Running through the park and down along the Great Highway brings us to the end of the N Judah line by design. We’re usually too lazy to run back uphill through Golden Gate Park and would rather take MUNI back home. What’s great about this area is that in the recent few years a number of quaint little cafes and restaurants have sprung up – Outerlands most distinctively, Trouble Coffee, and, from the owners of the venerable Java Beach Cafe – Beachside Coffe Bar & Kitchen.
My long run one beautiful January Sunday was for 13 miles. Usual course through the park, down Great Highway, but this time with the addition of a loop around Lake Merced and back up the Highway. I remember not feeling good that day. It might have been psychological. I managed to run part of a DSE 10k course and kept getting passed up by too many folks bent on their speedy 10k pace… DD was also not with me, having run his first really intense trail – Steep Ravine – with Owen on Saturday. Though miles 5-7 is when I usually hit my stride and begin to feel comfortable, I was tired and felt sluggish. At around mile 9 (I was looping Lake Merced by then), I needed to stop completely. I took a GU and drank some water and pretty soon got going again. Eventually I made it to 13.01m and headed home on MUNI.
Though it was a tad too warm for my taste during the run, it was a beautiful outside, gorgeous and glorious. DD and I decided to head back out to Ocean Beach for brunch. On a day flooded with sunshine and unending skies of blue, this was also the grand idea of many many many other San Francisco residents. All the cafes in the area it seemed, were full, spilling out on the sidewalk, folks standing and waiting for spots that might never open. We attempted Outerlands, but at 2:30pm, they told us it was unlikely we’d be able to be seated before they stopped serving at 3pm.
We headed over to Beachside, which I’d been wanting to try out for a while. It was also very crowded of course, but we got in line anyway. When we reached the cashier, we were informed that we were welcome to order, but warned that the food would probably take an hour in getting to us. Relieved that we wouldn’t be turned away, we decided to take our chances at a table opening up, snatched the last piece of coffee cake in their display, and placed our orders. We asked to share a large table with a party of 3 who graciously agreed. The table was large enough so that one didn’t quite feel as intrusive with strangers.
An awesome feature at Beachside is the very large shelf of used-but-in-excellent-condition Green Apple books for your browsing or purchasing pleasure. And they’re a great selection of some fairly contemporary, some classic, quality novels: Toni Morrison, Barbara Kingsolver, even some Virginia Woolf and Tolstoi. Most, if not all items are $5. A great distraction if you’ve forgotten to bring some reading material with you. The food did come out eventually, under an hour, but the staff had set expectations so marvelously well, we were quite happy to wait.
One of the best reasons I have for doing this crazy thing called running is the fact that I love to eat. And I constantly count my blessings to have been lucky to find a life partner just as enthusiastic and open about good food (and drinks!) as I. But – lots of good food and not enough exercise make for larger and larger Bugbears… and whereas life for me used to be dominated by activity (dance, capoeira, photography), it soon became dominated by food and eating out and cooking. Running is a perfect complement and brings great flexibility to our schedules. For a post-run meal I usually crave protein and could not pass up the fried Chicken and Waffles, though I really ordered the dish just for the fried chicken. DD teased me about it afterwards as I had wolfed down the two pieces of dark meat, but left most of the waffle. All in all: not *quite* the best fried chicken I’d ever had — a bit overcooked, though still very tasty — but great for a post-run nosh on a fine sunny day.
DD chose the country sausage sandwich, rich with grilled onions and peppers and melty Gruyere. Rich and fatty and delicious and satisfying. I’d order this again in a heartbeat.
A side dish of roasted root turnips, spinach and onion and DD’s requisite crock of Mac ‘n Cheese completed our meal. The veggie dish exceeded our expectations and the mac – perfectly rich and creamy and hearty. Beachside was perfect that day, and I can’t wait to go back. Perhaps we’ll visit another time when it’s not as fine (per the staff recommendation) – probably during this rainy season we’re entering into, or sometime during San Francisco’s notoriously cool and summer months. Their menu is varied and interesting, and I want to sample more items from it.
Beachside Coffee Bar and Kitchen4300 Judah St at 48th San Francisco, CA