Thursday, September 5, 2013

Off the Map: Yes, We're Here for the Stale Apple Strudel

Apple Strudel -- Schmidt's Restaurant, San Francisco, CA
Schmidt's Restaurant

The Mission District of San Francisco is giving us some issues.
Issues Not Even Our Friend Mr. Pickle Can Help Us With
Despite their propensity for dessert-based Best Thing I Ever Ate products, they are proving to be a bit of a logistical nightmare.  Some examples:

1. No two places that we have to go to open at the same time.  Tartine opens at 8am, and sells out of their pain au chocolats quickly, which means that we are wandering around the neighborhood hours before the majority of other establishments unlock their doors.
This Is the Only External Sign Tartine Has, By the Way
2. Humphrey Slocombe is not selling their prosciutto ice cream (and after learning her lesson with the Dynamo Donuts phone call, Ginger did not risk calling them ahead of time, meaning we walked away empty handed).
Frankly, We Didn't Really Want Your Ham Ice Cream Anyway, Humphrey
3. And now, Schmidt's Restaurant, which was SUPPOSED to open at 10:00am, is apparently abiding by "summer hours" (which are NOT POSTED ON THEIR WEBSITE) and won't open their doors for a full extra hour.

What are we supposed to do with a whole hour of time in a neighborhood where nothing is open, Mission District?!
Little Pig, Little Pig, Let Us In!
In a feat of managing to entertain ourselves, we wander the neighborhood aimlessly, simultaneously avoiding sun rays and hills, before barging through Schmidt's (finally open) front door at 11:00am (and if you're wondering why we didn't just stray from our itinerary and try one of the other Best Thing I Ever Ate places first, it's because THEY WEREN'T OPEN YET).
Does No One In San Francisco Wake Up Before Noon?! We're Used to Having Two Drinks By Then!
The restaurant is empty, so we are told to take whatever table we like.  We choose a sunray-streaked "date table" in the corner, managing to be anti-social even in a completely barren dining room.  
Treat Street Graffiti Doubles As Our Life Motto
We are here to eat Aida Mollenkamp's Best Thing I Ever Ate WITH FRUIT dish, the apple strudel, which -- horror of horrors -- is NOT ON THE BRUNCH MENU.
Fix This Problem Immediately, Schmidt's, OR ELSE
Now, we swear this item was on the brunch menu posted online.  Because if it had not been, we would have called and asked about it.  And yet, when we inquire as to its location with our waiter, he says he will have to go in the back and check if "there is any remaining from last night."

So essentially, if Schmidt's serves us anything at all, it is going to be their leftovers.
We Always Know How to Class a Place Up
Luckily for everyone involved (or else we would have staged a revolt), there is a hunk of apple strudel from last night's dinner service, so now that we know we won't be fleeing Schmidt's premises, we get down to ordering our first cocktails of the day.  Ginger chooses a mimosa, and Vodka, a screwdriver.

"We don't serve hard alcohol," our waiter tells us.  "Beer and wine only."

Don't the Germans believe in vodka?!
Listen, Waiter -- Our Names Are VODKA and Ginger. Not CHARDONNAY and MIMOSA
"But if you're really in the mood for a screwdriver, there's a 6am bar down the street that you can go to afterwards," our waiter continues.  "Of course, it's a 6am bar, so they'll probably be a lot of sketchy old men there."

Thanks for the tip, buddy.  We're not sure what a "6am bar" is, but, clientele aside, it sounds like our kind of place.
Is Their Strudel Also a Day Old?
Vodka settles for a glass of chardonnay, and a heaping pile of apple strudel is soon placed before us.  Uniformly sliced apples are stacked on top of each other in at least ten layers, all encompassed by crisp phyllo dough and topped with whipped cream and strawberries.
The Mint Tree Is a Nice Touch There, Schmidt's
The strudel itself tastes like a lighter version of apple pie -- the apples thinly sliced but maintaining a satisfying crispness, accessorized by some ricotta cheese and raisins throughout.  
Frankly, Vodka Could Do Without the Raisins
The whipped cream (or schlag, as we're insisting on calling it from our Peter Luger days), is not particularly sweet, and it manages to offset the strudel itself successfully.  Best of all, the whole thing is not remotely mushy, which is especially impressive considering it's a day old.

Overall, it's not too bad as far as stale apple strudel goes.
Three Desserts In a Row Have Made Our Standards So Low
In fact, there is something about this entire strudel experience that feels very authentically German to us, as if we were consuming the thing on the streets of Berlin.
Danke for the Booze, Buddies
Of course, we're pretty sure in Berlin, such details as what time the restaurant actually opens would be considered vital information.  And therein, our friends, lies the difference between Germany... and San Francisco.

Schmidt's Restaurant's Apple Strudel: 4 stars

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