The country remains untouristed, but is perfectly safe to visit — with lots to see for the intrepid traveler.
Alice Diamond 12:50 p.m., Oct. 22
Beautiful North County morning. Heading down towards the beach. Solana Beach.
Look left on South Acadia. Aha. Thar she blows! That little ol' ivy-covered corrugated-iron roof garage sticking right out in the middle of this dusty side street.
Sigh of relief. So they haven't pulled it down for another rack of racetrack rental condos (the season at Del Mar brings in boo-coo bucks if you wanna rent out, they say).
This is the gem of Solana Beach, the Hide Away Cafe (150 South Acacia, 858-755-3388, open 7 a.m. - 2 p.m. daily). The place used to be the garage for Mr. Beebe the pharmacist. They say he built it in 1938. But since 1983, Jan Brown has turned it into a down-home breakfast joint.
Now I see the sign.
"Hide Away Cafe."
Has it changed? Not one iota.
Just look inside today...
Three of the customers, Frank, Charlie, and Peter, have been coming pretty much since it opened. "No, I've only been coming for 12 years," says Peter. The two waitresses, Gloria and Robbie, say they've been working here 15-20 years.
Gloria and Robbie
"We pretty much have to bring our girlfriends in to see if Gloria and Robbie approve," says Bob. He's here with Kate.
Kate and Bob
They approved of Kate. She's eating a cheese omelet. Bob's having his usual two eggs and hash browns. Me, a Kaleidoscope.
My Kaleidoscope breakfast
Nice mix of veggies like green peppers and broccoli messed in with cheese and eggs. Most dishes cost $8-$10. And breakfast is the thing.
Jeanette and Mary are lifelong friends, coming here for years
It's a tiny little room, with the tin roof exposed above you, maybe half a dozen tables. Cream walls, old circus scenes made of metal sitting on shelves.
This is where you go to pick up the old Solana Beach vibe, before it got rich and sleek.
How come it has survived developers' hungry eyes?
"We're kinda grandfathered in now," says Gloria. "We must be the only historically designated garage in California."