Tuesday, May 15, 2012

San Francisco: Dottie's True Blue Cafe

There's nothing like talking to drunk locals in a dingy bar to get recommendations for breakfast the next day. So that's what I did. I thought I'd milk my chance to get golden tips at this opportune time with little prejudice towards foreigners wanting to infest local watering or dining holes. Actually in retrospect (because I type this entry days after eating at Dottie's), the San Fran locals are more than happy to offer assistance with reading a map, advising what public transport you should take, getting you the hell off their dodgy blocks or sending you to great places to eat even when they're sober.

Apparently it's all about proximity to where you live or where you're staying. Little do these people know that I'll travel far and wide for a good feed, drink or coffee.

Luckily we seem to be staying in a decent and convenient area...at this stage of the trip anyway (more on this when I recap our whole stay in SF). Our new friend, let's call her Emily, because I'm useless when it comes to remembering names, sends us to Dottie's True Blue Cafe, around the corner from us on 6th St. She declares its a SF institution and we MUST eat there.

I think the area is supposed to be SoMA but it feels more like the Tenderloin, as we pass junkies and what look like gang bangers on the street. My peripheral vision catches the massive SUVs slowly rolling by before I hear the gangsta beats blaring. I clutch on to my camera tightly. At this stage I'm regretting even bringing the damn thing. Can I be a bigger tourist beacon if I tried? All I was missing was the "I loved San Fran" sweatshirt...although plenty of locals seemed to be wearing those so whatever! Just walk faster I tell myself and somehow try to blend in.

Suddenly the pathway clears and we roll up, because that's what we do now in America, especially with gangsta beats as our soundtrack (any real hip hop stars or artists out there please forgive me for my consistent and blatant use of the word gangsta, but I like it) and join the queue outside Dottie's.

There's a blackboard outlining their house made pastries. They all sound so delicious as I'm reading them in my head and like nothing else I've tried before so I find it difficult deciding what to order. I remember my dream that morning in the early hours between sleep, semi consciousness and the jet lag during which I had the overwhelming urge to eat pancakes.

By the time I deliberate what to order, we get seated at a tall two person table by the wall. I like the space and atmosphere: exposed brick and beams, dark wood, portraits of music greats hanging off the walls, jazzy music, the clatter of a busy kitchen, low hum conversations lost under all the other noise.

Service is organised and fast in the States. These are career waiters and cooks, they mean business, no half ass work ethic or service here, these people work hard. By the time we settle in we have water, freshly poured coffee (the menus were already waiting for us at the table) and a waiter sent over to take our order, which was:

- Cinnamon pecan roll (to share)
- Blueberry pancakes
- Ginger and cinnamon spiced wheat pancakes
- bacon on the side
- maple syrup

Chris is not familiar with the combination of salty and sweet. I smash the bacon, crispy, salty and delicious with the (real) maple syrup and the ginger and cinnamon pancakes. Oh my god, so delicious.

The cinnamon pecan roll is warm. Did I tell you I love warm pastries? I love warm pastries!! So fresh and tasty. So comforting and overly large.

In fact all our meals are gigantic. Chris and I could have shared one stack of pancakes between us and still walked away full.

We stuff our faces anyway and thoroughly enjoy our first official American breakfast. God bless Emily, or whatever her name was, and her breakfast recommendation!

We brave the outdoors again and walk all the way down Mission St until we hit the water. We spend the rest of the day sight seeing and being tourists in our full camera pointing and site and people gawking tourist glory.

Dottie's True Blue Cafe on Urbanspoon

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