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I'm in Bird Rock today, doing some errands, so lunch is going to be a quick sandwich. Besides, since Thanksgiving I haven't had anything green to eat. I've heard that WindanSea Cafe on the corner of La Jolla Blvd. and Playa del Norte makes a pretty good panino. I run in and it's not busy, so I decide to grab a table and stay. It's a small, friendly place - the pretty lady behind the counter, who's also the greeter/cook/server calls me "sweetie". I order the Veg-Out ($6.95) on ciabatta. Focaccia, sourdough and multigrain bread is also available.

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I watch folks buying Christmas trees across the street while I wait. It doesn't take long, and to my delight, there's a nice little mixed green salad with it.

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My sandwich is thick with fresh tomato, roasted eggplant, portabella mushrooms, red onions and avocado, all under a blanket of melted mozzarella. It's crust is crispy, chewy and the eggplant is rich and soft. Tender smoky mushrooms. Sweet caramelized onion. There's a shake of herb in there, too. Oregano and... something else? I can't put my finger on it. The balsamic vinaigrette cuts through the richness of the cheese, eggplant and avocado nicely.

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I'm full and happy. Quite a nice deal for the price. And I still have time to run a few more errands before happy hour.

WindanSea Cafe

6780 La Jolla Blvd.

La Jolla, CA 92037

858-459-1895

http://www.windanseacafe.com/

Hours:

Mon-Sat 6 am - 5:30 pm

Sun 6 am - 5 pm

Street parking only (no meters).

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