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,