Straight from San Francisco Fame–Joe’s Special


Joe’s Special

Serves 4 to 6

Having lived in the Northern part of the San Francisco Bay Area a great part of my life, the wonderful tales of recipes of that area from the “bye-gone” days became a great part of my life.

I had often frequented Original Joes in San Francisco which originated in 1937 so this was one of my favorite dishes. The restaurant started in the Tenderloin District of “The City” and had sawdust-covered floors and 14 bar stools.  It was known for serving people from all walks of life: ”from the head politician to the head prostitute”. It’s now located in the North Beach area and the Tenderloin spot will be made into an historical significance. It’s run by the same family, the Rodins.

I made this dish at home very often.  Now it’s part of the CA for Visitors Recipe Collection on the CA visitors web site.  I had often heard that this dish really originated from the gold rush days, however, that was definitely before my time and I did first have it at Joe’s.  Sometimes I make it for dinner; other times for brunch or breakfast.  It’s always delicious and very versatile.  So here it is:


1/4  C. Olive Oil

1 lb. ground sirloin of beef

2 onions, finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, finely minced

half a lb. of sliced mushrooms

1/4 C. cooking sherry

2 C. fresh spinach, coarsely chopped

4 to 6 beaten eggs

1 tsp. dried oregano leaves

1/4  tsp. of oregano leaves

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp ground pepper

1/2 tsp. Parmesan cheese


1.       Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet and add the crumbled ground sirloin, chopped onions, and minced garlic. Cook until the beef is almost browned and the onions and garlic are tender.

2.       Add the mushrooms and cook until they are soft.

3.       Add sherry to the mixture, heat about a minute, and stir in spinach and seasonings.

4.       Cook the mixture until just heated throughout.

5.       Add the beaten eggs and cook, stirring, until the eggs are firm but still tender.

6.       Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese.

Serving Suggestions:

Joe’s Special is traditionally served with sourdough (San Francisco of course) French break and a hearty Italian red wine and sometimes a green salad.  It is also often served as a high-protein breakfast dish with a toasted sourdough English muffin, OJ, and for an especially filling meal—hash browned potatoes on the side. Many people also like it served with hot pepper sauce.


Cooking Methods:

You can stir this dish constantly while cooking the eggs, which will result in the eggs being completely blended with the spinach.  Stir it less often after the eggs are added, like you would if you were making scrabled eggs, if you would like to have discernable pieces of scrambled egg in the dish:


Swiss chard or one packages of frozen chopped spinach can be substituted for the fresh spinach.


Canned can be used; however, fresh is SOOO much better.

Ground Beef:

If higher fat ground beef is substituted for the ground sirloin, you can use less olive oil.


Romano cheese can be substituted for the Parmesan.


About TempInnKeeper

Margot loves people and is very energetic and organized. She is also a quick study. Her background includes having renovated, owned and operated an 1887 Victorian bed and breakfast in Paso Robles, CA for 5 years. Her guests loved her and she loved her guests. What a perfect combination. Margot’s marketing skills and love of people also was used in her career as a Realtor and in participating in many charitable non-profit organizations. Margot loves to cook and to offer concierge services to people. She was born in Geneva, Switzerland.; has lived all over CA. including Beverly Hills, in the Silicon Valley area, Paso Robles, the San Joaquin Valley as well as in Sun Valley, ID. She has traveled extensively throughout the world; is a CAL alumni (go Bears!); and also speaks French fluently and Spanish semi-fluently. Her interests are people, cooking, arts, books (look at the blog book club and join if you wish), travel, sports, gardening, painting, music, playing classical piano and animals. Margot Van Horn 208-721-3551 PO Box 3788, Ketchum, ID.

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