Irving Street Cafe
Sometimes things don't go your way and you just have to accept the fact that Art's Cafe is closed on your birthday (the day you took off work) and that even though you braved the dark and low clouds - heavy with rain and symbolism - and drove all the way to the Inner Sunset to wax poetic about a Korean-owned lunch counter that serves a mean omelet, Art's Cafe is closed for repainting and the lady patiently looking up at you on her hands and knees retouching that door jamb says they're not open on Mondays anyway.
Son. Of. A. Bitch.
So, we went across the street. To the Irving Street Cafe.
Here's the deal: The Irving Street Cafe looks like, at one time, it was an old school coffee shop but it's had so many changes of ownership and remodels that it seemlessly blends in with the rest of the uneventful breakfast and lunch joints on that commercial strip. It has a lunch counter from which you can watch your food being cooked or you can sit at one of the tables off to the side. The lighting looks chic and modern - for 1991 – and framed, mass-produced Ansel Adams prints hang on the wall.
Personally, I'm more of a Diane Arbus fan. But then, hello, look at this blog!
Even though the Irving Street Cafe fits the criteria of my Asian-owned and operated Coffee Shops series, I hadn't planned on writing about it. It wasn't even a Plan B. We only ate there because we didn't want to leave the neighborhood hungry, since we were on our way to the Mission via Daly City and a quick jaunt down Geneva.
But that's when Bruce brought up the Patty Melt. Oh yeahhhh. Okay, let's see: wasn't I just complaining about the lack of good Patty Melts we've encountered on this mini-circuit of Asian-owned Coffee Shops? I believe I was.
The plan: I'll try the Patty Melt and Bruce would get the omelet. If the Patty Melt was good, I'll take pictures and then maybe, just maybe, I'll write about it.
Apparently, it was.
Don't worry: I asked for medium-rare.
In fact, it was the Patty Melt that Bruce deserved instead. Had he known this was the place to get it, he might have skipped the "chicken apple sausage" and cheese omelet, even though he said it had a good flavor, the sausage was sliced real thin (which worked in the omelet better than chunks) and was made with real cheese. It was served with toast (butter and strawberry jam) and hashbrowns - just in case one actually needed the extra carbs – and came on a plate so large and heavy I actually felt pity for the person who has to wash the dishes.
I had the choice of french fries, potato salad, or green salad to go with my sandwich and I chose the green salad. Because it's healthy. And isn't that why we Americans are so overweight? Bad choices?
However, taking a healthy option and then smothering it with 1000 Island dressing probably cancels out whatever you were going for in the first place, but then the waitress was kind enough to bring the bottle and leave it. Thank you!
Oh, and is it really a surprise that the service was incredibly friendly? Not really.
I swear, all of these Asian-American Coffee Shop people must go to the same charm school. Where is this place? And can somebody please bestow some humanitarian or Nobel peace prize upon it?
Irving Street Cafe: thanks for restoring my faith in the Patty Melt.
Art's: you better recognize.