4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

That Meat Melts!

“My grandmother’s Armenian. She puts lots of fruit and nuts into dishes.”

The surfing art on the walls is by San Diego artist Jesse Miller.
The surfing art on the walls is by San Diego artist Jesse Miller.
Place

Sweet & Savory Café

4614 Mission Boulevard, San Diego

Whew. Walking, walking... North up Mission Boulevard. I’m in P.B. Looking for breakfast, dammit.

Okay, so it’s lunchtime. Need a place that doesn’t cut off at 11:00 a.m.

I come up on this guy in a black T-shirt, standing in a doorway, taking five. A big sign’s painted on the window beside him: “Sweet & Savory Café. Ridiculously tasty sandwiches and salads.”

The guy’s name is Michael, and this is his place.

On the red-and-yellow-striped awning, I see two magic words: “Breakfast.” “Lunch.”

“Still doing breakfast?” I ask.

Sweet & Savory’s owner/chef Michael Karijanian

“All day,” Michael says.

There’s something familiar…oh, wait.

“Didn’t this used to be Belgian Frie, with the double-fried fries and the 15 sauces and the cone cups in metal holders?” I ask.

“Yes, until two and a half years ago,” he says. “That’s when I moved in.”

Lord. Has it been that long? But now that I look more closely, someone’s definitely hit the refresh button and wielded a paint brush. Inside, the left wall is red, the rest of the place mostly white. Varnished skirting boards, new tile floor, padded-seat wicker chairs. It’s bright, fresh, and there’s some good surf art on the walls by a lifeguard/artist named Jesse Miller. “No Woman, No Cry” is playing on the sound system, and a HyBike hybrid electric bike leans against one wall. A scrawled sign warns: “Reserved Parking for Sweet & Savory’s delivery bike. That’s right!!! Delivery!!!”

A minute later, I’m sitting at a table near a bunch of gals. They’re talking excitedly about settling into a new apartment in PB. I say hi as they get up to leave — close quarters here. Then I figure I may as well ask what they had.

“The Brie,” says a gal named Caroline. “You’ve gotta have it.”

“The Thanksgiving,” says Chelsea, who’s right behind her. “Cranberry. It was beautiful.”

I check the menu hung behind the counter. The Brie’s a turkey sandwich with Granny Smith apple slices, brie cheese, and cranberry sauce. Goes for $7. The Thanksgiving is also turkey, but with veggie stuffing, mixed greens, muenster cheese, and cranberry, $6.50.

Mmm…both sound original, and tasty. But the next sandwich really catches my eye.

The “Tri-Tip” sandwich, with coffee-rubbed tri tip and smoked gouda cheese, $7

“The Tri-Tip. Coffee [and] spice-rubbed tri-tip topped with juicy roma tomatoes, mixed greens, smoked gouda cheese, and our roasted garlic mayo, $7.”

Coffee-and-spice-rubbed beef? That’s new. Want to try that…but, breakfast! That’s why I’m here, right?

The Grayce is two eggs, two bacon or sausage, and toast for $4.50. The Alle is three eggs, three bacon or sausage, and “our famous breakfast potatoes.” That costs $7.

Then there’s the Mikey: two eggs, two pancakes, and some of that coffee-and-spice-rubbed tri tip, also $7.

Under “omelets,” the Point Loma has linguiça sausage (to honor the Point Loma Portuguese fishing community, I bet — linguiça’s a Portuguese sausage), red onion, spinach, and manchego cheese for $6.50.

In a way I wish I’d had that — for one thing, the sausage sounds interesting —but in the end, I go for the P.B., ’cause it promises those chunks of coffee-rubbed tri-tip, plus bacon “and our three-cheese blend.” And breakfast potatoes. Seven bucks.

Except…they have pancakes. I’d kill for a pancake with some nice maple syrup.

Michael, behind the counter now, takes pity. Agrees to give me half potatoes, half pancake. What a gent.

But you know what? Even though I enjoy the omelet, bulging like a seine net with stuff tucked inside, it’s the taties that are the tastiest. Really herby.

“Cumin, thyme, salt, and pepper. That’s all I put on ’em,” Michael says.

My breakfast — an omelet with chunks of coffee-rubbed tri tip, bacon, three cheeses, potatoes, and a pancake ($7)

In the end, I have to do my favorite thing: mix those potatoes in with the pancake syrup.

Now that I think about it, that’s the name of the place, right? Sweet & Savory.

“My grandmother’s Armenian,” Michael says. “She puts lots of fruit and nuts into dishes.”

I ask who Grayce and Alle and Mikey are — from the breakfast dishes.

“Oh, Mikey’s me, Alle is my wife, and Grayce is our daughter,” Michael says. “Grayce was born soon after we took over this place. She had her playpen right here. She’s grown up in this place. Everybody knows her.”

He says he and Alle both went to the Art Institute culinary school in Mission Valley. “Alle graduated. I left after a semester.”

Instead, he found a cheap spot in Clairemont and started a catering business. Still runs it. While we’re talking, he tosses a dozen slices of dipped bread onto the hot plate to make french toast. “It’s going to be stuffed with citrus-and-herb-encrusted salmon, for a party tonight.”

Michael says he’s always experimenting. “I played around with rubbing the tri-tip with spices and coffee grounds. Dry rub, instead of marinating. I thought it was pretty interesting. So we tried it as a special. People kept asking for it. Now it’s our most popular sandwich.”

The breakfast was good, but I want to try the tri-tip in sandwich form. I decide to get one to split with Carla. Just before he wraps it, Michael sticks a chocolate-chip cookie on top. “I always pack a little surprise,” he says.

And really, the best part of the meal is sharing this sandwich with the lovely Carla.

At first, it just tastes like, well, beef. But then Carla shakes a bit of salt and pepper and — bingo! — it wakes up the whole coffee taste. Delish.

“Tender?” says Carla. “That meat melts!” She’s right. “Coffee?” she asks, as we finish up.

“Uh, thanks,” I say, “but I do believe I’m coffee’d out.” ■

The Place: Sweet & Savory Cafe, 4614 Mission Boulevard, Pacific Beach, 858-490-9140

Type of Food: Breakfast/lunch, sandwiches/salads

Prices: The Grayce breakfast (two eggs, two bacon or sausage, toast), $4.50; The Alle, three eggs, three bacon or sausage, breakfast potatoes, $7; The Mikey: two eggs, two pancakes, tri tip, $7; Point Loma omelet (with linguiça sausage, spinach, manchego cheese), $6.50; The Brie (turkey sandwich with Granny Smith apples, brie cheese, cranberry sauce), $7; The Tri-Tip, with coffee-and-spice-rubbed tri-tip, smoked gouda cheese, $7

Hours: 8.00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. daily

Bus: 30

Nearest Bus Stop: Mission Boulevard at Felspar

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Amazon’s Bezos gives Institute $30 million to find “cure” for ailing climate

Salk It To ‘Em
Next Article

Sign of the times

“Even if you’re a hater, I’ll sit and talk with you. We can find some common ground.”
The surfing art on the walls is by San Diego artist Jesse Miller.
The surfing art on the walls is by San Diego artist Jesse Miller.
Place

Sweet & Savory Café

4614 Mission Boulevard, San Diego

Whew. Walking, walking... North up Mission Boulevard. I’m in P.B. Looking for breakfast, dammit.

Okay, so it’s lunchtime. Need a place that doesn’t cut off at 11:00 a.m.

I come up on this guy in a black T-shirt, standing in a doorway, taking five. A big sign’s painted on the window beside him: “Sweet & Savory Café. Ridiculously tasty sandwiches and salads.”

The guy’s name is Michael, and this is his place.

On the red-and-yellow-striped awning, I see two magic words: “Breakfast.” “Lunch.”

“Still doing breakfast?” I ask.

Sweet & Savory’s owner/chef Michael Karijanian

“All day,” Michael says.

There’s something familiar…oh, wait.

“Didn’t this used to be Belgian Frie, with the double-fried fries and the 15 sauces and the cone cups in metal holders?” I ask.

“Yes, until two and a half years ago,” he says. “That’s when I moved in.”

Lord. Has it been that long? But now that I look more closely, someone’s definitely hit the refresh button and wielded a paint brush. Inside, the left wall is red, the rest of the place mostly white. Varnished skirting boards, new tile floor, padded-seat wicker chairs. It’s bright, fresh, and there’s some good surf art on the walls by a lifeguard/artist named Jesse Miller. “No Woman, No Cry” is playing on the sound system, and a HyBike hybrid electric bike leans against one wall. A scrawled sign warns: “Reserved Parking for Sweet & Savory’s delivery bike. That’s right!!! Delivery!!!”

A minute later, I’m sitting at a table near a bunch of gals. They’re talking excitedly about settling into a new apartment in PB. I say hi as they get up to leave — close quarters here. Then I figure I may as well ask what they had.

“The Brie,” says a gal named Caroline. “You’ve gotta have it.”

“The Thanksgiving,” says Chelsea, who’s right behind her. “Cranberry. It was beautiful.”

I check the menu hung behind the counter. The Brie’s a turkey sandwich with Granny Smith apple slices, brie cheese, and cranberry sauce. Goes for $7. The Thanksgiving is also turkey, but with veggie stuffing, mixed greens, muenster cheese, and cranberry, $6.50.

Mmm…both sound original, and tasty. But the next sandwich really catches my eye.

The “Tri-Tip” sandwich, with coffee-rubbed tri tip and smoked gouda cheese, $7

“The Tri-Tip. Coffee [and] spice-rubbed tri-tip topped with juicy roma tomatoes, mixed greens, smoked gouda cheese, and our roasted garlic mayo, $7.”

Coffee-and-spice-rubbed beef? That’s new. Want to try that…but, breakfast! That’s why I’m here, right?

The Grayce is two eggs, two bacon or sausage, and toast for $4.50. The Alle is three eggs, three bacon or sausage, and “our famous breakfast potatoes.” That costs $7.

Then there’s the Mikey: two eggs, two pancakes, and some of that coffee-and-spice-rubbed tri tip, also $7.

Under “omelets,” the Point Loma has linguiça sausage (to honor the Point Loma Portuguese fishing community, I bet — linguiça’s a Portuguese sausage), red onion, spinach, and manchego cheese for $6.50.

In a way I wish I’d had that — for one thing, the sausage sounds interesting —but in the end, I go for the P.B., ’cause it promises those chunks of coffee-rubbed tri-tip, plus bacon “and our three-cheese blend.” And breakfast potatoes. Seven bucks.

Except…they have pancakes. I’d kill for a pancake with some nice maple syrup.

Michael, behind the counter now, takes pity. Agrees to give me half potatoes, half pancake. What a gent.

But you know what? Even though I enjoy the omelet, bulging like a seine net with stuff tucked inside, it’s the taties that are the tastiest. Really herby.

“Cumin, thyme, salt, and pepper. That’s all I put on ’em,” Michael says.

My breakfast — an omelet with chunks of coffee-rubbed tri tip, bacon, three cheeses, potatoes, and a pancake ($7)

In the end, I have to do my favorite thing: mix those potatoes in with the pancake syrup.

Now that I think about it, that’s the name of the place, right? Sweet & Savory.

“My grandmother’s Armenian,” Michael says. “She puts lots of fruit and nuts into dishes.”

I ask who Grayce and Alle and Mikey are — from the breakfast dishes.

“Oh, Mikey’s me, Alle is my wife, and Grayce is our daughter,” Michael says. “Grayce was born soon after we took over this place. She had her playpen right here. She’s grown up in this place. Everybody knows her.”

He says he and Alle both went to the Art Institute culinary school in Mission Valley. “Alle graduated. I left after a semester.”

Instead, he found a cheap spot in Clairemont and started a catering business. Still runs it. While we’re talking, he tosses a dozen slices of dipped bread onto the hot plate to make french toast. “It’s going to be stuffed with citrus-and-herb-encrusted salmon, for a party tonight.”

Michael says he’s always experimenting. “I played around with rubbing the tri-tip with spices and coffee grounds. Dry rub, instead of marinating. I thought it was pretty interesting. So we tried it as a special. People kept asking for it. Now it’s our most popular sandwich.”

The breakfast was good, but I want to try the tri-tip in sandwich form. I decide to get one to split with Carla. Just before he wraps it, Michael sticks a chocolate-chip cookie on top. “I always pack a little surprise,” he says.

And really, the best part of the meal is sharing this sandwich with the lovely Carla.

At first, it just tastes like, well, beef. But then Carla shakes a bit of salt and pepper and — bingo! — it wakes up the whole coffee taste. Delish.

“Tender?” says Carla. “That meat melts!” She’s right. “Coffee?” she asks, as we finish up.

“Uh, thanks,” I say, “but I do believe I’m coffee’d out.” ■

The Place: Sweet & Savory Cafe, 4614 Mission Boulevard, Pacific Beach, 858-490-9140

Type of Food: Breakfast/lunch, sandwiches/salads

Prices: The Grayce breakfast (two eggs, two bacon or sausage, toast), $4.50; The Alle, three eggs, three bacon or sausage, breakfast potatoes, $7; The Mikey: two eggs, two pancakes, tri tip, $7; Point Loma omelet (with linguiça sausage, spinach, manchego cheese), $6.50; The Brie (turkey sandwich with Granny Smith apples, brie cheese, cranberry sauce), $7; The Tri-Tip, with coffee-and-spice-rubbed tri-tip, smoked gouda cheese, $7

Hours: 8.00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. daily

Bus: 30

Nearest Bus Stop: Mission Boulevard at Felspar

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Prickles of pepper at Gaslamp Breakfast Company

San Diego is a breakfast city
Next Article

SPG turns RPG into BFD

Local costumed rockers are hot on the trail of a breakthrough
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close