After swinging back and forth all morning our emotional pendelum had settled somewhere between satisfied stoke and frothing exuberance upon arriving at this quaint little establishment. The morning began with indecision about which direction to chase the swell—ironically, because of its size, the swell was chasing us out of Ocean Beach.
The days travels, however, had brought us back to try out a place currently receiving hype similar to what one would hear when discussing a recent east-coast hurricane swell—with those claiming “best surf of the decade” just as common as those left disappointed. Unlike a passing hurricane, Beachside’s intriguing brunch could be conveniently tested.
The mornings surf and travel had left us predictably famished. Our physical beings mimicked the previously discussed metaphorical pendelum as we swung up the coast. Anticipating solid surf at a protected spot far north of SF we were left ultimately skunked with a decision to make. Time was on our side and we let our momentum carry us back down south where we would check out another protected (though fairly well known) break. Our expectations had been mellowed somewhat by our initial strike-out and the metaphorical pendelum was definitely at its most solid low during the drive back. The sight of 4-6 foot barreling rights and lefts, however, was the redirection we needed and we carried the momentum gained from the session back to the sunny Outer Sunset and through Beachside’s open doors.
Beachside is an inviting little spot, with a feel we can only compare to southern charm. The reclaimed wood interior and adirondack chairs out front are part of a family atmosphere and presentation that feels welcoming to all. We were here to sample discriminately from the brunch menu, but taken as a whole, Beachside’s menu is eclectic (probably a more apt descriptor out there). There’s an intense selection of drip coffees and pastries to go along with—or not really go along with—items ranging from a meatball sandwich to cotton candy. Eclecicism aside, the brunch items sounded right on point and we settled on a few highly-touted plates.
It doesn’t take a lot to impress us when it comes to breakfast—we can’t help it, we love the classics. Some runny yolks, bacon and some toast to sop up all the wonderful cholesterol filled gooey liquid. Beachside hones in on the basics and does them relatively well. This benny has all the elements we look for in breakfast; the eggs were perfectly runny and the hollandaise was, well hollandaise. The thing that separates Beachside’s benedict from others is the house-baked pastry that the eggs rest upon. It’s not the typical dry English muffin, its more like a cheesy herbed bun that’s perfectly moist. Top marks on the benny and we’ll surely come back for it.
The Shrimp and Grits:
The southern charm of this fine establishment, sadly for Shantzy, doesn’t carry over into this classic from the land of Dixie. The grits are sweet and tasty (perhaps sweetened with honey), but, alas, not cheesy, buttery, or filling and our kin-folk wouldn’t approve (especially not Nana). The shrimp was fine–also a little sweet–but at 13 bucks, we’d suggest one of the other, less expensive brunch options.
Chicken and Waffles:
A dish that used to be found only in the south is now standard fare at most brunch spots. Beachside has a very respectable version. The chicken has a crispy well-seasoned crust with juicy, greasy meat inside. It comes in a dainty one piece or two-piece and its perched atop a waffle reminiscent of the Waffle House–in a good way . You could call this a power breakfast, if by power you mean power nap. Bean felt like he’d slip into a food coma after eating it, but he was saved by a cup of expensive but surprisingly good coffee. Which brings us to the coffee…
The drip coffee menu (that’s right) reads more like a wine list as it guides you around the world with weighty descriptions, each a paragraph in length. Overpriced? No way. You get delicious fair trade drip coffee when you pay for delicious fair trade drip coffee.
The food is tasty and well-prepared and the ambiance is excellent especially on a sunny day. Don’t let the scattered menu deter you, as it is part of the charm. Asking beachside to focus its menu is like asking the Occupy movement to define its message—doing so misses the point completely. Go for the delicious coffee and stay for the brunch and beach, just don’t surf, trust us, its not any fun.
More EPIC-urean Adventures at boardandhungry.com