When I started writing the Drink of the Week column for SFoodie, SF Weekly's food blog, I never imagined that I'd still be doing it two years later. But I've somehow rounded the 104th column, and it's time to talk about the one thing that everyone asks about: the hangovers, and where I go to assuage them.
So you had a couple of drinks after work and while you never really felt drunk, you wake up with a mild dry mouth and a slight headache. Hopscotch in Oakland is a perfect destination. The petite space is bright and sunny, off the main drag just enough to keep the noise and traffic away.
My go-to choice is the Soy Braised Pork Belly Benedict ($15, toasted baguette, jidori eggs, miso hollandaise sauce) with one of the best variations of a French 75 and Mimosa — the Oakland 75 ($12, sparkling wine, gin, orange and grapefruit juices, house-made grenadine).
Don't miss out on dessert, especially the wonderfully textural experience that is the Adzuki Bean Mochi ($8, coffee jelly, mascarpone coffee cream) paired with the Wide Eyed ($9, iced chicory coffee, bourbon, sweet milk), one of the best coffee cocktails around.
1915 San Pablo, Oakland, (510) 788-6217, HopscotchOakland.com.
If you wake up with a more severe hangover, then Maven is your spot for relief. The Death in the Afternoon ($11, sparkling wine, absinthe sorbet) calms your pain immediately, and the Maven Julius ($6, orange, milk, vanilla, malt) is like the mall treat, but better, especially if you upgrade for $3 more and add a shot of bourbon.
On the food side, the Smoked Trout Salad ($13, ravigote dressing, rye croutons, rye creme fraiche, cippollini onions) doesn't sound like hangover food, but the chopped egg in the dressing and tender and fresh-tasting trout make it substantial and fortifying. On the sweet side, the Bread Pudding French Toast ($12, fig, walnut, maple syrup, vanilla creme fraiche) is rich and ethereal in its lightness. Don't forget to add the Billionaire's Bacon ($5) that comes glazed in a slightly spicy sauce — it's hangover kryptonite.
598 Haight, 562-8365, Maven-SF.com.
Chances are good that 15 Romolo has been the source of some of your hangovers, but don't be afraid to return to the scene of the crime for brunch. The room is rather bright and cheery at brunch with the windows open on nice days. The best part is that your relief begins immediately with a complimentary Waffle Shot (waffle chunk in a maple syrup & bourbon cocktail). Chase it with the Sticky Bun ($6), which comes covered in pecans and caramel.
On a more savory bent, the Beetlejuice ($9, gin, beets, lemon, tomato, sesame oil, creme fraiche) is a cross between borscht soup and a Bloody Mary. It is a strange, vibrant, and effective tonic. And the Crumpet Benedict ($12, homemade crumpets, poached eggs, guanciale, arugula, hollandaise) puts a twist on the classic.
15 Romolo Place, 398-1359, 15Romolo.com.
Jasper's Corner Tap
So you didn't sleep very well and woke up with a banging headache. Exhausted and in pain, head over to the part of town where no one cares what you've been up to: the Tenderloin.
Jasper's new Bad-Ass Brunch is truth in advertising. The Michelada ($11, Del Maguey Vida, Jasper's bloody mary mix, tomato juice, Trumer Pilsner) is one of the best versions around. The Añejo Fizz ($10, Pueblo Anejo Tequila, coffee, orgeat, cream, soda water) is an awesome mix between a soda fountain-style drink and a fizz cocktail, with the necessary ingredients a hungover body needs: coffee and tequila.
The standout breakfast dish is on the sides menu: The Breakfast Kimchee ($3) is lively and fresh, sweetened with bits of fruit, and just enough acidity to absolve you of your fatty sins, like that thick slab of the Braised Bacon ($6) you're putting into your mouth. The veggie Potato Sausage ($13, soft eggs, king trumpet bacon, wild mushroom, parsley sauce) has a log of marble potatoes cooked in a cloth, then griddled, and comes with the best veggie "bacon" I've ever had: Crisp, smoked slices of king trumpet mushrooms shatter like the real deal.
401 Taylor, 775-7979, JaspersCornerTap.com.
Rock Bar & Front Porch
You feel the worst you've ever felt, probably still a little bit drunk, and definitely like you're going to die. Sitting, standing, and lying down all hurt. You feel like crawling into a cave and dying, and while it may not be a real cave, the Rock Bar in Bernal may be the closest you can get. Once inside the safety of the dark bar, order a Bloody Mary ($7) or a Bourbon Fizz to brace you.
At the end of the bar is an old-school phone from which you can order food from The Front Porch across the street. The Stoner Stack (fried chicken, bacon, cheddar, sausage gravy, biscuit) isn't just for stoners, but also for people like you. Don't forget to order a paper sack of New Orleans-Style Beignets ($5), designed by the citizens of a city who know a thing or two about bars and hangovers. Their voodoo can bring back the dead, and their deep-fried pastries can break the spell of even the most cursed hangover.
80 29th St., 550-6664.