Davanti Enoteca

Grandpa and Damek
Grandpa and Damek

Happy Valentine’s Day! Today saw us driving down the road a few minutes to the Del Mar Highlands Town Center to enjoy brunch and this week’s restaurant of choice, Davanti Enoteca. In the car we had an extra passenger, Brad’s 1-year old grandson, Damek who had stayed with us overnight. We met up with Brad’s oldest Brandon and his wife Nadia at Davanti Enoteca for brunch.

Now I will admit this was our second time dining here for brunch. We had been here once before. In fact, as I think about it we were last here for Father’s Day 2015. It was Brandon’s first Father’s Day as a Dad and Brad’s first Father’s Day as a Grandfather.

We sat out in the patio area of the restaurant. I have yet to actually step foot inside Davanti. Last time we were on the patio too. But then when you have a gorgeous warm sunny day why would you want to be cooped up inside?

The patio area is nice and we were given a table in the back corner right by the stack of highchairs. We didn’t mind as we were away from everyone, had some extra room, which was handy as it gave us somewhere to put the baby stuff one seems to haul around with a baby. Thankfully we didn’t have a stroller with us. There was not enough room between tables to maneuver a stroller. In fact I found the tables a little cramped. But that could be because they had to make room for the Bloody Mary Bar. Yes, you read that right, they have a Bloody Mary Bar. Last time we were here the bar was inside. Today it was on the patio.

Helen Brahms | Have2Travel | Have2Cruise | Kasey Kiwi | Cruise Planners | Davanti | Pork Belly Hash
Pork Belly Hash

Davanti’s menu looked amazing and deciding what to have took some time. Last time I had the Eggs Benedict so I had to try something different. I was tossing up between the Avocado Toast, Pork Belly Hash & Eggs, and Steak & Eggs. By the time the waitress came back to take our orders I was down to Pork Belly Hash or Steak and Eggs. The Pork Belly Hash was quickly eliminated. It is prepared in advance and contains onions. Bummer! So Steak and Eggs it was. I didn’t mind as I love my red meat and Steak with Eggs is an awesome combination. Throw some extra crispy fries in there for Steak, Eggs, and Chips and I would be in heaven. But this dish came with smashed fingerling potatoes. For me that would be fine. Brad ordered the same but without the food allergies attached.

Brandon and Nadia both ordered the Pork Belly Hash & Eggs. They said it was very good. Darn those onions!

Helen Brahms | Have2Travel | Have2Cruise | Kasey Kiwi | Cruise Planners | Davanti | Bloody Mary
Brad’s Bloody Mary

Brad, Brandon and Nadia all ordered the Blood Mary Bar. They had fun going up and creating their own unique Bloody Mary’s. But more about that from Brad later on.

When the food arrived I liked the presentation and the portion size. My fingerling potatoes were not smashed as the smashed version had onions in them. Instead I had roasted fingerling potatoes. My eggs were poached to perfection…soft with runny yolks. My steak was more on the medium well than medium. I keep forgetting to order medium rare for my steak. Most places when I order medium rare I get a perfect medium. Then when I’m in a place that knows how to perfectly cook steak then I get a perfect medium rare, which I love. But this one at Davanti’s was closer to a medium well than a medium, at least the meat was not dried out.

Helen Brahms | Have2Travel | Have2Cruise | Kasey Kiwi | Cruise Planners | Davanti | Bloody Mary Bar
Bloody Mary and Mimosa Bar

Brad’s Report: The Bloody Mary bar was very good. When you order a Bloody Mary they bring you a mason jar filled with vodka, ice and a strip of bacon. You then take it to the Bloody Mary bar and have some fun. Besides the Bloody Mary mixes there are tons of various items you can put into the drinks. Various types of olives including ones stuffed with blue cheese, various types of pickled items, prosciutto wrapped asparagus and other items. Of course if you like your Bloody Mary hot there is a large selection of various hot sauces that you can use. Take a look at the picture of the bar to get some idea of what you can do. If you prefer mimosa then at the end of the bar is a section setup just for you with various juice mixes and some fruit to add to your drink. While the Bloody Mary are not refillable the mimosas are.

Helen Brahms | Have2Travel | Have2Cruise | Kasey Kiwi | Cruise Planners | Davanti | Steak and Eggs
Brad’s Steak and Eggs

I also had the steak and eggs, but without the substitutions that Helen had. While the food was good I was disappointed in the preparations. I request eggs over medium and the eggs barley came out over easy. The whites were barely cooked all the way through and the yokes were extremely runny. I requested the steak medium. At best it was medium well. While still juicy is it really that hard to cook a steak correctly or for that that matter eggs? Still the meal was tasty but the serving size may still leave you hungry for more.

Claire’s on Cedros [Article]

Claire’s on Cedros is located in the beautiful seaside town of Solana Beach. It is a short walk from the Amtrak station on North Cedros. Claire’s has a very welcoming feel about it. From the moment you walk under the archway through the courtyard, up onto the porch and into the cafe you have a sense of comfort and being welcomed.

We arrived around 9:30 for brunch and were told it would be about a 20 minute wait. We opted to be sat inside or outside on the patio whichever was available first. We were in no hurry, it was a gorgeous pleasantly warm sunny day. To the left of the main door on the porch they had information about how Claire’s is a sustainable cafe and how they were the first restaurant in San Diego to achieved a LEED Platinum certification. I didn’t get too far into reading about it as we were called in to be seated. Our 20 minute wait was less than 5 minutes as they had two no shows. Awesome!

We were seated inside at a round table set for three. Looking around there were a few three seater round tables. Most restaurants would cram four seats around a table this size. I liked that they didn’t cram extra seats around tables. This gave the feeling of spaciousness and made you feel you weren’t being packed in as some places do.

Our waitress was Christina and she was awesome. She asked if we had been there before and we told her no it was our first time. She explained about how Claire’s was a bakery and all their breads, pastries, and desserts were made fresh on premises. YUM!! She then pointed to the menu and told us that Claire’s are known for their Clairecakes (pancakes).

Have2Brunch | Helen Brahms | Have2Travel | Claire's on Cedros | Orange Juice
Large Orange Juice served in Mason Jars

Looking at the menu they also have Gluten free options on their menu. YES!! But then when faced with fresh baked goods I tend to throw the gluten free thing out the window and suffer the consequences later. We ordered large OJ and waters for our drinks. According to Christina they have very good coffees, but not being coffee drinkers we wouldn’t know and would just have to take her word for it.

I decided to go with my favourite brunch item Eggs Benedict, they had three types to choose from; Salmon Cake, Tuscan or Regular. I actually wanted the Salmon Cake Benedict alas, the Salmon Cakes had onions in them and as I’m allergic to onions that got crossed off the list. I then went with option number two Tuscan Benedict and added Canadian Bacon to it. I then had the option of traditional English Muffin or Croissant. Well I’d never had Benedicts on Croissant before so I opted for that. For my side I chose the roasted herb potatoes.

When my dish came out I was surprised to see I had a Tuscan Benedict Croissant Sandwich. The Croissant was light and flaky and not squashed after being sliced open as normally happens. It was lightly toasted on the inside. The Canadian Bacon had been chopped up and mixed in with the spinach, roasted tomatoes and pesto. Eggs were on top of the spinach mixture with Hollandaise Sauce over the eggs and then the top half of the croissant. I removed the top half of the croissant so I could get to the Benedict underneath.

Have2Brunch | Helen Brahms | Have2Travel | Kasey Kiwi | Claire's on Cedros | Tuscan Benedict
Kasey Kiwi checks out Tuscan Benedict

The Tuscan Benedict was delicious! The eggs were poached just the way I like them…with very runny yolks. Using fresh ingredients in the dish gave the dish that something extra. There is a huge difference in flavours when something is made from scratch with fresh ingredients. You can’t replicate the flavours with canned or preserved ingredients. I love it when a restaurant uses nothing but fresh from the garden goodness. YUM!!! The top of the croissant was light, flaky and buttery. Haven’t had a good croissant like that since we were in Europe.

What did Brad think of his dish?

“I had the Lemon Ricotta combination pancakes. The serving comes with two generous size pancakes, two eggs your choice and a side of meat.  For the eggs I had two over medium and had sausage for the meat.  The eggs actually came over easy and not medium but for me that is fine. I tend to order over medium as I have had too many cases in the past if I order over easy the eggs just are not cooked enough for my liking.  In this case the eggs were cooked fine so I did not bother to send them back.

Have2Brunch | Helen Brahms | Have2Travel | Kasey Kiwi | Claire's on Cedros | Lemon Ricotta Clairecakes
Kasey Kiwi checks out Lemon Ricotta Clairecakes

One thing I noticed right away was the light aroma of the lemon ricotta pancakes. The aroma gave hints of what was in store when I bite into the pancakes.  The pancakes themselves were light and fluffy.  You could easily taste the lemon ricotta in each bite but a few of the bites had a slightly stronger flavoring, which I found rather nice.  As I have grown older and dealt with various issues I have noticed that I can no longer eat as much as I once did.  The portion size was plenty for me and I was glad that there was not any more.”

When the check arrived it had two Oatcake Heart Cookies sitting on top of a napkin. They are a signature cookie of Claire’s, have no nuts and were delish! We were going to check out the bakery display before we left but it was too tempting after having that cookie. Maybe next time I will have a little more willpower.

Overall our impression of Claire’s on Cedros was very positive. We loved the atmosphere of the restaurant. It was relaxed and casual. They did not rush you through your meal and with how they had the tables laid out and the number of chairs the place was full but not packed. Lots of elbow room. When we left we checked with the Hostess on the wait time. At 10:30am on a Sunday morning they were at about a 30-40 minute wait. We were told this was not typical. There was an event in Cardiff by the Sea on that day that meant a drop in their normal Sunday business. Their normal wait time is about 1-1.5 hours at that time of the day and Sunday is their most popular day. The good part is you can call ahead and put your name on the list so you are not waiting around outside to be seated.

Have you been to Claire’s on Cedros for brunch? What were your impressions? Please leave your comments below and let us know.