“My first reaction was shock. My second, excitement. My third, satisfaction…”
Fusion is the new black. There are so many restaurants – especially in San Francisco – that try to incorporate different cultures into a single dish to create a melodious harmony of flavors. This approach has brought us sushi burritos, Horchata boba drinks, and ramen burgers, but something I have not tried until recently was an Asian American fusion brunch. Fortunately, that changed this weekend when I went to Blackwood cafe. To read about the escapade behind my journey to Blackwood, I wrote this post and also talked a little about myself, so you all should check it out!
A typical, gloomy day in San Francisco, with a side of winter rain would have left a slight damper to my weekend, but my visit to Blackwood brightened it up. High ceilings with sky roofs fill the room with a bountiful amount of natural and artificial light. The decor resembles a rustic, yet classy aesthetic from Blackwood’s stained wood tables and fancily tiled walls. There is outdoor seating with access to the fresh air and occasionally, sunshine. On cooler days, there are heaters to warm up the customers as they enjoy their meals outside.
The servers were very attentive and patient as my friends and I slowly decided on what to order. Also, they always seem to be there when our water glasses were empty. However, our dishes took some time to arrive, probably because we were there at noon on a Saturday, which is the prime time for adults to get their mid-morning mimosas. As we were waiting for our meals, we looked at the condiments and we found some we’ve never seen before: sun-dried tomato ketchup with sriracha. My first reaction was shock. My second, excitement. My third, satisfaction as I tried it with my potatoes once I received my order.
Yes, yes I know brunch does not exactly correlate with a high schooler’s budget. However, all of my friends and I had endured a semester-long balancing act of schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and college applications, so we finally got to treat ourselves to delicious food.
After perusing the delectable dishes on the menu, I decided to order the BW Benedict ($15). All of the savory breakfast entrees are served with a light vinaigrette salad and a rainbow potato mix that contains purple yams, sweet potatoes, and Russet potatoes. What I love about this dish is that they’re a crispy dream and each potato has its own distinct taste, which is different from those frozen potato mixes that make all of the potatoes taste the same, regardless of what type they are. Once I received my meal, I was drooling. The BW Benedict consists of a healthy slab of pork wine sausage, two poached eggs. mushrooms, cilantro, crispy yams, and Thai chili hollandaise, all laid on a fluffy slice of Ciabatta toast. A good indicator of a satisfactory poached egg is how much enjoyment you get from slicing into the egg and having the yolk gush onto the bread: this was definitely the case. Moreover, I like the Ciabatta bread more than the typical English muffin because the fluffiness of the bread absorbs the egg yolk and I love the tough flour-sprinkled crust. I thought the sausage was delicious, which is rare for me to say because I’m not a big fan of sausages. The slightly sweet flavor combined with the faintly salty egg yolk, the fresh and crunchy garnish, the soft bed of Ciabatta, the slightly sour hollandaise sauce, and the spicy kick from the chili sauce to wow my taste buds. I was barely able to finish such a large plate of food, but some power from the heavens gave me the power to clear my plate.
My friend, Ally ordered the Blackwood Pancakes ($11). The pancakes contain Meyer lemon zest and ricotta cheese, along with maple syrup and maple butter on the side. The pancakes were light and fluffy, and could be considered on the healthier side, since they are made with whole-grain flour. Also, it seems like the Blackwood Pancakes are less dense than most, with less sugar and oil. The lemon zest and the ricotta (cheese made from sheep’s milk) created a delicious balance of sweetness, while also moistening the pancakes. Despite this, the pancakes were slightly dry, which was a bit disappointing.
Along with ciabatta toast, green salad, and rainbow potatoes, my friend Jackie ordered Blackwood’s egg plate ($16) which consists of two eggs and the beloved millionaire’s bacon. In all honesty, a good indicator of a hip and happening brunch place in San Francisco is whether or not they make millionaire’s bacon. BW prepares this beloved dish in thick cuts with brown sugar, chili, pepper, and their homemade smoky maple syrup sauce. Of course, the eggs, prepared sunny side up, were exactly how they should be. The most enjoyable part of the dish was how the acclaimed bacon had a mix of sweetness and a slight tangy spiciness.
Moreover, Josie ordered the relatively new poached eggs dish, Belly Rancheros ($17). It consists of poached eggs, slow braised Kurobuta pork belly, arugula, kimchi pico de gallo, spicy guacamole, all laid on a crisp corn tortilla. Just listing the components of the dish makes me want to go there and order it because I’m a sucker for pork belly and guac. The pork belly from the Belly Rancheros is overflowing with juice and flavor, while the pico de gallo adds a refreshing and spicy kick. Although there are different influences from the Mexican and Korean culture infused in this dish, the spices and texture of the pork, tomatoes, poached eggs somehow complimented one another.
Lastly, Tyler ordered the BW Omelette ($14) which contains pork wine sausage, cilantro, lemongrass, scallion, asparagus, and cherry tomatoes. Although the same tasty sausage was used in the benedict. the overall dish was disappointingly plain. The omelette didn’t stand out from any other breakfast restaurant, which is disheartening due to how much more expensive it is.
As famously stated in the popular show, Parks and Rec, by Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle TREAT YO SELF (to some luxurious brunch). No matter what reason or what time of the day (as long as it’s between 9am and 4pm), you all deserve delicious breakfast food! What I love about Blackwood is that it is the embodiment of San Franciscan culture: just as Blackwood synthesizes a hodgepodge of flavors from other cultures together, SF also brings people of different ethnic cultures to interact and unify.
Photos by Joyanne Ibay
Edited by Jennifer Eng