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My friend Dick drove from San Marcos to join me in San Clemente. I wanted him to meet me at Bear Coast Coffee. Since he rises at the break of dawn he was pretty much coffeed out. I was anxious to try Bear Coast’s lavender caramel coffee. What a treat, and it was served at just the right temperature fimag0513or immediate drinking. This place, across from the pier, is small but mighty. Most of the seating is outside with a great view of the ocean. Their coffee menu changes often. They make their own sauces and flavorings daily in house, even the almond milk.  Nutmeg-accented vanilla, dark chocolate ganache, my lavender-infused caramel, who wouldn’t be drawn to such a list. There is always a crowd but the waiting is not long. There are several smiling servers on hand to expedite your order. They are friendly and accommodating.

Then we were off to lunch. The latest issue of Orange Coast Magazine lists The 29 Best Tacos in Orange County. Have Gretchen and Benjamin not ever been to South of Nick’s? Not only should it be on this list, in my “expert” opinion, it should be in the top 10!

The Mini Soft Taco Platter includes  al pastor, carnitas, citrus chicken and ranchera beef. These are beyond yummy and are served with the best black beans I have had in a long time! Dick opted for the Stacked Chicken Enchilada, and I thought he was going to lick the bowl. We never get dessert but when the waiter said they had a signature dessert, how could we resist. Boy, they aren’t kidding. The Warm Butter Cake defies description, and it is surrounded by a sugary crispy crumb crust with a drizzle of fresh raspberry sauce. This may be on the menu in Heaven.

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The Other Thing – Our waiter was very attentive without being bothersome. Dick and I don’t get a chance to meet very often so our lunches sometimes last as long as 3 hours. He was mindful of that and never rushed us and served us with a smile.