StillWater Spirits and Sounds in Dana Point. Photo: Rachael Mattice

Photos and Text by Rachael Mattice

Sundays are celebrated in a variety of ways across different cultures and regions. To some, it may be a day of religion and reflection, to others it could be chore day—when laundry, household cleaning, gym sessions, car washing and kids clothes shopping must be checked off a to-do list.

In a lot of Southern California and South Orange County “cultures,” Sunday Fun Day means sporting events, beach days and friendly outings where alcoholic beverages and savory breakfast dishes are consumed at an outdoor patio with a view. In fact, brunch has become so popular that some restaurants and eateries have popped up that cater specifically to this hybrid morning-mid-day menu.

Take a look at a few South Orange County eateries that are heavyweights in this category.

Sol Agave Restaurant in San Juan Capistrano. Photo: Rachael Mattice

Sol Agave Restaurant

When Sol Agave President and CEO Jesus Galvez and Executive Chef Manny Velasco first envisioned the future of the Sol Agave brand in 2014, they didn’t expect the two food trucks would transform into the full-blown kitchen and restaurant that it is today. God had other plans for them, Galvez said, and the duo were driven to change the way guests perceived Mexican food.

“We wanted it to be more complex, more enjoyable and healthy,” Galvez said. “There’s so many layers to Mexican food and Manny and I would often go out together and see big gaps in what Mexican food really should be.”

The city of San Juan Capistrano and Marbella Marketplace have really embraced Sol Agave, said Galvez, and adding a brunch menu to their specialties of carnitas, seafood and steak was about cultivating more Mexican culture Sunday traditions with locals and residents alike.

“In our culture, we always look forward to Sunday because it means going to church and everybody meeting at a restaurant to talk about everybody’s week or upcoming events,” Galvez said. “Sunday is really when we can embrace the family and come together as one and we wanted dishes that would be inviting and motivate family members to congregate here and have a great time.”

According to Velasco, some of the most popular dishes, and his recommendations, would be to try the “Tampiquena,” “Chilaquiles Rojos” or “Huevos Rancheros.”

For beverages, one of the “top 10 Mexican” drinks offered at Sol Agave is Café de Olla, or the cocktail that comes with a flaming presentation.

Other Featured Entrees and Plates

  • Chilaquiles Rojos: Crispy corn chips, salsa roja, eggs, onions and avocado
  • Filet Mignon Eggs Benedict: Two filet mignon eggs benedict, hollandaise sauce, jalapeno potatoes and avocado
  • Tampiquena: 7-ounce skirt steak, cheese enchiladas, guacamole and caramelized onion
  • Trio De Sopes: Crab and shrimp meat, short rib or carnitas with lettuce and cabbage, queso, aioli and pico sauces

Try These Beverages

  • Raspberry Chipotle Margarita: Maestro Dobel tequila, agave mix, fresh raspberry, mint and a sugar chipotle rim
  • Grilled Pina Margarita: Maestro Dobel tequila, muddle grilled pina jalapenos, agave mix and a chili rim
  • Mexican Coffee/Café de Olla: An artisan cinnamon-based coffee without cream or sugar, Kahlua or Bailey’s and tequila
  • Spicy Paloma: Milagro silver, ancho reyes, agave mix and a tajin rim served on the rocks

31111 Rancho Viejo Rd., San Juan Capistrano. 949.218.1158. www.solagavesjc.com.

StillWater Spirits and Sounds in Dana Point. Photo: Rachael Mattice

StillWater Spirits and Sounds

StillWater Spirits and Sounds is a Dana Point restaurant and bar founded on history. Formerly a live music venue and now decorated in pre-prohibition rust colors, industrial lighting, sporting an outdoor pizza oven and a speakeasy-inspired-dressed staff, it’s no surprise StillWater specializes in unique cocktails and live entertainment. Although bottomless mimosas are on the menu for guests every day, the brunch items and mixology-inspired drinks make for a decadent color display on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

“We’ve tried to incorporate some lighter fare, such as the salmon avocado toast—that’s also on our small bites menu,” said Executive Chef Steve Kling. “We want (StillWater) to be a healthy and coastal atmosphere and tailor to the people who are very health conscious, but don’t want to sacrifice flavor on top of that.”

The “Breakfast Burrito,” “Seared Ahi Sandwich,” “Dana Derby Salad” and “Blue Beet Salad” are also popular amongst guests, Kling said.

Other Featured Entrees and Plates

  • Avocado Toast and Cured Salmon: Toasted sourdough topped with avocado, dill, baby tomatoes, red onion and house-cured salmon
  • Craftsman Breakfast: Three eggs any way, potatoes, an English muffin with bacon, IPA brats or burger patties
  • Spanish Chorizo Wood Fire Pizza: Spicy tomato sauce, mozzarella, garden oregano, chorizo bilbao

Try These Beverages

  • Casarita: A mix of Patron tequila fresh lime, agave nectar and orange essence
  • Angie’s Secret Bloody Mar: Jalapeno-infused Svedka vodka, house-made bloody mary mix, seasoned pickled accoutrements
  • Kissed By a Rose: Ketal One botanical vodka grapefruit and rose, solerno, lemon juice, grapefruit juice, champagne and soda water
  • Latin Coffee: Patron XO tequila, Rumchata, coffee

24701 Del Prado Ave., Dana Point. 949.661.6003. www.danapointstillwater.com.

Cafe Mimosa in San Clemente. Photo: Rachael Mattice

Café Mimosa

When you’re in San Clemente and want to do breakfast the right way, the native French-now-San Clementean Price family comes to mind. Both Antoine’s Café on El Camino Real and Café Mimosa on Avenida Del Mar are owned and operated by members of the family, but it’s the French bistro and Ole Hanson-themed atmosphere of Café Mimosa that takes the cake—or pancake, for that matter—and rules the brunch domain.

Reinvigorating “quickly”—served quality food—the word “bistro” meaning “quickly” originating from the German language, said Price—Café Mimosa offers a variety of small plates and entrees—including the “Omelette Du Jour,” “Egg White Frittatas,” “Tartine” and “Roasted Vegetable Panini”—as well as nine varieties of mimosas, beer and unique coffee drinks.

“We want to be the neighborhood place where you can bring your friends or mother-in-law and we try to keep it fancy, but not a once-a-year-type place,” said Antoine Price Jr., owner of Café Mimosa. “We don’t want it to be out of reach.”

Other Featured Entrees and Plates

  • Gravlax: House-cured salmon, grape tomatoes, toasted herbed focaccia and herb emulsion
  • Eggs Benedict: Toasted brioche, smoked paprika hollandaise, house potatoes in traditional, Florentine or salmon options
  • Crème Brulee French Toast: Ciabatta bread, custard, crème anglaise, seasonal fruit

Try These Beverages

  • Bunny Bloodys: A mix of vodka, tomato juice, a pinch of Tabasco sauce, salt and celery
  • Mimosas: A concoction of sparkling wine with over nine juice-based flavors, including raspberry and passion fruit
  • Pinot Noir, McManis Family Vineyards: This pinot noir includes fresh cherry, strawberry and raspberry flavors with vanilla undertones
  • Almond Milk Latte: An alternative twist on the traditional latte, including organic almond milk, a few drops of stevia and black coffee.

243 Avenida Del Mar, San Clemente. 949.481.6780. www.thecafemimosa.com.

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