Walter Mencken 10:17 a.m., Dec. 18
Refried Beans for Breakfast: Molletes at Eastlake's Cool Down Coffee
I’ve recently discovered that I get approximately 50% less work done when I work from home. Oh, I get plenty of laundry done, but my work work suffers. I have my favorite work-away-from-home joints in North Park and Normal Heights, but until recently, I had yet to find one closer to home that I can escape to for a few hours when I have no business in San Diego proper.
A couple of weeks ago, I found Cool Down Coffee, an Eastlake coffee shop (in the Trader Joe's shopping center) with a homey-meets-corporate vibe. I've been a handful of times since. Despite the always-loud radio, which plays everything from Adele to Flashdance and Footloose soundtracks at an annoyingly-high volume, I dig the friendly stay-as-long-as-you-want staff. Plus, the iced coffee refills are only 50 cents.
And now, too, I’ve happily discovered molletes and can add them to the list of things I like about the place.
I had never heard of molletes until I went into Cool Down Coffee for the first time. That day, I was in the mood for a pastry, so when I inquired about the unfamiliar special advertised on their chalkboard and the man behind the counter said something about refried beans, I stopped listening and went with a Danish instead.
But the next time I went in, I inquired again. This time, I heard him say Ciabatta bread, bacon, and provolone, too. Curiosity overcame, and I said, “Why the hell not?”
Apparently, in Spain, a mollete is a kind of bread roll, but in Mexico, if you say mollete, you’ll get a baguette-type bread spread with refried beans, topped with cheese, and then grilled in the oven. There will be variations, of course, depending on who’s serving your mollete. At Cool Down coffee, you get your choice of bacon or ham, and a bit of pico de gallo.
This is the joy of living so close to the border: little surprises on the menu of an otherwise unsurprising coffee shop.