Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Ruby Tuesday - Out in San Francisco with Poetic Shutterbug - May 3, 2011

Joanne Olivieri, aka Poetic Shutterbug, has been a friend long before our blogging
days began.  We try to get together once a month, when we can fit it into our busy
schedules.  Our rendevous usually include food, drink, photography, music or
everything on the list!

Last week, I read about a San Francisco Creole - soul food restaurant opened by
New Orleans native, Brenda Buenviaje.  I emailed Jo and she suggested we have lunch
there today.  We arrived at Brenda's to find a line ahead of  us so we added our name
to th chalk board and sat down to wait. 

The restaurant is tiny with tables very close together, against a wall, on each side,
with a center aisle.  The noise level makes conversation almost impossible. 
If you are like Jo and me, ordering multiple items to taste, there is barely any
room to accomodate all the dishes.

The coffee served I remember well from my nursing school days at Charity and my six
years of living there - Community  coffee with chicory!  The display fit in well with our
Ruby Tuesday theme!

I thought the service was VERY poor.  People sitting next to us finished, another
couple was seated, and their order was served at least ten minutes before our first
dishes arrived at the table.  Also, we requested water which did not arrive for five

I was rather disappointed to learn that, in spite of  the Steen's Pure Cane Syrup can on
each table, there was none of my favorite Southern syrup available - so I didn't order
pancakes or biscuits. 

Jo did opt for the pancakes but they arrived "blackened" - I've heared of other blackened
dishes but pancakes?  She said they were still good in spite of the charred taste!

My side order of andouille sausage was over cooked.  It was more like andouille jerky!

The cheddar grits were as good as I've ever eaten - better than my mother used to make!

The hushpuppies were fabulous - soft, light, spicy, with onions and corn - I might have
added jalapenos if I'd been cooking but I've never had better.  The remoulade sauce was
a nice accompaniement.  As for the fried chicken thigh, I didn't find it anything special.
I'm a Georgia girl, who went t school in New Orleans.  I've had much better.

These are the shirts worn by the wait staff.  I'm not sure they eat responsibly.

The gumbo was outstanding!  I haven't had better, even in Bayou country.  It was spicy,
full of andouille and I'd go back for more!

The red beans and rice was also very good - not better than mine but almost as good!

Here's a happy Jo, now that  she is no longer hungry!  We were sad that they didn't have
a bar, though!  No Ramos Fizz or Sazerac cocktail.  What kind of New Orleans place
is this?

Eating a hushpuppy in my Ruby Tuesday garb!

So, we leave downtown San Francisco, saying we are stuffed and can't eat another
bite and, as we head down Geary toward the Ocean, Jo looks at me and says, "Why
don't we go to the Cliff House and have a drink?" 

"Okay,"  I say, delightedly!  After all, it's a gorgeous day and we didn't have wine with
lunch and, maybe, just maybe, we'll digest a bit of food in fifteen minutes! 

Of course, there was no parking at the Cliff House so we drove a little further down the
beach and decided to stop, instead, at the Park Chalet.  Perfect, handicapped parking,
ground level, lovely spot.  Interesting cocktail menu.  I chose a "Beach Basil Ginger"
made from St. Germain liquer, Grey Goose vodka, basil leaves, ginger syrup, and
lime juice.  It was so delicious!

Jo opted for a Pacific Punch which was made with Parrot Bay rum, orange & pineapple
juice, grenadine, Myers’s dark rum.  It was really very tasty, too!  Please note, it is
perfect for Ruby Tuesday.

The Park Chalet is all glass and open, with views of Golden Gate Park and the Windmill.
They have an incredible bar menu with a huge selection of liquors.

There are murals, commemerating California history in the lobby between the Park
and Beach Chalet.

Finally, since we hadn't eaten dessert at Brenda's, we decided we couldn't call it a
day without a few more calories.  Heeding my son Jeremy's pleas to watch my weight,
Jo and I opted to split a hot fudge brownie sundae.  Oh, my gosh, we will never do
that again.  From now on, we each have our own!

This is the main dining room at the Park Chalet. 

I am participating in Ruby Tuesday!
Check out the site and join in the fun!!


  1. Wow you have so many nice photos. And I giggled with that "eat responsibly" reminder lol!!
    Red Barn

  2. OMG, all these food I want to eat! You made me hungry. Hope you can visit my Ruby Tuesday page here.

  3. Your post made me hungry. The murals in the Park Chalet look like something I have seen before, Some friends in San Francisco took me to a place near the water with murals like that. It was a long room with windows looking to the bay and the inside wall covered with these murals. I don't remember it being a restaurant. The murals were locally famous and as I recall the subjects were real people connected to the area or something like that.

    The brownie sundae looks deadly. Thanks for visiting me.

  4. Okay, Carmen, all of this just made me hungry and thirsty AGAIN!!! You got some great shots there and I've always loved those murals inside the Park Chalet. I have got to go back for another Pacific Punch...We had a great time didn't we?

  5. Looks like the perfect day to me! I'm super hungry after seeing the food.

  6. It all looked very lovely! Makes me feel hungry.
    Maggie X

    Nuts in May

  7. I am hungry and you're to blame lol.. Nice!!

    Red Tulips is my RT, hope you can come and visit.

  8. wow, so much good foods, i love most what you said, " the red beans and rice was also very good, not better than mine but as good"- wish i can have some your red beans and rice someday Carmen, i love red beans and rice.

  9. Kim,USA -
    Clearly Jo and I didn't heed the admonition to
    "eat responsibly" - we took in enough calories for four people's daily requirement in one day! Oh, but it was wonderful!

    betchai -
    You would be most welcome to come for red beans and rice any time. Living in New Orleans for three years after nursing school,I spent a lot of time, beyond my three years in school, learning to cook Cajun food. I usually put ham and both hot links and andouille sausage in my red beans!

    Mel Cole -
    Looking back at my post, I'm hungry all over again! As soon as I finish answering my comments, I'll visit your Ruby Tuesday!

    chubskulit -
    When people post about food, it always makes me ravenous!

  10. GW Bill Miller -
    I'm thinking the murals you saw might have been at the Presidio. How nice that you visited us in the Bay area. Next time you're here, email me so we can have a drink together!

    Poetic Shutterbug -
    I think our outing yesterday was one of our best. But, then again, we always have fun. At least this time, there was no whole pig being hauled past us! That dessert was superb. I almost felt like stopping by today after physical therapy for another one.

    Jenny -
    I should be eating nothing but salad for a week after that wonderful indulgence!

    Maggie May -
    It was a wonderful outing but, would you believe, though I thought I wouldn't be hungry again until today, I was prowling for dinner around 9PM!

  11. Gumbo, I want gumbo since you said it's good! You two had a fun filled day, and your photos are just wonderful!

  12. It looks and sounds a charming restaurant. What a bgreat time you had!

  13. I like the name of the girl in the restaurant, Brenda Buenviaje - that means Goodjourney! I'd enjoy seeing those murals AND eating that brownie. The other dishes sound too exotic to me, I need a new dictionary to learn what did you eat!!

  14. Boy, that sounded like very poor service indeed at Creole. That alone would make me now come back but -- no maple syrup?? That would be the icing on my discontentment cake.

    However... that brownie dessert could make me forget any beef I've ever had with ANYONE. :) :)

    Wonderful to hear you and your friend making time to be together -- the best stuff of life! Well... that AND brownie sundaes and "Beach Basil Ginger" I'd for sure give that drink a try!!


  15. this sounds like an amazing outing...good food, good friends...really that food looks amazing!

  16. Carmen the restaurant reviewer! You've had enough experience eating out to do it. I find that I don't like much restaurant food any more.

  17. I started drooling at the cheddar cheese grits-- By the time I got to the brownie sundae I think I gained 5 pounds just looking at all the delicious food! Glad you had a great day despite the poor service. And the cliff House is a fave of mine from 20+ years ago. You brought back nice memories.

    Hope all is well with you Carmen. xo jj

  18. Crowded restaurants always make me nervous so I avoid them. Good review though. The brownie sundae looked good.

  19. Hello Carmen :)

    It's great to hear that you've had a great day with your friend. It sure is a wonderful feeling to meet with someone you've been friends with for years. My best friend since high school now lives in Florida while I live here in Sweden. After high school, we went to universities but in different cities however, we make it a point to meet at least once a month to chat, catch up, go malling and have dinner in our favorite barbecue place. Nowadays, we only get to talk about our wonderful memories (at least, wonderful) while we were still in the PHilippines. We still talk about flying back home at the same time so we can do the things we've used to do before. Hope we can fix our vacation schedules. :)

    Oh.. by the way, yup... that pancake's really over fried. I like my pancakes a bit burned but not over burned. Hmm.. Shame they haven't fixed your friend another plate with better pancakes to replace the bad one :)

    That brownie fudge really looks yum. That gives me an idea for Friday's dessert. Thanks, Carmen.

    Wow.. you did have an awesome food trip day. Cool! I so envy you :)

    Have a great day! :)

  20. Well, I'm officially back Carmen.....looking fwd to some more steady blogging, and thanks for your support.....

  21. So cute the two of you. I think you two looked very happy. I am glad you took a chance on the new restaurant, but, New Orleans gumbo is to die for. Just have to know where to go. :-)

  22. One may say-typical restaurant-some dishes good, some awful, what happens with the stuff in such places??? they don't care?
    I do not quite understand the T-shirt, I wonder what the author of the idea meant?:)

  23. Hope the gumbo and hushpuppies made up for the bad stuff.