March 31, 2016
10 Handheld Breakfast Spots to Try in Newport Beach
For most people, breakfast means good food, fast. Thankfully, Newport Beach restaurateurs and chefs understand those precepts and have applied them to tacos, sandwiches, burritos, burgers, and more. In most cases, breakfast stars eggs, but our 10 listings demonstrate that handheld Newport Beach breakfast knows no bounds.
Randall L. Wyner and close friend Daniel A. Biello craved late night Mexican food, so the duo launched their first location in Newport Beach in time for Fourth of July in 2002. Now Chronic Tacos is a chain that extends to British Columbia and has three local outposts, two in Newport Beach and one in Corona del Mar. Breakfast burritos and tacos are available all day long, both with either flour or corn tortillas, eggs, potatoes, and choice of meat (bacon, chorizo, machaca or veggie), beans, rice, cilantro, onions, and salsa. Add guac and upgrade to either wet or chimichanga style.
This nautical themed fine fast restaurant from Andrew Gabriel and Mario Marovic resides near Newport Pier. Each day, executive chef Chris Rubinstein offers four different breakfast burritos, depending on how heavy you want to get. Yoga Pants Burrito features egg whites, feta cheese, spinach, caramelized onion, and roasted red peppers. Sweat Pants Burrito is the polar opposite, with scrambled eggs, steak, caramelized onions, peppers, and house-made cheese whiz, basically a Philadelphia cheesesteak burrito. The GCH Bagel is a lighter handheld breakfast item featuring a choice of bagel, garlic hummus, tomato, avocado, fresh greens and crispy chickpeas.
Very few restaurants display Mustard Café’s level of handheld diversity. This Newport Coast Shopping Center restaurant serves a wealth of breakfast sandwiches daily. Really, it comes down to your choice of vessel. Toasted baguette cradles feta, tomato, and cucumber. A flaky croissant supports crispy bacon, scrambled eggs, and melted cheddar. A flour tortilla forms the wall of a Cali burrito with two eggs, bacon or sausage, skin-on red potatoes, cheddar, and if you like, salsa and guac. Ciabatta and bagel also factor into breakfast at Mustard Cafe, if you so desire.
This Balboa Peninsula restaurant near the entrance to tiny Bay Island sports a red roof and concrete patio and helps power up locals before a day on the water. Two different breakfast burritos contain eggs, cheese, sour cream, and pico de gallo. The major decision is whether you prefer ham, bacon, or a blend of veggies that includes sautéed red onions, red peppers, mushrooms, and zucchini. If you’re looking to load up, My Galley’s breakfast sandwich stacks two eggs, American cheese, bacon or ham, and a balanced remainder of condiments and garden-born toppings.
A cartoonish Mexican character with a handlebar moustache and sombrero that reads “Jefe Grande” greets your arrival at the Sancho’s Tacos outpost on Balboa Peninsula. Their “sawed off” burrito is nearly as imposing as it sounds, with a griddled flour tortilla cradling eggs, skillet potatoes, cheddar, jack, and a choice of meat. Depending on your desired impact, select either applewood smoked bacon, country sausage, chorizo, or boneless chicken breast. “Flaco” burrito, which translates from Spanish as skinny, opts for egg whites, sautéed spinach, onions, mushrooms, artichoke hearts and avocado. Form a breakfast taco by taking the fillings of either breakfast burrito and implementing them in a flour or corn tortilla.
Max Schlutz, Matt Meddock and Beckham Thomas opened the first Sessions on Balboa Peninsula in 2013 and have since expanded to Huntington Beach. The original location features reclaimed wood, Astroturf, and a fun motto: “Sun’s Out, Buns Out.” Just after sunrise, you’ll find a play on the McMuffin called the McSession with smoked bacon, white cheddar, farm-fresh scrambled egg, and Sriracha syrup. Offerings only get more elaborate. For example, Green Eggs & Ham features smoked ham, Humboldt Swiss, farm fresh scrambled egg, wild baby arugula, and fresh basil pesto. Full Monty is even more elaborate, with French toast, ham, swiss, scrambled egg, strawberry jam, and powder sugar. Sessions uses OC Baking Company bread, which arrives daily from Orange. They also have three different breakfast burritos, including a signature Sessions Breakfast Burrito with fresh tortilla, scrambled eggs, jalapeno jack, potato, pickled onions, habanero puree, guacamole, and lime crema.
This legendary beachfront spot has served hearty breakfast and lunch to beachgoers since 1963. Chef Hector Vega prepares a bunch of belly-busting dishes that will help fuel just about any outdoor activity. Breakfast burritos are well known, combining eggs, cheese, potatoes and tacos. Other portable breakfast items include the surfer muffin, breakfast tacos, fried egg and cheese sandwich with bacon or ham, and stuft bagel. Order at the window before heading to the sand or strolling along the path.
“Top Chef” competitor Brian Huskey runs the most ambitious beachfront stand in town, which starts daily with breakfast. On Tackle Box’s Sunrise menu, you’ll find B’fast sandwiches and burritos, both crafted with bacon, scrambled eggs, and Cheddar cheese. The burrito adds the joys of hash browns and house salsa to the aforementioned ingredients. Yes, avocado toast is overplayed, but you’ll forget that fact in Huskey’s hands, as he graces avocado tartine with smoked salmon, hard-boiled egg, and herbs. From Tackle Box, you can stroll Corona del Mar State Beach.
Grenanimal Restaurant Group built on the success of their Rancho Santa Margarita sandwich kitchen by opening by the Balboa Fun Zone in 2015. A reclaimed wood and corrugated metal interior provides a backdrop for breakfast items that are available all day. Their breakfast sandwich features buttery griddled sourdough, bacon, fried egg, and molten cheddar. The Trough’s breakfast burrito is another portable winner.
This Westcliff café and tea lounge provides a pleasant seating to enjoy flatbreads for breakfast. W Café takes their breakfast pizza in a couple different directions. They have a version with toppings typically befitting a bagel, including cream cheese, smoked salmon, capers, and red onions. If you’re looking for more filling fare, a second flatbread hosts spinach, omelet, cheese, and if you like, grilled chicken breast. W Café also makes a breakfast burrito, if you’re looking for a rounder start.
Legendary Orange County chef Zov Karamardian has seven Zov’s outposts, including a Newport Coast destination that’s good for three meals daily. At breakfast, Zov’s substantial breakfast sandwich sports scrambled eggs, thick-cut applewood smoked bacon, tomato, Swiss cheese, and if you’re smart, avocado. Their breakfast burger is an even bigger beast worth taming, complete with an Angus beef patty, wild arugula, cheddar cheese, scrambled egg, peppercorn aioli, and salt and pepper fries.