Urban Solace has been on my radar for quite some time and while in San Diego for a fundraiser, I took the opportunity to also organize a brunch with friends before heading back to Los Angeles. I invited a few friends from high school to join me, making sure that we arrived early enough before the restaurant opened to ensure seating, especially with a large group.
Urban Solace is located in the North Park area of San Diego, a few minutes off of Fwy 805’s El Cajon Boulevard exit on 30th Street, just past University Avenue. The building stood out, as if plucked from the French Quarter in New Orleans. Dubbed “Bluegrass Brunch”, I was really looking forward to the experience. A small group of hungry diners also assembled prior to the 10:00 a.m. opening and I knew this was no ordinary brunch spot.
We had a short wait (the rest of our party had not yet arrived) but we were guaranteed seating out in the patio area where a featured live bluegrass group was performing. I had previewed the menu online ahead of time and already knew what I would be ordering but I couldn’t resist taking a look at it one more time. Everything sounded so good but I held steadfast to my initial pick. More on this in just a minute.
I wanted to start out my Urban Solace experience with a “breakfast cocktail” and ordered a Peach Bellini. My friend Lisa and friend Lori’s hubby ordered the Spicy Bloody Mary. Thumbs up from the group.
The first item on the menu is the “Best Darn Buttermilk Cinnamon Roll with Cream Cheese Icing ($3.50). You can add Butter Pecan Sauce for an additional dollar. We ordered two to share. When it arrived at our table, at first glance, we thought it was topped with ice cream but it was actually a large scoop of cream cheese icing. We smeared the icing over the generous sized roll and cut it in four pie-like pieces. OMG…soft, cinnamon-y buttery goodness and the butter pecan sauce gave it a sweet kick that tied this piece of heaven all together.
The cinnamon roll set the pace for the rest of our brunch experience and we all ordered different items from the menu.
My friend Lisa ordered the Salmon Benny: Wild Sockeye Salmon with Poached Fresh Eggs, and Smoked Ancho Chili Hollandaise ($16.50):
My friend Arlene ordered the Eggaroni: Cheesy Macaroni and Egg Baked Casserole with Smoked Ham and Charred Tomatoes ($10.75). She mentioned that the dish was very good but very rich:
My friend Lori ordered the Kitchen Sink Biscuits ‘n Gravy: Sausage, Brown Sugar Slab Backon and Two Fried Eggs on top ($11.25):
Lori’s hubby Dan ordered the Brandt Farms Beef Cheek Hash, Poached Eggs and Smoked Ancho Chili Hollandaise ($10.25):
I ordered the Belly Benny: Braised Niman Ranch Pork Belly, Poached Fresh Eggs and Smoked Ancho Chili Hollandaise (again with the Hollandaise! LOL!) ($11.25). OMG–the pork belly was super tender and melted in my mouth. The hollandaise was flavorful and smoky, not too thick in consistency and paired well with the perfectly poached eggs. This has to be the most delicious benedict I’ve ever had:
We were deliciously satisfied at the end of the meal, our tummies filled with Urban Solace happiness. While enjoying brunch, one of my favorite LA food bloggers and Twitter “friend” @walkermarkla of “I Flip For Food” tweeted me to let me know that they also have an “off menu” benny offering that, according to another LA food blogger friend of mine, @CattyCritic, must be requested ahead of time. The benny? Why, Foie Gras! And you better believe I’m going to order it next time!
3823 30th Street (between University & North Park Way)
San Diego, CA 92104