The Mission (revisit)

The Mission is one of our favorite brunch spots in San Diego, but we haven’t visited in a long time – recently, S and I went out for a weekend brunch date, and I thought it’d be a good time to do a revisit post.

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We decided to visit the North Park location, since I also wanted to check out The Heart & Trotter butcher shop nearby (my name is on their founders’ wall because I backed their Kickstarter campaign!). There are also The Mission locations in Mission Beach and East Village.

ROAST BEEF HASH & EGGS [$10.95]
Roast Beef Hash & Eggs 

Roast Beef Hash & Eggs 

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Thanksgiving in Texas: Seven Mile Cafe

Over Thanksgiving, I visited my family in Texas – it was a really nice long weekend filled with delicious food and fun times (many of which I documented on my Instagram). One of the special things that I did during my trip was spend some time hanging out with my big sister in Denton, where she lives. Her boyfriend is a manager at Seven Mile Cafe, one of the city’s popular brunch spots, so of course I had to check it out.

Seven Mile Cafe

There are actually two separate buildings to the cafe – a coffee shop and restaurant, and we stopped by the coffee shop first.

Seven Mile Coffee

Seven Mile Coffee

The cafe serves both a house roast and Stumptown Coffee. The baristas, who are friends with Sis, recommended the Stumptown rotating single origin, which happened to be Guatemala.

NOLA Iced Coffee and Pour-Over Coffee

NOLA Iced Coffee and Pour-Over Coffee

Sis got the NOLA, which is sweetened cold brew with milk. I don’t have much experience with cold brew, but this was nice and refreshing.

After getting our coffees, we walked over to the restaurant, where we were presented with the difficult choice of what to order! Sis was really excited and wanted me to try everything.

In the end, we decided on…

Pulled Pork Breakfast Tacos

Pulled Pork Breakfast Tacos

These breakfast tacos were awesome – stuffed with tender and flavorful pulled pork, scrambled eggs, cheese, and hash browns – yes that’s right, hash browns. Really crispy ones. So good!

Benny Sampler: Eggs Florentine and Chicken Apple Sausage Benny

Benny Sampler: Eggs Florentine and Chicken Apple Sausage

One of the things that I thought was really neat was the “benny sampler” – you can choose any two from their selection of Eggs Benedicts. I tried the Eggs Florentine, which had sautéed spinach and tomatoes, and the Chicken Apple Sausage – I enjoyed both of them but preferred the chicken apple sausage a bit more! Both were served on a toasted biscuit instead of English muffin – the biscuit was great, but I still think that I prefer my benedicts on the muffin. The hollandaise sauce was served on the side and was rich but not overpowering. Finally, the benedicts come with a side of hash browns, or an upgrade to smoked gouda grits for an extra 75 cents. Oh boy, that was a really hard decision for me… in the end, I chose the grits. It came out a bit dry – sis and her boyfriend said that the grits are better first thing in the morning – but it was still super yummy. I loved that they sprinkled green onions on top!

Pineapple Upside-Down Pancakes

Pineapple Upside-Down Pancakes

Lastly, we had to try some of the famous pancakes. Sis and I had the HARDEST time deciding what flavor to get, and in the end, we picked the pineapple upside-down. I loved the caramelized pineapple chunks inside and the cinnamon butter that was served alongside. Initially I was also worried that it would be too sweet, but it turned out to be perfect. I haven’t had such good pancakes in quite a long time.

Overall, I had a really wonderful time at Seven Mile Cafe. It was great to finally get to know my sister’s city a bit better, and this was just one of the several great meals we had together. Many thanks to Sis for bringing me here, and Sis’s boyfriend for cooking some delicious food for us! For any DFW-area readers out there, if you’re ever up in Denton, be sure to check out this place for brunch!

Seven Mile Cafe
311 W. Congress St, Denton, TX 76201
http://www.sevenmilecafe.com/

Brunch at Searsucker Del Mar

A friend was craving brunch recently, so we tried to go to Snooze in Del Mar. Unfortunately, the wait time was about an hour, and we were all really hungry and decided to check out Searsucker’s brunch instead – it’s in the same plaza, so we just strolled over. 

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S and I have been to Searsucker for dinner but not brunch. We’ve also never been to the Del Mar location, so I was quite excited to check it out! 

Searsucker

It was a nice day, so we decided to sit outside (for once!). The patio was really nice, complete with a koi pond!

Searsucker 

Searsucker 

We had a pretty hard time deciding what to order. After some debate, S decided to go with one of the egg benedicts.

Pulled Pork Benedict

Pulled Pork Benedict

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Unfortunately I forgot to take note of the exact description of this dish, but basically it was poached eggs, pulled pork, and spinach on a whole-wheat English muffin, with a spicy hollandaise sauce. The eggs were cooked perfectly, and we really liked the flavor of the hollandaise on the pork. The dish was served with a side of hash browns and a small salad, but we weren’t impressed by the hash browns – it wasn’t crispy enough, and not very flavorful. S and I have sort of given up on hash browns in San Diego, though.

Chicken and Waffles

Chicken and Waffles 

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Cafe 21 brunch (Gaslamp)

A while ago, some of my labmates and I had a conference in downtown San Diego. I actually enjoy conferences in my own city because I feel like it’s more flexible – I can go from the meeting to work or home pretty easily. Of course I have also never been to a conference not in San Diego, so I guess we’ll see how I feel when the time comes, haha. Anyway, my labmate’s birthday was during the conference, so we decided to all have a celebratory lunch somewhere in downtown, and I was given the task of choosing a restaurant. Since I’ve been wanting to check out Cafe 21’s new downtown location, that’s the place I picked!

We had a really large group, and everything was a bit hectic, so I did not get a chance to photograph the place, unfortunately. Everything was really spacious and beautifully decorated with a rustic feel – I loved it.

Cafe 21 has just brunch and dinner menus – no separate breakfast and lunch, which I like. Weekend brunches are nice, but why can’t everyday be a brunch day? Haha. My labmates were really excited because they love brunch food, too.

Mimosa Flight [$21]

Mimosa Flight [$21]

We couldn’t help but order a mimosa flight to share. I believe the price was $21 but please correct me if I’m mistaken! As you can see, there’s a variety of flavors – apple, cucumber, cranberry, blueberry (I think), raspberry, and of course, the classic orange. I tried some of the cucumber, orange, and strawberry ones, and I must say that cucumber was my favorite – super refreshing. I’ll have to try it at home sometime.

I don’t think my labmates have ever been subjected to my taking-pictures-of-everyone’s-food-before-anyone-can-start-eating… haha. Everyone was super nice about it, though!

Prosciutto Omelette [$11]

Prosciutto Omelette: grilled Italian prosciutto, organic heirloom tomatoes, cremini mushrooms, cheddar cheese, mozzarella cheese [$11]

Shrimp Omelette [$13]

Shrimp Omelette: marinated shrimp, organic heirloom tomatoes, organic spinach, house pesto sauce, feta cheese, mozzarella cheese [$13]

Lamb Sausage Omelette [$13]

Lamb Sausage Omelette: house made lamb kufta meatball, organic bell peppers, heirloom tomato, goat cheese, mozzarella cheese [$13]

Several of us ordered the cast iron omelettes, which had the most adorable presentation. …

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Table 926 Brunch

S and I haven’t been to a whole lot of brunch places ever since moving to San Diego. I guess we just haven’t been too impressed with most places, especially ones that get a lot of hype (e.g. The Cottage in La Jolla – sorry folks out there who are fans, but it just didn’t quite do it for me); add to that the long waits usually associated with weekend brunch, and we end up adding a bunch of brunch places to our bookmarks but not going to any of them…

However, we were recently invited to check out the brunch offerings at Table 926, a restaurant in the northern Pacific Beach area. I really do like PB even though driving there and parking isn’t always pleasant. Anyway, I was really curious about the place after looking at the menu, so S and I went to check it out!

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I liked the interior decor; it was bright and simple. I’ve been really into chalkboard walls recently.

On the beverages menu, there are bellinis (seasonal flavors) and coffee & tea from Pannikin. I wasn’t quite feeling like alcohol that morning, so I went with a hot decaf. S chose iced. I love Pannikin coffee so I really enjoyed it.

Pannikin coffee, hot and cold [$3 each]

Pannikin coffee, hot and cold [$3 each]

We placed our orders after perusing the food menu, and shortly after our server brought us this parfait to try, from the chef!

Parfait [$6.50]: Greek yogurt, berries, granola

Parfait [$6.50]: Greek yogurt, berries, granola

S and I have been trying out tons of different Greek yogurt varieties lately (I think it started when Kirbie graciously invited us to a Chobani event), and we really enjoyed this parfait. The yogurt itself was thick and creamy but not too sweet, and the berry compote provided just enough sweetness. My favorite part was their granola, which was really crunchy and had pumpkin seeds!

Breakfast Empanadas [$8.50]: eggs, applewood smoked bacon, pepperjack cheese

Breakfast Empanadas [$8.50]: eggs, applewood smoked bacon, pepperjack cheese

We were both quite curious about the breakfast empanadas. …

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Prepkitchen Del Mar – Brunch

S and I recently checked out the brunch at Prepkitchen, since I had a couple of gift certificates to use. I had originally thought about going to Whisknladle, but since I’ve never been to Prepkitchen before, we decided to check that out.

Prepkitchen Del Mar

Prepkitchen Del Mar

There is patio seating and a few tables indoors. S and I chose to sit indoors since we usually don’t like the wind… haha. Our server let us know that coffee is self-serve.

Coffee station

Coffee station

Coffee

Coffee [$1]

Back in college and our early grad school days, S and I were actually pretty serious about coffee and would buy single-origin beans, grind them fresh, and use a Chemex coffee filter to make coffee. A couple of years ago, though, we realized that our hands would shake too much after drinking coffee and interfere with working in a lab… so I haven’t enjoyed a good cup of coffee in quite some time. I went with decaf here, and it reminded me that I should find a good bag of decaf beans and restart my habit of coffee enjoyment.

Anyway, enough ramblings… onto our food:

Donut Holes [$5.50]

Donut Holes [$5.50]

I’ve been craving donuts for a while, and when I saw donut holes on the menu, I ordered them immediately. They were served hot in a mini cast-iron pan, lined with a cut-up paper menu to wick the oil. S and I both loved them! I was thinking of eating just one and taking the rest home, but we actually polished off the entire thing in a few minutes. Haha. I especially liked that 1) they were served hot! and 2) they were dusted with powdered sugar instead of glazed.

Steak & Eggs [$16.75]

Steak & Eggs – hangar steak, herb butter, two eggs any style, hash browns, green salad [$16.75]

The steak & eggs was my choice. The steak was really good, cooked to a perfect medium rare, but I was a bit disappointed with the small portion of steak. The rest of the dish was a bit “meh” – the eggs were still quite runny (I didn’t mind too much, otherwise I would have sent it back), and I actually didn’t like the hash browns at all. It was too dense, and there wasn’t enough of the browned, crispy potato shreds that I love. S thought it was fine, if you think of it as a “potato cake.” Haha.

Pork & Sage Sausage Scramble - fontina, butternut squash, & kale [$11.50]

Pork & Sage Sausage Scramble – fontina, butternut squash, & kale [$11.50]

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Kitchen 4140 revisit

Kitchen 4140 is one of our favorite brunch places in San Diego, and recently, there was a $20 for $40 AmazonLocal deal. I purchased it immediately, but then forgot about it… until I saw that it was expiring soon! So, S and I quickly planned to have Sunday brunch there.

Luckily, they now take reservations, so we were seated right away! More often than not, brunch places don’t do reservations and you just have to endure the wait. While I can understand the rationale, I still like it when there are reservations.

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I’ve always loved the cow design, and I was bored waiting for food, so I decided to snap some random photos. Haha.

Blackened Steak Sandwich [$16]

Blackened Steak Sandwich [$16]

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We both wanted to try something different this time, so instead of the usual steak hash, I tried the steak sandwich: grilled skirt steak, havarti cheese, roasted tomatoes, caramelized onions, avocado crème fraîche, and herb aioli on a French roll. Even though there were so many ingredients, they all melded together quite nicely – I even enjoyed the avocado crème fraîche, despite being not too crazy about avocados (yes, I know I’m in California and it’s sacrilegious to say that). The steak was of course the best part, and it was quite juicy and flavorful.

The sandwich was served with fries, which were thick-cut and a bit greasy and salty, but we polished them all off nonetheless. It was served with a trio of sauces: curry ketchup, garlic aioli, and horseradish. I really liked the horseradish!

Smoked Salmon Kitchen Benedict [$15]

Smoked Salmon Kitchen Benedict [$15]

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Brunch at Karl Strauss Brewery Restaurant

Karl Strauss is one of San Diego’s (many) local breweries, and quite a popular one with many of my friends. According to S, Karl Strauss beer is popular among visitors because it tends to be less hoppy or bitter than others, such as Stone or Ballast Point, which some people aren’t so used to. Haha. Well, I’m no expert about beer – I just like anything that tastes good, and Karl Strauss’ famous Red Trolley Ale fits that description IMO – but I definitely trust the judgment of S and my beer-loving friends.

Of course, I care more about the food. I’ve only posted about my dining experience at Karl Strauss Brewery Restaurant just once, as part of a “San Diego visit” compilation post. Since then, it has quickly become one of my favorite places for American food, and we often take our visitor friends there to enjoy good food and drinks – only during dinner time, though. But a couple of weeks ago, S and his lab had a going-away brunch for a couple of his labmates, and I tagged along since I had never had the brunch at KS before.

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I believe the only location with brunch is the Sorrento Mesa one, which is somewhat difficult to find as it is actually in the middle of a tech park. Thankfully, there are ample directions on their webpage to guide you to the restaurant.

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KS Sunday brunch is an all-you-can-eat buffet, and you get a choice of bottomless mimosa, champagne, beer, beer flight, or soft drink/tea. I chose the mimosa, but most people chose beers.

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Mimosa

I took a few photos walking around the buffet, but it was a bit crowded so it wasn’t easy to get good photos.

Meat carving station

Meat carving station

Made-to-order pasta station

Made-to-order pasta station

Syrups

Syrups

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Solace & the Moonlight Lounge brunch

One of my favorite brunch places in San Diego is Urban Solace – I really love the flavors and ingredients there. It’s slightly heavier than many other popular brunch spots (e.g. The Cottage), but S and I tend to like that more. So, when I saw the Kirbie’s Cravings post on its sister restaurant in Encinitas, Solace & the Moonlight Lounge, I was really excited to try it out – and got the chance when one of my friends decided to have her birthday brunch there. Great thing about this place – they take reservations.

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Encinitas is such an interesting city to me, so different from San Diego (or the many other cities I’ve lived in). There’s free parking lots everywhere, boutique shops, cute little restaurants… I rarely see a big fast-food restaurant around here. It’s sort of nice, I suppose… also feels very rich. Haha.

Anyway, I arrived at the restaurant first and had some fun snapping photos. The restaurant has two floors, I think, but most of the seating is on the second floor as far as I can tell. There’s a pretty well-stocked bar area.

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Friends arrived and after taking a quick glance at the menu, we realized that the brunch items are almost the same as the offerings at Urban Solace. I don’t have a problem with this, since I love the food – just a bit surprised that it was so similar. S immediately opted for the Slow-braised Berkshire Pork Belly Bennie. Unfortunately I seem to have lost the photo of that dish.

I had a really hard time deciding between the Kitchen Sink Biscuits & Gravy and the Beef Cheek Hash. Finally went with the hash:

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Paso Prime Grass-Fed Beef Cheek Hash, Poached Eggs, Smoked Ancho-Chili Hollandaise ($13.50)

I thought this was decent, but S didn’t like it too much. He says there were way too many flavors going on in this dish, and both of us agreed that the Hollandaise sauce, while delicious, was too much for thie dish. I thought the runny egg yolk from the poached eggs was quite enough “eggy” flavor….

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Fig Tree Cafe (Pacific Beach location)

Brunch is one of my favorite meals – relaxing atmosphere and comfort food, accompanied by good conversations. It’s been a while since I had the time to enjoy brunch, so recently I made plans with a girl friend to check out Fig Tree Cafe in PB. I had a Groupon deal, and it seemed like a decent place.

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The restaurant is, quite literally, underneath a tree. I’m not good with plants but I’ll just assume that’s a fig tree… All the seating is on the semi-covered patio. Thankfully, it was a warm-ish day.

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We started out with some coffee & tea. Look how gigantic that mug of tea is, compared with the standard cup of coffee! I think the tea cup must have been at least 1000 c.c.

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Shrimp & Mango Salad ($10.75)

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