So, my Mom is visiting me for a couple of weeks (which goes a long way towards explaining the lack of knitting and blog posts) and we’re both Top Chef fans. Since a number of the cheftestants come from San Francisco, it only made sense that we would try to eat at one of their restaurants. Since Mom’s far less spendy with food than I can be, I figured I’d skip dinner at Absinthe (though I still desperately want to go; need to round up some friends and get on that) and then I saw the brunch menu at Circa.
Little known fact about me: I love eggs benedict. To a slightly unhealthy degree, I love eggs benedict. I would happily eat it every day for a week if I could. (My inability to poach an egg makes this impossible, as does the fact that I am far too lazy to actually assemble a complicated breakfast most mornings.)
So, this morning we headed off to Circa for brunch. I’d checked out the menu online, and it was slightly out-of-date, but most of the things were still the same. I had, of course, the eggs benedict sampler, which involves a choice of TWO types of eggs benedict. Oh, Circa, how you know the way to my heart. After much debate, I settled on the Bernaise (beef tenderloin and tarragon hollandaise) and the Spanish (serrano ham and saffron hollandaise) and Mom went for the apple crumble french toast. (She reacts to french toast the same way I do to eggs benedict.)
First off, though, a few pet peeves. Aside from the Marina crowd (I moved here to get away from preppy frat boys, thanks) which obviously isn’t the restaurant’s fault, I was a little annoyed by the lack of a drink menu. The only thing listed for brunch were bloody mary’s and mimosas. Both delicious, but I don’t always feel like drinking at 11:30 on a Sunday morning. They had tea when I asked for it, but still, a list of beverages wouldn’t hurt. I also felt like the tables were kind of close together; I could overhear the conversations of the people on either side of me. In addition to feeling kind of awkward, it severely curtailed my ability to mock them.
The food, however, was delicious. We started the meal with the complimentary basket of cornbread. I was a bit wary, as I could smell the jalepenos as soon as I picked up my piece; I’m a pretty big spice wuss, and the only person I’ve met who is a bigger one is my Mom. Seriously, the woman’s ideal salsa consists solely of tomato, onion, and garlic. We are not a spicy people. But, once it was spread with butter and honey, the bread was deliciously flavorful, and not at all spicy.
The bite of french toast I tried was delicious as well; the apples were fresh and sweet, and there wasn’t an overwhelming amount of syrup. The cinnamon cream looked fantastic as well, but I skipped that, since hollandaise sauce pretty much triples the amount of dairy I should be eating (but, alas, is totally worth it. Hi, my name is Stephanie, and I suffer for the sake of yummy food.) and I didn’t want to tempt fate. The eggs benedict though–that will bring me back to Circa. It may take a BART trip, and an insanely long ride on a ridiculously crowded bus to get there, but it is so worth it. The Bernaise was my least favorite; the tarragon hollandaise was wonderful, but the tenderloin seemed a tad overcooked. Which means it was about medium–I prefer my meat rare (or even bleu) if at all possible. Plus, the amount of beef seemed a little bit much next to the egg and english muffing. It was still very good, but I think I’ll try another variety next time.
The Spanish, though–I would sell my soul for that breakfast. The Serrano ham was wonderful–salty and bursting with flavor–and the saffron hollandaise was incredible. Only the fact that we were in public stopped me from licking my plate. It was that good. All of the flavors complimented each other perfectly, and achieved a perfect balance of rich egg yolk and sauce and salty ham. If you’re ever in San Francisco, make the trip to Circa and try this; I promise you won’t be disappointed.