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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Banana Cinnamon Hot Cakes at Bayside Café

Posted By on Thu, Dec 9, 2010 at 7:47 AM

click to enlarge Visitacion Valley's Bayside Cafe tops pancakes with a whole fried banana, $5.95. - JOHN BIRDSALL
  • John Birdsall
  • Visitacion Valley's Bayside Cafe tops pancakes with a whole fried banana, $5.95.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

It's just after 5:30 a.m., and the waitress ― ringletted, pretty, with frosted lip gloss and a full, round face ― already looks bored. She's propped her chin in her hand, seated at the empty counter, while a husky man in a Niners cap methodically works away at his plate of scrambled eggs in the booth behind her.

Perched on the backside of Candlestick Hill, at the foot of Russia House, Bayside Café may be the closest San Francisco comes to a truck stop: the roar of traffic from 101, posterboard signs announcing all-day breakfast specials, and coffee mugs the ringletted waitress won't allow to get even a quarter empty before she's over with the bulbous Bunn pot. There's a clutch of bleached-out silk roses in the corner, circa-'70s booths in taupe and ivy green, and a sweeping view of Visitacion Valley, though at this time of the morning it's little more than an aggregate of lights against a black field.

Good thing there are pancakes to cheer you up ― banana cinnamon hot cakes ($5.95), for instance: two plate-filling flapjacks, not studded with fruit slices like you'd expect, but topped with a single fried banana, a rapidly melting ball of butter, and a sanding of cinnamon sugar (make sure you ask to opt out of whipped cream). Sort of a Latino take on a diner set piece, that banana, reminiscent of fried platanos, chewy-crisp and faintly lacy at the ends, and with an unctuousness not unlike roasted bone marrow. A side of bacon ($3.25) brings four slices less short-order crispy and more carnitas chewy ― helpful for fueling up before muscling an 18-wheeler to L.A. or facing an 8:30 status meeting.

Bayside Café: 2011 Bayshore (at Hester), 467-2023.

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