In San Diego, nary a restaurant concept has dedicated itself solely to showcasing the remarkable potential of the egg.
Bumming on this, I got to thinking about the last great egg dish I devoured. It took some time to remember, but then I recalled Pan Bon’s three-way egg preparation breakfast plate, and the downtown Tender Green’s shortrib breakfast sandwich with an over medium Gone Straw pastured egg, both of which I reported previously here.
All too often, what passes for eggs - in a breakfast burrito, for an extreme example - are the rubbery remains of would-be delicate whites that were begrudgingly dragged across a flat top grill. Similarly crisped yolks eerily look like pieces of an old sponge you used to scrub your sink. Yes, it’s extreme, and yes, it does happen, but the mediocre eggs served at plenty of breakfast joints that charge between $10 and $16 per plate are the real thorn in my side.
What I wish for San Diego is an approachable egg-centric eatery, open early to late night, operated by a chicken-whisperer who’s hell bent on technique, and serving the perfect eggs. It doesn’t have to be trendy or snooty. Just proper.
Recently, I had to exorcise some demons, and my pursuit for greatness in the wake of some bad eggs led me to The Little Lion Café in Sunset Cliffs. The breakfast menu, served from 8 a.m. till 3 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, boasts a handful of classic preparations using Mike and Sons eggs; I went with a croque monsieur sandwich, which underwent a sex change thanks to the addition of a plump poached egg on top.
Transformed as the croque madame, its heap of thinly shaved, flavorful smoked ham, creamy béchamel sauce, melted Swiss and an over-medium poached egg on top were just perfect. Sturdy bread made it easy to just pick up and eat the rustic sandwich without concern over causing a mess. The most delightful bites included bits of cheese that browned and crisped along the bread’s edges. Yum.
The chicken and the egg
If 2013 was the year of the burger, and 2014 the year of the taco, will 2015 be the year of fried chicken? In terms of national food trends, it sure does look like the finger-licking, classic comfort food dish is about to have its moment in the sun, and San Diego won’t be left out of the fun. Leave it up the trailblazing restaurant scene in Little Italy. Richard Blais, Michael Rosen and Bradley Austin are bringing us The Crack Shack, slated for late 2015 - a casual, walk-up eatery with chicken and eggs every which way - located on the same block as Juniper and Ivy. In addition to sourcing the best produce from local farms to complement executive chef Austin’s plethora of free-range chicken and egg dishes, breads will be baked in house.
Got eggs? Tell us your favorite egg dishes in San Diego and be sure to tag your Instagram photos with #DSDeat for a chance feature in our Food Porn Friday series.
Amy T. Granite is a dauntless eater who has written about food in San Diego since 2006. You can follow Granite and her tasty adventures on Twitter and Instagram @saysgranite. Send your mouth-watering ideas to her at email@example.com.