There’s a sense of romance to the very concept of a pop-up restaurant. It’s got something to do with the special place the underdog holds in the American imagination. The term “small business” fills us with pride, and what’s smaller than a restaurant that can’t even afford its own lease?
Jake & Eggs pops up Saturday and Sunday mornings in Ocean Beach inside the Indian restaurant Sundara, itself a former pop-up. The Jake in question cooks up an assortment of ten mostly egg-centric dishes ranging from comfort food (breakfast burritos, biscuits and gravy) to health-conscious fare (avocado toast, granola bowl) and the out-of-the-ordinary (kimchi fried rice).
Sundara’s décor is minimalist enough that you don’t walk in weekend mornings and think, Someone’s serving diner fare in an Indian joint. Particularly if, as I did, you go to the back patio for a open-air dining.
As I sipped a tasty cup of organic brew courtesy of local roaster James Coffee, I struggled to decide between the biscuits and gravy and the shop’s intriguing take on avocado toast. The waitress came up with the idea to try a made-from-scratch biscuit with a housemade jam and dive into the toast later.
Within moments I was digging in to a hot, buttered, and flaky biscuit so good that I momentarily forgot the jam. The strawberry and chile de árbol jam was barely viscous. Rather than slather it on with a knife, I ladled it onto the biscuit like a sauce with the tiny, cute wooden spoon provided. Call it jam, jelly, preserves, or whatever you like — the spicy strawberry went over well with this breakfast lover. I could have eaten three of them and called it a day.
But the $10 avocado toast awaited. When it was placed before me, I could hardly believe they had the order correct. Edible flowers topped a lightly dressed herb salad laid gently over a pair of medium-fried eggs. Beneath the eggs, a thick swath of avocado was smothered in caramelized onions, all stacked atop a well-toasted piece of Bread and Cie-baked multigrain.
Toast doesn’t look like this, not in San Diego. Yet here I was, eating it with a knife and fork. Between the eggs, sweet onions, and lemony herbaceous greens, I didn’t taste a lot of the avocado. I did, however, notice the bread, little chunks of whole grains gnashing between my teeth in a most-pleasing manner. It’s an unusual blend of breakfast flavors, and I were to do it again I would add bacon crumbles for $3 to anchor the experience.
However, the dish didn’t fail to fill me up, and I left happy and curious about the other items, especially sausage gravy soaking into those terrific biscuits. I dig Jake & Eggs as a pop-up, and gotta think it’s only a matter of time before these guys make the leap to daily restaurant. Hopefully they keep the tiny spoons.