Maple Bacon Latte @ Pirate Cat Radio Café


Last night on No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain visited San Francisco.  One of the places he checked out was the Pirate Cat Radio Café in the Mission District, (in)famous for their Maple Bacon Latte ($5).  Joe, Michelle, and I went after work to check it out for ourselves.

The lowdown:

Milk, maple syrup, and concentrated bacon grease.

Mix and foam the previous ingredients together.

Double shot of espresso.

Top with crunchy chewy powdered bacon bits.

Sweet porky caffeinated goodness.  And pure evil.

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The maple bacon latte came with a vegan chocolate truffle, which was covered in a scary, unidentifiable pink powder.  Sort of guilding the lily if I do say so myself.  Perhaps a shot of whiskey in the concoction would have been a better bet.  As Bourdain once said, “vegans are the Hezbollah-like splinter faction of vegetarians.”  Pink powder is a weapon of mass destruction.  But I digress.

Let me just say for the record that I am rabidly pro-pork fat in the most un-kosher/un-halal way possible.  After all, I hail from the pig-loving Pacific island of Taiwan, where a common comfort food from simpler times is a steaming bowl of rice mixed with lard and soy sauce.  Lard runs through my veins.  Liquid pork fat is the lipid love in my beloved Japanese tonkotsu ramen.  Pork and maple syrup is certainly not without precedent; they are all over the pork and maple combo up in Québec.

Back to the matter at hand. The maple bacon latte tasted alright at first.  The mouth-feel was definitely creamier and richer than a normal latte because of the bacon fat.  But as the drink cooled, the bacon grease started to separate and congeal a bit, feeling a bit heavy.

But that part was ok.  My biggest issue was with the smell.  The porky, smokiness smell was more off-putting than the presence of bacon grease in my coffee.  If anything, the bold flavors the maple and the bacon overshadowed the coffee.  More astringent bitterness from the coffee would have balanced some of the cloying sweetness and lipid overload.

My palate was craving something.  Perhaps a bit more saltiness to bring out the flavors.  Or some freshly ground pepper (or something spicy) to tie together the sweetness of the maple with the richness of the bacon.  Or maybe a shot of whiskey to help it all go down.

Needless to say, none of us could finish our drinks, but I guess that’s hardly the point.  If reading Tony’s books and watching his show have taught me anything, it is to go with the flow and take in the local attitude and charm.

I may have enjoyed it more if the weather were colder, or if I were hung over or something.  Hanger helper or breakfast of champions perhaps.  Gut bomb, for sure. But definitely not an ideal after-work-on-a-Tuesday kind of beverage.  But that’s my bad.  We probably should have went for beer (or whiskey) somewhere.

Definitely a worthwhile once-in-a-lifetime experience.  I thought I was going to have a heart attack walking up the hill on my way home.  For sure, there are worse ways to die, but alas, I live to tell the tale.  Despite eating some pineapple to clear my palate, I can still smell swine on my breath three hours later.  Thanks for the thrills Tony!  The LOLs are on us.

T minus 3 days until NYC.

See also: Pirate Cat Radio Café review on UrbanDaddy

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San Francisco Alleyways


Alleyways in the
City of Saint Francis
Hide Victorian houses
California dreaming
Or warehouse walls
Covered in human excrement
Hipsters or homeless
Smoking the dregs of humanity
Oh California
You finally spread
Your golden legs of
Before I leave you


Frenchie Friday

I went see Julie & Julia last night with Michelle.  I hope Meryl Streep wins an Oscar for her amazing performance as Julia Child.  The Julie Powell character was a bit annoying at times though, and her story line wasn’t nearly as interesting as Julia’s.  They could have probably made an entire movie based on Julia Child’s life alone.  Nevertheless, I recommend the film.


The cringe-worthy Cobb salad scene where Julie Powell has lunch with her friends made me strangely homesick for NY.  The depiction of Julie’s shamelessly ambitious, cell phone-tethered friends was pretty-right on.  They represent all that is terrible yet strangely charming about NYC (or maybe it’s just because I’ve been away for the too long).

Watching all that French food being made and eaten on the big screen piqued our appetite, so I busted out the iPhone and found Le Charm French Bistro in SoMa.  The restaurant is a charming, old-school French bistro, with a very reasonably-priced $30 three-course dinner prix fixe.  I had the French onion soup, a seafood bourride, and the strawberry tart for dessert.  Yum!

One more week to go for my ccLearn internship.  The rest of the ccLearn crew will be in Vancouver next week for the Open Education Conference, while I will be sticking around SF wrapping things up and documenting my work.  Then back to NYC next Friday.

Farley’s and Hazel’s


Farley’s and Hazel’s Kitchen have become my usual San Francisco Sunday morning spot for a one-two punch of caffeine and breakfast burrito.  Farley’s is a coffee shop, and Hazel’s is a tiny deli/takeout joint.  They are located right next door to each other in in Potrero Hill.  You can order food to-go from Hazel’s and eat at Farley’s or when the weather is nice, they have tables outside on the street.  As a creature of habit, I always order the breakfast burrito with tofu at Hazel’s, so I can’t comment on the other food, but the other stuff looks good too.  Everything is fresh and homemade.  Farley’s is an shabby-chic anti-Starbucks, with hip and friendly baristas and an awesome selection of magazines for sale (including my favorite, Monocle).

1315 18th Street
San Francisco, CA 94107

Hazel’s Kitchen
1319 18th Street
San Francisco, CA 94107



I had dinner at Yamo, a hole-in-the-wall Burmese place in the Mission tonight.  When I say hole-in-the-wall, I really mean it, it’s just 10 seats along a long, narrow counter looking on to the kitchen area with three Cantonese ladies engaging in a frantic ballet of taking orders, cooking, pouring water and collecting money.  I had the fish chowder noodles (above), which consist of rice noodles in a velvety turmeric-spiced broth with shredded fish, and topped with crunchy fried lentils.  The noodles, like most of Yamo’s entrees, were only $5.25.  CASH ONLY!

I also recommend the fried rice.  They don’t serve alcohol, but if you want more than water, I suggest the fresh young coconut, which is literally a whole coconut that they cut open with a cleaver in front of you.

As far as Burmese food goes, Yamo is not as good as Mandalay in the Richmond, but it’s much closer to home and the prices can’t be beat.


3406 18th St
(between Mission St & San Carlos St)
San Francisco, CA 94110