Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Fall Food Find

A few months ago, a cute little cafe/bistro opened up down the street from our Solana Beach store on Cedros Ave. Claire's has already gained a great reputation for their fresh ingredients, contemporary menu choices and warm inviting atmosphere, so it was only a matter of time before I tried the place out myself.

What a better day to enjoy an afternoon walk and lunch than this Fall Wednesday, 2 days out of a treacherous rainstorm (for us, ha), a crisp 58 degrees, in the artist district on Cedros. I decided to spend this week 'previewing' shops for potential christmas gifts for the family, and am on day 2. Today, i visited Leaping Lotus for a bit, checking out one of a kind local made goodies for my parents, and hunger struck my stomach like a lightning bolt to metal. It was perfect timing, I had some time before work, and wanted a fall salad and a cool iced tea to get me through my shift.

Immediately upon entering, I felt like a regular. Large parties filled the crowded room of tables, and a friendly waitress escorted me to a lovely table outside on the back patio, next to a waterfall. Inside, a busy bakery and barista counter in the back showcased an array of baked goods from pumpkin cheesecake to blueberry muffins. The ambiance was semi-reminiscent of Thyme in the Ranch, but less shabby chic and more modern rustic. The architecture of the building was angular, industrial, yet familiar... the slates of gray stone that created the face and walls of the restaurant reminded me of many of the newer homes in Del Mar.

My table was pleasantly placed next to a waterfall fountain and out of the direct sun, which would have been nice on this brisk day. In any case, the patio was comfortable, quiet, and an easy place for one to enjoy lunch for one. I ordered the Pear & Beet Salad with goat cheese and candied pecans off of the new fall menu, with my signature iced tea (very sweetened of course, like we drink it in the South). To my dismay, now that the holidays are here and I try and cut carbs where I can, a roll escorted my salad to lunch. However, to my surprise, it was the most delicious roll I have ever eaten. Not the type of bread that you want to eat 5 pieces of, but a perfect one roll dose of delicious pumpkin bread that complimented my spiced salad divinely. The meal was delicate and delicious and didn't overstuff me like most meals around the holidays.

So for those looking for a casual, but contemporary dining experience during breakfast, brunch, or lunch, try Claire's for some fresh fall ingredients and awesome ambiance. There's something on the menu for everyone, and afterwards, you can walk it off to any of your favorite shops on Cedros!

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