Many people look forward to Summer at the beach all year, but for those of us lucky to live here by the beach in Southern California, the beach is our backyard and enjoying your own backyard whenever you want is a given.
Cora's Coffee Cafe is in my backyard, only difference is that even during the middle of the week at 2pm, there is a 20 minute wait for a table on the bougainvillea covered terrace. But considering that the specials of the day included Lamb shoulder with Cannellini beans, Duck breast served with figs and arugula, and short rib tacos, the fact that this wonderful spot required a short wait was a very fair trade. People come directly from the beach (one block away), in beach coverups, so this is a very casual place. It is so casual there is no host, you put your name on a list (usually on top of the newstands in front of the door) and they call you as they clear the tables. Considering that they are very busy all day, the servers somehow still manage to have a sense of humor and to accommodate people with strollers, seniors, and tourists with a smile.
Since I had not eaten duck in a very long time, I chose the special duck breast with figs and arugula salad ($16).
I was afraid that the duck breast would be overcooked when I saw that the slices of meat were brown, but I discovered the center of the generous serving was pink, warm, and juicy. The skin was even scored and seared enough so that it was delicious. The dressing was light enough to compliment without overpowering, and the tomatoes were a ripe, fresh, and colorful addition. The fresh figs were wonderfully charred, bringing a sweet counterpoint to the salad that made this composition unique and interesting (in a good way).
They have a full breakfast menu of everything from homemade bagels served with out without Michel Blanchet smoked salmon, to Waygu "Kobe" steak and eggs, and they serve Illly Coffee in all variations from espressos to lattes, so no matter what you like, you can probably find it here. Everything is made fresh and organic whenever possible, so I would start with some fresh organic orange juice and meander through the menu slowly as you savor the terrace in the back yard.