A Little Bit of Paris in San Diego: Cafe Chloe

| August 31, 2006 | 4 Comments
  • 4 Comments

As much as I adore, worship, and revere Region restaurant, Cafe Chloe in downtown San Diego sent me into a culinary tizzy.

Decorated to its Victorian hilt in glossy licorice ebony and cool white marble, Cafe Chloe completes its Parisian portrait with surrealistic sprinklings of Man Ray photographs on the walls.

Arriving in plenty of time for Sunday brunch, we perched on high spindly chairs at a towering marble-topped table and looked around at the chalkboard announcing their cheeses of the day (very respectable collection of Epoisses, a Basque sheep, and a cave-aged Gruyère), their glistening case burgeoning with flakey pastries, and many guests enjoying their food and one another. Before I even took a bite or a sip it hit me, I was in love. The atmosphere itself was an amuse bouche. Happily, the food delivered what the decor promised. Sheer heaven.

Poached Eggs with Mushrooms and Sage-Truffle Beurre Blanc

Smoked Trout and Apple Salad with Roasted Fingerlings and Almonds


Mushroom and Bleu d’Auvergne Tarte with Popcorn Shoots

Nothing makes a brunch so sublime as when you haven’t indulged in eggy, buttery things for quite some time. After sharing a blue cheese and mushroom tarte (could cut that crust with the edge of a fork, perfect!) with my husband, I sunk into my poached egg with mushrooms and sage-truffle beurre blanc. Whenever I eat poached eggs, I play a little game of meticulously gobbling up the fragments of soft white surrounding the bubble of yolk before finally breaking into the quivering hump with a tine and allowing the yolk to seep slowly out in a burnished river. My husband’s smoked trout salad was delicious. The quietly kippered fish and the crisp green apples introduced themselves to mealy, creamy roasted potatoes and had a party in my mouth.

Though we were getting pretty near to the brim, we had to try one of the pastries that had been staring us down all morning. Although I am not really a melon person, I was very intrigued by the idea of a honeydew and nectarine tartine, so we tried it. A snowball of homemade vanilla bean ice cream slightly moistened the semi-puffed edge of the pastry, and I discovered that when you pair melon with buttery, flaky pastry I turn into a melon person after all.

Our host was affable and genial. He was excited to answer all our questions and quick to compliment our choice of food and wine, but earnestly and not in an oily or obsequious way. To extend the experience, there’s even a boîte of a giftshop tucked into one of the corners of the cafe. I spent a few yearning moments browsing among soaps, porcelain dishes, and stiff straw vintage wine totes before securing myself of a little piece of Cafe Chloe to bear home as a thank-you gift for our pastry-making, cheesemongering cat sitter.

Cafe Chloe
721 Ninth Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101
619.232.3242

Monday 11am-10pm
Tuesday to Friday 7am-10pm
Saturday 8am-10pm
Sunday 9am-9pm

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Category: Bay Area Bites Food + Drink

About the Author ()

A former picky eater, Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic is a writer, editor, and lapsed cheesemonger in the San Francisco Bay Area. A culinary school grad with an English lit degree, she has written for CNN.com, MSNBC.com, Popular Science, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Boston Globe. Additionally, she has been writing for KQED's Bay Area Bites since its inception and is the website editor for KQED's Emmy-award winning show "Check, Please! Bay Area." Stephanie was an original recapper at Television Without Pity and worked on a line of cookbooks for William-Sonoma as well as in the back kitchen of a Jacques Pépin cooking show. Her first book, SUFFERING SUCCOTASH: A Picky Eater's Quest To Understand Why We Hate the Foods We Hate (Perigee Books, 2012) is a non-fiction narrative and a heartfelt and humorous exposé on the inner lives of picky eaters that Scientific American called "hilarious" and "the perfect popular science book for a reader that doesn't think he or she wants to read a popular science book." Stephanie lives in Menlo Park with her husband, three-year-old son, assorted cats, and has been blogging at The Grub Report for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter at @grubreport
  • Catherine

    Cafe Chloe is indeed a good find since I hear Region is closing (closed?). I was in despair over future visits to SD until now. Thank you for shining the light!

  • Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic

    We had one last gasp at Region while I was there but it is closing in a few months. We are rather distraught!

  • wendygee

    Sounds delectable! love your descriptions and yummy pix! Well, since I sadly missed out on Region… I now have another dining opportunity when I visit my mom “down there.”

  • Anonymous

    We continue to savor this evening’s dining experience at Cafe Chloe. It’s everything we read about on Bay Area Bites and more.
    Proprietor John Clute is a gracious host and Katie Grebow is a gifted chef.
    The atmosphere is charming.We sat in the Man Ray Room surrounded by a feast of black and white photos.
    The menu provides a variety of culinary treats.
    The ginger carrot soup was superb; velvety texture compliments its subtle flavor. The trout cake appetizer was succulent and the lamb cassoulet brought a surprise-a hint of orange. The fruit galette,our favorite dessert,combined tender plums and flaky pastry.
    We look forward to returning often.