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BEACH GOURMET: Coogies Santa Monica Café:

The classic A-Frame diner building is something of a rarity these days – emotionally innocuous chain restaurants notwithstanding – so it is refreshing to note that independently owned Coogies Santa Monica Café on Santa Monica Blvd is still a full service diner style restaurant that has not been converted to a dental office or tax preparation center.

Coogies boasts both a spacious dining room and a large covered patio, however, on the day that we visited the sun was strong so the coolness of the dining room was the greater attraction.  Thankfully there were many tables available for the maitre’d to steer us to, so, with a raised forehead and slightly quizzical expression that conveys, “Is this okay?” he seated us in a central location where we duly ordered coffee and iced tea.

Although I was intrigued by some of the lunch options, including char-broiled Atlantic Salmon (salmon served in a light lemon-lime sauce topped with a papaya mango salsa and served with French fries and steamed vegetables, $9.95) and Herb Roasted Chicken (a moist slow roasted half chicken, partially de-boned, basted in olive oil, garlic and herbs, served with French fries and steamed vegetables, $8.95), a fast needed to be broken, so the breakfast menu became the focus of attention.

Breakfast (served ANY day, according to the menu!) consists of the standard staples such as pancakes, eggs with “your choice of…” and a bevy of omelets.  Coogies also offers such novelties as Spicy Bayou Scramble (three scrambled eggs with Cajun sausage, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes and cheddar cheese in a rich tomato sauce served with potatoes and corn muffin, $7.95). But what caught my attention was the Idaho Sunrise (Rainbow Trout, two eggs any style, country potatoes and toast, $7.95), and when our server arrived at our table I ordered it with joyous enthusiasm!

Imagine the state of numbing sadness that befell me when the waiter forlornly informed me that they did not have any trout at that time. My mind traveled back to my 12th birthday when my mother gave me an apple as a gift and I told her I wanted a pear so she gave me another apple!

“Onwards and upwards” said the little voice in my head so I opted for an Eggs Florentine (two large poached eggs served atop fresh spinach on a grilled English muffin, $7.95 – not listed on the menu but the kitchen was delightfully accommodating). My friend chose the Triple Double (two eggs, two pancakes, choice of two strips of bacon or sausage with home fried potatoes, $6.95).

Our dishes arrived in a timely manner and scored good points for presentation. The Eggs Florentine was skillfully prepared with soft centered poached eggs, fresh and tasty spinach and crisp English muffin. The sauce was a little on the mild side for me as I personally prefer a slightly richer cheese quota. The country potatoes were flavorful and the plate was blessed with a generous portion.

All in all we enjoyed a pleasant breakfast in a pleasant restaurant on a pleasant Santa Monica Sunday.

Coogies, 2906 Santa Monica Blvd., 310.829.7871 

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