Sometimes a vacation is just a vacation. And sometimes it’s an utterly transformative experience that is beautiful and life-changing.
That’s exactly how I would describe my weekend in Del Mar, California last week. The vibe of Del Mar and Solana Beach, just half an hour north of San Diego, is mellow and relaxed. It has the beauty of Malibu with a Bay Area attitude, and it’s become one of my favorite spots to get away from it all. Here are a few snaps from my trip from a food-lover’s perspective.
First stop: Zinc Cafe. Their creamy oatmeal has steamed milk poured on top, but what really makes it is their signature topping of strawberries, banana, brown sugar, almond slivers, walnuts, lemon zest and dried cherries. It’s wholesome without being heavy. What makes this breakfast even more lovely is the outdoor patio seating. Picture yourself sitting outside as a light ocean breeze blows through your hair and the sun peeks in and out from a light layer of white clouds as you sip your tea. Right? Exactly.
The tea here is fantastic. We always get the Earl Grey which is served in a giant cup, perfect for cozy sipping. And the artwork in Zinc Cafe’s small interior is bold, positive and very apropos:
For a slightly heartier breakfast, Zinc Cafe also serves breakfast plates.
I like that the scrambled eggs are served with a small cup of salsa and the crispy sourdough is served with a very generous scoop of butter. And I’ll take a whole slice of melon as opposed to cut-up chunks any day.
Our next stop is the Stratford Court Cafe. This spot is located literally in the backyard of an early 1900’s house and has patio seating with umbrellas for shade. The menu here is a bit heavier than the lighter fare at Zinc Cafe, but they also offer great-looking smoothies.
The eggs benedict come in perfectly shaped rounds and the yolks are cooked just a hair more done than soft-boiled. I’m usually not a fan of breakfast potatoes, and there are only two places that I’ve been where I’ve gobbled them up. The first is at Dottie’s True Blue Cafe in San Francisco (I’ll definitely talk more about this place later - it deserves its own entry, nay, a novel to describe how good it is.) The other place is here at the Stratford Court Cafe. They’re very well-seasoned and served piping hot - the two elements necessary for good breakfast potatoes, and yet surprisingly difficult to find.
Our final stop in this food tour is the Americana Restaurant. They have indoor and outdoor seating, and it was nice to see a sign that said that anyone was allowed to sit in the patio - not just customers. I’ve never seen that in Los Angeles.
I recommend this place for a light soup and sandwich lunch. I can’t say enough nice things about their soup. I like things on the salty side, and the potato-leek soup delivers on that front. It gets an added punch from the grated cheddar cheese that’s served on top. The tomato soup gets its punch from a generous dollop of goat cheese. Like every place in Del Mar, the atmosphere here is easy-going and friendly.
What a perfect, beautiful weekend…not just from a food perspective, but from a personal one as well. I know I’ll be coming back to Del Mar again and again in the years to come!