The omelet arrived. It was average-sized -- the size you'd make at
home -- neighbored by three mini-baguette slices and a tab of butter. I
dug in. What's 300 more calories? I'd lost control 10 minutes ago anyway.
I told the owner this. Her name is Nancy Poetes. She has an incredibly
satiating laugh that's audible even from across the room. I told Nancy I
had just blown my whole low-carb diet and she let out one of her joyous
laughs. I laughed too, partly entertained, partly defeated.
She offered, "There's always tomorrow!"
Barely bigger than a very large living room, as modest as your own
kitchen after the guests have left, it's instantly obvious that the
oceanfront Newport Beach coffee shop is a regular's place buzzing with
Patrons walk in without their purses, as if they've just come from
next door. Mothers walk by with young children and wave to Nancy. Others
enter looking just-woken, hair not yet tamed. It's possible Nancy is one
of the first people they see every morning, her un-burnt coffee is their
jolt for the day.
The breakfast menu includes croissants, scones, muffins (even
pineapple flavored), bear claws, omelets, granola, waffles, and
buttermilk pancakes with blueberries ($6.75) -- the fluffiest stack of
them you've ever seen.
They're light yet buttery and mined with real blueberries that were
assuredly never frozen and so fresh that they pop and smear when handled
The raspberry croissant ($1.85) had raspberry and cream cheese filling
inside. The outside was flaky and gloriously shiny with the stuffing
oozing just a little bit at both ends.
The cappuccino muffin ($1.50) did indeed taste of cappuccino, while
confettis of mini-morsel chocolate chips scattered here, there,
everywhere confirmed that I had made the right choice. It was either this
or the double chocolate muffin.
And the omelet ($6.25) was comfortingly familiar with three eggs
wrapped around fresh cheddar and ham. It's the omelet your mother makes
when you're home to visit, the omeletthat comes out perfect every time.
Cafe Carluccio also serves lunch -- a menu including chicken salad,
pasta salad, paninis and other sandwiches -- and a tempting list of
My only caution: if you're on any sort of diet, best to stay away.
Look what happened to me.
* YOUNG CHANG is features writer for the Daily Pilot. STEPHEN
SANTACROCE is on vacation.
* WHAT: Cafe Carluccio
* WHERE: 2201 W. Balboa Blvd., Newport Beach
* COST: Inexpensive
* CALL: (949) 675-7004