Monday, 9 June 2014

Where it all began – the sweet U.S. of A.

It’s got to be said: Americans know how to do breakfast.

Us Brits can pull together an elegant afternoon tea at the drop of a (top) hat, but when it comes to fluffy pancakes, architecturally sound waffles or sweet dense bagels, the yanks know best.

And my obsession with brunch came about while on my travels to the States. I go every couple of months to attend technology conferences for work, and last September on a trip to San Francisco was a turning point in my breakfast experience.

San Fran has got to be one of my favourite cities and its laid back attitude makes it the perfect setting for a lazy weekend brunch. And that’s exactly what I did on my first visit last year.

I went online to hunt out a decent recommendation for a Sunday breakfast and the Twittersphere came back with Mama's on Washington Square which has been serving breakfasts to North Beach for over 50 years. I was warned that the queues get pretty long, so I hopped on a cable car and arrived for opening at 8am. 

Sadly I wasn’t the only person with the same idea and the queue was already around the block. But I stuck it out, and after an hour of rereading the same section of my guide book, I was rewarded with one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had.

I chose the Cranberry-Orange French Toast which is homemade bread (or more like cake) baked with cranberries, fresh orange juice and walnuts, which is then battered in egg whites and fried. And of course I added the seasonal berries as a side and chose a Mama’s special smoothie (bananas, berries, orange juice, yoghurt and honey) to wash it all down.

Considering the queues outside and the limited seating inside, I wasn’t rushed by the staff and happily enjoyed my breakfast in the lemon-yellow cafe with a great view of the breakfast bar and bakery. It came to less than £10 ($16.30 – plus tip) and I just wish London had a place like Mama’s - or perhaps for my waistline it's a good thing it doesn't!

If you’re ever in San Francisco, I urge you, GO – just let the menu tempt you! Get there for 7.30am and be aware that they’re closed on Mondays, but whatever you do get yourself to Mama’s.