This, That, and The Other Thing


San Clemente Restaurants

New Orleans West?

Jennifer’s birthday dinner celebration at Iva Lee’s in San Clemente. I was really looking forward to this as they are supposedly Southern to the core!! Their menu certainly seems to confirm that.

First course – a basket of cornbread and baguettes with our Springtini (vodka, Aperol and lemon) and French Martini (vodka, Chambord pineapple juice and rose water). Second course – Fried Green Tomatoes topped with goat cheese on a tomatillo puree, and Buttermilk Hushpuppies with grilled Peach and Vidallia Onion Marmalade.

Neither of us could resist the Fried Chicken with garlic mashed potatoes, haricot verts & Gravy. The potatoes could have been a little thicker and creamier, but overall, it was very good (not Willie Mae’s good, but very good). To top it off, the waiter treated us to a birthday N’awlins Bread Pudding complete with a candle and birthday song! Our waiter J.C., by the way, was very cute, very attentive, and very efficient.

The Other Thing – You do get a Southern feel here. There is even live music Wednesday through Saturday. I can imagine after a few Hurricanes and some Zydeco, the place would be  really jumpin’!!

San Clemente Experience


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.



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.



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