7:45 p.m., June 29
In the Land of Big Umbrellas (and Veggie Burgers)
Cruising the land of nuts and twigs again. Solana Beach. Coming up Cedros, the avenue of converted Quonset huts.
Place called OMG bristles with Asian imports, looks like.
But on the other side, I spot a little garden with two, like, HUGE umbrellas. Square. White. Cover an entire patio.
I cross over. Patio has French-style café tables, lots of bushes, vines.
It's dog friendly. But there are rules.
People sit chatting, studying, sipping coffee, eating stuff. And, huh. Life-size metal sculpture of a dog standing and stealing French bread from the table. Knocks over a pitcher of water. Pitcher's in the act of tipping, pouring out its water. That's the fountain. Talk about freeze frame. Very clever.
It’s Café Zinc (132 S. Cedros, Solana Beach, 858-793-5436).
Inside, the Three Graces greet you, wait for orders.
Natalie, Mandy (with my burger) and Jessica, with kitchen manager Andrew putting in a special appearance
This being lunchtime, I go for the burger. Zinc Burger ($8.95).
Jessica suggests I add a slab of smoked gouda cheese for $1.
Of course it’s a veggie burger. Plenty of cheeses, but no sign of meat anywhere here.
I take it out to a table near the fountain-lapping dog.
Patty tastes, well, veggie, but the smoked gouda adds heft to the burger's taste.
Hmm. I chomp. Look around. Trickles of water, burble of conversations. Life is gouda.
Coffee, burger, dog. Does anything else matter?
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