In continuation of the number geekery… What comes after three cubed? (the answer is 28)
“How do you feel?” I asked him that morning. To which he replied, “old,” in a mopey voice, complete with a sad puppy face.
As usual, he wasn’t dealing with his birthday too well. Friends asked about his birthday party plans so that they can set time aside for him, but he probably thought that ignoring the day would make it go away. He didn’t notify anyone of his birthday plans until two days prior, and by then, everybody was too busy – including restaurants.
And thanks to his if-I-ignore-it-maybe-it-will-go-away attitude, the only time reservation I could score at the Beachcomber Cafe was an 8:00 PM – much later than what our usual dinner time is.
Good thing Beachcomber Cafe is located in Crystal Cove! The scenery was beautiful to say the least, and seclusiveness really adds to the atmosphere.
To get to Beachcomber Cafe, first you have to park at the remote lot for Crystal Cove State Park. It’s across the street from the State Park parking lot, which will cost you a pretty penny (15 bucks, to be exact). At the remote lot, your receipt from Beachcomber can be validated for free parking.
Then you walk the secret pathway alongside PCH…
…Through a very colorful tunnel…
… And voila! You’ve reached your destination: a beachside cottage village. Go towards the beach and you will find Beachcomber Cafe.
The outside bar is a tropical theme, very Tiki…
Inside is, however, preppy, with a nautical theme. We were seated in the heated patio, and were delighted to find that each seat had a blanket slung over the back.
The booze menu is on the Tiki-heavy side as well, although they do offer some martinis. Don had the The Real Deal Margarita (10), which comprises of Partida Tequila, real Agave nectar and fresh lime juice. Very simple and tasty, with a clean finish.
I had tea because really, who makes the birthday boy drive to his own birthday dinner? Here’s some tropical Rooibos tea from Mighty Leaf, in a cutesy little tea set that crowded our itty bitty table.
For starters, we had Tiny Ahi Tacos (14.95). Essentially a Sriracha-tinged ahi tartare in fried wonton shells with drizzles of spicy mayo and “Asian” slaw. And by Asian, I think they mean “napa cabbage.” Cute presentation, but so-so in flavor. I think it would’ve been better with avocado chunks rather than mayonnaise.
For his entree, Don had the Maple Glazed Salmon (24.95) – a salmon filet rubbed with Ancho chili spice and a maple glaze, coconut scented jasmine rice and steamed vegetables. Upon first bite, I was greeted by a surprise spice kick that reminded me more of cinnamon than Ancho chilis. The rice was flavored just right and paired well with the salmon.
I had the Cafe Flat Iron Steak and Truffle Mac (27.95). The steak was a cooked well, but the coffee demi-glace sauce was a bit too sweet for my taste. Tasty regardless. BUT the true star of this dish was the Truffle Mac, which is made truffle cheese, wild mushrooms, and truffle oil, ladeled over fun fusilli pasta. Very cheesy, maybe a bit *too* rich, but the portion is just right. We fought over the last bite!
For dessert, we split the Donut Hole Bread Pudding (7.95). Donut holes are jammed into a small tart dish with currants and custard liquid, and served with vanilla ice cream. Unpretentiously delicious, and a perfect way to end a beachside meal.
When Don first mentioned Beachcomber Cafe, I was wary. General rule of thumb states that the closer you are to the ocean, the suckier the food is. Luckily, Beachcomber Cafe is an anomaly, and a steady restaurant at that. We’ll definitely come back for the seafood potpie and other delicious-sounding dishes that we said nay to this time.
The Beachcomber Cafe
15 Crystal Cove
Newport Coast, CA 92657