Friday, November 19, 2010

There Are Lots of Upscale Restaurants on Coronado Island

We didn’t eat at any of them.

Instead, we boarded the bus and headed downtown to the Beach-n-Diner. “Beach-n-Diner has become a staple of Coronado’s acclaimed Orange Avenue serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily…Beach-n-Diner provides a casual and friendly atmosphere perfect for kids and adults alike. Large breakfast portions as well as a wide variety of menu options are served up all day, leaving something for everyone! Eat Dessert First! With a…menu dedicated to desserts, this is definitely the place to satisfy your sweet tooth from Dessert Nachos to the 7-Layer Chocolate Cake” (from the restaurant’s web site).

The diner was almost empty when we wandered in at around 12:30 p.m. It was hard to determine whether this was a new space decorated to look old or an old space that had been modernized. The pressed tin ceiling evoked early twentieth century retail spaces. But the “metallic” blue and silver vinyl upholstery on the booth resembled a ‘50’s hot rod. (Think of the car driven by John Milner [Paul La Mat] in the movie American Graffiti.)

The diner boasts a ten-stool counter, a moderate amount of stainless steel-like appoint-ments, and surf boards hanging from the ceiling. And, in addition to the inside dining rooms, there was a large sidewalk dining patio.

Since we had recently eaten the ultimate hamburger at Hodad’s in Ocean Beach, we went right past the long list of burgers. Did I want a salad? Should I chose the Maui Maui Salad—grilled Mahi Mahi on a bed of Napa cabbage and field greens with bean sprouts, carrots, macadamia nuts, crisp wontons, pickled ginger, and mango salsa served with a cucumber wasabi dressing? Or should I select the Baja Chicken Salad with grilled chicken breast, sweet corn, tortilla strips, cheddar jack cheese, pico de gallo, avocado, red onions, and cilantro.

Or do I go with a sandwich like the Louie Louie with grilled turkey, mushrooms, onion, and Muenster cheese on grilled sweet Hawaiian bread? Or the Grilled Portobello topped with grilled vegetables, onions, roasted red peppers, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, and Dijon garlic mayo on a handcrafted wheat bun? Maybe the Maui Maui Sandwich with grilled Mahi Mahi served pickled ginger, mango salsa, spring mix and Wasabi mayo on a handcrafted wheat bun? Or should Chuck have the Cuban Ciabatta with roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, and Dijon mustard?

Decisions, decisions. And we haven’t gotten to the entrees like Mac N' Chicken Cheese (elbow noodles in a cheese sauce topped with fried chicken strips, bacon, and green onions) or the Chicken and Waffles (fried chicken layered between sweet Belgian waffles) or the Grilled Mahi Tacos (two soft shell tacos filled with grilled mahi mahi, crisp cabbage, Baja sauce, and pico de gallo).

But then we noticed the menu notation that breakfast was served all day. Perfect.

I chose the Huevos Rancheros with two fried eggs (over easy), smothered in house-made Ranchero sauce over lightly fried corn tortillas. This was served with roasted peppers, home fried potatoes, black beans, cheddar, rice, sour cream, and guacamole.

One of the things I enjoy the most about Huevos Rancheros is the way the broken liquid egg yolk winds its way through the sauce giving every bite a taste of ranchero sauce and a taste of egg. These flavors are then enhanced by joining the corn taste of the tortilla and the smoky taste of the roasted peppers.

The black beans were unexceptional and totally bland. Folks out there—flavor your beans. And I am constantly amazed at the many forms that home fried potatoes could take. These were half inch cubes that had been deep fat fried—and double fried at that. They more resembled small french fries than home fries, and that’s not at all bad in my opinion.

When it comes to Chuck's orders, he is either very predictable or leaving me wondering "Where did that come from?" Responding from the latter thought process, Chuck chose--to start his breakfast--a bottle of Green River soda.

Beats me.

Chuck’s choice (ifrom the more predictable category) was three scrambled eggs with home fried potatoes and an extraordinary serving of chicken fried steak covered with knock-your-socks-off sausage gravy. The steak was crisp coated and tender and had no gristle or chewy bits. And the gravy!! Wow!! The sausage flavor had thoroughly permeated the white sauce. This was not your tasteless and pasty sauce. This was gravy!!

Have you ever noticed that there is a definite smell to most ice cream parlors? O.K., Chuck didn’t think so either. But I do. So now for the question. Do you have dessert with breakfast? Of course. Especially when the diner’s annex is named the Mootime Creamery.

Both of us zeroed in on the same item—the Dessert Nachos. Wedges of a pizzelle-like cookie were drizzled with marshmallow, chocolate, and caramel with a two-scoop dish of ice cream in the center that had also been topped with the marshmallow, chocolate, and caramel. For our ice creams we selected the toasted coconut and the black raspberry chip that contained large chunks of dark chocolate. Heads turned when the ice cream man walked through the restaurant with this plate.

So we had a very good breakfast along with a great dessert and now its time for a nap. But first I’ll give The Beach-n-Diner a solid 4.5 Addie rating. (Season your beans, and the rating would be higher.)

We could see the ice cream shop next door through the doorway in the diner, so we made a short visit to the ice cream shop next door to

(1) thank the young man who prepared the dessert and

(2) take in the whimsical items in the ice cream parlor, including this airplane,

the cows/greeters at the door,

the colorful gas tank, and, of course,


Thank you, thank you very much.

No comments: