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I’m looking deep into my Turkish coffee cup. The grounds have about three bumps up the left side, and a loose column way up to the lip on the right.


“Huh,” I’m saying to Jesús and Sarah. “What does this mean?"

“I think it means good health,” says Jesús.

“Long life and good health,” says Sarah.

Okay, actually we’re talking tasseography, the art of telling the future from what you see in coffee grounds or tea leaves, or even wine sediments. And none of us here know how to read the danged coffee grounds to tell the future.

But tasseography is part of the deal when you buy Turkish coffee here ($2.10), at least in the menu. It’s all a hangover from the lady who started this place, the Olive Café (805 Santa Clara Place, off Mission Boulevard, Mission Beach, 858-488-1224).


She was Turkish and had blue glass eyes placed everywhere to ward off the evil eye and bad spirits if they were about.

And eight years ago when Sarah Mattinson...

...bought the place, she lost the blue eyes, but kept a lot the same. Including this Turkish coffee. Delicious, once you get used to all the gloopy grounds, and a kinda tinny taste at first.

But actually I’m here for breakfast. It’s all-day...


...so no pressure. And the outside patio is great...


...with flowers and trees, in this quiet streetlet off Mission Boulevard. You get the neighborhood, vacationers, the student laptop crowd and even the kids coming shivering from in-water lessons at the surfing school.

They have dozens of egg combos, but I choose Cousin’s Favorite Scramble. Turns out Sarah’s cousin Michael made up this combo. Michael had taste, and so does the scramble. It’s three eggs scrambled up with green chilis, bacon, onion, cheese and avocado.


Lots of avocado.


Man, it’s delicious. You get hash browns and toast (I opted for sourdough) too. But with a few splots of Tapatío, it’s the perfect way to kick off your day. Costs $8.25. Not the cheapest, but you get a lot. And the tastes are beautiful, helped by the coffee, of course. Before the Turkish, I got a large house coffee for $1.85, with endless refills when you buy a meal.

I end up putting preserves on my toast, getting that Turkish cawfee...


...and watching the world go by, from this beautiful extended patio.


Met Sarah about a year ago at the ice cream joint next door. Now she’s united the two into one big patio eating corner.

So when’s the coolest time to be here?

“Eight-fifteen in the morning," she says. "That’s when we bring our scones out of the oven. Everybody turns up to have them hot and fresh. Specially the mixed berry scones ($2.75).”

Ooh man, I could live here. All these little walk-only alleys with their cute cottages, and a local café like this, one block from the ocean, but tucked away. Even the postman stops and squats to pet the dogs when they bark recognition yelps at him.

Feel like calling Carla and telling her to start packing our bags.

But will we?

The coffee grounds wouldn’t tell.

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