As the morning sun streams through Lemon Grove Deli’s windows, diners ponder the ultimate breakfast choice: sweet or savory. If they choose the former, they’ll excavate a belgian waffle from beneath an avalanche of strawberries and whipped cream. If the latter, they’ll bury bacon-and-cheese omelets under dollops of salsa, or enjoy a plate of huevos rancheros. The smoky scent of the grill signals the onset of lunchtime, when the eatery’s wooden tables fill with sandwiches inspired by flavors from California to New England, ranging from grilled pastrami to california cheesesteaks. Customers can also choose from their selection of loaded fries, including loaded gyros fries.
Exposed wooden rafters and cobblestone walls create the rustic ambiance that The Vine Cottage’s name promises, but the menu adds dimension to this theme with a contemporary take on Italian and American staples. The chefs value sustainably produced meals, so they seek out seasonal, organic, and locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. These ingredients lend vibrant flavors to the menu’s flatbread-style pizzas, hearty pasta dishes, and grilled steaks. Housemade duck leg confit and remoulade also help to create a dining experience that is homey yet refined, much like the artwork-laden refrigerator in Monet’s childhood home.
The chefs at Damn The Man Sandwiches mastermind a menu of traditional handhelds alongside nine homemade creations in an anarchy-inspired eatery. In one savory scenario, turkey cuddles up next to capicolla and salami under a blanket of provolone and pesto on a fluffy ciabatta bed (a $5.95 value) that, unlike a regular bed, is safe to jump on. Focaccia anchored with peppered turkey, capicolla, roast beef, and avocado makes taste muscles swoon (a $6.59 value), and roasted chicken, bacon, smoked cheddar, and avocado stuff a french roll (a $6.79 value) to satiate stomach rumblings. A bag of chips accompanies each order and can be used to crunchify sandwiches, while a pair of drinks clears throats for further feasting or impromptu toasts to the ice machine.
Swing into the casual eatery elegance of Trattoria Tiramisu, where the crowd is unpretentious, the wine list is extensive, and the menu properly represents Pangaea's lost boot. The multi-regional Italian flavors shine through traditional plates such as mozzarella caprese comprised of fresh mozza, sliced tomato, basil, and extra virgin olive oil ($9.50). Meatier dishes include sliced pork loin dressed in rosemary, sage, and juniper-berry Chianti sauce ($17.50), and the ocean-emptying linguine frutti di mare served up with black mussels, clams, scallops, calamari, and shrimp ($18.50). Eating your fingers is gross, but eating ladyfingers laced with espresso and marscapone cheese is traditional tiramisu ($6).
Trolley Stop Deli's choppers whip up sandwiches with Boar's Head Premium meats, toss crisp salads, and dish out breakfast fare daily. Browse the menu and select from nine specialty sandwiches ($7.25 each), such as the California, with roasted turkey and avocado, or the Cordon Bleu, featuring chicken married to a slice of ham by the power vested in melted swiss as witnessed by mayo, dijon, and a very jealous toasted sourdough. A bill of seven salads includes the roasted turkey- and swiss-infused pasta salad ($5.50), as well as the stuffed tomatoes packed with tuna, chicken, or egg salad lounging on a duvet of greens ($6.75). The Reuben Rapp and the veggie-and-cheese wrap ($7.25) hide fresh ingredients in airtight pockets. If hunger strikes at first light like an invading army or an incompetent vampire, diners can pop by Trolley Stop Deli for a three-egg bacon omelet croissant ($4.25), a bagel with cream cheese ($2.25), or the San Diegan breakfast wrap comprising chicken, cheese, salsa, jalapeños, and sour cream ($4.95).
V-House Pho & Grill simmers, fries, and ladles out a menu of traditional Vietnamese fare in a casual dining environment. Spoonfuls of vietnamese pho ($5) swaddle tongues with warm, homemade broth while your choice of beef, chicken, or seafood swims laps alongside rice noodles, bean sprouts, and fresh thai basil. V-House’s chefs craft banh mi sandwiches by lining a 6-inch loaf of french bread high with a choice of char-grilled meat or fried egg for protein, cucumber and sliced onion for crunchy texture, and pickled carrots to use mason jars left over from shuttered moonshine stands ($4). Fill up surplus space in grumbling stomachs with an order of spring rolls, a flaky shell of rice paper bound around a core of shrimp, pork, fresh lettuce, bean sprouts, and vermicelli noodles served alongside a ramekin of peanut sauce for predevouring dippage ($3 for two). The rice noodles with vegetables and tofu appease earthy appetites as rice noodles, fresh tofu, broccoli, and carrots guard over baby bok choy orphaned by its cabbage parents ($5).