Bristol Farms' cafe offers food lovers great fare

February 06, 2003

Kathy Mader

Grocery stores aren't normally where you would look to catch a

bite to eat. But grocery stores aren't what they used to be either,

and I mean that in a good way.

The stiff competition between markets has caused everyone to step

up. You see remodels all over town, and the delis in all of our local

grocery stores are now top notch. But none are better than the


deli/cafe at Bristol Farms in Corona del Mar.

First of all, this is a food lover's grocery store -- I'm sorry,

gourmet market -- with foods from around the world creatively

displayed in various sections of the store.

But it is the cafe I am here to talk about. It is set to the right

of the main entrance, but somehow remains somewhat understated. You

don't walk in and think "cafe!" But if you are looking for it, there

it is, inviting with its small tables and chairs of the same

warm-colored woods you find throughout the store (which is a good

thing, because this is a good-looking store), plus fresh little

flower arrangements and smooth tile floors.

There is a "to go" line that moves right past several cases of

pre-made sandwiches and sushi, but the entire cafe's menu can be

ordered to go. Bristol Farms serves "morning fare" all day: bagels

and lox, fresh fruit and the "Arnold Omelets ... you'll be back!"

($5.95) with sausage, onions, garlic, spinach and cheddar cheese.

They pretty much serve everything from Belgian waffles to

cappuccinos, including the "BAM" wrap, with scrambles eggs, andouille

sausage, Cajun spices, pepper jack cheese and sour cream.

For lunch, you can find any sandwich your heart desires, from the

basics to the unique, such as grilled salmon sandwich with a teriyaki

glaze, grilled pineapple and pepper jack on a grilled ciabatta roll

($7.25) and my favorite, the buffalo chicken sandwich topped with

spicy buffalo sauce and gorgonzola cheese ($7.25).

Great burgers and good salads (I am always hard pressed to say

"great" and salad in the same sentence) are also available. But one

of the items that makes Bristol Farms worth going to is the soups.

And I'm a soup fan.

I was lucky enough to speak with the executive chef of Bristol

Farms, Bruce Jacobs, who told me that over the course of the year,

they make more than 70 different soups in-house, some familiar, some

funky and all creative.

Coming out tomorrow in honor of Mardi Gras is a shrimp and

andouille sausage gumbo. I'll be there. But over the course of this

year, there will be a chicken and olive stew, Thai chicken soup,

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