Enjoying breakfast in Santa Monica during the week is a beautiful thing.
The hustle of the weekend isn't deafening, the pace is manageable, and the food somehow tastes twice as good. Mix in perfect weather and locations with outdoor seating (and often a beach view), and it's like a dream come true.
I stepped out each morning for two weeks, ordering the same dish - huevos rancheros - at each restaurant.
As you'll see by the accompanying photos, even a traditional breakfast in Santa Monica is a sunny display of culinary creativity.
This isn't your elaborate weekend brunch. This is breakfast. And these are 8 of the best Santa Monica spots to hit during the week to enjoy it.
While the entire menu at this Santa Monica favorite eatery is mouthwatering, we came for the huevos rancheros.
The crispy tortillas, topped with eggs, black bean puree, red and green onions, cilantro, salsa roja, and avocado is as lovely as it is tasty.
Huckleberry also serves up homemade artisan bread and morning pastries galore. 1014 Wilshire Blvd.; Santa Monica; (310) 451-2311.
Capo restaurant chef Bruce Marder has incorporated high-quality food and creativity into the extensive breakfast menu at Cora's Coffee Shoppe.
The rustic, outdoor iron arbor is surrounded by flowering bougainvillea; the perfect setting in which to savor a sumptuous plate of huevos rancheros with cannellini beans and refritos epazote. 1802 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica; (310) 451-9562.
Marmalade on Montana is the epitome of a local delicatessen, with delicious baked goods and pastries.
The huevos rancheros is a delightful treat; three eggs, cheddar and jack cheese, a chicken enchilada, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, and black beans, cooked to perfection. 710 Montana Ave., Santa Monica; (310) 395-9196
Jinky's specializes in breakfast with an extensive menu including freshly made pancakes, crepes, waffles, and its specialty - flaky French toast.
I had the hearty huevos rancheros (again) - warm, corn tortillas topped with three eggs, a delightful spicy ranchero sauce, cheddar and mozzarella cheese and classic pinto beans. 1447 2nd Street, Santa Monica; (310) 917-3311
Fancy huevos rancheros - and your toes in the sand? Back on the Beach Cafe has got you covered. This would be my overall favorite place to breakfast if I had to choose one.
Both the food and the ocean view are stellar, service is excellent, all enjoyed to sounds of the surf. Heaven. 445 Pacific Coast Highway, Santa Monica; (310) 393-8282.
Swinger's Diner is an oxymoron of sorts - yes, it has all the traditional diner grub served up in a 1950s-style setting - but in true Santa Monica style, it's just about the healthiest greasy spoon around.
Expect all the comfort foods you crave, with less of the bad stuff that's usually in them that you don't. 802 Broadway, Santa Monica; (310) 393-9793
This is my favorite Santa Monica hotel restaurant (it's inside the Loews Santa Monica). While the elaborate breakfast buffet nearly sidetracked me from my huevos rancheros mission (it smelled wonderful), I stayed the course and enjoyed Ocean and Vine's delicious huevos rancheros with black beans, rice, pico de gallo and jalapeños served atop crispy corn tortillas. 1700 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica; (310) 576-3180
The ultimate Santa Monica dive bar (declared a Santa Monica landmark in 2012), is also one of the ultimate spots for breakfast.
The back patio, where breakfast is served, is adjacent to scenic Tongva Park. And Chez Jay's huevos rancheros more than meet expectations: they're dive bar fabulous.
Warm corn tortillas, topped with perfectly cooked eggs and topped with cheese, salsa, avocado, and sour cream. Probably the ultimate remedy for a dive bar-induced hangover. 1657 Ocean Ave., Santa Monica; (310) 395-1741
Breakfasts are a distinct treat in Santa Monica. Reservations usually aren't needed, but you may have a short wait at several of these favorite eateries. And it'll be worth every minute.