What drew me to the Curbside Café was its claim to be "Home of Vista's #1 Cinnamon Roll." Now, I can't speak to how many cinnamon rolls in Vista vie for this distinction, but seeing as I was in the area I decided to give it a shot.
Located beneath the Deco façade of the AVO Playhouse on the village's main drag, Curbside Café's interior feels more like a small town diner, with tile floors, casually set tables and an old school coffee counter.
The menu reads fairly middle America, with standard breakfast fare along the lines of chicken fried steak, corned beef hash and egg scrambles. Lunch includes a tuna melt, club sandwich and BLT. But a closer look reveals the chef at Curbside cut his teeth cooking at the Four Seasons, and whether for pride or quality's sake uses fresh ingredients whether making potato pancakes, smoked salmon benedict or fruit salad.
I arrived soon before the 2:30 p.m. closing time, but felt like going for breakfast (served until close), eventually settling on biscuits and gravy for 7 bucks. The thick gravy and chunks of sausage slathered over dense, chewy biscuits fairly hit the spot, especially when I broke the yolk of the sunny side up eggs that came with them and mixed everything into a goopy, salty, stick-to-your-ribs kind of meal. This might not register as outstanding in a southern state, but for southern California they're easily getting the job done.
The cinnamon roll satisfied a craving as well. The $3.50 pastry showed up hot, sticky and sweet, loaded with nuts and immensely satisfying. It's what the kids today might brand artisanal, but really just what we used to call homemade — made from scratch, baked (and reheated) soft and gooey and immeasurably rich. They're served with a fat pat of butter, and though I'm sure sufficient butter went into the recipe, I did try spreading it on a couple bits of the roll, to most decadent effect.
I'm a fan, and as I live a little too far from the getting-better-all-the-time streets of Vista Village, I'm really hoping the next craft-breakfast sweet sensation downtown turns out to be a million gourmet takes on the classic cinnamon roll. But until such a day arrives, I'm glad the affordable — if out-of-the-way — Curbside holds it down with what could turn out to be the best cinnamon roll in a large chunk of North County.