La Jolla’s Coffee Cup Cafe is one of the most popular breakfast spots
in the village, with weekend crowds routinely cluttering the sidewalk in front of the diner’s Wall Street location.
With simple, retro furnishings and vinyl benches along one wall, the Coffee Cup’s vibe is low-key by chi-chi La Jolla’s standards, and this keeps the emphasis on the stellar cuisine. Ordering breakfast is an excruciating exercise in decision-making: the artichoke scramble or the banana blackberry pancakes? The Zen breakfast (grilled tofu, egg whites, brown rice and zucchini) or eggs with the house-specialty rosemary potatoes? Two additional daily specials, both sweet and savory, make the choice even more difficult.
The Coffee Cup had a low-carb “Power Menu” years before the Atkins revolution swept through town. The high-protein, low-fat list includes Power Breakfast Burritos (with egg whites, grilled chicken and a side of black beans) and a pesto scramble. Though the garlicky house pesto is sometimes oily, you can’t go wrong adding it to any dish here.
The lunch menu is rife with south-of-the-border specialties – tamales, quesadillas, sopes and burritos — and “Chino Latino” fusion dishes like the Banzai Burrito (with shiitake mushrooms and ginger sauce), Double Happiness (brown rice and veggies with steak and chicken in peanut sauce) and Nuevo Roll-ups (veggies and pan-fried noodles in ginger-soy sauce). A few decent salads round out the menu, but the leafy greens will look dreadfully plain next to your neighbors’ delectable dishes.
Save some room for a Coffee Mocha Thai (a mocha with sweetened condensed milk), Mocha Chip Shake or, if you’re adventurous, the Vincent Vega (Coke, espresso and vanilla syrup over ice).
With so much variety and such consistently great food, you’ll want to pour yourself another serving of the Coffee Cup. Just don’t come looking for dinner: The Cup closes its doors at 3 p.m. daily.