Dottie’s True Blue Cafe

San Francisco

There have been quite a few tours beginning in San Francisco this year for me and the wife – and that always means tattoo-time. Let’s get something straight… I do not like getting tattooed. It hurts like a sonofabitch; takes a while to heal from; costs a bit of change… Thankfully however, my tattoo artist Kahlil has a lighter touch than others I’ve heard about (and experienced) and my shop is situated in one of the coolest cities in America… and Kahlil’s work looks pretty pretty good on me.

Unfortunately – Ash and I weren’t able to make this a full-blown vacation like last time – so it was more of a “get in, get tattooed, eat some, get to the show” kinda thing. This was the beginning of the Dream Theater support tour in North America.

Our hotel was by a restaurant we kept hearing about, Dottie’s True Blue Cafe’. A place that everywhere we read warned us of a “massive line/ wait time.” Must be good right? We did the short hike over to Dottie’s and found it nestled nice and safely next to a halfway home/methadone clinic/housing development apartment thing. The characters who’d randomly pop their heads out to scream at the already hour-long-line of locals and smiling tourists alike tried to politely stay out of the way. 

We said to ourselves that, since we’re taking this food thing so seriously – a little effort must come in to play. So if we had to wait – we would. About an hour and a half later we finally were being seated.

Dottie’s is a tiny greasy spoon with cool character. No frills necessarily – it just definitely has far more style than your average dive-with-benefits. I think there were only two cooks serving in the (50 seat? 40 seat?) establishment. I think they sling out several hundred plates a day between the two chefs.

Starting with the ubiquitous mystery-diner coffee that I am so infatuated with, we place our orders for our mains: the lamb merguez sausage, roasted garlic, tomato, spinach and goat cheese omelet with house-made buttermilk dill and home fries; the cheddar cheese corn bread with jalapeno jelly; and Dottie’s famous pancake – whole wheat buttermilk, spiced with ginger and cinnamon.

In a nauseas-state-of-delirium due to the lack of food consumed in the day so far, coupled with the exhaustion of that line… our jaws drop at the behemoth-sized diner grub coming our way.

It’s not that I’m not a breakfast guy – it’s just that I find lunch and dinner so much more interesting with what can be done with it; the latter of course being the most impressive and versatile. Also – on tour, I don’t wake till lunch-time… and at home Ashley makes incredible breakfast food (spicy cheese grits, gourmet breakfast sandwiches, etc). 

Dottie’s doesn’t mess around. This omelet was something special. The merguez, garlic, tomato, spinach and goat cheese all threw together this nice Mediterranean-flavor – I wasn’t sure if I had ever eaten an omelet with merguez – and being such a sucker for sausage, the merguez was a delightful change (although I do wish there was way more… I ate it too quick). 

What’s amazing about greasy spoons is their quantities – that was like four or maybe 6 friggon eggs… The home fries were exactly as they needed to be – a slight crunch on the outermost-edge, soft and not too soft within the cooked “skin”. That cheddar cheese corn bread and jalapeno jelly was meaty. It was not unlike a massive Texas toast – each bite released gobs of a melty buttery-airy goodness. This wasn’t health food. This was feel good food. 

The pancake was simply a badass diner pancake – the size of a small pizza, and the flavor of a buttermilk-cake. The cinnamon and ginger flavors were subtle, but certainly took it out of the normal flavor-spectrum.

Damn worth the wait. 

 Ate too much…

8 thoughts on “Dottie’s True Blue Cafe

  1. I love your food blogs! I can almost taste all the wonderfull flavours, the pictures only make me want to visit all the places you’ve eaten even more!

    Have fun Touring ! see you this summer!

  2. I’ve read about this restaurant in Japanese food blog, pancake looks so good! You explain so well! Long line up but it’s worth to wait ,I would love to wait!!! Love your food blog too!

  3. Wow. I’m pretty jealous; I’m not a morning person but its sounded (and looked) like a great meal. Glad to know that the wait was def. worth the experience. And if I ever pop by San francisco (I’m from Minneapolis) I will for sure try Dottie’s.

  4. Hey Matthew! If you someday come to Venezuela you have to tell me and i’ll make you a list of all the things you need to taste here! ;-)

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