with a Recipe for Banana Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding


If at some point in your life you too decide to transform a crappy old laundromat into a larger extension of a too-small,  though fully operable restaurant,  here are a few of our statistics you may want to first consider:


Old Laundry


305 = number of days it took to purchase the laundry. From the day the agent notified us to when we finally made the last payment to the seller, it pretty much took the better part of a year.





2,525 = approximate number of times we were asked when the expansion would be complete.  Bless all of those poor and wonderful souls who would stand outside sometimes for as long as 2 ½ hours (!) to get into the original space.  Once the building permit notice went up in the window next door, all of those patient would-be diners went into an absolute frenzy.


$18622.68 = how much free, yes free $ that we got from the Mayor’s Office to help us beautify our unsightly block.

Yep, that's Mayor Ed Lee holding a press conference at the restaurant with me in the back trying not to pass out from stage fright.

Yep, that’s Mayor Ed Lee holding a press conference at the restaurant
with me in the back trying not to pass out from stage fright.



0 = number of architects who stuck around to see the job to completion.  Leading the pack of shysters who appeared out of nowhere once the expansion was made public was one particularly slick architect/building department retiree who approached us bearing promises of super-cheap fees along with a 100% guarantee of all necessary permits.  Of course being the naïve, virgin restaurant expanders that we were, we jumped right on board.  Aaaand, we pretty much didn’t get what we didn’t pay for, which would have been a responsible architect who saw the job through once we received our permits and he received his $.

Live and Learn.

Luckily these GUYS showed up and between our deep, deep desire to wrap up this never-ending story and the contractors extraordinary trouble-shooting skills we made it happen sans “architect”.



142 = number of guest at our big, GAY wedding.  Ummm, yeah.  In the middle of everything else going on, we (as in my now wife/business partner) decided that we wanted to be legally married and decided to do this:




458 = number of days it took to build out the space.  

Build Out

View of the Kitchen from the Mezzanine, Me standing in the Dining Room, Entrance


23 = number of staff members added to our payroll.

the Crew

More Crew

A small sampling of the cast of characters
I’ve had the pleasure of working (and playing!) with.



702 = Approximate square feet added to my kitchen.


Shiny Kitchen



44 = number of seats added to the dining room.


New Dining Room



2 = number of easily accessible bathrooms created thus putting an end to our world famous “bathroom-in-the-kitchen tour” once and for all!


Bathroom Toast

Our entire staff and construction crew piled into our 
GINORMOUS new bathroom for a Champagne toast!


And on November 21, 2011 we officially opened the newly expanded Brenda’s.







Oh, and before I forget, there was one more tiny addition to our lives that bears noting:


holy baby


Talk about a sweet ending…


Banana Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding with Hard Sauce

8 C Lightly Packed Day Old Bread, Torn into Pieces

2 C Over Ripe Bananas, Mashed

1 1/2 C Chocolate Chips (We use Ghirardelli at the Restaurant)

Bread Pudding Custard Base (Recipe Follows)

Hard Sauce (Recipe Follows)

Whipped Cream (Optional)

Bread Pudding Custard

2 Eggs

3/4 C Sugar

1/2 TSP Cinnamon

1/2 TSP Nutmeg

2 C Milk

Whisk Together.

Hard Sauce

1/2 Stick Butter

Pinch Salt

3/4 C Sugar

1/4 C Bourbon

1/2 TSP Vanilla Extract

In a small saucepan, melt butter, salt and sugar together.  Whisk together then add bourbon and cook for 2-3 minutes.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.

To make the pudding:  Lightly grease a loaf pan.  In a large bowl combine bread pieces, mashed banana and chocolate chips.  Pour custard over bread mixture and mix together.  Pour into loaf pan.  Place pudding into another pan large enough to hold it and fill larger pan with 1″ water.  Cover Loaf pan with foil, place in oven and bake for about 40 minutes in a 350* oven or until done in the middle.

Serve bread pudding drizzled with hard sauce and whipped cream.

Banana Bread Pudding

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  1. Rachel Reply

    Ahhhhhhhh, this post is too frickin cute! I’ve finally made it on the blog, Imma a STttARrrrr!! 🙂

    • brenda Reply

      This is only the beginning Sriracha!

  2. Sassy Reply

    I saw you on G. Garvin’s show. I was screaming beignets!!! real ones not the donuts people try to pass off. I need that Oh how I miss New Orleans, I can’t wait to visit you in the city….Thank you for saving me finally!!!!

    • brenda Reply

      Thanks Sassy!

  3. lisa Reply

    Brenda, Your story is really very inspiring! I’m originally from Louisiana and pondering food entrepreneur-ship in SF. I’d love to talk further with you if you’d be willing. Your courage to make something like this happen is pure awesomeness. Thank you, Lisa

  4. Dawn Reply

    Brenda, I loved reading your story of the history of Brenda’s! I’m still full from the amazing brunch I just had there with some dear friends this morning. Congratulations on all your success. I remember first eating at your spot many times in the first years — I remember the kitchen tour when going to the bathroom and also seeing you at the stove and thinking, wow, this woman looks soooo much like my grandmother! Also, I remember thinking: this laundromat’s days are NUMBERED. She’s so good, that going to expand one day. And I was right! Back then, when I read on your website that you are proudly Filipina, I was even MORE excited about finding such a great place to eat. I’m a history professor at SF State and am writing about the history of Filipino American food. If you’re interested, my essay, “As American As Jackrabbit Adobo: Cooking, Eating and Becoming Filipino American” will be published in a new anthology of Asian American food called Eating Asian America coming out in Sept. You are making some groundbreaking history as a Pinay chef and I just wanted to leave a note to tell you how much the local Filipino American community loves and appreciates what you do.

    • brenda Reply

      Dawn, thank you so much for the wonderful words!! It really means a lot to me to hear from long-time fans and I very much look forward to reading the anthology. Sounds like my kind of book 🙂

      Happy eating and writing!!


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