The palm trees gently sway as the wind whisks in a salty ocean breeze, to my left is my beautiful wife, to my right, crystal blue sea for miles. The only thing that is going to make this classic scene even better is the arrival of one simple and delectable pleasure – French bread soaked in the triple threat of eggs, whipping cream, and orange juice only then to be treated with sweetness, grilled and baked and dusted… arranged delicately on a plate with a garnish of fruit and delivered immediately to me. This, my traveling friends, is the infamous Californian dish known as “Coast Toast” and it is a must-taste on your next trip to San Diego. Other local restaurants offer french toast dishes, but you will not find a dish like this. And when it comes to choosing a place to enjoy a great meal, I like it to be an experience. From history to parking, setting to customer service, price to variety, let me share with you what this experience has to offer…
Nestled in a bluff on California’s San Diego coast is a San Diego Historical Landmark restaurant called Brockton Villa, also known as “the Jewel of La Jolla” (San Diego Examiner, 2010). On a site purchased by a physician in 1894 for $165, this prime location became the scene for the first set of beach cottages on the barren hillside. After the physician’s death in 1900, the cottages were taken over and renamed by one of La Jolla’s first real estate agents as “The Brockton Villa” in honor of her hometown in Brockton, Massachusetts. With many unique residents over the years, the 1990s brought new energy to the space as Brockton Villa Restaurant opened its doors under the ownership of another local restaurateur family. In 2006, the La Jolla Historical Society honored the Brockton Villa at the 15 Year Anniversary celebration and 2010 marked their 20th anniversary on the Cove. On September 21, 2012, the 683,500th piece of Coast Toast was served, a triumph that wins every 500th eater a t-shirt and photo on Brockton Villa’s Facebook page. “Brockton Villa remains a significant reminder of the architectural past alive in our La Jolla community: simple and lovely, blessed by the sea, the sun and the sand” (http://www.brocktonvilla.com).
While the history brings even more life to this charming place, without the recommendations of countless friends and online reviews, on my first visit here a year ago, I may not have been inclined to spend 20 minutes shopping for a coveted parking spot on the street. And without those trusted recommendations, I may not have insisted to my wife that we stay despite the strong smell of sea lions on the cove down below. These are not uncommon feats to overcome on any given day at Brockton Villa, but knowing how delightful the cuisine truly is, I deal, we deal, we all deal.
My stomach growls with anticipation as we make the glorious trek up the flight of steep wooden stairs hugging the bluff (not wheelchair friendly). Greeted by a happy hostess, we are one of the lucky ones who end up with a view but no matter where you sit, this quaint cottage delivers an intriguing experience for all of your senses. Inside or out, guests are surrounded by history flanked in a very appropriate blue and white beach theme. An editorial review on DiscoverSD.com shares:
Brockton Villa boasts a small, yet inviting interior with crisp white wooden walls and an Abalone-inlaid fireplace set alongside an array of mismatched chairs and light wood tables. Of course, the real treasure is the gorgeous sunset vantage point from the restaurant’s wraparound veranda covered in blue and green splatter-painted tables. (DiscoverSD, 2012)
We head to the veranda and eagerly await our conduit to the meal. Our server is typical of every server we have had, pleasant, knowledgeable, understanding of our eagerness to consume delightful quantities of food. Sure, we could try one of “Meg’s Eggs” classics like the Carne Asada Benedict for $13, which one reviewer says is “one of the best benedicts I’ve ever had! I love how the carne asada flavor really goes well with the cilantro hollandaise and the English muffin gives it a nice crunchy bite. Highly recommend” (M.K., 2012). Or, we could dabble in the BV Pancakes for $10, the House-made Beer Brined Corned Beef Hash for $11, or the Naughty Burrito for $12, but ultimately the $12 is worth it for that house specialty of “World-Famous French Toast” (http://www.brocktonvilla.com). Depending on your tastes, there is likely something for everyone, sweet or salty, heavy or light, even clearly marked items that can be made without butter or oil and gluten-free.
The food arrives. Could we be the next t-shirt winner? Not this time, but nonetheless, we savor our breakfast of Coast Toast, fresh fruit and coffee. “Once you try the Coast Toast, you will be hard pressed to order anything else, as you will find every meal that does not include it a disappointment” (San Diego Examiner, 2010).
As we digest, I revisit my love for this space, this place, and the joy it consistently brings to my senses. So ultimately, when you travel to San Diego, make the visit to the coast of La Jolla and soak up the love you’ll find on the Cove. If it’s breakfast you want, you must try Brockton Villa Restaurant and you must try the Coast Toast. Breakfast is served until noon on weekdays and 3pm on weekends so make your reservation in advance and give yourself ample time to find parking. Don’t be deterred by the smells of the ocean surrounding this place, just embrace it as part of the ambiance. With so many tasty dishes on the menu, you maybe have a hard time deciding, but should you choose my all-time favorite delicacy, you will not be disappointed. “With delicious food and a beautiful view, diners will feel relaxed as well as satisfied” (DiscoverSD, 2012). I completely agree. See you on the coast!
Brandenburg, S. (2011, August 19). [Photograph – Figures 3, 5, 6]. Brockton Villa Restaurant, La Jolla California.
Brockton Villa. (2012). Retrieved November 10, 2012 from http://www.brocktonvilla.com
Brockton Villa. (2012, September 21). [Photograph – Figure 2]. Retrieved November 11, 2012 from http://facebook.com/brocktonvilla
Brockton Villa. (n.d.). [Photograph – Figure 1]. Retrieved November 10, 2012 from http://www.brocktonvilla.com/photos/a-few-of-our-favorites/
DiscoverSD: Lifestyle Guide. (2012). Editorial Review of Brockton Villa Restaurant. Retrieved November 10, 2012 from http://www.discoversd.com/restaurants/brockton-villa-restaurant/1407.html
Jet, J. (2009, August). Dining in San Diego [Photograph – Figure 4]. Retrieved November 10, 2012 from http://vintage.johnnyjet.com/folder/archive/WheresJohnny102120092.html
K., M. (2012, June 20). Brockton Villa Restaurant [User Review]. Retrieved November 9, 2012 from http://www.yelp.com/biz/brockton-villa-restaurant-la-jolla?start=40
San Diego Examiner. (2010, November 16). Brockton Villa Restaurant, The Jewel of La Jolla. Retrieved November 11, 2012 from http://www.examiner.com/review/brockton-villa-restaurant-the-jewel-of-la-jolla