Cuisine Scene: Brunch
Long Beach does a lot of things well: provide America with lots of professional and Olympic athletes; provide America with lots of stuff through our port, the second-busiest in the country (you’re welcome) and… breakfast. Oh, how we breakfast in Long Beach.
Located on the campus of the Long Beach Museum of Art, Claire’s at the Museum (2300 E Ocean Blvd.) occupies an enviable bluff-top spot overlooking Long Beach Harbor. Its views of the Pacific, Catalina and the Queen Mary, along with a menu by Chef Michael Ryan, are spectacular enough to keep regulars – and there are many – returning for more.
Directly across the harbor, next to the Queen Mary, is Fuego (700 Queensway Dr.), the Latin-infused restaurant and lounge at the Hotel Maya. Featuring fantastic cocktails (signature Margaritas and Bloody Marys) and fare (Ropa Viejas, Caramelized Plantains with Chipotle Rum Glaze) – it has its own spectacular views of the ocean and the best view of the Long Beach skyline.
Jongewaard’s Bake-N-Broil (3697 Atlantic Ave.) may be the most beloved eatery in Long Beach, it certainly is the most comforting. It’s been in the same spot for more than half-a-century, and serves generous portions of such comfort as pot roast and pie, the latter among the best in the area. There will be eggs and baked goods and gravy and lemon blueberry pancakes with raspberry sauce. Oh, and one other thing, most likely a wait, people love this place.
If you’re looking for a face full of Long Beach, head to Parkers' Lighthouse (435 Shoreline Village Dr.) on Rainbow Harbor. For nearly 40 years, the eye-catching establishment--it looks like the Hotel Del Coronado’s younger brother--has been a destination for special occasions and large friend and family get-togethers. It serves the standard brunch items, but given its location, also offers a generous amount of seafood dishes.
We can’t quantify this, but Seabirds Kitchen (975 E. 4th St.) may have been the first vegan restaurant to make the crossover to attract a significant non-vegan clientele. The reasons are simple, the food is delicious and so very inventive whether it’s Fried Grit Cakes, Avo-Lemon Toast with Broccolini or Brunch Tacos--tofu scramble, walnut chorizo, chipotle sour cream, fermented pico de gallo, pomegranate seeds. And if you’re still one of those people who think vegan can’t be fun, relax with a Birdy Mary, a Bloody Mary topped with fried pickles or the Kombucha Mosa, a mimosa topped with kombucha.
Though The Wild Chive (2650 E. Broadway) has been at its present location since June of 2020, it had already built an enthusiastic and loyal clientele as a pop-up that showed up all over the city. Chef Soozee Nguyen offers such signature dishes as Stuffed French Toast with house-made chocolate hazelnut spread, strawberries, bananas and coconut whip and vegan Monte Cristo Sandwich. If you’re not in the mood for a full-on breakfast, how about some Vegan Vietnamese Coffee with a French Quarter Beignet?