California Classic

JoAnn's Cafe

More traditional lunches run the gamut from a mountain of crisp, juicy romaine lettuce tossed with subtly sugared pecans, pungent blue cheese, and a delicate, oil-rich vinaigrette to sandwiches (the BLT, the BLAT, and the traditional club among them) and a half-dozen pastas. I choose the penne Christiana, which combined toothsome pasta tubes with tremendous shreds of low-fat chicken-basil sausage, juicy tomato, red onions, capers, a hearty dose of olive oil, and enough red chili flakes to produce a mild, pleasant burn.

Sometimes hamburgers are nothing more than sandwiches (a thin patty of dry meat on bread), but when properly executed they're a fusion of sandwich, salad, and ground steak that sets the stage for all manner of culinary experimentation. At JoAnn's, you get the properly executed kind, which can mean the X burger (the patty from the Andy's Hearty Breakfast on a toasted onion bun), or the avocado/Thousand Island/cheddar/alfalfa sprout California burger, or my choice, the blue cheese and bacon version. If you order that last option, be sure you like both ingredients, because you'll have to start by nibbling off the protruding bacon ends before sinking your teeth into the cheese-smothered burger, a deeply flavorful patty covered with as many red onions, pickles, tomatoes, and lettuce leaves as you'd care to pile on.

Location Info


JoAnn's Cafe

1131 El Camino Real
South San Francisco, CA 94080

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: South San Francisco


Buckwheat pancakesone for $3.50 (and up)

Spicy migas $7.25

JoAnn's Special $7.95

Don Pasqual $8.50

Andy's Hearty Breakfast $8.95

Penne Christiana $7.95

Blue cheese/bacon burger $6.95

Milkshake $5

Open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., weekends from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Reservations not accepted. Credit cards not accepted. Wheelchair accessible. Parking: a breeze. SamTrans: 390 (from Daly City BART), 391 (from Colma BART). Noise level: moderate.

(650) 872-2810

1131 El Camino Real (at Westborough), South San Francisco

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Then, if you simply must make a pig of yourself, throw a shake into the equation (banana, mocha, espresso, buttermilk, vanilla, or chocolate). Be warned, though: Chances are you won't feel like heading back to work after such a meal. Instead, walk out the door, feel the sun on your face, and perhaps engage in one of the many fine California traditions I grew up with -- have a toke, catch some rays, take a drive in the hills, or choose a nice secluded spot and bang on your drum all day.

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