Charged with the task of finding a brunch for my cousins upcoming wedding, I recently have delved into the world of Del Mar and La Jolla eateries. Initially we seemed like the like perfect candidates for this task- knowledgeable about San Diego's geography, big brunch lovers, thrifty, and, without have actually ever gone to cooking school, students of all things culinary.
These were our requirements:
Somewhere that not only seats 25, but takes a reservation for 25
Somewhere that will take a reservation for 25 at 11am
Somewhere that serves brunch on a Saturday
Somewhere with prices of $12- $14 per head
Somewhere with yummy food
Preferably somewhere with a pleasant ambiance suitable for a wedding.
Somewhere between the Temple (La Jolla) and the Reception ( Thousand Oakes, north of LA)
The task turned out to be a tricky one, and I would have been absolutely lost without the help of Jim, San Diego's resident Sunday Brunch Master. Jim your site was invaluable on this occasion, as as ever I thank you!
With the geographic requirements, and the thought that we were already facing a 2+ hour commute up to Thousand Oakes in mind, we decided to look mainly in La Jolla, Del Mar and Cardiff. This has the obvious problem of clashing with one of our other requirements- $12- $14 per head. Coupled with the Saturday brunch requirement we managed to narrow our search down to a very few restaurants. these we then called, one by one, and one by one were told that there is no way a reservation for 25 people can be made in the middle of Fair season. (I hate the Del Mar fair, and hate it even more after this long search).
The good part about all our restrictions, was that it really left us with very little choice. When we happened on Del Mar's Poseidon and were told that a reservation could be made for us- furthermore a reservation on the patio overlooking the sea, we were overjoyed! We decided to head up to Del Mar and check it out the next possible weekend.
May Gray would not be my first choice time for brunch by the sea, and the weather in Del Mar was much as expected, overcast and more than a little gloomy. Still the fact that many people were still heading to the beautiful beaches cheered us up a little, and added that relaxed vacation feel to our morning mood. so many people were at the beach indeed that parking, as it almost always is in Del Mar, was a nightmare. Del Mar is I believe the only city in the county that has parking meters working every day of the year. Not only are they always working, but they cost $2 per hour! this being the cases we really had little choice but to valet at Poseidon, something we never do. The valet was $3, and almost cheaper that the mater, not to mention the fact that we couldn't find a meter to begin with! Valeting really was about the dumbest thing I have ever done however, we drove up (through the valet parked cars), stepped out of the car and let the valet park it maybe 15 feet away.... not the greatest start, and the thought of all the wedding guest having to do this was irritating. Still, we kept our spirits high.
We were seated for brunch on the outdoor patio- this does afford a wonderful view of the sea, and seemed very luxurious. Still there were a few improvements that I believe could and should be made- the paint, for example, was horribly flaked off most of the chairs, a scruffy look, which once noticed, seemed very at odds with the Del Mar beach setting. The wait staff, who were so attentive as valet's and hostesses, were not the best at serving food to tables, coffee was only topped up every half hour or so, and waiters failed to inquire about any problems you might be encountering.
The food, however, was very good. I got a chicken sandwich (thank goodness not burnt "blackened" chicken, but just regular grilled chicken, nicely cooked and with great, though unoriginal, fixings. My wife got a spinach omelet that was really delicious, filled with some juicy mushrooms, and topped with decadent cheese. The house potatoes were also great, and for once the servers did remember my requested side of mayonnaise.
So- a good choice and we are happy. Perhaps not our favorite place in San Diego, but the sea view alone should make for a great wedding day brunch, and the lowish prices make for happy mother of the groom!