An overcast Saturday morning in San Diego led us to Cafe 21 in the Gaslamp District for brunch. Filled with people and bustle, very personable wait staff (the maitre de remembered our name after the meal) and walls covered with eclectic glass vessels filled with liquors infusing in various spices and herbs. We started of with some Bloody Mary’s; even the basic one was stacked high with produce and prosciutto. Pearl replaced her prosciutto with a fresh oyster on the half shell for only a few bucks more. They were delicious, but we both found the spiciness a bit lacking.
On to the main dishes! I couldn’t decide as there were so many that looked amazing. I settled for French toast stuffed with ruhbarb, strawberries, and cream cheese. Topping it was a homemade raspberry compote that had a wonderful fresh balance of tart and sweet.
Pearl chose the Tiramisu Pancakes. Starting with small cinnamon-cocoa pancakes with a lovely slight crispy exterior and amazingly fluffy interiors. Stacked 5 high, they were drowned in about a pint of an espresso mascarpone sauce. Topping off that was chocolate syrup and an espresso maple glaze, with a light dusting of powdered sugar on the plate. This was an absolutely amazing dish with lots of complexity and rich, intense flavors. A must-try. I thought it even better than actual tiramisu!