Don Bauder 9:45 p.m., March 11
There are few things more pleasant in life than sitting by the ocean with your partner and enjoying an impromptu meal. And the view at Caroline’s Seaside Café in La Jolla couldn’t be more beautiful.
Located on the UCSD Scripps Institute of Oceanography campus in the Seaside Forum, Caroline’s is one of three restaurants owned by Chef Giuseppe Ciuffa. His other venues are Museum Café at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla and Sculpture Court Café at the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park.
The patio is gorgeous, of course, but the inside seating is very pretty as well. The honey-colored wood and sleek white furniture blend well with the surrounding landscape.
It’s pretty straightforward at Caroline’s — order at the front, pay, your food is brought out to you. The menu has typical lunch fare (they also serve breakfast till 11:30 am), sticking to the basics: soup, hot and cold sandwiches, and salads. A full array of coffee drinks are available, as well as teas, soda and bottled drinks.
My choice, the Farmer’s Grilled Cheese ($8.50), paired cheddar and spring garlic goat cheese with baby spinach, shaved red onion and grilled tomato slices on sourdough. I would have liked it a bit more browned, but it was grilled enough to be crisp, and the excellent crust on the bread added good crunch. The tomatoes were surprisingly flavorful for this time of year, grilling them brought out more of their sweetness. The tangy, garlicky goat cheese mixed with the juicy tomatoes and made it a pleasantly messy and quite delicious sandwich.
On the side was a tossed salad, organic baby greens napped with a good vinaigrette. Very fresh tasting and light.
John selected the Basic Burger ($7.75), made from hormone-free ground chuck, on a soft roll with tomato, lettuce and, according to the menu, caramelized onions. They were far from being caramelized, rather being barely softened. In spite of it, they were still tasty. The burger was cooked to just slightly pink, and had good beefy flavor.
The fries that came as a sidecar were decent, a bit on the lukewarm side, but okay.
I checked out what people at the surrounding tables were eating. The salads looked especially garden-fresh and generous.
Caroline’s Seaside Café also serves brunch on weekends.
8610 Kennel Way (formerly Discovery Way), La Jolla, CA 92037; 858-202-0569
Daily - 8:00 am - 3:00 pm