Considering that Adam took over 130 pictures of London restaurants we ate at, it was only natural that we start chronicling our thoughts and opinions about the food we eat. We've totally become accidental foodies. It all started out when Sheila started calling Adam "the human trash compactor"; since he eats almost anything. But somewhere along the way we started having discussions about food and seeking out culinary adventures when on travel. We bring a unique perspective to this arena as we're both vegetarians (no meat, poultry, or fish). I suspect we will both have varying opinions on the food, and hope to not only have a record for posterity, but provide some fun, useful if not amateur insight.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

a french (toast) bistro vibe in cole valley...

In a brunch-happy community, Zazie has long stood out as one of the city's best. Located in Cole Valley, this quaint french bistro puts out some amazing cuisine. Sheila and I have now been to Zazie on three different occasions, all for brunch. This last visit was over Memorial Day weekend with our friends M&C from London. The yelp reviews that state a 45-60 min wait are no exaggeration. After putting our names down, we ended up walking up the street to a local coffee house for a caffeine shot. After standing over a group of young ladies finishing their meal, C and I were eventually able to snag a sidewalk table (first come, first serve) instead of waiting for indoor or back patio seating. Side note: the back garden patio has an amazing ambiance amongst lush foliage (especially on a warm day), feels like you're having an intimate meal in your own backyard!

The brunch menu is a combination of salads (veggie and seafood), savory sandwiches, breakfast egg and meat plates, and pancakes/french toasts. They also have a great selection of champagne mixers (w/ orange, pomegranate, cranberry, mango, or peach juice). It was hard to gauge the wait service as we were immersed in conversation with our great friends, whom we hadn't seen in a year! Overall I would say the service was okay.

Sheila ordered the challah french toast with orange cinnamon butter and topped with fresh fruit. The dish came off very light and not too eggy. The fruits were pineapples, strawberries, bananas, honeydew, and cantaloupe. However Sheila felt that melons would have been better suited as a side accompaniment rather than being on top of the toast. Side note; you can order 1, 2, or 3 pieces which makes it portion control easier. Overall Sheila was happy with the dish. This being the third time she's ordered it.

I ordered the tahiti french toast with walnut cream and caramelized bananas. The toast is stuffed with a chunky walnut cream, which provides the main sweetness. It is a well balanced combination; fluffy, not eggy, not overly sweet, crispy outside, and moist inside. I couldn't stop at one bite and the next thing I knew, the plate was wiped clean. I'm not a huge fan of bananas either, but caramelizing makes them oh so good! At brunch spots, I typically go for pancakes, so this was a departure from the norm - and well worth it.

Zazie remains on par with Plow as my favorite brunch spot in SF. The location, back garden patio, popularity with locals, and mouthwatering brunch plates all make it the quintessential neighborhood bistro. To be fair, we'll probably need to visit some other places before coming back. There's just way too many to choose from in this foodie paradise we call home!

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