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A surprisingly satisfying meatless benedict

Everything we want in a dog-friendly brunch, without the pork

The Tuscan Benedict lives up to its hype. Claire's on Cedros
The Tuscan Benedict lives up to its hype. Claire's on Cedros
Place

Claire's on Cedros

246 North Cedros Avenue, Solana Beach

A quaint little LEED certified restaurant setting near the Coaster station.

Always on the hunt for dog friendly eateries, I've heard from a number of friends I that need to check out Claire's on Cedros in Solana Beach. I looked into it, and according to Feaster Mary Beth's article from a few years back, this was the first local restaurant to be LEED certified. So, both dog friendly and eco-friendly — if Claire's has a place for me to nap after my meal, it might turn out to be the perfect restaurant.

Okay, that was too much to ask, but the converted house does have a large, comfortable, and dog-friendly patio that turned out to be my pup's favorite yet. With room to move around a little bit, Loki didn't feel confined under my table, and stretched out on the pavers, where fellow diners passing by could stop and give her a little pet. We're talking about a very social dog here, so while I enjoyed some brunch, she got to know some of the dog-friendly people of Solana Beach. When my waiter brought her a large, full, water dish, I started to worry she wouldn't want to leave.

Of course, my other major concern was the quality of the food. The Tuscan benedict is said to be a signature dish, at least according to my server and the web at large, so despite a vast menu of breakfast and lunch items I would have liked to have sampled top to bottom, I stuck with that.

Loki was so comfortable here, she didn't even ask for food (another benefit to skipping the sausage).

It wasn't too much of a hardship. The twist on this benedict is that the poached egg and hollandaise is served with braised spinach, roasted tomatoes and pesto. Also, while it's offered on an English muffin, per usual, they also will sub in a croissant. The value of this is that Claire's bakes its own breads, including this croissant — but not the English muffin.

I dunno if piling a benedict between slices of croissant means it should be called something different, — perhaps a breakfast sandwich? — but I went ahead and ordered it that way. I could not imagine a scenario where I'd regret doing so. I mean, English muffins are great and all, but how often will it beat a baked-on-premises croissant? Either way, it went for $11.95. I could have added Italian sausage for a couple bucks more, but I wanted to see how good this thing could taste without the benefit of meat.

Pretty good, it turns out. All the individual components worked well, as they should have: the croissant was chewy and flaky, the spinach intensely green, the hollandaise rich and eggy. The basil pesto united the dish, but the real winning ingredients were the roasted cherry tomatoes. They were bold — pungent and acidic — their flavor really holding its own in the absence of sausage. I can't recall enjoying a meatless benedict before in my life; I've always found there to be something missing, and these tomatoes might have been it. If Claire's can win me over without the benefit of either a nap room or meat, I can't wait to return, pup in tow, and see what they accomplish with the implied decadence of their braised short-rib hash.

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The Tuscan Benedict lives up to its hype. Claire's on Cedros
The Tuscan Benedict lives up to its hype. Claire's on Cedros
Place

Claire's on Cedros

246 North Cedros Avenue, Solana Beach

A quaint little LEED certified restaurant setting near the Coaster station.

Always on the hunt for dog friendly eateries, I've heard from a number of friends I that need to check out Claire's on Cedros in Solana Beach. I looked into it, and according to Feaster Mary Beth's article from a few years back, this was the first local restaurant to be LEED certified. So, both dog friendly and eco-friendly — if Claire's has a place for me to nap after my meal, it might turn out to be the perfect restaurant.

Okay, that was too much to ask, but the converted house does have a large, comfortable, and dog-friendly patio that turned out to be my pup's favorite yet. With room to move around a little bit, Loki didn't feel confined under my table, and stretched out on the pavers, where fellow diners passing by could stop and give her a little pet. We're talking about a very social dog here, so while I enjoyed some brunch, she got to know some of the dog-friendly people of Solana Beach. When my waiter brought her a large, full, water dish, I started to worry she wouldn't want to leave.

Of course, my other major concern was the quality of the food. The Tuscan benedict is said to be a signature dish, at least according to my server and the web at large, so despite a vast menu of breakfast and lunch items I would have liked to have sampled top to bottom, I stuck with that.

Loki was so comfortable here, she didn't even ask for food (another benefit to skipping the sausage).

It wasn't too much of a hardship. The twist on this benedict is that the poached egg and hollandaise is served with braised spinach, roasted tomatoes and pesto. Also, while it's offered on an English muffin, per usual, they also will sub in a croissant. The value of this is that Claire's bakes its own breads, including this croissant — but not the English muffin.

I dunno if piling a benedict between slices of croissant means it should be called something different, — perhaps a breakfast sandwich? — but I went ahead and ordered it that way. I could not imagine a scenario where I'd regret doing so. I mean, English muffins are great and all, but how often will it beat a baked-on-premises croissant? Either way, it went for $11.95. I could have added Italian sausage for a couple bucks more, but I wanted to see how good this thing could taste without the benefit of meat.

Pretty good, it turns out. All the individual components worked well, as they should have: the croissant was chewy and flaky, the spinach intensely green, the hollandaise rich and eggy. The basil pesto united the dish, but the real winning ingredients were the roasted cherry tomatoes. They were bold — pungent and acidic — their flavor really holding its own in the absence of sausage. I can't recall enjoying a meatless benedict before in my life; I've always found there to be something missing, and these tomatoes might have been it. If Claire's can win me over without the benefit of either a nap room or meat, I can't wait to return, pup in tow, and see what they accomplish with the implied decadence of their braised short-rib hash.

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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
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