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Archived Smirk

Sometimes a little bit of foresight can lead to a great weekend. Well, I guess you could call it foresight… more accurately, it was an impulse purchase that just happened to work out.

Scroll back to Saturday afternoon. Rainy, cold, San Francisco in Spring Saturday afternoon. We had planned on going out and picking up some housewares (like new towels and some cooking utensils&#41 downtown. However, the only thing worse than having to go anywhere on the bus in the rain is having to take the Haight Street bus lines downtown.

The Haight Street bus lines are trials even on nice sunny days. The reason isn't the general state of disrepair that the buses are in, it's because the damn line runs from the dirty Haight Street zone to the tourist zone at Union Square. That means that on the best day, I'm competing for space with the dirty, smelly hippies heading to the tourist area to bum cash off of the unexpecting tourists and I'm competing for space with the whining tourists asking me every single block "Is this where I get off for Haight Asbury?"

But in the rain, it's significantly worse. When the rain hits, the Haight Street buses are filled with soaking wet hippies (which smells like a wet labrador retriever&#41 and whining tourists who didn't know that it actually rains in "Sunny California." Needless to say, heading downtown wasn't an option.

So, we decided to head down to the Ross Dress for Less in Potrero Center, which is on the 22 Fillmore bus line (which coincidentally is usually tourist-and-hippie-free&#41. If you've never been to a Ross, it's an outlet store like Marshalls or Filene's Basement… hordes of shoppers hoping to find the one great gem hidden in the racks. Search me, I've never found anything amazing in the clothes racks. However, the housewares sometimes have occasional treats pushed behind the tacky porcelain cat-shaped cookie jars.

This week, the great find was a 2-quart Calphalon saute pan for $15.99. If you've never used one, Calphalon makes the best pots and pans out there. Last month, we found a 3-quart pan there, and this 2-quart beauty was the last piece of cookware that I had been looking for to complete my rag-tag kitchen.

Fast forward through five excruciating minutes in the check out line and there we were, new pan in hand, standing in the driving rain, wondering if we should just go to the Safeway next to the Ross or go to a better supermarket. It was tempting to just grab some tasteless meat and under-ripe (or rotting&#41 produce at the Safeway, but we had a new pan, damnit, and I wanted to use it for something good!

The decision was made: we were heading to Mollie Stone's Market.

Mollie Stone's is a great gourmet supermarket in the upper Fillmore, which (also coincidentally&#41 is also on the 22 Fillmore line. They have the best selection of meat, produce and cheeses in the city… and even more important, they are the only place in town that carries Jew food.

You see, I have been on a search since I moved here almost six years ago for the ingredients needed to make a good Jewish breakfast. If you've never been to a Jewish brunch, you don't know what you're missing. We don't have any of those sissy pancakes and waffles or anything like that. A good Jewish breakfast consists of eggs, lox, baked salmon or whitefish and a bagel with cream cheese to nosh on. Unfortunately, the only lox that I could find in San Francisco was flavorless and there was no whitefish to be found. Anywhere.

However, when I walked inside Mollie Stone's, I was greeted with a display of lox (the real Nova Scotia lox, not that damn Pacific Northwest crap&#41, whitefish (both the whole whitefish and the small chubs&#41, smoked sable and sturgeon and a big display of bagels. Call it foresight or call it an impulse buy, but by the time we walked out of the store, we had all of the fixins for a great Jewish Breakfast.

Sunday, we woke up and immediately went to cook. Since Janet is still getting used to good-ol' Jew food, she opted for an omelet with chives and tomatoes. I went full-out and decided to have my favorite: Lox, Eggs and Onions. Aah… three eggs, a diced onion, a quarter-pound of Nova lox and some chives all scrambled up and served with an english muffin ('cause if you use a bagel to make an impromptu sandwich, the eggs fall out the hole when you pick it up&#41.

Lox, Eggs and Onions are a favorite of mine. I would have it when I visited my grandfather in Stratford (that's in Connecticut&#41 for a family brunch when I was a little kid. Also, my father made a point of having the essential ingredients to make this dish whenever I stayed over, which, if memory serves, was the first real meal that I ever cooked. When Janet and I went to New York City last December, we made a pilgrimage to Barney Greengrass just for the Lox, Eggs and Onions… and when we were in Las Vegas, I had a plate of Lox, Eggs and Onions at the hotel cafe…

…and Sunday morning, I had my first Lox, Eggs and Onions in San Francisco and wondered why the hell I was still living here.

Posted in Smirks.

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