Monkey Business

The banana, beyond breakfast

Though bananas are the ultimate portable breakfast, these days, that fruit's appeal extends well beyond morning:

At 15 Romolo's recently launched brunch, the cocktails are perfectly appropriate for pre-noon drinking. The best is a drink created by bartender Brandon Josie called the Breakfast of Champions No. 2 ($10). Banana cordial, made from ripe pulp steeped in white and dark rum, is the star ingredient, combined with sherry, green walnut liqueur, coffee tincture and maple syrup. 15 Romolo, 15 Romolo Pl.; 415-398-1359 or 15romolo.com

The Slanted Door should not be known for tamales, but the banana-leaf-wrapped, slow-braised pork shoulder ($17) is a tamal in Vietnamese clothing. The meat is marinated in a cilantro "pesto," then wrapped with spring onions, garlic chives and goji berries. And you're not likely to find in Mexico the pineapple-anchovy sauce that accompanies it. Slanted Door, 1 Ferry Plaza Marketplace; 415-861-8032 or slanteddoor.com

The Southern influence at Hayes Valley newcomer Boxing Room extends all the way to dessert. For pastry chef Bill Corbett's take on bananas Foster ($7), he layers cake with bananas that have been vacuum-sealed with bourbon caramel and tops it with cream cheese frosting. His sous-vide-without-cooking method ensures the fruit absorbs the flavors of the caramel, but because no heat is applied, the texture remains firm. Boxing Room, 399 Grove St.; 415-430-6590 or boxingroom.com