Waffles and Mussels and Wine, Oh My!

Met Kristin and Wisha for breakfast at my old haunt It's Tops! this morning. Last time I visited I had the chocolate chip pancakes, and they were fabu. I think the time before that I might have had eggs. I felt like I was due for a waffle. After briefly considering an egg combo that included a waffle, I decided on the waffle alone—well, with the addition of whipped cream—and I wasn't sorry. It was so good that I wondered why I didn't order a waffle every time I came. (In the next second I remembered: equally awesome pancakes, eggs, and toast). The bonus was that by ordering relatively small, I wouldn't be so stuffed that I couldn't eat something else again in a couple hours.

Wish I'd set the focus better, but I love the shuffling of the coffee cups.

San Francisco is such a great eating town, with delicious options ranging from a massive $3.75 vegetarian burrito to three-digits-in-front-of-the-decimal-point tasting menus at world-reknowned restaurants, that it's hard to decide what to eat and easy to eat waaaay too much. On this trip I'd *finally* resigned myself to picking something that looked good when I was hungry, and saving everything else for a future visit rather than trying to get it all in in one go.

After quick stops at Photoworks, Wolf Camera, and Safeway (where I couldn't resist the fat bags of cherries for $3.99 a pound, $2 cheaper than I've been able to find them for back home), we turned toward the Mission in search of sun and a working bathroom. We were foiled at our usually-reliable pit stop place; for some reason, the police station at 17th & Valencia was unmanned, and thus the key to the toilet was inaccessible. Good thing I can hold it.

In our wanderings in and out of funky antique and furniture stores and the pirate store at 826 Valencia, we passed a place called Frjtz that offered something I've been craving ever since I saw Amalah's episode of Throwdown! with Bobby Flay: MUSSELS. None of us was hungry enough to stop in when we first passed by, but we noted it as the place we'd like to return for lunch. (I surprised myself by not insisting on Mexican food, which is plentiful in the Mission and difficult to find at home.)

After much noodling in places that did not offer a bathroom, everyone's stomachs indicated that they were empty enough to accommodate lunch at about the same time that my bladder indicated that it was full enough to cause a scene. We returned to Frjtz, where we spent a few minutes mulling over the mussel choices (I'd been stuck on the idea of blue cheese mussels since the Throwdown!, but wasn't sure if I could get them without the bacon, or, if I could, whether they'd still be worth eating). I decided to ask if it was possible to get the Pompei without the lardons, with the Arles being my backup plan. The sans-lardons Pompei was approved; mine came with fennel as well as shallots, which might not be standard but a flavor substitute for the missing pork. Kristin got the Arles, which is what I would get next time without a doubt. They were exactly what I think of when I think of mussels. Winsha got the Spennes, which were made with Hoegaarden beer instead of the white wine of the Pompei and Arles, and which also contained lemon zest. I liked them, but I preferred the garlic of the Arles to the lemon of the Spennes.

I had asked the server who took our orders for a beverage suggestion, and he said, "I'd suggest a nice white wine. Do you like Sauvignon Blanc?" I do, and he was right: The mussels made the wine taste better, and the wine made the mussels taste better. (Winsha also remarked that Pepi made a good Sauv Blanc, so it might have been an exceptional glass of wine anyway.) I forget now whether Winsha had the Leffe and Kristin had the Hoegaarden beer or the other way around; I just remember that Kristin's was the lighter-colored one with the lemon in it. I also got a small order of frites with BBQ sauce (I know, I know, I should have gotten a mayo-based sauce—I realize my error now—but I was overwhelmed by the choices, and BBQ is my old standby), which we ended up sharing. The frites were excellent, but definitely eat them hot. We abandoned them when the mussels arrived and returned to them at the end, and they weren't as good cold.

winsha lurking behind the numbers
fries at frjtz

I ate all of my mussels and several of Kristin's (she quit before the bottom of the bowl), so I definitely got my mussel fix. My only quarrel with the meal was the bread: It was sort of Pepperidge Farm consistency where it should have been, IMHO, if not chewy in the peasant-bread style, then at least toasted. Not loving the bread meant not dunking the bread, and that's half the fun of eating mussels.

all gone

Of course, not eating the bread meant leaving room, however meager, for treats at Tartine. Well, after a couple laps around the block and a hike up the hill in Dolores Park, plus a pause at the top to catch our breath, let our digestive systems do their things, and admire the view. Note to self: You've had the fresh berry with vanilla cream tart twice in a row now; branch out! Another note to self: Two brownies is not extravagant. Also, they travel well. P.S. to self: If you're going to get the galette, eat it that day.

berry tart

Posted by Lori in food at 6:11 PM on July 19, 2008

Comments (1)

Wow, wish I'd known to ask you where to eat when I saw you at BlogHer. : ) It was my first time in San Francisco for any length of time and I didn't do the proper research (or breathe for any length of time to check it into it once I got there.)

I'll know a couple of places to go when I return, anyway.


Wow, wish I'd known to ask you where to eat when I saw you at BlogHer. : ) It was my first time in San Francisco for any length of time and I didn't do the proper research (or breathe for any length of time to check it into it once I got there.)

I'll know a couple of places to go when I return, anyway.

Posted by: laurie at August 17, 2008 7:04 PM

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