John Donne 9 p.m., May 27
Sunset Yogurt & Ice Cream
The Del Mar Plaza was weird and desolate on an overcast day. Nobody sat on any of the hidden patios that are attached to no business in particular and the fountains burbled without an audience.
Upscale boutiques looked warm and inviting, but they offered nothing in the way of a nosh. The Plaza was confusing to navigate and harder than one might think to find a cup of coffee in to take the chill off the day.
It seems like there's no coffee shop in Del Mar, at least not near the Plaza. How can there be so many stores and only a Starbucks anywhere within sight?
Fortunately, Sunrise Yogurt sells coffee, as indicated by a small sign in the window of the shop.
The inside was kind of a hodgepodge of decoration and much less posh than the surroundings seem to mandate. There's a cheapness implied by crookedly hung cabinetry and plastic furnishings that seemed out of place in the classy little Plaza.
With gelato on the menu, an espresso would be the perfect cup of coffee, but all that was available was drip java from an airpot. At least it was an organic bean from Weavers, an unfamiliar company,but there is always something to be said for trying new things.
The list of gelato flavors was short, but the appearance of the display case was actually promising. The Italian ice creams looked to be nice and soft, never having been stored at too cold a temperature.
A small pistachio gelato ($3.50) was filled pleasantly overflowing, and a cup of coffee was $2, which perhaps undercuts 'Bucks by a small margin.
Surprisingly, neither was half bad. The gelato was free of ice crystals (the sure sign of a cut-rate gelateria) and the coffee, despite having obviously sat in thermal storage for some time, had some complexity and depth of flavor.
Both were adequate, really on the good side of average, and priced so that there was neither buyer's remorse nor the secret thrill of a great bargain.