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The Boneyard Beach Café, poised over the white beaches and surfboard dotted waves of Doheny State Beach breaks all expectations one might have concerning a food stand at the beach.
Most of us are used to the forced fare of the only food stand within miles of our chosen beach claim. You have lugged your provisions, the water, the kids, the surfboards, the body boards, the towels, the sunscreen, and you have planted your umbrella deep and raised its sails. There is no way you are going anywhere for the rest of the day until the sun sets across the undulating waves.
Then the hunger creeps in. Peanuts, potato chips and granola bars won't cut it by late afternoon. Okay, you say, let's just break down and get a greasy burger and limp fries at the burger stand up above us.
I have visited most every major beach along California's fine shores, and this was the first time I have partaken in near gourmet offerings from a beach stand. Don't bother to wait in the line of 20 people at the sliding glass windows, then try to find a seat at the collection of the umbrellaed tables on the courtyard beneath the swaying palms.
This is a full-service dining experience. A smiling hostess will great you at the mouth of the dining area and escort you to your seat, asking if you prefer shade or sun (it can get chilly when the fog rolls in).
Your server will arrive promptly, he too full of smiles and congeniality, as if he knows you from town. These are young people who have landed the ultimate summer job - waiting tables and gathering tips on a pristine beach bathed in gentle ocean breezes.
I was in the mood for a burger, and my companion always errs on the side of more refined options. I ordered the "Wax on a Bun," which I was soon to learn was a culinary masterpiece that could compete with the best of the bunch of gourmet burgers: lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, avocado, bacon, cheddar cheese, caramelized onions on a focaccia bun.
My companion ordered the Biscuit BLTA: cheddar biscuit, crispy bacon, romaine lettuce, tomato, avocado, with a roasted garlic aioli. The flakey biscuit recreates this sandwich into an entirely different experience, better enjoyed in dainty bites, or cut with a fork and knife.
In a similar fashion, Boneyard Beach Café goes the extra gourmet mile for breakfast, salads, fries, chip dishes and designer desserts. Try the Rosemary Garlic Fries perfectly crisped with fresh garlic chunks light and fluffy with no sign of grease. Tortilla chips at a beach stand typically come with squirted yellow-dyed goo. Here you get a choice of "queso fresco" or fondue, house made salsa, and the avocadoes are real and soft and sweet.
Add a designer beer to your lunch or dinner, which change with the weeks. Or a designer wine, or an inventive beach-themed mixed drink. Perhaps you're just in the mood for a cappuccino or fresh-squeezed orange juice. For dessert, you will have choices like freshly baked cookies, sorbet, shaved ice and Dove milk chocolate. Breakfast is served here, too, with a line-up equivalent to their daytime fare.
Best of all, this stuff is CHEAP! You would think being the monopoly on the beach they would gouge you for these frivolities. Not the case. It appears Boneyard Beach Café focuses primarily on creating a supreme beach experience.
Perhaps being located in a state beach park has something to do with it. Parking isn't cheap, but the cleanliness of the beach, the civility of the beachgoers, and the location at the edge of an idyllic first-rate marina will charm even an international beach veteran.
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