Dottie’s True Blue Café was another golden find on my work travels in San Francisco. I was recommended this place from a friend after retelling my awe of the French toast at Mama’s Bakery in San Fran. But this time I decided to get to Dottie’s before opening to avoid queuing around the block for an hour.
What you will notice about San Fran is it doesn't matter what time of day you wander around, there will always be a gentle buzz of people in the city centre, but it never gets like London with pavements full of zombies walking aimlessly around. Aided with my jet lag I arrived at Dottie’s between Market and Mission 10 minutes before opening at 7.20am on a balmy Sunday morning, and there were already a few joggers and a number of people looking for somewhere to start their day.
I was still about 10th in line, and within the ten minutes, the queue had already doubled. Luckily, I got a seat pretty easily - I could have had a table, but I choose to sit at the bar and take in my surroundings.
I had no expectations of this place other than the "huge portions" my friend had told me about. I think part of me was expecting a greasy spoon, but I couldn't have been more wrong, thank goodness. The cafe is set up with a 1920s theme, with black and white pin up girls hanging on the brick walls, brass finishes, a marble top bar, and big band music playing gently in the background.
The menu here is extensive, with chalkboard specials changing daily as well; it was an excruciating decision – sweet or savoury?
In the end I settled on the lamb Merguez sausage, roasted garlic, tomato, spinach and goats cheese omlette, but instead of Dottie’s famous buttermilk dill toast, I tried their chili cornbread.
It arrived on a plate quite easily larger than my head, indeed my friend was right the portions were massive. But the omlette was fantastic. I would have never put those flavours together, but the sweet goats cheese sat all gooey in the middle of the perfectly cooked eggs with chunks of tender lamb sausage. I think I would reach for the chorizo if I was making this, but the lamb was so much tastier and less overpowering than spicy cured sausage.
The side of chili corn bread with chili jam was needed for a different texture against the eggs. And the crunch of the bread slathered in jam was delicious. The jam providing a nice hit of warmth, but it was also very sweet which satisfied my sweet versus savoury dilemma from earlier.
It came to around $22 with tip, which also included my bottomless coffee and the side of fried potatoes (like I needed MORE food!) which I think was pretty reasonable value considering I couldn’t face any more food until dinner time – I couldn’t even grab a homemade cinnabon which sat looking longingly at me from the side of the vintage till register. That made me rather sad.
Whenever I leave my heart in San Francisco, it is always at the breakfast cafes.
Farewell Dotties - until we meet again.