My friend and I decided to go to North Park this morning for breakfast. If you are up for a little adventure and reconnaissance, give North Park a try. It feels like a mix of Sacramento, San Francisco and San Diego all blended together.
Mission #1: Get Breakfast
Source: http://sandiegan.com/ (Famous French Toast)
Source: http://sandiegan.com/ (Breakfast Sandwich w/fruit)
Breakfast at the Mission is a must. There are 3 locations. Some of you may have been to “old school” Mission in Mission Beach. I’ve had my share of coffee cups and pastries back in my Bohemian days. The Mission in North Park feels like a restaurant in San Francisco. The restaurant easily holds about 110 people at capacity. The walls are a terra-cotta orange and there is a colorful chalk board above the kitchen area. If you browse around, you will see artwork from various artists displayed. Get there early, otherwise plan to wait a bit. There are many types of pancakes to fit your fancy ranging from naked pancakes to granola banana pancakes and strawberry banana pancakes. Their french toast looked amazing from what I saw. I swear I saw some swirls of cinnamon from a distance. If you are going for healthy, they have a bowl of fruit with granola that you can add low fat yogurt to. If you are feeling adventurous, give their Latino breakfasts a try, I did. I had the breakfast quesadilla and it hit the spot! There were 4 slices of breakfast quesadilla with cheese, scallions, bacon and salsa. You can add eggs if you want for additional. I almost tried the papas locos, but I will save that for next time.
TIP: Parking can also get crazy. I would arrive around 7-8:00 A.M. so that you don’t get stressed out. Park residential and make sure you look for signs. Some parts of the residential streets mention a 2 hour parking limit, other residential areas do not. Mission #2: Shop PIGMENT: I love cute finds and this was definitely one of them! Tucked away between a couple buildings was a super cute boutique shop called Pigment. I was attracted to this store immediately for the mini cactus plants they had hanging in the window in glass bowls.
They open at 11:00 A.M. and I waited for 10 minutes to go into this store. There were a lot of succulents and other fun knick-knacks to look at. There are cute greeting cards, home decor books, jewelry and accessories, pillows and various pieces of furniture. Everyone in the store at the same time was “oohing and awwing”. One of the greatest features about this store was their colored sand station. There was a guy at the time that came in specifically asking for some colored sand to create a beautiful colored glass bowl. They have a large selection of sand.
There was a small Chinese store somewhere in the middle of other shops that we passed by that carried all kinds of Chinese statues, bamboo plants, Chinese hats etc. Perhaps if you are making a garden and need some Buddha statues or some Asian decor, this place is worth dropping by. I can tell you that the prices will be a heck of a lot cheaper here than going to Restoration Hardware, Cedros District, Pottery Barn or some fancy design shop. I picked up a cactus plant here in a really nice jade colored pot for $10.00.
As we walked around the block through residential, we also spotted a Army Surplus store. They sold army boots, camping supplies, uniforms, camouflage jackets and pants, patches etc. I asked the guy working there how long they have been open. 51 YEARS!
Mimi & Red is a small and cute boutique shop worth taking a look at for women’s apparel and accessories.
Mission #4 Coffee Break
Claire De Lune: Coffee Lounge. They have a full coffee bar and pastries to enjoy. They also serve a small menu for breakfast and lunch and a light dinner. I have heard from my boyfriend that they do not have internet access. So this is a place to listen to music, work on papers, type on your laptop, chat with friends or read a book.
Ironically, Starbucks is right across the street to Claire De Lune Coffee Lounge. Please try and support your local coffee shops, but if you can’t budge from Starbucks, it is there with its corporate same old same old.
There is a great little dessert shop on the corner in North Park called Heaven Sent Desserts. This cute little patisserie is famous for making wedding cakes and beautiful desserts to indulge in. Sit down grab a cup of coffee and a dessert with a friend, loved one or family. I didn’t get the chance to taste one of these beauties, but I will be back.
Mission #5: Dinner:
Casa De Luz was an unexpected find. It has only been open for 5 months. The space is large, clean and has a very environmental and communal feel about it. The restaurant does have communal tables to encourage talking with others. A great place to meet new people. Their philosophy is to eat well and to live well. Everything here is organic and from farm to table. The menus change daily according to their ingredients for the day. I am definitely coming back here! You can come here for coffee and tea as well, so it functions like a cafe as well. I noticed that they make smoothies as well. The girl explained the restaurant for us and told us to go and look upstairs. They have yoga in the morning and they also had a community board that said they have cooking classes as well. It is truly a beautiful space. The table woodwork is amazing! It is a Vegan restaurant, so no meat here.
Source: rodzillareviews.com (Urban Solace)
I have to mention Lefty’s Pizza (Deep Dish Chicago Style) and the Smoking Goat. If you are in the mood for really greasy, heavy feeling, artery clogging pizza, go check out Lefty’s. It is delicious! Smoking Goat is on the pricey side, but they cook with the finest ingredients and have a simple menu of about 5 main entrees, so don’t go there expecting a 3 page menu.
I enjoyed walking through North Park and finding all these beautiful stores and restaurants with my friend. Go out in North Park and adventure! I’m sure there is a lot more that I am leaving out, but that is for you to discover!