Yet Another Modern Pancake Breafast

Blueberry cornmeal pancakes

Billing itself as “Conscientious Cuisine”, The Mission in downtown San Diego focuses on healthy dining. I assume that means the ingredients, as I’m not sure roast-beef hash and eggs could be considered healthy! Perhaps the profusion of yoga studios surrounding it (including one upstairs) is the explanation. With tons of positive reviews, a line a mile long, and 40 minute wait, this seemed like a great find.

I selected Chicken Apple Sausage with eggs. Served with classic rosemary roasted potatoes, which included a generous helping of crispy, savory pan scrapings, a few tomatoes mixed in, an the surprise Hatch green chile for good measure. The sausage is Aidells, commonly found in any grocery store, and while better than Hilshire Farms, I found it a bit uninspiring and salty. The eggs are watered down to keep them fluffy when scrambled (instead of using milk or cream), while the thick toast is barely crisper than bread, and served without butter or jams.

apple chicken sausage and eggs

Pearl, a sucker for corn, went with the blueberry cornmeal pancakes. While beautiful in presentation, the cornmeal was completely uncooked and added an unpleasant gritty crunch, and there were far too few blueberries. We expected more cornbread-like fluff and texture, but clearly they add the cornmeal to regular pancake batter at the last moment, and it doesn’t get time to soak and soften, leaving unpleasant grit.

Really, the only thing here we would order again is the potatoes, but they certainly weren’t worth the wait.

cornmeal blueberry pancakes

Berto’s Birthday Beer Bash, Brewery 3

Green Flash Barleywine

Our last stop of the day was Green Flash Brewing Company. By this point I was getting tired of beer, especially the west-coast extra-hoppy types. But we endeavored on, trying two more beers, even though they had about 20 available for tasting.

I went for the Barleywine, as I’ve never actually seen one on in the bottle, let alone on tap. At 10.7% ABV, I was expecting something very different than what arrived in my glass. Light, but rich in complex flavors, this had the texture of a lager, but not the crispness. Honestly I was expecting more fruit flavors and depth, but I mostly didn’t enjoy this because it was extremely hoppy.


The other beer we tasted was their Trippel. Again, expectations didn’t match experience, but this time the result was much more enjoyable, as my wife had asked for their least-hoppy offering. This had all the wonderful smoothness and flavor of a good Belgian, but light in tone and color made for a nice way to top off the end of a long day bussing around San Diego County with no food.

Belgian Trippel

Berto’s Birthday Beer Bash, Brewery 2

2nd stop of the day, Stone Brewery.

Starting with an amber. Light, nowhere near as hoppy as most west coast ambers, and a light spice / pear aftertaste.


Next a nut brown, lots of espresso, hints of peach and nuts, and lots of smoked bacon aroma.


Next, a golden IPA. Smell the hops! Very strong floral flavors and not as bitter as most IPAs. An easy drink when your planning to have more than one.


Following this is the Arrogant Bastard. A hoppy amber that I don’t think is worth writing home about.


Berto’s Birthday Beer Bash, Brewery 1

Starting at Lost Abbey for a Birthday Beer Bash, we have 5 tastings.


Starting with “Red Barn” a spiced saison with ginger. Light, crisp, some hops, lots of aromatic aftertaste. This is a great beer for a hot summer day after mowing the lawn.


Next up, a trio of darks. From left to right, “10 Commandments”, “Midnight Expression”, and “Old Viscosity”.


Though shalt not waste good beer. The first is a rich, dark Belgian with raisins and smoke. Not too dense.

Next the Midnight Expression, a brown lager. Lots of coffee, but light, unlike a stout or porter.

Third of the bunch, the one named for motor oil.


My wife didn’t react well to it. I however, thought it was great. Rich, thick, creamy with a beautiful chocolate head…”Guiness on steroids!” as one of our group called it.

Last, “Red Poppy” a super sour red amber that was almost a lambic in all the fruity flavor. This one I did have a strange reaction to, mostly because it was so sour. It was interesting, but I couldn’t get past that shock.


Brunch Basics

Tiramisu Pancakes

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.

bloody Mary

bloody Mary with an oyster

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.

strawberry rhubarb stuffed toast

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!

tiramisu pancakes