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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Enough with all this Beer Chatter, just look at my Coffee habit...

I guess I have some pattern with the number 4. As revealed on a Tuesday a couple weeks back with 4 coffee stops throughout the day. It all started after 9am at Dynamo Donuts, where I forgot to bring money with me. Doh! Not only that, I ordered the delish Focaccia as well. I mean it had Cauliflower, Zucchini, Onions and some Swiss Cheese and I just couldn't resist. I am so glad they were sweet about it. I mean I did go back 2 days later to pay my barista Jesse. This guy can pull a good shot.

Speaking of pulling good shots, Bryan who I met at Blue Bottle now does double duty at Special Xtra. That was my 2nd stop and 2nd realization that I had not pulled any money out. Doh Doh!! Again both Ileah and Bryan were sympathetic to my situation. I mean, I am the Mayor of these places. Well, on foursquare, that is...

I finally stopped at the ATM before meeting up with the guys for lunch at a new spot on Pine Street in the Financial District called Credo. Credo, in Latin and Italian terms, means I believe, and you know, I'm certainly a believer. Believe me when I say this too...order the Tuscan Hummus which apparently, is the Chef's version of white bean hummus accompanied by crispy rosemary focaccia bread from their Woodstone

Speaking of dropping names, I just got to. Dutch craftsman, Piet Hein Eek, did all the tables. They were quite amazing to see around this room as it started to fill up at noon. Plus, all the quotes on the walls were fun it glaze back and forth as you are trying to be good company to your buddies at the lunch table.

So, we shared everything the waiter suggested to us. Even the Zuppa del Giorno, which was a Minestrone of some sort and quite good. I believe we got the Insalata di Pomodori Rossi, Fagiolini (hee...heee), Peperoni e Parmigiano. Which, in English, means, it was a salad made with Red tomatoes, French green beans and bell peppers with Shaved Parmesan in an aged balsamic dressing. Now that was a mouthful and we each fought hard for that plate.

The war continued over the remaining pieces of flatbread and that pile of hummus. That was, until our pizza arrived. The QUATTRO FORMAGGI, as it's called is, Housemade mozzarella, fontina, pecorino Romano, gorgonzola and fresh arugula. It was absolutely stunning as we believed it would be.

And would you believe, we ordered a PANINOTECA. The FOCACCIA PROSCIUTTO E MOZZARELLA to be exact. Warm house made focaccia, for the 2nd time that day, cut in the middle and stuffed with prosciutto di Parma, mozzarella and basil, served with Parmesan fried potatoes. Friggin' fantastic it was, split 3 ways.

I clocked in at Blue Bottle Coffee's Kiosk at 1:20pm to have the other Bryan's shot. And this guy is no joke either. Apparently, there are a lot of Bryan's/Brian's that work there. So far, I'm hooked. And hooked I was that day on Blue Bottle. Because, 2 hours later, I clocked in at Blue Bottle Cafe in Mint Plaza for a meeting and another excuse for another Gibraltar. That would be the four I was referring to at the beginning of my statement. And therefore, I stand excused of drinking a lot of good coffee. So sue me...

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Oh the things that pair with Beer...

I finally ventured to Magnolia Pub and Brewery on Super Bowl Sunday. That was when I got to finally punch a few beers off on my punch card. We had just come from brunch at Camino and Paul indulged me with a little beer drinking. I started with their Delilah Jones Rye, aged in 18 year old Sazerac Rye Whiskey Barrels. It definitely has this thickness to it's spice and caramel taste and was certainly strong enough to cover Round 1, clocking in at 10.2% ABV. Next up, was Magnolia's Old Thunderpussy Barleywine (11.2% ABV) made with all English ingredients and "is built around a big, bold Maris Otter taste accented by East Kent Goldings hops." Here, you can taste the caramel but also the molasses and it has this dark fruitiness to it as well. I paired it with some Spanish Chorizo and some Mahon Reserva Cheese, which worked out well. After ordering a 1/2 dozen oysters, I tried my final STRONG BEER of the day, Smokestack Imperial Stout. It's a roasty Russian Stout that really has the holy smell of alcohol, clocking in at 10.2% ABV. It is smooth and malty and tastes mildly bitter but also has this toffee aftertaste to it. I liked it alot. It was a great first stab at what Magnolia was doing for the celebration.

Monday night (Feb. 8) was Sierra Nevada Night at Pi Bar and I asked my friend Angie to gather me up there before we headed to the Warrior game. Who knew I would get to experience all 5 brews they were serving up. I even convinced Jen (owner) to let me sample all of the sausages Richie (another owner) has made just for the occasion. As I ordered the solid, well balanced and tasty Wet hop Harvest, I got to talking with a gentleman sitting next to me at the bar. I knew he worked for the company because he wore a logo shirt, but I came to find out that he was actually the Brewery Ambassador, Steve Grossman. He and his brother Ken started Sierra years back after making beer in their basement growing up. What a gracious man he was as we discussed my obsession with food and beer. I went through their Porter which was very dark and rich and delicious as I continued to nosh on some yummy Calabrese. I also tasted the Hoppwurst, the Andouille and the Boudin Blanc sausages all house-made and very tasty. As our conversation kept flowing, so did the beer. Always a favorite of mine, the Bigfoot Barleywine was next on my list. 2009 marked it's 25th release of this dense hoppy monster of a brew. It's alcohol content is 9.6% but it goes down so easy. Easy enough that I was onto the Life & Limb, which is another dark beer Sierra did with the Dogfish Head folks. It is brewed with maple syrup from Dogfish Head Brewery founder, Sam Calagione's family farm in Massachusetts and estate barley grown on the Grossman "farm" at the brewery in Chico, CA. Both breweries blended the yeast and it's name "is dedicated to the family of beer drinkers and enthusiasts worldwide who continue to support the little guys, iconoclasts, entrepreneurs, and pioneers who risk life and limb to shape the vibrant craft-brewing community." I like the sound of that!

Steve mentioned Sierra Nevada Beer Camp. I asked him if it was anything like the sleep-away camps I went to as a child. He laughed and said it was an industry thing and definitely noted my enthusiasm for wanting to participate. The folks at Pi, Zeitgeist, Toronado, Barclays and the B Street Bistro were all invited to attend Beer Camp #19. The result was a beer they created called the Hoptimum with an alcohol content of 10.4%. This Imperial IPA consists of pale and Munich malts, Simcoe, Chinook, Citra and Magnum hops. It tasted great and is still on tap today if you want to catch an appearance.

After introducing Angie to Steve and sampling a bit more beer, it was off to Oakland. But not before stopping at Humphry Slocombe for 4 flights of beer ice cream. They had six on the board that night and got to try each of them before deciding on my FINAL FOUR. Like the Blue Frog Scottish Ale and the Iron Springs Rye Ale + Caraway Brittle. I thoroughly enjoyed the Hop Stoopid & Bacon Cappuccino Stout + Cocoa both made with Lagunitas beers. Jake also did a Blue Frog Spiced Wassail flavor. I think he told me he must of made close to 60 different combinations over the Beer Week. I have to say, he was been very generous with all the leftover brews at his store. Thanks Jake!

We finally showed up to the game at 8:30pm but I can't say I remember much, as Angie nudged me to wake up several times before we finally exited in the 4th quarter. But it was an incredible night and I was really excited to have experienced all of the different flavors and innovations of beer.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tasting Life...and Limb & Life amongst many many STRONG BEERS

It was Saturday, the 2nd day of SF BEER WEEK February 6th. Boxing class was at 11am, which gave me time to refuel from a heavy night of drinking. So I spent about an hour at Four Barrel. I started with a single origin from Colombia that Matthew recommended.  Then I noticed my girl Loma working behind the main coffee bar and went on to 2 more baby mocha's. Another treat was that there were Anthony's Cookies in the counter. I opted for the white chocolate chip and the cookies & cream. I figured I would be burning all this off in the next hour hitting the bags and working on my core. Excuses...excuses.

After boxing, Shana and her Great Dane, Oliver and I went to Sightglass Coffee to make some more friends. Oli is super fun to hang with. He is huge and the commentary that comes out when you travel with him is historical and repetitive but none-the-less a great ol' time. Shana encouraged us to walk to Cups and Cakes where I had a delicious peanut butter & jelly cup cake. It was a great little storefront right near The Stud on 9th Street by Harrison. I walked Oliver and his mom back home as I ventured on to lunch and beer with my bud Matt.

I took Matt to Rosamunde on Mission Street inches away from the 24th Street BART Station. It was my impromptu nosh & beer tour of the Mission during this great BEER WEEK. So we ordered sausages and a few Strong ones. Like the Lagunitas Hairy Eyeball which clocks in at 8.8% ABV. It is slick when it coats your mouth. I did love the chocolate and toffee taste to it. Really warms you up in the winter time. Jake, from Humprhy Slocombe, actually donated some to my home collection most recently. I try and pair it with Nutty Cheeses. But I digress...

As our tour continued, Matt and I popped into Pi for a cheese slice and some Concentrated Evil by Lucky Bucket Brewing Co. It's a very STRONG (10.0% ABV) Belgian made with raisins and exotic sugars. I liked it a lot lot! I would have drank more at Pi but I had promised to get back to SOMA and hit up City Beer Store with my girl Shana.

Man... was it crowded with Beer Geeks everywhere. I was kinda proud. I was kinda drunk. Fitting, I should order the Ballast Point Sea Monster as my first pint. This Imperial Stout out of San Diego was a real treat to the dark beer aficionado I have become during this month of hardcore beer slugging. I was enjoying the hints of roasted coffee. This was quite an Oatmeal Stout in it's complexity. Onward to my Avery DuganA IPA which I have seen and drank at Rosamunde while making the rounds. This particular IPA is something I reach for a lot actually. It is quite floral but pours great and goes down smooth and bitter, just how I like it.

Ok, I am loopy and shopping for beers. Window shopping till I finish one last pint. And guess what, I got the last pint from the Cask of Limb & Life, a Small Beer from Sierra Nevada/ Dogfish Head. And the rule at the Beer Store is that the last is always free. Yip-pee! Shana and I picked out some great beers to bring to a Potluck at Michael's Boxing Ring that night. Frankly, that's when things get a bit fuzzy. From the pictures it looks like it was a grand time.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Friday, Surprisingly, I'll Never Forget

Friday February 5th and SF BEER WEEK had officially started. It was obvious that I had already started in on the celebrations, so why stop. My friends Rick and Brent met up with me at the 21st Amendment for more STRONG BEER TASTING and punches on my 2nd punch card. Brent and I had just come from burgers at Burger Joint, which, by the way, is one of the best burgers in town. My favorite location will always be the original on Valencia by 19th Street. The grill over there just makes them burgers taste so juicy. I remember in my fatter days, when I first moved here, I would order 2 and go home to my apartment and watch the original Melrose Place while completely pigging out. These days Burger Joint has expanded in locations and I have trimmed on how many burgers I eat. But that day was just screaming to consume beer and my taste buds were perking for a little Blind Lust. It was that and the Hop Crisis. Oh, and Lower De Boom that set us off for a crazy afternoon. They were certainly STRONG enough to us 3 big guys who were a bit loopy when we left the Brewery.

That night consisted of more drinking at Range with friends Ron, Chris and Bill. Since there were 4 of us, I think we must have tackled most of the menu. My first cocktail, the Side Dish, was a big hit. It had Torres 10 yr Brandy, Allspice Dram, Grand Marnier, Cranberry, Egg White and Lemon. I B Lined it for my 2nd round with Bulleit Bourbon, Lillet, Bergamot, Honey and Bitters. Bring it on me!!! And if that weren't enough, I became a Bitter Maestro for round 3. That consisted of Russell's Reserve Rye, Amaro Nonino, Apple Jack Brandy, Dubonnet and Pomegranate. They were my kind of drinks. And and we ate too. I remember now. We shared things like their raw dayboat scallops with pickled beets, satsuma mandarins and orach. Fantastic! I loved my petrale sole with trumpet mushroom chowder, portuguese cabbage and parsley puree. The think all the guys ordered the pan roasted bavette steak with barley, turnips, roasted scallions and horseradish sauce. I mean, how could you not? Just writing it makes me drool. But the showstoppers might have been those chestnut crepes with moyer and mariposa plums, chocolate-honey gelato and armagnac. Somebody stop me!! We also were pleasantly pleased by the butterscotch pudding with whipped cream, vanilla wafers and toffee.

I basically peeled myself off the floors of Range and wandered into the Castro for a 440 Castro Walkthrough. And walk through I did and out the door after one BIG DADDY. I walked all way up to Noe Valley and stopped Outer Mission side, toward Bernal, at Front Porch, to see what they had up their sleeves. My friends Blake and Karri were closing up and yelled "Action!" as I walked in the front door. After getting hugs all around I rewarded my long journey from the Castro with so more STRONG BEER. I'm amazed too, by the way, as I recall this stacked day of boozing. And to tell you the whole truth, I know I tried all 5 beers on their menu. First up, On The Cask, Speakeasy-Triple Daddy with 11% ABV. WHOOOOO-WEE!! and HOT DANG!! It was then onto the Merkin, the Firestone Walker Velvet Merkin Oatmeal Stout from Paso Robles (5.8% ABV). Its Bourbon Barrel Aged and so chocolaty. Brown and Tan, 2 great colors to look at in a glass. And super smooth to drink with just the right kick of hop. I was a PRANQSTER after that from the folks at North Coast Brewery. This Golden Belgian is a local star at Pi alot and clocks in around 7.6% ABV. 8.25% ABV, Drakes Triple Belgian was my next encounter. This Triple is aged in Pinot Noir barrel for 2 years. WHAT?! describes it as, "unblended, unspiked with Brett, yet extremely sour imparted from the barrel itself." I would have to agree on the sour but oh so hoppy I was. I mean it's name is George Brett Triple. Hello? One of my childhood heroes. I think his baseball card(s) are in my garage. One final beer, was my last call. That was SF BREWERS GUILD IMPERIAL COMMON (8.2% ABV). "A lager fermented in SF's ambient temperature...beautiful, copper-colored, aged in St George Spirits whiskey barrels." Oh yeah it was...

I remember that it was raining and I remember that my good friend Karri gave me an umbrella. I live inches away from the Porch, so it was not too difficult. I made it through my front door and dried up for the night.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Day 2, 3, AND 4 OF A VERY STRONG BEER MONTH...the saga continues

Back to Strong Beer Week and that Tuesday when I was feeling good a couple weeks back. That was the night I was the + 1 to my pal Jennifer at CAMINO for the holiday party. The night we sipped on Sangritas and noshed on all that great Mexican cuisine. Yum! Well, Alex, the barkeep, mentioned where we should go to for a little after party. And by mention, I mean key words for me were drafts of Linden Street Black Lager and lots of salty snacks. And so we went up Piedmont Avenue in Oakland to Adesso. It was past 10:30pm, which meant late night cocktail hour was in affect. Alex ordered us the beer and I headed to the buffet. I was a bit hammered from the party but remember salivating over some cured meat. Apparently, they have over 30 kinds. They had cut up slices of paninis stuffed with chicken and cheese and I believe red pepper that I recall with delight. But it was nonetheless a great snack to have alongside my Lager, my Burning Oak Lager by the folks at Oakland based Linden Street Brewery. It was roasty and sweet and surprisingly lighter than I thought. But the night didn't stop there. We then ventured to Emeryville for a little late night dancin' at Kitty's to close out the evening. I loved the Steelhead Double IPA that was on tap but also the old hip hop hits like O.P.P. that had me reminiscing about my youth in the 90's as we danced till last call.

Let's just say it took a lot of coffee and a whole lotta munchin' the next day to get my stamina to start drinking Strong Beer that night. Stops at Four Barrel, Philz and Blue Bottle to be exact. Oh, and a good hangover breakfast at Squat & Gobble in the Castro. That was night I had gone back to CAMINO with Ron and was treated like a king. Well, after Jennifer dumped her boyfriend Ian for me, Ron and I gave her a ride back to the city. I insisted we go to Pi to have them try the Allagash Odyssey. Ron bowed out and let us do our thang. That was also the night I got to try the first of many Magnolia Strong Beers, the Promised Land IPA. Weighing in at 10.5 APV and served in a 6 oz tulip style glass and otherwise known as the Proved IPA on Steroids, according to it's brewmaker's. This was just the thing I needed after a great day of both overcoming personal struggle and looking at all of life's rewards.

Day 4 and nearly 4pm and I was jonezing for a Two Lane Blacktop next door at 21A. I satisfied my fix and sat for another Beer School. Nearly two punch cards already filled, on one side that is. It was Thursday and Carlo from CAMINO was doing a Superbowl themed menu at Mission Street Food that night. We and I mean, Paul, myself, Loma and Jennifer ordered everything on the evening's menu but the Vegan Delight. The big hits were the Frito Pie with smoked short rib and beef tongue chili with frito crust and charcoal grilled spare ribs with orange-chipotle glaze. And we can't forget to mention the Taleggio and Budweiser "Nachos," which were waffle fries and caramelized brussel sprouts with tomatillo and granny smith salsa verde. Screaming! Got to go back to the kitchen to give the boyz da props they deserved before we ducked out and over to Monk's Kettle for guess what? More Beer Drinking! I did in wine terms, a Vertical of both Deschutes Black Butte XX and XXI both with 11% ABV. Ser, a server at the Kettle, whom I had gotten to know at the CAMINO shin-dig suggested I give this triumphantly crafted chocolaty malted flagship brand a try since they had 2 different varieties. He was absolutely on the money. I then sampled Smoke Beers like the Heller Aecht Schlenkeria Marzen (5.4 % ABV) which tasted literally like apple bacon, the Lagunitas Brown Shugga (9.7% ABV) and the Stone Brewing's Sublimely Self-Righteous (8.7% ABV.) Scrumptious, I tell ya...Now where did I park my bike?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Triple Time at CAMINO

I had the pleasure of experiencing CAMINO in Oakland on 3 different occasions last week. First, it was to accompany Jennifer at their post-holiday company party. How exciting to be amongst the talent in that room. Sipping on Herencia tequila in one hand and the ingredients of a unique-styled Sangrita in the other. I further inquired when I spoke with barkeep Alex. He mentioned that the norm is like a tomato and orange combo. He played on that by using Blood Orange, Lime, Small Hands Food Grenadine and Aji Pepper to taste. The drink certainly paired with the theme of the night's event as we feasted on delicious ceviche, pickled vegetables, carnitas and the most amazing salsas and dips you could ever imagine.

Ron came into town from Dallas and insisted on dining at one of my favorite places I blog about. So, it was with no hesitation that we went back to CAMINO. I have to say, being that I had been there the night before for the restaurant's celebration, I felt like Hollywood royalty. Everyone was so happy to see me again. I knew a lot more of the faces but I also felt closer to cuisine and the environment that is ultimately created. It certainly helped to have Jennifer and Alex behind the bar because they know the menu and execute with their own personal signatures. I remember getting a specialty Manhattan that was not even listed on the menu to start the night off. Ron made a great choice and went for Gin drink with spatlese Riesling and whatever fresh ingredients they decided to mix in. I also remember the chicory salad as it is done with such perfection. Everything from the cod to the pork was outstanding. Ron insisted on dessert, which you know, I'll never deny. The night was so special. Being with my best friend and being in a place that inspires my palate and my mind.

It was again, without hesitation, that we celebrate Karri's birthday at CAMINO for brunch. And so Chris, Paul, Karri and I made the trek from Noe Valley/Castro/Bernal Heights to Oakland last Sunday. And to our delight, Alex and Jennifer were again our barkeeps and baristas. I had both a cocktail and a coffee drink to start off the journey. If memory serves me right we also had that incredible chicory salad again. There was a pork sandwich that we all shared that was out of this world. I know the 2 different egg dishes were completely devoured. I remember moaning after eating their sausage and this was a distinct moan of pleasure, I might add. We all had our own pair of crackers to tackle the crab. Carlo was working line that day. He had just come off Mission Street Food that past Thursday with Chris as his co-pilot. And you know he was happy to see us munching on all the goodies that were continually flowing in and out our table. Like the sardines and the potatoes...DAMN! They were mind-blowing. I encouraged everyone to hold on for one more stop before we journeyed back over to our side of the bay. I wanted to introduce them to Katherine and subrosa coffee on 40th Street at Webster in Oakland. She has this tiny little spot with a gorgeous outdoor seating area. We all had some Four Barrel beans. I, of course, went for a Gib. Looking around while sipping, I noticed the smiles on the birthday girl's face and her partner in crime. Chris and Karri are very special to me and it was great to have them experience some of the most appealing spots in the East Bay with me and Paul.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

And So Begins Strong Beer Month...

Strong Beer Month really started for me on February 1st and so has my beer gut. It fell on a Monday and being the coffee nut I have been, it didn't help that I made 3 stops before checking in to work. Those stops were a baby latte at Sightglass Coffee, a Special Xtra Macchiato and of course the best Gibraltar from Jennifer at Cento. Honestly, this woman was so good, I went back to bring her a Chicken Livers and Bacon sandwich from Pal's Take-Away just to say thanks. After a gym run and a run to the liquor store after work, I ran over to Pi for a pizza slice and the beginning of my Strong Beer Addiction. It was a draft of Allagash Odyssey that got me started. Odyssey is the second edition in Allagash's Barrel Aged series. It is a dark, 10% ABV wheat beer. They age a portion of the beer in New American Medium Toast Oak, and a portion in stainless steel for more than six months. Then they blend the two different portions of beer to taste. Finally they add additional yeast and Candi sugar and VoilĂ ! My next flight was off to the Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Company. Usually available in early summers in 22oz bottles, this limited draft was first released in July 2000. The beer as Stone describes it, is massive! For sure it is! "Intensely aromatic (notes of anise, black currants, coffee, roastiness and alcohol) and heavy on the palate, this brew goes where few can- and fewer dare even try. The style originated from Czarist Russia's demand for ever thicker English Stouts." Woof, I tell you...And they were right with heavy at 10.5% ABV. It was 2 more drafts of Moonlight's Death and Taxes and some house-made calabrese before I called it a night. I love how dark this brew looks but how light and easy it is to drink. It is refreshing without the heaviness. Tell that to my body as I crawled back to the crib and tucked myself in.

My friend Matt and Mike came into town on Tuesday from Mendocino. I insisted that we celebrate by trying all 6 of 21st Amendment's STRONG BEERS. That way I could fill out half of the my STRONG BEER tracking card and be close to my commemorative glass. My first selection, was the Cask Conditioned Imperial Jack. This is a Big ESB, malty with a hoppy edge and clocks in at 8.7% ABV. Matt got the Hop Crisis which is a Triple IPA with big aroma and flavor at 10.8 ABV. Mike went for the complex Lower De Boom full of malt and hops and 11.2% ABV. We ordered the special pasta which was the rigatoni bolognese, the special risotto and some fried calamari to pair with our selections. I was impressed by the taste but also the feeling that came over after several sips. And then we ordered the last 3 Strong Beers to complete our experience. I jumped for the Beer School by Jon Foster who claims it be a dry hopped Imperial Blonde, clocking in at 9.1% ABV. The guys got the last two on the list. Mike claimed the Two Lane Blacktop, which was an excellent Imperial Stout, that I ended up hogging 'cause of the hearty taste and probably the 9.4% ABV was also quite appealing. Matt had the pleasure of the Blind Lust, which is 21A's Belgian Strong with oak aged framboise. Clocking in at 9.5% abv with 35 IBUs, this was a great way to finish out our beer flight. And at that point, we were all feeling it. And by feeling it, I mean, we were feeling real good. Was it only just Tuesday?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Soul Food Waitin'

Last Sunday (Jan. 31st), my friend Stuart joined me on an adventure to Polk Street. Of course, we did stop for coffee along the way from Ritual to Four Barrel. But then it was onward toward Civic Center and the Tenderloin. I had heard I needed to try Brenda's French Soul Food. I now know the inside scoop as we waited for literally 2 hours for a table. The place is tiny and based on how many parties are ahead of you, the wait can be tremendous. We attempted to find a libation up Polk Street but after several blocks of walking, I did the large beer in a brown bag purchase at the convenience store and walked back to Brenda's. When we finally settled at our table, it was decided that we order immediately and Stuart asked them to bring us an order of Crawfish Beignets with cayenne, scallions and cheddar while we perused the rest of the menu. The flavor of the dough and the combo of the crawfish and it's spice really reminded me of being back at fair grounds at Jazz Fest in New Orleans. It was tantalizing. And speaking of seduction...Our next course was my Banana's Foster French Toast with Butter Rum Sauce and Whipped Cream and his Oyster & Bacon Scramble with Hash & Biscuit otherwise known as, the Hangtown Fry. I was in complete bliss mode. Every bite was better than the one before. I realized why I waited and waited for it. Oh, and I must mention the Watermelon Ice Tea which was exquisite. The next time I do Brenda's, I'll rise early and get there when it opens. It seems like the best way to start your day.