Today was a good day. No, no. Today was an amazing day! Travis and I had breakfast at a great little cafe near his place. It was warm and sunny outside, and we sat there enjoying our eggs, toast, and coffee. Sadly, Travis had to go to work. But that didn’t mean my happy mood had to end!
I knew that I couldn’t sit around all day because the weather was absolutely perfect, and I had about half a dozen gift cards from Christmas burning a hole in my wallet. I headed down Pacific Coast Highway, windows downs, music playing, and a crisp ocean breeze brushing my skin. It was ideal.
Fortunately for me, my mom and sister took some of their Christmas gifts back to Anthropologie and were kind enough to give me the gift cards they received in return. Clearly, they understand my obsession with this store. During most trips to the mall, I have to cover my eyes when I walk by the windows filled with vintage-style dresses, breezy, feminine blouses, and kitchen wears that would make any foodie squeal with delight. Today was an exception. Today I shopped with reckless abandon. I grabbed pants, shirts, blouses, and dresses. My arm burned from trying to carry everything around the store. I owe a thank you to the kind dressing room attendant who came to my rescue. After trying on dress after dress and blouse after blouse (and loving them all!), I narrowed it down to a cute pair of grey slim-legged cargo pants and this dress with a crocheted neckline and belted waist.
It’s casual but has the ability to be spiced up for an occasion with a pair of strappy heels…or perhaps the brown italian leather boots I got while in Rome.
All that shopping worked up my appetite! Oh, the choices I had for a sunny Sunday lunch!
I went to one of my favorite places from college: Zinc Cafe and Market. It’s a great little cafe along Pacific Coast Highway in Corona Del Mar. There are dozens of bakeries, cafes, sandwich shops, and restaurants lining PCH, and while I’ve tried many of them, Zinc consistently proves to be one of the best for their fresh, local ingredients offered up in unique, homemade dishes.
My standby is their house-made granola with yogurt and seasonal fruit, but today I craved a sandwich. The asparagus sandwich caught my eye: served open-faced on toasted sourdough, with pureed cauliflower, braised asparagus, melted gruyere cheese, a softly poached egg, and sprinkled with toasted bread crumbs. What?! Yes please! I ordered a cup of coffee on the side and found a comfortable seat on the patio in the warm winter sun (only in Southern California!).
The sandwich was served with mixed greens topped with tomatoes, finely crumbled feta, and a homemade balsamic vinaigrette.
Where do I start!? The sandwich was perfect! The bread was toasted and crisp, the pureed cauliflower was creamy and so flavor with a hint of sweetness that was offset well by the salty tang of the gruyere. The asparagus was roasted to perfection: tender and well-seasoned. And thank you, Zinc Cafe, for knowing how to poach an egg! The white wasn’t gooey, but the moment I broke into it with fork, the bright yellow yolk ran out over the asparagus, and onto the plate to serve as a sort-of dipping sauce for each bite. The touch of toasted bread crumbs was a nice final touch, adding a hint of crunch.
I was so gloriously full after I finished it. I didn’t even have room for one of their many dessert options: poppy seed cream cheese cake, apple strudel, walnut brownies, lemon tiramisu, cheesecake squares, and a selection of cookies…to name a few…all made right there from scratch. They even have vegan and gluten-free options.
The entire menu, actually, is vegetarian friendly, and many of the items are suitable for vegans as well.
Aside from being a comfortable cafe, Zinc is also a market where you can pick up freshly made lunch and dinner dishes to take home. Lasagna, macaroni and cheese, quiche, roasted vegetables, pasta salads…and this list goes on.
They even sell beer and wine and allow you to taste their wines (for free!) if you please. I may have had a couple tastes of some chilled white wines. 😉 It just seemed like the right thing to do.
I will be going back soon to indulge in the asparagus sandwich again, or maybe I will branch out and find another new love.
I am continuing the wonderful day with a glass of wine, and then Travis and I are going to hit some golf balls….his idea. I have terrible hand-eye coordination, and I have a feeling this glass of wine isn’t going to help anything at all.