Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Another San Francisco Treat

I don't know why this surprises me. We have cable cars, Victorian painted ladies, some of the highest housing costs on earth, and several of the world's greatest suspension bridges, one of which has a tunnel in the middle. Why not have a combination cafe/laundromat that features live music as well as your choice of heat levels on the dryers?

While laundering and listening at the BrainWash, you can dig into a hearty meal -- maybe a "This Is Your Brain on Drugs Breakfast Sandwich" for just $2.99 (egg over easy, spinach, cheddar cheese, tomato and aioli on a grilled English muffin with home fries or salad; $1.00 extra with Canadian bacon). (Good price, and it sounds wonderful.) Or a Coin-Op Omelet, also $2.99, for home fries or salad and a three-egg omelet with your choice of the following fillings for just 50 cents each: Spinach, Ham, Monterey Jack, Onions, Smoked Salmon, Tillamook Cheddar, Mushrooms, Bacon, Sliced Jalapenos, and/or Jarlsberg cheese.

San Francisco is a uniquely cosmopolitan city, so the BrainWash also serves pasta primavera, a Middle Eastern plate, fish tacos, teriyaki tofu, various hamburgers and vegetarian burgers (including the "New Burger of Doom"), mesquite-smoked turkey breast in a sandwich with guacamole, buffalo wings ("straight from the rust belt"), a Brainwash salad (mercifully devoid of actual brains, cooked or raw, dirty or washed), and Chinese chicken salad.

Of course, the menu also features an attempt at a cheese steak. Everybody tries. Nobody outside the five-county Philadelphia area can cook them, but God love them, they do their best. This one costs $7.75 and is touted on the menu as "Philly-style beef steak, sautéed onions, spicy chiles, red and yellow bell peppers and Jarlsberg cheese served on a panini roll." Jarlsberg on a cheese steak? Whatever you say, dear.

Though I haven't eaten there yet, I definitely plan to try the BrainWash. Usually when I'm near Folsom Street, I eat at Hamburger Mary's, a legendary cross between a Halloween party and a well-run diner. To be honest, you could describe any of San Francisco's great institutions as a cross between a Halloween party and something else -- university, bank, high-tech corporation, city government, whatever it would be if it were located somewhere like Chicago. Somewhere normal.

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