brenda’s soul food

brenda’s soul food is a sweet n’awlins style brunch place near civic center in SF that i’ve been meaning to try awhile; a friend used to live nearby and had recommended it, but by the time we got there the HUGE line clustered outside the nondescript door was unmanageable and we were both starved so we tromped off to absinthe in hayes for a decadent brunch. this past weekend i was determined to finally make it there and see what all the hype was about. we got there around 10:45 and patiently waited until about 12 when we were (ravenously and already ready to order) seated. it’s a tiny, sweet little restaurant that doesn’t fit many people and it’s ungodly popular with all them hipsters, which accounts for the line. i’m happy to report that brenda’s indeed lives up to the hype. being from the south i’m a bit picky when it comes to what passes for “southern food” here in california (still have not had decent bbq out here) but brenda’s soul food really delivered for a homey, down south brunch.

watermelon iced tea and chicory coffee. the refills kept coming! the watermelon tea (aren’t the chunks of fruit adorable?) was a wonderful mix of freshly squeezed watermelon and fragrant iced tea. the coffee was also good, but i just got back from costa rica so….. (see below LOL)….

a flight of beignets which were the following flavours:


creole crawfish, molten chocolate, warm cinammon apple, and regular. we liked the cheesy creole crawfish one the best- intense and flavourful- and the beignets were fried perfectly- fluffy on the inside, crispy on the outside without being oily.

eggs benedict with fried catfish. i can’t resist eggs benedict (no wonder my cholesterol is so high) and i can’t resist fried anything. this was a nice southern take on eggs benedict and the biscuits were AMAZING! so buttery, so flaky. this was a daily special not on the menu.

remember those delicious biscuits? well, good thing we got the biscuits and gravy, which were another daily special. i could eat this sausage gravy until i DIED. very meaty, a touch spicy, and soooooooooooo decadent,  it was like eating some kind of delicious, delicious death. this is how southerners eat, y’all.

we also ordered these housemade granola pancakes in some kind of misguided attempt to be healthy but by the time we were through with all 3 preceding fat-soaked dishes we were pretty much ready to die and ascend into some kind of new orleans heaven. i LOVE granola and my go-to before sleep snack is usually fruit/yogurt/granola but in this case it made the texture of the pancake kind of weird.  it was the only dish i didn’t wildly love but that could also have something to do with the fact that i was so full at that point any more food began to resemble an enemy.

is brenda’s soul food worth the atrociously hungry wait if you stop by on the weekend? this southern-raised girl says YES! the staff is adorably friendly, the food got marks of approval from all 3 diners in our group, and we left happy and satisfied, though sad/a little bit ashamed to leave behind ginormous amounts of uneaten pancake.

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