Walter Mencken 11 a.m., May 24
Claire's on Cedros Bakery and Cafe, at 246 North Cedros in Solana Beach, is as much about it's cute, homey, ultra-green building and grounds as it is about it's food. It's the first restaurant in San Diego to receive the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum rating. The USGBC is a non-profit trade organization that developed LEED certification to provide a framework for green building design, construction, operations and maintenance. In other words, everything from demolition of the old site to the way the kitchen is cleaned is done with it's impact on the environment in mind. It's actually pretty interesting reading (okay, I'm a geek, it's interesting to me anyway).
There's a 20 minute wait, so we grab a couple of coffees ($2.25) at the barista and walk around the grounds. It's planted with citrus, guavas, hops, grapevines, herbs, and a few vegetables (probably more in the warm months).
Inside, there's an impressive selection of cookies, brownies, muffins and other goodies on display (including dog biscuits). I smiled at the note of pride in the young lady's voice when I asked about them - "Yes, everything you see is made right here. We have a BIG bakery in back." With good reason, the Claire behind it is Claire Allison, who, as a young mother, developed and sold the recipe for what became Milton's Multigrain bread. She worked at Milton's Delicatessan's bakery for 12 years before opening Claire's on Cedros with her friend and business partner, Terrie Boley. Terrie describes herself as "not a great cook" but as an entrepreneur who "enjoys working with smart, talented, passionate people".
We've heard that the pancakes here are good, so John gets the cinnamon Claircakes combo ($9.95), and I choose the Machaca and Eggs ($10.95).
The beef is well seasoned and juicy. On the side are some black beans, savory and cooked just to tenderness, topped with a smattering of quesa fresca. There's also a nice helping of very fresh, simple guacamole and some salsa fresca that's tasty in spite of the winter tomatoes. I build some taco-like things with the corn tortillas and chow down.
John's pancakes are very cinnamon-y. So much so that at first bite, I thought "too much?". The second bite, though, dissolved my fears. Yummy, spicy and fluffy. His eggs were cooked nicely over easy, no icky runny whites, and the bacon was thick and smokey. Add some maple syrup and John was a happy man.
I was too full to try any of the baked goods, but along with the check came a couple of cute little shortbreads. M-m-m butter. Nice.
246 North Cedros
Solana Beach, CA 92075
Monday through Friday - 6 am to 3 pm
Saturday and Sunday - 7 am to 4 pm
Closed New Years Day
Claire's on Cedros accepts reservations for parties of 6 or more (except on Saturday and Sunday from 7am – 3pm).
Family and dog friendly.
Small parking lot, street parking.
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