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Blue Whale manifests a few intentions in La Jolla

High minded cafe counter service, from breakfast to early dinner

A beauty, boho cafe for the Village of La Jolla
A beauty, boho cafe for the Village of La Jolla

In a beachy, white cottage in the Village of La Jolla, feasters who lean bohemian may now find a Blue Whale. That’s the name of a daylight hours café that recently emerged in a converted house on Kline Street, which had been a smoothie franchise my last time through. Inside and out, the new operators have brightened the place with a fresh paint job, and accents including striped patio umbrellas and nautical ropes, to vaguely evoke distant Atlantic shores.

Place

Blue Whale

834 Kline St., San Diego


But when I pay a mid-afternoon visit — and this is something I never thought I’d say — the vibe I get is more Portland meets Malibu. Like that gritty Pacific northwest creativity mashed up with laid back, left coast spirit. Take the counter eatery’s wood dining furniture, mismatching and secondhand, accented by tropical plants and seagrass light shades.

Formerly a Nektar smoothie shop, now a casual eatery


Blue Whale pledges local sourcing, and its menu touts plenty of ingredients known to be high in nutrients. They’re made into a range of dishes wide enough to cover any person’s interpretation of the term, elevated casual. So depending how you look at it, breakfast options run the gamut: from acai bowls ($13-16 )to avocado toast ($13), or from ube pancakes ($16) to chicken & waffles ($18).


Smoothies, coffee, and tea drinks are served all day, and though the Breakfast menu shifts to a Lunch & Dinner menu, it’s a long transition, with both available between 11am and 3pm.

Cold brew and cappuccino


Afternoon diners get rice bowls ($11-18) and salads ($12-20), or heavier options that fit between smash burger ($17) and pan-seared salmon ($21) on the gastropub spectrum. Though it’s worth keeping an eye out for embellishments, like those are horchata waffles. That’s ribeye in that California burrito ($18). And when you order chicken tender and fries ($16), you can boost your nutritional intake by making the sides sweet potato.

Sponsored
Sponsored


Catching up with the shop in between rains, I found the place to be in high demand, including couples, families, and students, seated with their laptops at narrow, wall-mounted counters. Patio and sidewalk seating were still a bit cool and damp to sit outside, so I found open seats at a premium in the small dining room. I wound up making a community table of the large dining table up front with another small party.

Strictly speaking, more a lobster salad sandwich than a lobster roll


Lobster roll stood out to me at the top of the menu (served with fries, $23), though what immediately stood out when it arrive on a plate is that it was not on the expected, vertically split roll. Rather, the lobster meat was piled between fat slabs of toasted brioche, with more than a pinch of parsley. It looked nice, and tasted fine, though undermined by occasional sandy grit in the lobster meat.


I had better luck with the furikake-crusted seared ahi ($21), though its side of sautéed greens clashed both with the fish and its adjacent mango salsa. I definitely haven’t eaten enough to get a sense what Blue Whale might do really well, but it does strike me there’s maybe a shared flaky enthusiasm to the cafe cultures of the PNW and So Cal, all part of their respective charms.

Search ahi tuna, crusted in the Japanese seaweed and spice blend, furikake


Still, I’ll pass for now on the small menu of adaptogenic “functional lattes,” which combine various exotic herbs and mushrooms to provide stress relieving properties. There’s a lot to like about what they’ve got going on at the Blue Whale, but I’m not yet ready to say, “no worries.”



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A beauty, boho cafe for the Village of La Jolla
A beauty, boho cafe for the Village of La Jolla

In a beachy, white cottage in the Village of La Jolla, feasters who lean bohemian may now find a Blue Whale. That’s the name of a daylight hours café that recently emerged in a converted house on Kline Street, which had been a smoothie franchise my last time through. Inside and out, the new operators have brightened the place with a fresh paint job, and accents including striped patio umbrellas and nautical ropes, to vaguely evoke distant Atlantic shores.

Place

Blue Whale

834 Kline St., San Diego


But when I pay a mid-afternoon visit — and this is something I never thought I’d say — the vibe I get is more Portland meets Malibu. Like that gritty Pacific northwest creativity mashed up with laid back, left coast spirit. Take the counter eatery’s wood dining furniture, mismatching and secondhand, accented by tropical plants and seagrass light shades.

Formerly a Nektar smoothie shop, now a casual eatery


Blue Whale pledges local sourcing, and its menu touts plenty of ingredients known to be high in nutrients. They’re made into a range of dishes wide enough to cover any person’s interpretation of the term, elevated casual. So depending how you look at it, breakfast options run the gamut: from acai bowls ($13-16 )to avocado toast ($13), or from ube pancakes ($16) to chicken & waffles ($18).


Smoothies, coffee, and tea drinks are served all day, and though the Breakfast menu shifts to a Lunch & Dinner menu, it’s a long transition, with both available between 11am and 3pm.

Cold brew and cappuccino


Afternoon diners get rice bowls ($11-18) and salads ($12-20), or heavier options that fit between smash burger ($17) and pan-seared salmon ($21) on the gastropub spectrum. Though it’s worth keeping an eye out for embellishments, like those are horchata waffles. That’s ribeye in that California burrito ($18). And when you order chicken tender and fries ($16), you can boost your nutritional intake by making the sides sweet potato.

Sponsored
Sponsored


Catching up with the shop in between rains, I found the place to be in high demand, including couples, families, and students, seated with their laptops at narrow, wall-mounted counters. Patio and sidewalk seating were still a bit cool and damp to sit outside, so I found open seats at a premium in the small dining room. I wound up making a community table of the large dining table up front with another small party.

Strictly speaking, more a lobster salad sandwich than a lobster roll


Lobster roll stood out to me at the top of the menu (served with fries, $23), though what immediately stood out when it arrive on a plate is that it was not on the expected, vertically split roll. Rather, the lobster meat was piled between fat slabs of toasted brioche, with more than a pinch of parsley. It looked nice, and tasted fine, though undermined by occasional sandy grit in the lobster meat.


I had better luck with the furikake-crusted seared ahi ($21), though its side of sautéed greens clashed both with the fish and its adjacent mango salsa. I definitely haven’t eaten enough to get a sense what Blue Whale might do really well, but it does strike me there’s maybe a shared flaky enthusiasm to the cafe cultures of the PNW and So Cal, all part of their respective charms.

Search ahi tuna, crusted in the Japanese seaweed and spice blend, furikake


Still, I’ll pass for now on the small menu of adaptogenic “functional lattes,” which combine various exotic herbs and mushrooms to provide stress relieving properties. There’s a lot to like about what they’ve got going on at the Blue Whale, but I’m not yet ready to say, “no worries.”



Comments
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