Every memory has its own soundtrack, they said.
This memory has a soundtrack of relentless waiting in the rare San Francisco heat. Touted as one of the finest all day brunch spots, a favorite of all meals, the street style vibe of Washington Square Park attracted many coffee clutching and casually dressed sightings of the Bay, standing in a wrapped line outside a tiny cornerstone restaurant called Mama’s. Each without the expression of alarm that was evidently plastered on my face.
For you see, I despise waiting. Despite having undergone the time warp of having made people wait for my rushed presence, owing to my inkling that the day constitutes of 40 hours instead of 24, standing in line is something that tests my patience. With the ever reliable Gastronomypix at bay, the moment called for the unlikeliest of San Franciscan things to do: pose for a few matched up red pics for an editorial lookbook to feature on one of my many lookbook stories. Complete with shoes from Creative Recreation, ultra skinny jeans from Topman, Retro Super Future staple sunglasses and my code red Beats by Dre.
She borrowed them too. The things we did while onlookers watched and gaped, and in all likelihood, judged. As I shrugged. Live and let live.
On eventually making it inside after a two hour haul, we were sat at a petite corner table in a rather old fashioned shop, complete with internal window displays full of cakes and fruitcakes, pebble-like cranberries all visible, with light peaking in from vintage curtains that only made it halfway up. We chose to cleanse our heat and makeup (just kidding) with fresh squeezed grapefruit juice instead, which tasted beyond expectation due to our parched appetites.
We shared two of Mama’s best-known platters – and platters is the right name for the heaps of food clamoring over the plates, rendering them invisible, and with enough elevation to battle one of the hills we had hiked.
The savory element was Mama’s Egg Benedict: two poached Petaluma farms eggs served on a toasted English muffin with hollandaise sauce and Mama’s grilled potatoes, alongside sauteed mushrooms, baby spinach and grilled tomato. With a laundry list of ingredients, the eggs stood fairly close to our faces, the pinnacle of the mountain of vegetarian friendly brunch items. Oozing with steaming hollandaise sauce and speckled with paprika the bouncy poached eggs in twin form could only be mistaken for an arousing breast of sorts, and consequently photographed even more longingly. With freshness infiltrating the very aroma of all the ingredients, they were indeed well cooked, well seasoned, but devoid of whimsy. Perhaps that’s how Mama did it, prefixing everything with the name and promising homemade goodness that was ultimately something I could whip up at home too. (And serve on a bigger plate!)
The sweeter element was Mama’s French toast, with homemade brioche topped with walnuts battered in egg whites and a forest of seasonal berries, namely strawberries, blueberries and heap of bananas. My favorite was the little jar of homemade maple syrup, whose aroma was enchanting and overpowered the rest.
The hearty freshness here was unmistakable: these had evidently been just sliced, and I felt like my healthy Californian aspiration of eating organic, locally grown goods. The French toast was soft, albeit slightly over bready, but blended well with the saccharine goodness of the homemade syrup which oozed of freshness, cut by the burst of fruit. I devoured it, and was alarmed at how much I liked it sans the usual gastronomy or whimsy I am used to.
I ended by getting my favorite type of cake, a carrot cake. Unlike any frilly decadence, it was a simple looking cake with homemade cream cheese frosting, with not a sliver of carrot showing in its spongy texture. While texturally impeccable, it lacked the crunch of nuts and the grit of my favorite vegetable, could have easily passed as a spice cake. Nonetheless, it was a lickable end to the meal.
After hours of waiting, the consequence was perhaps too homely to merit a line, but was matched by being filling and satisfying. Feeling like I was walking out of a plaid dipped gingerbread house, I galloped onto the quaint street with mellow hills, ready for the music of the earth to whisk me into another vacation. To make memories.