When the weather is just so-so in San Francisco, you can bet it’s beautiful in Noe Valley. It has something to do with the way the fog comes in off the ocean and gets diverted by Twin Peaks as it moves inland, or so I’ve heard. But the “why” is less important than the “what,” which…is one-of-the-most-beautiful-Sunday-morning-strolls in San Francisco. Unfortunately, contrary to popular belief, Jonathan does have an opinion (though I usually just ignore it), and therefor he has some influence on our weekend plans…and he doesn’t like trekking over the hill to Noe Valley.
So I usually need more than just a warm sunny walk through waspy-strollerville as an excuse to go back to the N-to-the-Valley. I think he’s so against it because it’s just not a place that really fits into our lifestyle these days and besides, both of us are terrified of running into my old crazy neurotic lesbian landlord who overcharged me for renting the room with nothing but lace-covered-glass French doors separating it from her living room and kitchen where I, lucky me, got to experience first-hand the decline of her drug addict/dealing children and personal self-implosion in the wake of a breakup with a woman half her age….sorry but thanks for letting me vent! So therapeutic to share that online! But I digress, what’s more irritating than my old landlady’s gray roots! is waiting 40 mins for a table at any of the overly crowded brunch places with Tory Burch-clad new moms and their “one-of-the-first-600-employees at Facebook” (aka obnoxious millionaire) husbands. It’s a great cliché, but just not the one we’re really looking to buy into right now. We’re more of the gay Jewish bears in Alamo Square trying to balance dog rearing and homo-ownership. But it doesn’t matter how much I’ve developed (that choice of word makes it sound like I grew breasts or something) since those days when I used to strut down 24th Street, because I still get nostalgic about my old stomping grounds just south of the Castro. It’s where I gave birth to my new life as a happy person. A better version of myself here in San Francisco.
So you can imagine how excited I was when we decided to go there for brunch on a warm sunny Sunday. We were meeting some friends who live in Bernal Heights, so we figured Noe Valley would be convenient. But we still had the issue of finding a place where we could make a reservation for five people and not have our feet rolled over by strollers while waiting in line for an eternity. And voila! We found out that Fresca, a fantastic Peruvian restaurant (small SF chain actually with a few locations around the city) on 24th Street was open for brunch on the weekends. It wasn’t just egg omelets, French toast, and granola with Greek yogurt either. They were serving oysters on a half shell, various ceviches, a line of eggs benedicts with different toppings, some baked goods, and fresh tasting beef, chicken and crispy pork shoulder sandwiches. Done!
So if you’re looking for a place to have brunch in Noe Valley where the food is authentic and delicious, they have a full bar (Bloody Marys and Pisco Sours anyone?), and NO KIDS…..then go to Fresca.
Here’s what we had:
Fresca Nouveau Peruvian Cuisine
Picarones- Peruvian pumpkin fritters with Andean syrup. Basically light and fluffy doughnuts that sound healthy because they have the essence of pumpkin in them….and pumpkins are vegetables….right? Sure it’s a stretch, but that’s my versions of blissful ignorance.
Papa Rellena – Beef potato croquette, aji panca miso glaze, pickled onions.
Ceviche Chifa- ahi tuna, soy, crisp wonton, avocado, sesame seeds, peanuts, aji, and lime.
The mahi mahi ceviche of the day with fried corn crisps and red onions.
Pan con Chicharron- Crispy marinated pork, pickled onions, lime juice, sweet potato, rocoto mayonnaise on French roll.
Pan con Lomito- Sautéed sirloin steak with onion, tomato, cilantro and jack cheese on toasted Dutch crunch bread.
Crab cakes eggs benedict- Hollandaise sauce on homemade buttery English muffins with crispy rock crab cakes and roasted house potatoes.