Cynsa
                          DpBluSea RE: Cynsa Jun 13, 2011 10:24 PM

                          John Cambell's Irish Bakery - 5625 Geary (between 20th x 21st) ...had a delicious scone and a Irish Sausage Pastie from the place this morning - the scone was $2 and the Pastie was $5 - this pastie is delicious, rich, and the 2 items were plenty to feed 2 people breakfast with coffee or tea.

                          The pastie was not all that impressive to look at - but the quality of it, perfectly seasoned and baked, was really fantastic.

                          1. re: DpBluSea
                            Windy RE: DpBluSea Jun 13, 2011 11:37 PM

                            The baps with egg and sausage or bacon are amazing too. Not to mention the brown bread, or the corned beef.

                            I think they have the same menu at all three locations.

                            1. re: Windy
                              Cynsa RE: Windy Jul 13, 2011 08:22 AM

                              I love John Campbell's Breakfast Bap, the breakfast sandwich on brioche at Matching Half Cafe and this Breakfast Sandwich at Lou's Cafe - $4.49 with a choice of bacon or ham - or, both - on ciabatta


                              Matching Half
                              1799 McAllister St, San Francisco, CA 94117

                              Lou's Cafe
                              5017 Geary Blvd, SF, CA 94118

                        2. scarmoza RE: dimsumfan Mar 4, 2011 06:58 AM

                          Show Dogs is now serving breakfast M-F 8am-11am. Sat and Sun Brunch 10am-2pm. They're a sausage place by the same owners of Foreign Cinema. The menu may not be so unique but it's not so common either. Plus, the ingredients seem to be of very good quality. Four Barrel Coffee, french pressed.

                          Turtle Tower is good for breakfast (Vietnamese). Hai Ky Mi Gia is another noodle house around the corner that's good (hot soy milk is a popular drink here - weird but not bad).

                          Turtle Tower Restaurant
                          631 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                          Hai Ky Mi Gia
                          707 Ellis St, San Francisco, CA 94109

                          Show Dogs
                          1020 Market St, San Francisco, CA

                          1. c
                            carfeng RE: dimsumfan Mar 4, 2011 09:44 AM

                            I really enjoy the pupusas at Balompie Cafe, especially the one with shrimp. Great coffee too.

                            Farmer Brown's has a all-you-can-eat fried chicken brunch with various dishes. There was a very tasty homemade granola and some great desserts (pecan pie, red velvet cake).

                            Farmer Brown
                            25 Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

                            Balompie Cafe
                            3349 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                            1. m
                              ML8000 RE: dimsumfan Mar 4, 2011 10:42 AM

                              How about menudo or caldo de pollo. Chava's use to be good but there must be a couple of dozen places in SF.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: ML8000
                                Cynsa RE: ML8000 Mar 4, 2011 10:48 AM

                                We like breakfasts at El Delphin — and pozole.

                                El Delfin
                                3066 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                1. re: ML8000
                                  vulber RE: ML8000 Mar 12, 2011 05:52 PM

                                  i have yet to make it to chava's - but i often end up at sanjalisco (formerly los jarritos) for good mexican breakfast - they have the best birria i've found, as well as excellent menudo and chilaqiules

                                  1. re: vulber
                                    Cynsa RE: vulber Mar 14, 2011 05:21 AM

                                    I like the Huevos Divorciados

                                    1. re: vulber
                                      escargot3 RE: vulber Mar 14, 2011 05:55 PM

                                      love their birria...

                                  2. d
                                    dimsumfan RE: dimsumfan Mar 5, 2011 06:37 AM

                                    Thanks, everyone, for all these fabulous suggestions! For my three breakfasts, currently leaning toward Tartine Bakery, Canteen, and farm:table, sneaking in a pupusa at Balompie (may actually swap that out for farm:table if too crowded) and beignets at Out the Door.

                                    Tartine Bakery
                                    600 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                    Out the Door
                                    845 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                                    Balompie Cafe
                                    3349 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: dimsumfan
                                      TravellingFoodie RE: dimsumfan Mar 6, 2011 08:26 PM

                                      I also might add Dottie's True Blue Cafe for a scrumptious old fashioned pancakes, waffles, omelet breakfast made with fresh organic ingredients.

                                      Dottie's True Blue Cafe
                                      522 Jones St, San Francisco, CA 94102

                                      1. re: TravellingFoodie
                                        mrs bacon RE: TravellingFoodie Mar 7, 2011 04:50 PM

                                        Dottie's uses organic ingredients? Don't think I've ever heard that before. Another vote for the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market -- Primavera, 4505 Meats, Cane Rosso are just a few of the tasty options there. Just tried Red Cafe the other day. Good chilaquiles and fried plantains.

                                        Ferry Plaza Farmers Market
                                        One Ferry Building, 200 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA

                                        4505 Meats
                                        1 Ferry Building, San Francisco, CA 94111, CA

                                        1. re: mrs bacon
                                          vulber RE: mrs bacon Mar 12, 2011 06:08 PM

                                          the chef of dottie's used to work at the ritz-carlton - so it wouldn't be entirely surprising.

                                          while it's definitely usually a safe bet that most of the greasy hole in the wall breakfast places are not organic, some are - i don't think kate's kitchen is entirely organic, but i know they do use organic ingredients in quite a few of thier dishes

                                          1. re: vulber
                                            TravellingFoodie RE: vulber Mar 16, 2011 11:41 PM

                                            Dottie's is no greasy hole in the wall.

                                    2. k
                                      Keesey RE: dimsumfan Mar 7, 2011 05:17 PM

                                      Lucky Chances! It's a casino but they have a restaurant in there too with mainly Filippino dishes. Most are accompanied by eggs and rice plus several selections of meat -- chorizo-ish sausage but sweeter, grilled fatty pork back meat, sisig, etc. You must be familiar with Chinese jook, but perhaps try the Filippino arroz caldo... different flavors.

                                      This place is actually pretty great any time of the day/night, but the accompanying egg and rice reminds me of breakfast fare.

                                      Lucky Chances
                                      1700 Hillside Blvd, Colma, CA 94014

                                      8 Replies
                                      1. re: Keesey
                                        Robert Lauriston RE: Keesey Mar 7, 2011 05:33 PM

                                        In Colma?

                                        Lucky Chances
                                        1700 Hillside Blvd, Colma, CA 94014

                                        1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                          Keesey RE: Robert Lauriston Mar 8, 2011 11:06 AM

                                          Yes! I'm sorry I don't know how to add an address link to places that haven't been registered. I tried doing it when i first replied, but I guess I did it improperly.

                                        2. re: Keesey
                                          rosiella1 RE: Keesey Mar 14, 2011 04:57 PM

                                          yeah - Lucky Chances is my kinda spot for 3am breakfast! ... and yes, even when sober, the food does taste quite good. My favorite is Chicken Tocino, with poached eggs and garlic fried rice dipped in their seasoned vinegar.

                                          Lucky Chances
                                          1700 Hillside Blvd, Colma, CA 94014

                                          1. re: rosiella1
                                            grayelf RE: rosiella1 Mar 14, 2011 10:23 PM

                                            That sounds delicious! Is it filipino?

                                            1. re: grayelf
                                              josquared RE: grayelf Jul 13, 2011 10:46 AM

                                              Haven't eaten there, but I can vouch for those Filipino breakfasts growing up in such a household.

                                              My dad would just fry up tocino or longanisa, usually cut up some egg (and fry some eggs up separately as well - cholesterol beware!) and other assorted stuff like spam and green onions and throw it into yesterday's rice, and fry it up with lotsa' garlic.

                                              Definitely sounds like the perfect 3 AM spot for sure.

                                              1. re: grayelf
                                                myst RE: grayelf Jul 13, 2011 10:48 AM

                                                Yes. I love filipino breakfast. Garlic rice, fried eggs, longanisa, chopped fresh tomato and jalepeno and seasoned vinegar for dipping. I use siracha too...

                                                1. re: grayelf
                                                  johnrsf RE: grayelf Aug 22, 2011 12:10 PM

                                                  If you like Filipino breakfasts (silogs, a word that describes a combination of garlic fried rice, fried eggs, and breakfast meat), you should try the aptly-named Tselogs on Mission Street in Daly City, just across the border from San Francisco. They have delicious silogs -- I've tried the longanisa, tocino, sisig, bangus and beef tapa, and have heard that their fried chicken is also wonderful. Very friendly, very clean and very reasonable, with silogs costing 4.99 to 5.99, and they have had a special from 9 am to 1 pm with all silogs 3.99. Only one small egg is included in their silogs, so I'd recommend paying an extra .75 to get an extra egg. Sisig, made with marinated bits of chicken, onion and garlic is my favorite, served in a sizzling mini-skillet, but I haven't been disappointed by any of their offerings yet. Their skinless longanisa appears to be homemade. They also serve very good pancit bihon, pancit palabok, and arroz caldo. I haven't yet tried their filipino spaghetti, with sweet meat sauce. They're not open Sunday mornings, but they are open late on Friday and Saturday nights for late night breakfasts.

                                                  6055 Mission St, Daly City, CA 94014

                                                2. re: rosiella1
                                                  bigwheel042 RE: rosiella1 Aug 15, 2011 02:22 PM

                                                  Went here with some friends very late on Saturday night and tried sinigang for the first time, with pork spare ribs. Pretty good! Tender meat, a nice tangy chicken broth, and topped with crisp green beans. If this place were in the city it would easily rocket into my top 5 late-night eating options.

                                              2. Cynsa RE: dimsumfan Aug 29, 2011 05:18 PM

                                                Beyond Eggs Benedict — Sweet Jo's Chili and Biscuits is Sunday Brunch at The Corner. Do you like the flaky buttery goodness of the Meetinghouse biscuits ala Joanna Karlinsky? She's at the stove from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm on Sundays and the variations of biscuit benedicts will satisfy and delight with hearty lip smackin' flavor. I had the biscuit with pork sausage gravy ($1.25) and the Anson Mills cheese grits ($2.50), other plates were the biscuit benedict with Swiss Chard and bacon or biscuit benedict with ham hock stew...($9). She'll be at The Corner with her pop-up on Sunday, September 4.
                                                Catch her on Thursday and Friday evenings at Oasis Cafe for chili and biscuits on 8/29 and 8/30 at 901 Divisadero Street at McAllister.

                                                The Corner
                                                2199 Mission St, San Francisco, CA

                                                1. l
                                                  lannanh RE: dimsumfan Dec 21, 2011 06:58 PM

                                                  You should try Brunch Box food truck: http://sf.eater.com/archives/2011/07/...

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