Hash House A Go-Go
Part of any good healthy lifestyle plan is balance. “All things in moderation, including moderation,” and all that. (Thank you, Julia Child). Besides, we got up at 5:30 this morning – yeah that’s right I said 5:30 – and went running. So, as it’s Cute Banker’s day off, we decided to have a mini date-day and balance out our run with a nicely un-moderate brunch. We dropped the bambinos at Grandma’s and popped into one of our favorite haunts, Hash House A Go-Go in Hillcrest, a colorful suburb of San Diego.
This place is truly an adventure in dining. For one thing, the plates are fun-house enormous. They are staggeringly large in a most titillating way. The garnish isn’t a few leaves of minced rosemary, it’s an entire bush.
One of the best things about this place is the creative cocktail menu. I had the Hangover Cure (ironic, no?). It was a swirl of fresh cucumber, mint, ginger, sparkling water, and, oh yeah, vodka.
They give you an ambitiously wide straw which turns out to be handy for sipping up bits of fresh ginger that punctuate the drink like zippy little percussive chimes.
Cute Banker chose the Espresso Martini. There’s something genius about combining your morning coffee with your brunch cocktail. It’s very efficient! In fact, this little beverage was my favorite thing about the entire meal. Lightly frothy, cool, not too sweet, with a generous hit of coffee. An entire vanilla bean was inserted like a swizzle stick.
The outrageously huge pancakes (you get, and need, only one) are impossibly well-cooked, given their size. They are the perfect texture through and through. Although, now that I’ve experienced the culinary brilliance that is maple syrup inside the batter, they could use a pop more sweetness.
The sausages are done as well as any meat at this place, that is to say expertly. (Exception: Their Sage Fried Chicken and Bacon and Waffle Tower can be a bit dry but it’s just so much fun to eat with maple syrup reduction drizzled all over that I don’t care).
The Hash House breakfast menu offers a selection of five wildly different “Benedict” plates. I got the HH Original. It has nothing to do with traditional Eggs Benedict that I could see, except that it has eggs. It did have an interesting roasted red pepper cream sauce in lieu of Hollandaise. If you want Eggs Benedict, it’s not going to fit your bill. But if you want to eat something unusual for brunch, this is exactly what’s called for. It comes with mashed potatoes, crispy – and I mean wonderfully crispy – bacon, spinach, tomato, and the aforementioned rosemary tree brazenly rising out of it all.
The music is loud (the patio is much quieter and has heaters), the atmosphere is engaging (twisted farm food is their theme, so think stylized tractor art), and the cocktails are exotic yet accessible.
The wait is usually very, very, very long. Today, a weekday, at 10:00 am there was none at all but the restaurant was still full. I sat there wondering who all these people were, who weren’t at the office. There were the expected college students, the couple who maybe hadn’t gone to bed yet, the table of older moms, the group of painfully fashionable siblings, and what looked like a three generation family. In other words, a little bit of everyone was represented and the menu has something for all.
Hash House has nine locations nationwide (five of which are in Nevada-hmm). They always have specials and happy hours so check the website before heading in and call a cab before heading out. If the cocktails don’t get you, the plentiful twisted farm food will.
Hash House A Go-Go
3628 5th Ave San Diego, CA 92103