Walter Mencken 10:06 a.m., Feb. 6
Big Figs in Little Oaks
Wha? Oh wow.
Having one of my chicken fried steak breakfast dreams again.
Best one (steak, not dream) I ever had was at the Potato Shack in Encinitas (120 West “I” Street).
There’s nothing like Encinitas (“Little Oaks”) in the morning. Fresh sun, dripping surfers, ocean just down the road, small town feeling.
Potato Shack's on a side street heading for the ocean in Encinitas
And this place, a low building huddling under giant fig (ficus) trees, with chairs and tables around the mighty trunks…it just begs you to come in and take a load off.
My chicken-fried steak? Wicked, delicious. Basically $8.95 with biscuits and gravy. I got it with steamed eggs, squaw-bread toast and American fries, which means red potatoes boiled, cooled, then sautéed in canola oil. Cholesterol-free, they say. And as many refills of fries as you like.
The other things I like are their huge (“manhole-cover-sized”) pancakes ($5.50), endless coffees ($2.30). And - get this - the fact you can split an order and no dirty looks or extra charge. Cool.
Inside, you can eat at polished redwood tree-trunk tables. But the ultimate cool is those ancient fig trees outside. They make this place and its people look tiny.
Not that you feel tiny, after a chicken-fried steak.
Chicken fried steak breakfast with steamed eggs, spuds, squawbread toast
Side view of the Potato Shack
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