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Cruising the land of nuts and twigs again. Solana Beach. Coming up Cedros, the avenue of converted Quonset huts.

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Arty.

Place called OMG bristles with Asian imports, looks like.

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But on the other side, I spot a little garden with two, like, HUGE umbrellas. Square. White. Cover an entire patio.

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I cross over. Patio has French-style café tables, lots of bushes, vines.

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It's dog friendly. But there are rules.

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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.

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It’s Café Zinc (132 S. Cedros, Solana Beach, 858-793-5436).

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Cool.

Inside, the Three Graces greet you, wait for orders.

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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.

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Hmm. I chomp. Look around. Trickles of water, burble of conversations. Life is gouda.

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Coffee, burger, dog. Does anything else matter?

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