Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Rosamunde Sausage Grill

Ok, yes, I'm reviewing a sausage place.  I know, not my normal stomping grounds.

But, Ojan has been craving sausages, and I recently learned that Rosamunde also sells the sausages raw, for you to take home and cook yourself.  So I decided to surprise him, and went to pick up some sausages.

Rosamunde has two locations in San Francisco, the original in the Haight, and a newer, much larger, one in the Mission. I've known about Rosamunde for years, but sausages and beer aren't very high on my list, so I'd never been.
The Haight shop is tiny.  As in, no tables, and only a handful of stools along the perimeter.  Most people seem to get their sausages and go eat them next door at Tornado, with beer of course.  The counter displays the fresh sausages, each labelled so you can see them before you order.  The sausage line up is fairly impressive, 15 or so varieties, some mild, some spicy, featuring standard beef, pork, veal, chicken, and lamb, and of course some vegan ones, as it is San Francisco after all.  But for the more adventurous, there are also sausages made with duck or even boar.  Besides sausage, the only other items sold at the Haight location are pickles, chips, and potato salad.  There is just absolutely no space for anything else.

Behind the counter is a single employee, busy taking orders, ringing people up (cash or Paypal only!), and cooking the sausages, all at once.  It is an impressive operation for one person to run, and she does an incredibly job, but quite honestly, they really suffer from the setup.

By contrast, the Mission location is a full restaurant, with seating inside and out, on the sunny Mission sidewalk.  They also serve brunch and have a few extra sides, like soup and fries.  There is a full kitchen in the back, a pickup window where your number is called when your order is ready, and a separate counter and register to order at (also cash or Paypal only, although there is an ATM inside).  I greatly prefer stopping by this location.
Both locations have a plethora of condiments, including several different mustards and ketchups.  I'm guessing they are house made?

I sampled several:
  • Curry Ketchup: Interesting flavor, and I think it would be too much for a sausage, but it was actually pretty tasty.
  • Honey-Wasabi Dijon Mustard: It had a slight wasabi on the finish, yet a pleasant sweetness to it.  Nicely balanced and interesting.
  • Garlic-Pepper Mayonnaise: I didn't actually taste garlic or pepper, but this was really tasty.  I guess that could be just me loving mayonnaise, but, it was really creamy and flavorful, just not in the way I expected.
  • Spicy Brown Mustard: Just standard spicy mustard, with a slight grit to it.
I think the assorted condiments would best be utilized on fries, which only the Mission location serves.
Knockwurst, Weisswurst.  $2.50 each.
I was there just to pick up some sausages to grill at home later, since Rosamunde sells them raw.

The pale one was the weisswurst (veal, onion & leek).  I picked this one because I wanted to taste the additional ingredients, but I really didn't see, or taste, any onion or leek inside. It was too subtle for me.  The flavor was overall very mild, and it sorta reminded me of pork, which I don't care for.  It was very juicy and plump however, and perhaps if I liked veal, I would have liked this.

Each sausage was huge, and Ojan and I decided to split one, since half a sausage, a full bun, and all the sides were were having was a large enough meal.  I understand a bit now why they don't have additional side dishes at the store, as they aren't necessary with sausages this big.  Of course, I had already planned a cole slaw and spinach and cauliflower salad to go with our sausages, before I saw how huge they were.  They stayed nice and plump when cooked, which I think the large size really helped with.

I left the all beef knockwurst for Ojan to eat another day, and didn't try it myself.

$2.50 for a huge sausage was fine, as is the price of $7 at the store, where they are cooked for you, with a bun and two toppings.
Hungarian, with grilled onions and sweet peppers.  $7.
On one visit, I was with Ojan, who wanted to get a sausage to eat right there.  He picked the Hungarian, a classic smoked pork with garlic sausage.

When you get a sausage to eat either store, 2 toppings are included, and you can pick from sauerkraut, grilled onions, sweet or hot peppers, or beef chili.  He went for onions and sweet peppers.

The sausage was nicely grilled, juicy, with a great char on the outside, as you would expect, but it was far too porky for me.  I'd never pick a pork sausage, but  Ojan really enjoyed it.

The bread was a fluffy white bun, slightly grilled, but not buttered or anything, so it didn't brown up very nicely.

The onions were soggy, the peppers unremarkable, both pre-cooked in large batches.

I clearly wasn't into this at all, but Ojan really liked it.  $7 price was reasonable for a made to order fancy-ish sausage with toppings.


Split Pea Soup with Knockwurst.  $6.50.
When I visited the Mission location, it was to pick up split pea soup for Ojan.  They had two varieties, vegan, or, with knockwurst.  Since I was at a sausage shop, it seemed only appropriate that I'd get the one WITH the sausage.

I assumed they'd just scoop out some soup and I'd be on my way, so I was a bit surprised that my order seemed to take just as long as the ones for people who were ordering sausages.  And then I realized why: the knockwurst wasn't already part of the soup, they actually grilled one fresh to order, then chopped it up, and added it to the soup.  I'm guessing you could easily ask for a different type of sausage if knockwurst isn't your thing.

I of course snuck a taste, even though I don't really like split pea soup, because uh, I hate split peas.  It was ... split pea soup.  Puree style.  It tasted like split peas, and little else.  Since I don't really care for split peas, I didn't care for it.  I personally would have liked some cubes of carrots at least to break up the pea-ness of it, and far more salt and pepper, as it seemed very underseasoned.

The knockwurst however was grilled to perfection.  Plump, juicy, moist.  A shame to drown it in this soup!

The soup was served with a side of sliced up pieces of bread, I'm guessing the same bread they use for the sausage buns?

Anyway, I certainly wouldn't get this again, but if you like split peas, then perhaps this soup is for you.  The vegan version is $5.25, which seems high for just a bowl of soup, but with the knockwurst it is $6.50, which is reasonable since it had a full sausage inside, cooked to order.
German Baked Beans (vegan).  $3.75.
On my next visit, while picking up sausages to grill at home, I also got a side of the baked beans for Ojan.  I don't really like beans, but, I wanted to at least give them a try, so I took a few bites before delivering them home.

To be fair, every once in a while I really like baked beans.  I'm weird though, I really like my baked beans cold.  And uh, generally, from a can.  Sometimes, I'm not the classiest gal.

Anyway, these were served warm, small sized beans, all the same variety.  Ojan jokes that I don't actually like baked beans at all, I just like the sugar sauce.  I think he may be right.  These weren't nearly as sweet as I'd like, so, I didn't like them.  And they had a really odd spicing that I couldn't quite pinpoint.  I really didn't care for them at all, and certainly wouldn't get them for myself again.

$3.75 for a reasonable size side dish was fine.
Pickles! $2 each.
I couldn't resist also getting pickles.  I adore pickles, and grew up with homemade pickles of all varieties, made by both my mother and my great-aunt.  I've been pickle-spoiled my whole life.  Those ridiculous things sold in supermarkets, that come as strangely fluorescent green spears, are NOT pickles.  It doesn't matter how many jars I bring back to San Francisco with me every time I visit, we go through them way too quickly.  I force Ojan to ration them.

So, whenever I see house made pickles, I give them a try, as it would be great to find a source of pickles a bit more local.  Along with just classic dills, I've also tried pickle plates at Wise Son's and at Il Cane Rosso, but I still haven't found anywhere I love.

These were huge monsters.  The person taking my order offered to slice them for me, but I declined, assuming they'd keep better whole.

I cut into one literally the moment I walked into my house.  And ... it was a good enough pickle.  Vinegary, but not too much.  The one thing I didn't like is due to their large size, they were filled with tons of seeds.  Very, very, seedy, which I don't care for.

These were enjoyable, but no replacement for the varieties that my family members make.  I'll have to keep looking.  $2 a pickle seemed a bit high, but they were huge, and I honestly have no idea what pickles should cost, as they aren't an item I normally buy commercially.
Rosamunde Sausage Grill on Urbanspoon
Rosamunde Sausage Grill on Urbanspoon
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