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Breakfast of Champions

[whitespace] Squat & Gobble Cafe
Squatters' Rites: Breakfasters eat al fresco at the Squat & Gobble Cafe.

The most important meal of the day--from rags to the Richmond

By C. Silo

Photos by Farika

An unusually sociable and insatiable bunch, young transplant San Franciscans seem to be obsessed with eating breakfast in public. For them, being stuffed into MUNI buses, bars, clubs, burrito joints and Internet start-up cubicles isn't enough. They need to be surrounded by mass amounts of people who look like them at all times--especially on weekend mornings, when they reek of alcohol and look an absolute mess.

No, I've never understood it--for me a satisfying breakfast is a pot of coffee, a wee bit of cream and a couple smokes. But between the hours of 11am and 3pm on weekends, you will find these piggish hipsters waiting in line to stuff their faces at overpriced, glorified greasy spoons in the Mission, the Haight, the Castro or wherever hungry, lonely souls tend to gather.

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Start Ups & Starting Over: While most of us are just brushing our teeth, eager beavers clamor over the classifieds.

But seriously, unless your stomach is hollowed out by a long night of whiskey sours and exhaustive sex, porking out on slimy eggs and greasy pig parts is an utterly repulsive act. The wretchedness of this crime is only compounded by the fact that these youngsters must do this in the company of one another--they must prove to one another that they, too, partied the night before, that they, too, got laid last night. This eating breakfast collectively in public business is nothing more than an insecure way for hipsters to prove to one another that, despite their tribal tattoos and other signs of rugged individuality, they secretly wish to be as homogenous as a pitcher of nonfat milk.

Hungered by a relatively long, demanding night of sex with my favorite ex-convict/bike messenger, I decided to give the whole breakfast deal a whirl. Although I had left his filthy flat before passing out (a girl can't submit her clean bottom to unkempt toilet seats)--and would thus be unable to prove to all of Valencia Street my sexual prowess--I gave a ring to cute DJ Fantaseize, who, despite her rebellious nose ring, is always up for public displays of hedonistic homogeneity. Please consult my Breakfast of Champions Timeline to find out how you, too, can stuff your face publicly with the utmost glamorous intentions.

11:00am: Rise and Fix That Shiny Nose
It's been a rough morning. Left the biker's house at 4am, and couldn't fall asleep until 6. Still, I am wearing my new Gucci leather thong beneath my faux-Prada pedal pushers and am thus prepared to face the brutal summertime elements. Perky DJ Fantaseize honks outside.

'Bitter' Daze: Mission brunch is as much about socializing as it is recovery.

11:30am: Mission Impossible
If you spent the night before downing microbrews, Valium and Mexi-bong hits, the Mission is the place for you. Fantaseize, who will down almost anything, suggests we cruise over to Valencia Street. Noshers in yellow-tinted sunglasses and cargo drawstring trousers dominate the block, waiting in lines extending to the street. Fantaseize and I are feeling a bit impatient and are forced to ask ourselves: "If we never wait in line to get into a club, what makes anyone think we're going to wait in line in broad daylight for a measly fried egg?" Pass.

12 Noon: Feelin' Fierce--Almost
Always searching for the perfect lipstick dyke, Fantaseize suggests we try the Castro. Naturally, the lines are nonexistent--the Castro knows better than to expect its patrons to wait. Nonetheless, all I can muster at the moment is a double latte from Cafe Flora. Fantaseize appears to be transfixed by the momentous display of girls and muffins, and pleads with me to park my discriminating bottom on a shaded section of that ongoing wooden bench. "Bitch, you think I want a splinter in my Prada pants?" I demand. Fantaseize, overrun by my unrelenting diva needs, sulks toward her car, soggy muffin in hand.

12:30pm: The Lower Haight: Been There and Done It Too Much
Same scene as the Mission, but with added septum piercings. Pass.

Ingrid Fiercest Woman Alive: Ingrid makes morning worthwhile at Miz Brown's.

12:45pm: Ingrid Serves It Like It Is, and Then Some
By now Ms. Fantaseize is almost in tears. Her poor little tummy is just about to collapse from starvation, and her head is light and fluffy as a sad little poached egg. Enough hipness, I decide, we're going to satisfy our base needs away from people who think that waiting in line for a lousy meal is a fun way to spend half their hard-earned day. We're headed toward the Richmond for Miz Brown's, the only truly discreet, down-home breakfast joint this side of Concord.

Not to mention, Miz Brown's is home to the fiercest woman alive: Ingrid. Decked out in cute flares, a clean white blouse and a hot-mama hairdo, Ingrid serves it up to the salivating children five days a week from within this fabulous, straight-up Americana joint. Fantaseize and I are immediately seated in the VIP booth area, where our very own private jukebox is already blasting Dolly Parton.

Ingrid, the eternal goddess from Hamburg, Germany, hands us menus and fills our coffee cups to the rims. I scour the options: British Bangers? Had that last night. Ham Omelet? My Jewish tradition won't permit. Ground Round Steak and Eggs? It's too early for swallowing protein. Short Stack? Sounds too proletarian. I settle on Strawberry Waffles, while the elegant carnivore Fantaseize chooses a Spanish Omelet and home fries. Naturally, our meal arrives within seconds--Miz Brown's knows that the truly glamorous just can't wait.

1:30pm: Breakfast of Champions
After sharing a smoke with Ingrid outside, Fantaseize and I decide that our deepest hungers have not yet been satisfied. Despite our bulging guts, we agree that our meal will not be completed without a final, ravishing dessert. And where shall we find this missing petit four? The EndUp, of course, where the true Breakfast of Champions is served every Sunday, from morning till morning again.

And what exactly is served, you ask? Oh, sweetie, all the nourishment you'll ever need to survive the chaos of modern times: Bloody Marys, cigarettes and juicy, nasty house music. Like Ingrid, DJ David Harness serves it to the children fast and hard--and if you don't eat it, it's just going to go to waste. Accordingly, Fantaseize and I order Bloody Marys from a bartender who resembles the lead singer from Australian '80s band Midnight Oil.

Kate's Kitchen
'Haight'ing It: Kate's Kitchen has tremendous portions to match its infamous queue.

2:30pm Sexed-Up and Ready to Go
After our third round of Bloody Marys, Ms. Fantaseize and I are feelin' the sexed-up breakfast vibe. Our booties start to gyrate, our arms embrace the sky and our cocktails mysteriously disappear into the vortex of the dance floor.

"Serve!" we scream as Mr. Harness works the turntables. Feeding the hungry children thick beats and simmered divas, Mr. Harness evokes the spirit of Ingrid from within the sound system--Fantaseize and I are overcome by the Miz Brown's goddess and completely lose it amid the wonderful anarchy of the dance floor.

3:00pm I'm Not a Freak--You Are
Freaks-R-Us is the theme today. A strange munchkin in Hooker Spice attire works it from the conspicuousness of the outdoor deck--Fantaseize and I lose our appetite as we stare at this creature, but decide to replenish our juiciness by an extra visit to the bar. Who says getting completely fucked up on a Sunday afternoon isn't healthy? Not us! We down our cocktails and stumble back to the dance floor, where Spice Girls of all kinds are owning it with determined voracity.

6:00pm Out of Cash, Full of Love
Unsurprisingly, Fantaseize and I are still stomping the dance floor with joyous nonchalance. I note that I'm quickly running out of cash--the bartenders won't stop serving up the Bloody Marys, and being the gentle soul that I am, I just can't say no. Nonetheless, I slam down my last five bucks and take my final cocktail outside, where Fantaseize is chatting up a cute girl in a cowboy hat and a polyester nightie. "Get your last drink on, bitch," I warn. "Mama's almost ready to go on home."

Cafe Floré
A Boy's Life: Sunny Sunday chardonnay at Cafe Floré.

9:00pm Who's the Real Queen?
Thanks to my wilesome fag haggotry, I have procured a few free cocktails from a newly aqua-tinted friend. "I'm dying of thirst!" I plead. "Whatever, honey," he answers, vodka cranberry in hand. In celebration of this extra nourishment, I prance about the dance floor one last time. Fantaseize is nowhere to be found. I can no longer see or walk straight, so I head for the coat check and claim my goods. Feeling completely stuffed to the rim with house music and liquid poison, I depart the wonderful EndUp and cruise toward Market Street, where I catch the 21 Hayes home.

If breakfast is something that should be consumed in public areas, take me to the EndUp. I won't wait in line for food, but I'll surely stand in line to powder my nose x

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From the July 19, 1999 issue of the Metropolitan.

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