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San Diego/La Jolla Report: Crest Cafe, Barbarella's, The Cottage


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San Diego/La Jolla Report: Crest Cafe, Barbarella's, The Cottage

Dave MP | Oct 2, 2007 02:11 PM

I was visiting friends in San Diego this weekend, enjoyed the nice weather...we went out for brunch twice and dinner once (had quick tacos in Old Town that are not really worth mentioning).

Crest Cafe: We headed to Hillcrest for a midday brunch on Saturday. We tried to go to Hash House A Go Go, but the line was very long, so we decided to try Crest Cafe instead. At noon, there was no line (though the place was full). Overall, I thought it was just okay. I had the blueberry waffle, which was fine, but not very big or very special. One friend had the creme brulee french toast, which I thought was the big hit. I would recommend this, the flavor was very nice. Another friend had pumpkin pancakes which I thought were nothing special. Fourth friend had Mexican omelet that I found too spicy - it tasted like eggs w/ a lot of hot sauce. A friend and I shared an order of spicy chicken sausage, which was a bit dry (one serving was just 1 sausage, cut in half). We also shared homefries which I thought were underseasoned. Total price for 4 people, w/ coffee and OJ and such, was 52 dollars. Not bad, but not all that cheap either, since I didn't think portions were very big. Service was also just okay.

Barbarella's: 5 of us ate dinner at Barbarella's in La Jolla. The place is currently VERY decked out w/ Halloween gear....a bit over the top in my opinion. This place was crowded, but the wait for a table was pretty short. We started w/ an heirloom tomato/mozzarella salad which was good. I ordered the spaghetti with clams...overall, not bad, but nothing too special. The clams seemed fresh and were tasty, but I thought the sauce could have been better with more tomato. Still, not bad. One friend had a steak which he said was good, but I didn't try it. Two friends had pizza, and I can't even remember what the fifth friend had. My biggest complaint about Barbarella's was the pizza that one friend was served. It was very very plain, and I really think Barbarella's should be ashamed that they served such a boring pizza. It was vegetarian: spinach, cheese and garlic I think (I can't remember the exact menu description), but it barely had any toppings, which meant that most bites tasted like plain bread. The crust itself wasn't that good (hence the comparison to plain bread) - not very crispy or flavorful. For a personal pizza that costs over 10 dollars, this was maybe the saddest rendition I've ever tasted. Luckily, my friend was able to dip the pizza in the sauce from my pasta dish, which helped flavor it up. The other pizza (mushroom) seemed to have more toppings, but I didn't taste it. Service was fine but not memorable. Overall, I would not return to Barbarella's.

The Cottage: On Sunday, we had another late brunch at The Cottage in La Jolla. The wait wasn't too bad (about 20 minutes) for a table inside (the patio would have been nice, but we were hungry and inside was pretty nice as well). Overall, I think this brunch blew Crest Cafe out of the water. Everything was better here. I had an omelet w/ avocado/cheese/sour cream and bacon. Really good, served with well seasoned homefries. I substituted a raspberry millet muffin for the english muffin, and it was warm, moist and delicious. One friend had the french toast - 6 huge and fluffy pieces, served w/ strawberries and powdered sugar. Awesome. Some of the best restaurant french toast I've ever had. Another friend had pancakes w/ banana - also very light and fluffy. He also had a side of sausage, which I didn't taste to compare to Crest Cafe's. Fourth friend had the eggs benedict special w/out ham - this was also really great - very good hollandaise sauce, beautiful presentation, reasonably priced. This meal, also including coffees/oj/smoothies was 56 dollars. Only a tiny bit more than Crest Cafe, but significantly more food and in my mind, significantly better food. Service was also stellar here, our waitress was very friendly and attentive. I will be back in San Diego in December and will definitely consider returning here.

Overall, a nice weekend in San Diego, even if not all the food was stellar. My friends and the beach, at least, were awesome.

Dave MP

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