FEAST: 10 kick-ass brunches

The Guardian staff's favorite hangover remedies

Bean Bag Cafe

We here at the Guardian don't survive on green buds and printer ink alone. We eat real food. Sometimes! But we do get up late and hungover. While we often forgo fancy brunch — unless we save our pennies for the amazing eggs-meet-legs "Sunday's a Drag" buffet at Harry Denton's (www.harrydenton.com) or dim sum nirvana at Yank Sing (www.yanksing.com) or Ton Kiang (www.tonkiang.net) — we'll sure as shootin' shell out for thrifty chilaquiles and bloody marys, especially the way the Bay makes 'em. Here are some of our dearest bleary-eyed, late-morning tummy fillers. (Marke B.)



There are days when you wake up with a bladder full of Jameson's and a fervent wish to sink into a salty, unglamorous world of egg and cheese. These are the mornings when bottomless mimosas and goat cheese frittatas sound like fightin' words. Easy tiger, I got you — just slump into a booth at Bashful Bull Too, the most standard of Outer Sunset diners. There's no live jazz band, no "scene" at all — just you and your greasy calories. Get down on their cheap plates of hash browns and bacon, or better yet, a burger. Slabs of ground beef are acceptable fare when, after all, you're having breakfast at 2 p.m. (Caitlin Donohue)

3600 Taraval, SF. (415) 759-8112



In you're from the Midwest, good brunch spots are distinguished by waitresses who call you "hon" and have your coffee waiting for you before you sit down. Become a regular at Bean Bag Café in the Western Addition, and they'll do all that and more. Bean Bag's extensive breakfast and lunch menu and progressive cooking staff means never having to decide if it's too late for Goldilocks oatmeal (yep, it's just right) or too early for pancakes and beer. Speaking of pancakes, the Bean Bag buttermilk, customized with bananas and caramelized walnuts on top, is a must-have. Pair it with scrambled eggs drenched in Tabasco, and you're set until 3 p.m., when Bean Bag kicks off its happy hour with beer for $1.75. Other highlights: sunshine and a petting zoo of scruffy but wuvable dogs outside. (Diane Sussman)

601 Divisadero, SF. (415)-563-3634



Lower Haight — known for its nicoise? C'est vrai! The salad nicoise at Cafe Du Soleil is a stunner, bursting with tender tuna, piquant greens, and enough fresh fixings to ensure some inner sunshine. But don't stop there — or at the pastry case in front, with delectable goodies like croques madames and hazelnut chocolate croissants. Soleil's salmon tortilla, a sort of deconstructed-quiche pyramid topped with lovely lox and drizzled with smoky romesco, is this laidback Parisian hang's brunchtime piece de resistance. Bonus: hunky scruffsters and tattooed ladies. (Marke B.)

200 Fillmore, SF. (415) 934-8637. www.soleilsf.com



Let's face it, one aspect of brunch — at least on a Sunday — is the wait. Chloe's is no exception. The restaurant's rep and tiny size mean that while weekdays are fine, on the weekend you will be waiting in a (loose) line. The upside is that Chloe's is on a quiet corner of Church Street, so on a sunlit day, you'll get fresh air and nothing noisier or more imposing than the people-watching pleasure of the J-Church sliding by. Once inside, indulge your sweet tooth: two highlights of the low-key menu are french toast made with croissants (served with strawberries and powdered sugar) and banana walnut pancakes, a Chloe's specialty. Chloe's offers some pleasant, simple variations on scrambled eggs, and the fresh fruit and white rosemary toast to compliment them. This may be Noe Valley, but the coffee is Twin Peaks good. (Johnny Ray Huston)


Weekend celebrations can come with a hangover that often might require specialist food therapy that can easily be satisfied by an array of establishments serving dishes that are long associated with term "brunch."

But surely it would be possible to have your recommendations for brunch presented without the prerequisite bovine lactation, battery egg, sugar, mercury tuna, factory farm, refined flour formula that to many of us feels like an offering of swill from the dark ages.

All these recommendations without as much as a nod to the fossil fuel, global warming and corporate origins of these recipes when there are other venues doing the work to serve food that wont eventually make us all sick to our collective stomachs.

How about letting these "brunch" establishments continue without recommendation and focus on the venues that promote sustainability and an end to corporate destruction of our environment and economy.

The green movement should be more that a source of stories "out there" that can be fed to readers who are looking for a moral ax to grind.

BayGuardian, when it comes to day to day (or three times a day!) activities... how about an approach other than: "ahem, green is a good idea, but dont mess with my stuff."

Posted by Guest on Apr. 27, 2010 @ 9:49 am

Obviously you're itching for a response, so here it is. My criterion as editor for Feast is to direct people to worthy local businesses -- which are much less environmentally destructive than chains, and, yes, more likely to pay attention to where they source ingredients. I first challenge you to please point out what restaurants above, exactly, force upon you "the prerequisite bovine lactation, battery egg, sugar, mercury tuna, factory farm, refined flour formula that to many of us feels like an offering of swill from the dark ages" any more than the already-low average offering to be found anywhere in the city. (In fact, many places like Cafe Du Soleil and Bean Bag utlilize organic sources.)

Secondly, I request that you offer 10 brunch places that fit you rigorous standards, while also helping me not barf when I'm hung.

And third, I ask that you please stop using a computer or farting. You're ruining the earth!

Seriously, though, we go out of our way at all times to promote venues of sustainability -- perhaps you missed the huge article in this issue listing dozens of urban farming resources?


or our list of cocktails that use locally grown vegetables and (mostly) locally brewed, small batch spirits?


I think going on a full-blown attack based on a fun and harmless article that helps sustain and promote local businesses is a little narrow-minded. Worse, it's humorless. And I will not stand for humorlessness before breakfast.

Posted by marke on Apr. 27, 2010 @ 10:21 am