October 23, 2020

Healthy Mind

Health First

Cody’s La Jolla: breakfast with Hunter S. Thompson

5 min read
Patio room with a heckuva view.

Patio room with a heckuva view.

“Man, this is chilly,” says my friend Alison. “You guys in Fall already?”

It’s gotta be 75 degrees out. But she’s from Arizona.

We’re looking for a breakfast place, here in La Jolla. “Let’s go somewhere with a view,” Alison says. “This could be my last sighting of the sea for months.”

I know what she must be feeling. She’s about to head off back to her home state, where people start their day at 4 am to avoid the desert temperatures. And they definitely don’t have anything like the cooling spume of these rollers colliding with the rocks at La Jolla Cove.

Gabriel: he let us split our plate, save money.

Also definitely no sea lions like the ones we have right now, surfing in on ocean waves. Or nannying their baby sea lions in rock pool nurseries, or sprawling over each other on the rocks, stretching, barking, yawning, sleeping, warming up in the morning sun.

I swear I have known about the wildlife at the Cove, but I’ve never actually seen it until today. And yes, you get plenty of strong fishy poop whiffs. But after five minutes, the visuals totally take over.

We’re at the Cove because Alison wants to come back and do a couple of Ironman — Ironwoman? — swims. She’s that good. We were collecting scuttlebutt from all the hardbodies who’d just finished their morning distance swims. (Story I liked best: how young seals and sea lions pace swimmers from right below, upside down, staring up into their faces, just for fun).

Plenty of crab

Whatever, bottom line is we’re hongry now. We jump on this escalator that takes you up from Prospect to a brekky place called Cody’s, and wow. Up top, you can see for miles and miles. You look down through skinny palms to the deep blue ocean. This prospect over Prospect is one for the books.

And, oh yeah. I’m remembering. Cody’s used to be down on Girard Avenue. Good move. Here’s got way more space, more view, more cool factor.

Talking of cool, I see a little message on a blackboard: “Buy the ticket, take the ride. HST.”

I have to ask someone.


“Hunter S. Thompson.”

Hunter S. Thompson is in the building!

Thompson? One of the gods of gonzo journalism. Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. So, staid La Jolla has a few rebels still?

Place is filling up. We get a table, but only in the back. Gabriel, the Brazilian server, hands us menus, water, and, oh yes, coffee. Cost, ulp, $4.50 each.

The basic breakfast is the All-American. Eggs any style, and you get griddled potatoes or stone-ground grits for $14. Add bacon, sausage, or fruit for $3.

Their two omelets, “Farmers Market” (with ’shrooms, goat cheese, spinach, and potatoes or grits) and the bacon and cheddar omelet, are $16. For $18, they have a Benedict with smoked pork loin, or, for $24, a crab cake Benedict.

“That’s the one,” says Alison. “Crab cake. We’ve gotta have that. No crabs in Arizona, dude! Let’s share.”

Hmm. It has jumbo lump crab cakes, sliced avocado, poached eggs, muffin, hollandaise, with spuds or grits. Sounds sharable.

Alison’s blueberry pancakes

But I hold fire while I check the rest. I see a “chicken biscuit sandy” (cheddar scallion biscuit, fried egg, fried chicken, arugula, and sausage gravy). That sounds doable. And “only” $17. Chilaquiles go for $16, a “healthy” breakfast salad with two poached eggs is $16, and they do blueberry pancakes for $14.

“Ooh. Pancakes!” says Alison. “They’re full of carbs, but want to split that?”

“Honestly?” Fact is, I’ve gone off pancakes. They’re just a lot of mealy-mouthed gunk for me. “You go ahead,” I say.

And by golly, she does. “Two max,” she says to Gabriel. “Can you put chocolate chips in it?”

Gabriel says he can. And he lets us have that for $8. Alison devours it in five minutes.

We do split the crab cake Benedict, and what the heck, we get a side of bacon too, for $5.

So, we’re saving by splitting, but it’s still not cheap. And actually, the crab cakes don’t have a whole lot of umami taste to write home about. But — and I always forget this — crab is pretty bland taste-wise. Cody’s has done its best. Alison agrees.

“Now, if this were lobster, we’d be drunk on it.”

’Course, we spend half the time just looking down on that view. Those spidery oceanfront palm trees shoot up into the sky almost to our level. “Bet they’re 100 years old,” says Alison. Across Prospect, the Pink Lady, who’s just six years shy of 100 herself, La Valencia Hotel, glows in the rising sun.

I was amazed at Alison’s speed, demolishing the two pancakes. She has a swimmer’s appetite. Now we’re in a contest for the crab cakes. Each of us gets a toasted English muffin, generously loaded with crab cake, a poached egg, hollandaise, and a big sliced chunk of avo. And Gabriel has brought griddled potatoes and grits to us both. Nice, even though the grits don’t really taste much of anything. But taken together, it’s a goodly mess.

The yellow cuckoo clock on the wall calls out ten o’clock. “Better go,” says Alison. “Five-hour trip. I want to get home before dark.”

“Buy the ticket, take the ride,” I say, just to be smart-ass. But I’ll miss her.

She checks her phone again.

“Ah. It’s only going to be 107 back there today. See? Fall’s arrived.”

  • The Place: Cody’s La Jolla, 1025 Prospect Street, Suite 210, La Jolla, 858-459-0040
  • Hours: 8am-3pm, daily
  • Happy Hour: 4pm – 7pm, daily (but check Covid hours)
  • Prices: All-American Breakfast (eggs any style, griddled potatoes or stone-ground grits, $14; Farmers Market omelet (shrooms, goat cheese, spinach and potatoes or grits), $16; bacon and cheddar omelet, $16; eggs Benedict (smoked pork loin), $18; crab cake Benedict (with jumbo lump crab meat, potatoes or grits, $24; “chicken biscuit sandy” (cheddar scallion biscuit, fried egg, fried chicken, sausage gravy), $17; chilaquiles, $16; breakfast salad with two poached eggs, $16; blueberry pancakes, $14
  • Happy Hour Prices: all food dishes, $9 each. E.g. half dozen oysters, fish tacos, mini lobster rolls, shrimp ceviche
  • Bus: 30
  • Nearest Bus Stops: Silverado and Herschel

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