Feb 6, 2012

San Diego: Where to eat breakfast


Just back from a too-short vacation in sunny San Diego, this week I'll be sharing some of the places we enjoyed good food! Today's theme: Places to eat breakfast in San Diego.


The Mission  
A local coffee-house vibe, just a couple blocks to the beach, with lots of sunlight streaming in through the large windows. Their pancakes sounded scrumptious: blackberry , blueberry cornmeal, and strawberry granola were among the offerings. Alas, if I eat pancakes, I need a nap soon after, so, not the best way to start off a day of sightseeing!

There are more than a dozen breakfast entrees on the menu that are gluten free. For those who are pork-averse, they offer several dishes featuring soy chorizo. They also offer several "Latino Breakfast Plates": rancheros verde, breakfast quesadillas, plato verde con huevos, etc.

We ordered off the "Mission Favorites" section of the menu. I got the Mission Rosemary: Crispy rosemary potatoes topped with scrambled eggs, tomato and an onion garnish. Eric ordered the Chicken Apple Sausage and Eggs: Chicken apple sausage lightly sautéed, served with crispy rosemary potatoes, and scrambled eggs. (Pictured above.) Both came with perfectly-toasted rosemary bread. My plate was very good, but meatless, and after a taste of the juicy, flavorful chicken sausage, I wish I had ordered that plate instead. Still, a great start to the day -- especially when followed by a walk on the beach!

Located at: 3795 Mission Boulevard, in the Mission Beach area
Open for: breakfast and lunch      
The Mission website
On Urbanspoon:
Mission Cafe on Urbanspoon

Hash House a Go Go
The interior feels more like a fun, hip bar than a breakfast joint; we ate on the sunny patio.

Their tag line is "twisted farm food." And by farm food, they do mean fresh produce and meats, and midwest-inspired dishes, but I think they also mean "farmer's breakfast" -- in other words, LOTS of food! (Gotta stock up on carbs, protein, and more carbs for a day in the field.)  Fortunately, Eric saw what the plates looked like before we ordered. These aren't plates: they're platters! No, really -- I'm not exaggerating. Everything comes out on plates that are a good 14" in diameter, and piled high.

So we split the Hash House Original Farm Benedict. The base is a big slab of mashed skin-on potatoes that have been "griddled" -- seared on the grill so they're crispy in places. Those are topped with the most enormous biscuits I have ever seen. See that big lump in the photo above, just under the tomato? That's the biscuit -- and it's already been sliced in half! This is topped with fresh spinach, tomato, poached eggs, and finally, red pepper puree. Garnished with diced vari-colored bell pepper and green onion.

The dish featured great ingredients, expertly prepared, but I think I would have enjoyed it more if it weren't so over-the-top -- literally. With a dish stacked that high, it was impossible to get a bite of everything together. We ended up pulling out the biscuits; it was much easier to eat after that. I was disappointed with the biscuits; they were pretty bland. I loved the bell peppers and the puree, though -- in fact, I was kind of greedy with it! But I am SO glad we didn't each order our own plate. We would have had to walk away from a lot of leftover food.

Located at: 3628 5th Ave., in the Hillcrest area
Open for: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Hash House website
On Urbanspoon:
Hash House a Go Go on Urbanspoon

To the Point Cafe
Behind a white picket gate is the front yard/patio with al fresco dining and a potted herb garden in the center. Inside, an eclectic mix of tables and chairs lend a casual vibe.

The menu is what I expected to find in a California cafe: granola, fresh fruit, locally-made bagels. There are also Belgian waffles, wraps, frittatas and Benedicts. The latter looked perfect, and since Eggs Benedict is my favorite breakfast when eating out, I really wish I could have tasted one. Unfortunately, we were both feeling a bit "off" that day, and decided that underdone eggs would not be the best choice.

Eric stuck with a bowl of Coconut Pecan Granola, while I ordered a scrambled egg sandwich on a bagel. In retrospect, I wish I'd ordered it on a croissant or ciabatta - the other two options - since the softness of the eggs and the dense bagel were not a good match. But fresh ingredients, simply prepared; the sundried tomato cream cheese was tasty; I wish there had been more of it. We finished things off with a bowl of fresh fruit. The coffee was a little on the bitter side. A nice breakfast, but not especially noteworthy. I would go back just to try the Benedict, though!

Location: 4161 Voltaire Street in the Point Loma area; handy if you're on your way to Cabrillo National Monument.
Open for: Breakfast and lunch
To the Point Cafe website
On Urbanspoon:
To the Point Cafe on Urbanspoon

What did I miss?
Of course, there are hundreds more places to catch a great breakfast in San Diego! We couldn't catch them all in our short stay. If you know if a hot spot, tell me about it. We hope to go back some day!

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