Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Brenda's French Soul Food, San Francisco - OMG Grits!

Be careful what you wish for, lady.
I didn't know what grits were. I thought they were something "dirtier", like hash, so I was pretty surprised when I got something that basically looked like corn porridge that a baby could eat. But most of all, I was surprised that Brenda could make this pale yellow blob taste so day-m good.

Bon Voyage - a fitting message for us that day
Brenda's is a tiny, narrow restaurant - the kind where you easily knock elbows with your neighbours. According to Yelp, queues for this place weave round the corner and beyond on weekends. We got here on a Monday morning and got straight in, and were seated under the skylight - awesome.

Chicory Coffee
This was my first experience of the New Orleans speciality. Some chicory coffees don't contain coffee at all, but I believe this did, just a little. It was easy to drink, that's for sure, but I don't think it woke me up sufficiently to be confident about our forthcoming Big Sur drive. I had two, but the mugs were so big I had to remind myself to stop, in case there weren't sufficient toilet breaks on the road... y'know).

Shrimp and grits
I took one look at the menu and knew I needed to get these things called "grits". I um-ed and ah-ed over the shrimp and grits and the steak and grits, then T told me she was getting the shrimps so - problem solved.

I'm glad I got the steak as the shrimps were a bit too packed with flavour for me for the first meal of the day. It was slightly spicy and after a while the whole thing (with grits sitting underneath) got a bit too gloopy for my liking.

Steak and grits
My steak had a bit of bite and a robust, meaty goodness, and the biscuit gave me the textural contrast I needed. If I had to choose again, I wouldn't have gotten poached eggs - too much gloop. Maybe scrambled instead. The grits, though, wow. It has the sweetness of corn, the slight savouriness of chicken soup and just a smattering of tiny little bits of corn, and a wonderful, slightly elastic mushy texture that I just love. I had grits again later (at Cracker Barrel) with this in mind - and oh, ew - I knew I couldn't take Brenda's grits for granted. When I see them again, trust me, I will kiss them grits.

Brenda's French Soul Food
652 Polk St
San Francisco CA 94102
United States of America
+1 415 345 8100

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  1. I tried Brenda's as well when I was there. It's cheap, good n v big portion. Did u go to tartine's bakery?

  2. @melodysf - INSTAGRAM5:55 pm

    I love their crawfish beignet!!!! I am a foodie here in Sf (HK native)! Let me know if you visit next time! There are so so so many good restaurants and coffee shops you can write about :)
    And I am so glad to have found your blog online! That feeds a lot of my nostogia for HK food!