the original broken yolk cafe / pacific beach – san diego, ca
Welcome to another edition of MINION MONDAY *cue dramatic music*! Minion will now tell you about another place he visited recently, alleviating me of this very, very hard duty.
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Next to our amazing Mexican food, The Original Broken Yolk Cafe is one of San Diego’s proudest institutions. It’s been featured in countless TV shows, including one of my old favorites – Man v. Food. Even if you’re not a local, you’ve probably heard about the infamous twelve-egg omelet challenge that they offer at every location. After checking out the wall of fame (shame?), I was particularly impressed to see that it’s been around since the mid-80’s and can definitely claim the “before it was cool” title of foodie contests.
Allison and I visited the Pacific Beach location only once before, about a year ago, so we were excited to be invited by the restaurant to stop by for a mid-morning tasting. After being greeted by James, our friendly and very knowledgeable host, we learned a little about the Broken Yolk history. It was started in 1979 and has since expanded to 13 West Coast locations, with several more in development. What’s particularly interesting is that they actively encourage their staff to come up with new and inventive dishes. Many of the most popular items on the menu were developed in-house and I think that there’s something very satisfying about a chain restaurant that trusts its staff to help push the brand forward.
Ready to try the finest breakfast items they had to offer, Allison and I asked about their most requested options. James suggested their Golden State Benedict, which is a modern reimagining of the dish with Sriracha and tomato, and the classic Chilaquiles with half green, half red sauce. I also wanted to try something on the sweet end to balance out all of the savory, so we also ordered a plate of the Tiki Toast.
The Golden State Benedict arrived first. I immediately loved the visual splash of hot sauce across the well-poached eggs. After cutting through the delightfully thick-cut bacon and chowing down on the first bite, I was impressed. The English muffin was surprisingly dense and chewy, so it absorbed the rich hollandaise sauce well and you didn’t get that gross soggy bread feeling. It’s a great foundation for the copious amounts of fresh avocado that kindly offset the saltiness of the bacon and the contrasting spiciness of the Sriracha. I could’ve done without the tomato, though, as I didn’t feel like it really added anything to the dish. The hash browns on the side were fried well, but pretty standard fare.
Next, the Chilaquiles arrived and the great debate between red and green salsa commenced. After taking our first bites of the crispy tortillas and cotija cheese, Allison and I agreed that the texture was well-done, but we each liked the opposite sauce. I favored the red, which is a bit more spicy. It’s tomato-based and is pretty similar to enchilada sauce. Allison preferred the green sauce with a more tomatillo base. It was milder and had more of a sharp taste probably due to some cilantro or lime.
The accompanying beans were cooked well, but lacked flavor. The creaminess that I’m used to wasn’t present and I felt like they needed some salt, but the sprinkle of cheese did help. The overall flavor was good, but we both agreed that the plate needed some protein and we would add some chicken or fried eggs the next time around.
Last, but not least, the Tiki Toast was brought to our table. The Polynesian sweetness this dish promised was a welcome respite from the heavier items we had just eaten. Allison and I love both french toast and coconut, so we were eager to take our first taste.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t overly sweet. We were initially worried that the caramel drizzle would push this over the top, but the berries on the side paired well with the bread and balanced the dish. The texture of the toast was lightly crispy on the edges, while being chewy on the inside. We liked getting bits of coconut with every bite, as well, but they could’ve gone with a bit more. It was a little hard to taste over the sauce and powdered sugar, though this is a minor gripe.
I’ll admit it, I’m a bit of a stickler. When it comes to American-style breakfasts, I think that I’m secretly a 65 year-old man that craves the comfort of walking into a tiny, old east coast diner where the short-order cook knows his name. While it may not have the soul of my New York City favorites, the Broken Yolk definitely has a lot going for it – enthusiasm and the desire to innovate. It won’t blow your mind, but it will satisfy you in a way that no other chain restaurant can. We’ll certainly be back to visit the next time we head out to spend the morning on the coast.
Disclaimer: Minion’s meal was complimentary on behalf of the Broken Yolk Cafe. All of the opinion’s stated here are the writer’s own. No further compensation was received.
The Broken Yolk Cafe
1851 Garnet Ave.
San Diego, CA 92109