By Anika Lanser
324 Baywalk, Ocean Beach
Restaurant: 8 a.m.-9 p.m.
Bakery: 8 a.m.-4 a.m.
Most of us know Rachel’s as an incredible bakery or as the best breakfast place in town. But I am here to tell you that you should start and end your day at Rachel’s. This season, Rachel’s Restaurant has incredible Happy Hour specials from 4-7 p.m.
One night I sat down with owner Rachel to try out some of the Happy Hour appetizers and entrées. To start out, our server Harrison brought out Parmesan truffle fries. They were fantastic. Perfectly crisp and so flavorful, I had to move the basket of fries to the other side of the table to keep myself from eating them all and spoiling the rest of my dinner. I honestly could only have had fries and I still would have written this rave review.
As I gorged myself on the delicious fries, Rachel and I talked about the history of the restaurant. It opened in 1975 as a bakery and expanded into a restaurant in 1985. At first, Rachel’s son, Joe, cooked at the restaurant, but he later left to start his own place. By 1990 Rachel’s had evolved to be more of a breakfast place, with a quieter emphasis on dinner, but now that has changed. The menu has been curated, with Chef Eddy cooking up the delicious new dishes.
After the fries, I tried battered shrimp corkscrews. They came with a tangy Thai chili sauce, which perfectly complimented the juicy shrimp. The lightly battered shrimp and the delicious sauce made for the perfect appetizer. Both the shrimp corkscrews and the Parmesan truffle fries are popular favorites on the Rachel’s Happy Hour menu.
However, Rachel’s not only has a standard Happy Hour menu, the restaurant also features special Happy Hour items like the Caponata appetizer – consisting of roasted vegetables such as eggplant, beans, and peppers served with ciabatta bread. The Caponata was absolutely incredible. The vegetables were so flavorful and juicy atop the ciabatta and pairs very well with the 2016 Regaleali, Tasca D’Almerita rosé wine from Sicily.
Next Harrison brought out sesame crusted tuna and a veggie burger. The sesame-crusted tuna was blackened and had a teriyaki glaze, served over noodles. It just about melted in my mouth. As a pretty strict vegetarian (although I took a quick break to eat the corkscrew shrimp and sample the tuna), I’ve had a lot of veggie burgers. However, the veggie burger at Rachel’s is unlike anything I’ve had before.
The patty itself is fresh and tastes delicious, yet it is what goes on top of the patty that makes this veggie burger so special. Watermelon radishes and avocado truly push this burger over the edge. It was also served with a tangy potato salad and a pickle. The freshness of the radishes and the avocado atop the warm patty made this veggie burger one of the best I’ve ever had.
Of course one cannot forget dessert at Rachel’s. We finished with Rachel’s signature crumb cake. The texture of the cake is perfect and the hint of lemon is intriguing and perfectly breaks up the sweetness of cake. Served with whipped cream, the crumb cake was stellar; the perfect end to a delicious Happy Hour at Rachel’s.
So this season pick Rachel’s for Happy Hour. The ambiance is relaxed and the beer and wine are two for the price of one. Happy Hour at Rachel’s provides incredible food and a relaxing atmosphere so you can once again enjoy Happy Hour as it was meant to be: happy.