Plums Cafe & Catering: A Must Stop in Costa Mesa

by Kitty Kaufman
Print Email

plums cafe 1Here's what I like about California: People think nothing of driving 82 miles for lunch. (In New York, this never happens.) The Thin Man and I are now two of those people as we head out from La Jolla to Plums Cafe in Costa Mesa. We've brought the Boston mechanical lady along to tell us where to get off. She acclimates, more or less, and in no time it's north on the 5. Our LA cousins, who are meeting us, drive 56 miles and they've lived here long enough to get over their New Yorkiness. I guess we have too.

Just in case, The Thin Man prints directions. As it turns out, she not only does not get lost but she sees into the future. Five miles ahead, on the way home, she tells us repeatedly to get off because there's trouble ahead. We don't, there is, but it works out.

How do you define an ideal California lunch? Although I'm no slouch in the lunch department, a perfect lunch will be one I didn't have to make. Ideal is every plate beautifully arranged. Ideal is having to choose. Will it be soup and salad, waffles, chopped or Caesar, greens? Ideal comes with a brother and cousins. Ideal is a chic vibe. Home? If only.

plums cafe 2Eve orders the Dungeness crab omelet with dill and asparagus which I just now see is $17. Good thing she really likes it and the Caesar with sliced Parmesan. Jerry hones in on Alaskan halibut with fennel and potato hash. The Thin Man has a fluffy spinach and feta omelet with tomatoes and olives. It comes with rosemary potatoes that our server assures us everyone loves and she's right. Executive chef Tony Sasaki must be in the kitchen himself.

My ideal lunch: turkey, avocado, bacon and tomato on nine-grain bread. I count, all the grains are present, they've soft-toasted the bread so it doesn't take out the roof of my mouth, and greens come with sparkly dressing. The plan was to carry half home but it's too good. Besides, Oregon pepper bacon makes me delirious. Pictures just can't do it justice.

Oh my goodness, dessert. Everyone's paying attention to lemon cake with lavender ice cream and berries. I've had lavender twice in two days and I'm thinking, how did I get along without it? It's lemony but we're also getting hints of cheesecake. If anyone you know is interested, the other dessert is chocolate waffles with vanilla gelato, caramel, bittersweet chocolate sauce and candied nuts.

Here's a few other things I want: Dungeness crab hush puppies, fried sand dabs, flat iron steak frites (let's see that on 23rd and Fifth), the Tuscan chicken sandwich with mozzarella, grilled romaine with blue cheese, and pile on the boysenberry crisp.

I'm sad I didn't write down the name of the woman who brought us lunch. She's every restaurant owner's dream: one happily delivering beautiful plates, making suggestions, while assuring us Hellman's in place of cilantro mayo is no big deal. Later, we find out why everything's so good. Plums grows their own. You can see on Facebook the tomatoes they planted in April along with peppers and nasturtiums. If you're around for early dinner, stop in at 5. Sasaki's a keeper.

Plums Café and Catering
369 E. 17th St
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
949. 722. 7586

Kitty Kaufman is a Boston writer at   http://www.corp-edge.com.

Plums Cafe on Urbanspoon

Comments   

0 #7 Kitty 2014-01-26 06:01
Surely those aren't raisins on the omelet, right? Black olives I hope. I checked the menu and it is listed as spinach and feta. In May it was a different combo or more likely, you said hold the cheese. This is their photo though.
Quote
+1 #6 The Thin Man 2014-01-24 20:46
Wow. The writeup has survived 8 months on OFTT. I did like that omelet but I'm sure I told them to hold the feta.
Quote
0 #5 Kitty 2014-01-16 09:23
Update: The very same crew reunited at Plums in December. And we had the very same server, Magaly. We still like it a lot. And it's still 82 miles from La Jolla. Still. Thanks to The Thin Man for photos.
Quote
+1 #4 GH 2013-08-19 14:50
The omelet sounds divine!
Quote
+1 #3 Eve 2013-06-17 20:28
Great review of a great restaurant. Glad to drive from LA to join you there.
Quote
0 #2 Kitty 2013-06-17 09:09
It's a deal. Thanks.
Quote
+1 #1 Paul 2013-06-17 08:58
Sounds like fun. Next time I'm in Costa Mesa... I want the whole nine yards, including the cousins.
Quote

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

 

restaurant news

Huckleberry Cafe
Los Angeles
by Rachel Parker

zoe-nathan-and-josh-loeb.jpg
photo: Joshua Lurie/944.com

With a sensibility learned from fairy tales, one would expect a baker, the conjurer of butter,...

Read more...
A Visit to the Merrion Hotel
London - British Isles
by James Moore

merrion20facade.jpgWith St. Patrick's Day around the corner, I'm reminded of a spontaneous weekend trip to Ireland last December, where I discovered the warm comfort of authentic Irish cooking.
 
I'm always watching...

Read more...
The Apalachicola Seafood Grill and The Piggly Wiggly
Florida
by Ann Nichols

floridagrill.jpg On the second day of our Florida trip, we dined at one of our favorite, always good, “coming home” restaurants in Apalachicola: The Apalachicola Seafood Grill. Located in the heart of “downtown”...

Read more...
One Pico
Los Angeles
by S. Irene Virbila

shutters.jpg Tables lined up along the windows at One Pico offer not only an ocean view, but also a glimpse of Santa Monica's glitzy new Ferris wheel. Its complex computer system dials out the colors,...

Read more...