Herb & Lace SF Meetup at Brenda’s

With Natasia in town, the Herb & Lace San Francisco contributors organized a brunch meetup in the city. A few email exchanges later, we agreed on trying some Cajun food at Brenda’s French Soul Food in the Civic Center neighborhood.

It is almost impossible to miss Brenda’s even if you are unfamiliar with the neighborhood. On the weekend, there is a constant line of people in their some hours’ wait, with group members scattered on the sidewalk.

We met at 10:30 AM on a Saturday. Natasia and her friend Neda arrived early to put our names on the list. I arrived in time to join my fellow writers for a glass of Bloody Mary before we were seated. We had to ask the waitress to come back a few times while we struggled to choose from all the mouth-watering items on the menu.

In the end, we chose to do a family-style meal because everything on the menu looked amazing!

Food consumed:
– Chicken, Sausage and Okra Gumbo
– Egg Benedict with Green Tomatoes and Bacon
– Egg Benedict with Pulled Pork
– Shrimp and Grits
– Sweet Potato Pancakes
– Beignet flight (Plain, Chocolate, Granny Smith Apple, and Crawfish)

Have you had a meal where you just indulge without the voice in the back of your mind critiquing the quality of ingredients and the depth of flavors in your dishes? As much as you and your foodie company try to come up with something, all comments turn out to be so positive that you wonder if you just don’t really know about the cuisine – this is the luxury we experienced at Brenda’s.

The beautiful beignets are about the size of two fists. We had consumed almost everything on the table when we realized that the beignet flight was on its way. We cut them into bite-size pieces for sharing. My personal favorites from the meal include the pulled pork benedict (special of the day), grits, and those oh-so-delicious chocolate, apple, and crawfish beignets.

Cat, our fellow Herb & Lace writer, was smart and chose to bike to Brenda’s. I, on the other hand, sighed in content and began planning my trip to the gym after the meal.

We appreciated the service. Our waitress was attentive (despite the endless crowds) and friendly. Our water glass was never empty. What’s more? Brenda’s split our bill over four different credit cards.

It was quite a feast with drinks, and we each spent about $30 with tips included. Was the wait worth it? Definitely. Having an opportunity to meet the fellow writers? An awesome experience. We chatted just about everything. Food, abroad life, travel plans, and personal projects are only a few to list (Did you know that Kate is a novelist and Cat a gourmet chef?). Cat and I even found out that we had a mutual friend, who essentially bridged the connection for Natasia’s current startup company in its early stage.

Don’t be afraid of the long line outside of Brenda’s. Sip on a glass of Bloody Mary and take a moment to enjoy the company and the sunshine, as we are finally getting some here in the bay.


Brenda’s French Soul Food
652 Polk Street (Cross: Eddy Street)
San Francisco, CA 94102
BART: Civic Center
Parking: Street


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