You spent last night drinking and clubbing, and now your best bet to escape a hangover is a dose of breakfast food and cocktails. At least that’s the thinking behind The Morning After, a new restaurant bringing a daily breakfast and brunch menu to the Gaslamp, along with a full bar.
531 F St., Downtown San Diego
The place was opened by the Elevating Nightlife Group, which operated the FSix nightclub just across the street, so if you abandon your car downtown while partying at FSix, there’ll be eggs benedict, pancakes, and 12 dollar bloody marys waiting for you when you retrieve it.
Actually, a range of breakfast cocktails are tough to miss, given they occupy prime real estate down the center of the placemat-style menu. Ranging from $9-12, they include a tricked out michelada, watermelon mule, and caramel apple mimosa, but I would think the $30 per person bottomless mimosas will appeal most to boozy brunchers.
For the hungry among us, mainstay breakfast dishes include a trio of omelets ($12-14), shrimp and grits ($10), and avocado toast ($11), with a couple of key variations such as vegetarian chilaquiles ($15) and gluten soyrizo free hash ($12). My attention was fixed on the right hand side of the menu, where special treatment is given to an assortment of pancakes, french toast, and waffles at $12 or $12 apiece.
Trying to choose just one of these breakfast sweets can be a challenge, so I was easily taken by the Mile High Club. No, it didn’t involve boarding a plane with your paramour. This is more of a $9 breakfast flight, featuring a serving each of french toast, pancake, and waffle. It’s an ideal breakfast for the indecisive sweet tooth.
Breakfast cereal and sweet marscapone figure heavily into the flight. The buttermilk pancake is frosted with marscapone, sprinkled inside and out with Fruity Pebbles, and topped with a large scoop of butter. The French toast is drizzled with marscapone, and sprinkled with Cinnamon Toast Crunch. The waffle deviates a bit: no marscapone, but plenty of crumbled oreo cookie inside and out.
That actually proved my favorite, followed by the pancake. All were well-executed breakfast cakes, or breads, or whatever you’d collectively call this category. The cinnamon toast just seemed boring by comparison, maybe because Cinnamon Toast Crunch is a relatively boring sugar cereal.
Dominated by a central bar, The Morning After hasn’t changed its interior much since this location was a bar called Off the Strip. There are mostly two- and four-top tables and bar seating inside, as well as a cluster of good-sized TVs. A sidewalk dining patio might provide the best experience for brunching groups.
I’m past my clubbing years, so I’m in no place to be critical of The Morning After concept. However, one seemingly small detail stood out to me as troublesome: the restaurant’s TMA logo. It’s a very obvious rip off of the logo created by Modern Times Beer, down to the font details. I happen to know Modern Times takes graphic design very seriously, and employs some very talented designers to maintain its status as perhaps the world’s most well-branded beer company. So to see a breakfast bar cop it feels like a cheap move. Expecially for a place that doesn’t even serve Modern Times brew.