Boogaloos falls in the second camp, though it's far more interesting than your average pancake house. The Mission institution serves a vegetarian-friendly, regional mishmash of breakfast and lunch every day from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., with just a few menu additions on Saturday and Sunday for the extra crowds.
Located in an old drug store, the restaurant is unrecognizable from the exterior, which advertises a "percentage drug co." over small tables lining the sidewalk outside. Inside, booths and square tables fill the floor, with squeeze bottles of condiments on each one and clusters of bright artwork scattered on the walls. The look is fun, casual and kitsch, a bit like the locals who frequent Boogaloos.
Though it's a popular brunch destination, service moves efficiently, so you may not have to wait as long as the crowd outside indicates. Our experience was an easy one: about 10 minutes at prime mealtime on a Saturday. But if you're in quickly, you're out a bit quickly, too -- food comes in a flash, and your check will be on the table before you've had a satisfactory chance to rehash the previous night.
When it comes time to order, you'll have plenty to choose from. Boogaloos doesn't rotate their menu with the seasons, so it's safe to go ahead and pick a "usual." At first glance, the menu seems to lean Mexican; plenty of the dishes contain chorizo and black beans (and even a few plantains!), but you'll also see andouille sausage, polenta and vegan "fake stake."
Portions are huge, prices are reasonable and they don't skimp on the grease. Take the Pulled Pork Quesadilla ($8.50), a gigantic folded tortilla filled with pulled pork and cheese, served with piles of black beans, sour cream and cabbage on the side. It's flavor-packed and delicious, but be prepared for a meat coma.
If the Mexican dishes sound tempting, you can't go wrong with the Huevos Ranchero ($8), two eggs over-easy, served on a corn tortilla with cheese and salsa. Add chorizo for even more savory goodness, if that's your speed; staffers are accommodating when it comes to additions and substitutions. The rest of the plate is loaded with black beans, sour cream and cabbage salad, just like on the quesadilla orders.
The Benedict-style dishes are weekend specials, served only on Saturdays and Sundays. The Eggs Barrio ($12) skips standard Canadian bacon for crispy strips of traditional bacon and generous hunks of avocado, topped with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce on an English muffin. We subbed chorizo hash for the regular homefries that go with it (expect an extra charge) for an -- expectedly -- super rich meal. Buttery hollandaise plus chorizo-filled fried potatoes equals happiness, and heartburn.
The "Kitchen Cupboard" is a fun option. You get to pick from everything stocking their fridge and shelves and add it to a scramble ($7) or omelet ($8). Choose from $.50, $1 and $1.50 ingredients to create your favorite mix; our scramble included mushrooms, spinach, feta and bacon. The toppings to egg ratio is plenty fair -- this scramble was loaded with goodies, and the egg was just a binder. And the whole deal comes with two whole slices of toast and a massive portion of greasy but tasty homefries. In short, you won't go home hungry.
It's safe to say there's something for everyone at Boogaloos, unless you're on a diet. Everything tastes delicious, though there's way too much of it for one person (and some may find the dishes overly rich). Still, if you know what you're getting into -- a huge, yummy breakfast to prep you for indulgent sunny day drinking -- it may be just what the doctor ordered. Worked for us.
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Slayer, Exodus and Suicidal Tendencies performed at the Fox Theater in Oakland on November 12, 2014. Photographs by Richard Haick.