Mission: Food

Tucked away, just off the beaten path of downtown La Jolla, is the Mission Coffee Cup. Located on Wall Street, it is removed enough to be at odds with what one expects to find in La Jolla’s bustling yuppie atmosphere.

The restaurant is delightfully small, with an intimate but casual setting. When it is not busy, seating tends to be immediate and service prompt. A good number of locals eats there regularly, so peak times can be backed up.

You’ll find a mix of business types and locals who find their way here for a very different kind of attitude about healthy food. During good weather, a small outdoor seating area makes for a lovely change in scenery. Amenities are kept very simple — paper napkins, paper menus and metal tabletops are as fancy as it gets.

The highlight of the Mission Coffee Cup, sparsely decorated with a funky but retro ’50s flare, is the food. All menu items are very affordable, the high-end being around seven or eight dollars for a “”large lunch plate.””

The lunch menu is quite extensive, with many vegetarian options. Besides sandwiches, main dishes described as “”health-Mex”” and “”health-Chinese”” are available. Ignore the connotations of the word “”health;”” these items are still very good. Everything is very hearty and fills you up. You really get your money’s worth.

The breakfast selection, though limited, has been the focus of my experiences there. The cinnamon French toast is especially good — light fluffy inside with toasted edges. The mission potatoes, which come with eggs and squaw bread, are also good. In addition, there is a power breakfast menu that has very light energy foods. The Mission Coffee Cup also offers a wide array of coffee drinks that have as much flare as the food.

Cuisine here has a simple elegance that can be traced to owner Marla Reif’s attitudes about healthy eating. The slogan on the back of her sweater says “”Conscientious Cuisine,”” which is an accurate summary of her restaurant. Her intent is to sell food that is interesting to eat and see, and that is made with a health-conscious attitude.

There is little dairy usage; perhaps two items I noticed actually had sour cream. There is little cheese used in the majority of dishes, and there is no butter at your table, though you can order it.

The Mission Coffee Cup in La Jolla is the second restaurant with that name. The original Mission Coffee Cup sits on Mission Boulevard in Mission Valley. Both were started by Reif, but she has little to do with the original now. Reif’s unique and eclectic take on cuisine has been at the La Jolla location for almost five years.

As of now, the Mission is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., but Reif has plans to extend its hours of operation to include dinner. This will mean an entire new menu of similar items.

Mission Coffee Cup
1109 Wall St.
(858) 454-2819