Every four years, I take the day off for Inauguration Day. I vote, so I feel it’s my duty. I like the spectacle and swelling Democracy heart of it all.  This year, even without the crowds and the bands and the balls, it’s still Inauguration Day, and I’m front and center … on my couch.

While you may not be standing there being jostled in person or hosting a ball of your own in this COVID era, it’s still a spectacular opportunity to eat and drink while practicing your best couch potato poses with the ones you love.

I’m inviting exactly three friends over to my socially distanced living room.

Because this is a fairly early event, I’m planning on breakfast items. If you’re like me, you don’t stop in the middle of the week to order take-out for breakfast. Inauguration Day, though, is your perfect opportunity to support our restaurants at an entirely different time of the day. You might want to gather these items the day prior so that you’re ready to roll at the crack of dawn.

Start With Refreshments

For starters, there’s the Bloody Mary. Two of my favorite Bloody Mary purveyors are The Cliff Laguna Beach and Lumberyard. You’ll be relieved to know that both are offering their Bloody Marys with all the fixings for take-out. (For the record, I also adore the Bloody Mary at The Ranch Laguna Beach, but they’re not yet doing take out beyond their hotel guests, sigh.)

The Cliff’s boisterous Bloody Mary

Prefer to hold off on that drink until, perhaps, noon? Allow me to point you to my favorite Sangria in town at GG’s Bistro.

I’ve written about this beauty before, but I’ve never ordered more than two drinks at a time for take-out. On Saturday, I ordered for six, knowing that my dinner party of four that evening would want seconds.

When I arrived to pick up my order, Co-Owner Ragip Gundogar has neatly packed the wine-and-brandy part of the Sangria in a cardboard coffee to-go container (genius.) The brandy-soaked berries and cardamom pods were ladled into two large plastic cups. And the “float” of ginger beer came along for the ride in its own separate cup, too. He then walked me through the DIY efforts of compiling my own Sangria at home. As usual, the drink was truly heavenly.

Breakfast To Go

As I’m still narrowing down my egg options for Wednesday’s event, I’ve already picked up what I consider the quintessential breakfast pastry – Lumberyard’s unbelievable Apple Cobbler. Built more like an oversized Apple Dumpling, just two heated cobblers with whipped butter on the side will be more than enough to feed my tiny Inaugural party of four.

The Lumberyard apple cobbler is as All-American breakfast pastry as you can get.

Egg dishes available for take-out are plentiful in this town of ours.

Long-standing local favorite, The Cliff (mentioned above), offers nearly the entirety of its breakfast menu to go. Pick up anything from breakfast burritos to Lox & Bagels, Belgian waffles and omelets. The Cliff opens at 9 a.m. for pickup
Anastasia Cafe opens at 7 a.m. for curbside pickup of its entire breakfast menu, including their famed Pain Caramel Toast, Swedish Pancakes, Eggs Salmon Benedict, a variety of omelets, and even their carefully stacked poached egg dishes of fame (Eggs Anna is still my favorite).

Anastasia’s caramel-y, gooey wonderful take on French Toast.

Zinc Cafe offers its entire breakfast menu to go, from Quiche to Huevos Rancheros, breakfast bowls and wraps, French Toast, omelets and more. Zinc opens at 8 a.m. for pick-up and delivery.

Just a hop and a skip from Zinc, Shirley’s Bagels opens at 6:00 a.m. with eight egg-n-bagel sandwich variations.

Heidelberg Café and the Sapphire Pantry offer breakfast to-go, as well. Heidelberg might have the largest “American” breakfast menu in town now that we’ve lost our White House (the restaurant, not the D.C. building). Eight omelets, four breakfast bagels, six croissant sandwiches, 14 egg dishes and four options in the pancake aisle round out Heidelberg’s options.

And, let’s not lose Lost Pier Café in the breakfast shuffle. The grom surfin’ little brother to The Ranch’s Harvest Restaurant, Lost Pier at Aliso Beach offers Avocado Toast, breakfast bagel sandwiches, rapturous Paper Bag Beignets and a Breakfast Burrito with the absolute best smoked bacon in town.

Lost Pier Cafe’s smoky bacon breakfast burrito

A Boatload of Breakfast Burritos

Since we’ve just ventured into the land of breakfast burritos, let’s not forget our most notable breakfast burritos in our Laguna land.

At Papa’s Tacos, you can order one burrito and feed a small family of four. Owner Michael Skerly offers eight different flavors, along with breakfast tacos, machaca egg dishes and more.

Papa’s Tacos’ breakfast burritos are giant, filled to the brim and, in this case, smothered in their steamy Ranchero sauce. Perfection!

My favorite breakfast burrito in town resides here at Papa’s – the Machaca Beef Burrito smothered in super-secret recipe Ranchero sauce. Papa’s opens at 11 a.m. and is well worth the wait. Pick up or order online for delivery.

Feast Laguna isn’t far behind in burrito size with its green chile salsa-smothered breakfast burrito (try the chorizo version). Feast opens at 10 a.m. for pick-up.

The two La Sirena locations offer up a solid offering of breakfast items including four customizable breakfast burritos (my favorite is the Green Chile Burrito with added Sausage Picadillo). The downtown cottage original on Mermaid Street opens at 8 a.m., while the larger SoLag La Sirena across from the Montage opens at 11a.m. Pick up or order online for delivery.

Adolfo’s, open at 9 a.m. for pick-up, offering two local crowd favorites in their Bacon, Egg & Cheese and Chorizo, Egg & Beans breakfast burritos.

And SoLag perennial favorite, Coyote Grill, offers the best of their two breakfast menus to go – order from Mexican or American features. You can find the gamut here, from Huevos (my favorite) to Machaca & Eggs, pancakes, omelets, and their Oatmeal Sundae. I believe Coyote is the only entity in town to also serve up Grilled Baja Style “Fish of the Day” with Eggs. It always brings back great memories of my trips to the Baja.       

Grab Your Catering Platter, Too

Planning on more of a light lunch as we couch potato our way through the day? I have just the thing:

Since I was ordering from GG’s Bistro anyway this past weekend, I asked Fransesca to come up with a small appetizer platter for four. They presented me with their gargantuan Meze Platter, expanded to catering size to include an additional two scoops of their famed humus offerings and mini falafel patties.

The Meze Platter offers something for everyone with grape-leaf dolmas, eggplant dip, red lentil patties, the falafel patties and three scoops of humus – cilantro-jalapeno, Mediterranean olive and their regular humus with a touch of garlic. Then, they throw in a handful of delightful borek (phyllo pastry stuffed with spinach and feta cheese) and enough pita halves to re-paper my bathroom.

At GG’s Bistro, the DIY Sangria in boxes and cups, and the decadent catering-sized Meze Platter to go.

Still not finding anything you like? While our long-standing Penguin’s Cafe also offers its breakfast menu to go, Owner Sabrina McMurray is selling homemade tamales each day until they’re sold out. Order packs of three (one flavor, please) in beef, chicken, green chile or pork. How’s that for a true celebration of all that is America?

Thank you for your continued support of our great Laguna Beach restaurant owners and chefs. Be sure to check out my Best of Laguna Beach Restaurant Directory at my website for the most up-to-date news and hours. I’m currently updating family-style menus as their own category, and am posting Valentine’s Day offerings, too. Thank you for sharing the Directory with friends!

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