Friday, November 11, 2005 | Living in San Diego, it’s easy to stay within the comfort zone of one’s neighborhood, especially when it comes to eating out. Traffic and time are big considerations when we think about where we might dine since long drives, especially at night on weekdays after a nice dinner, just aren’t fun. But there are other times – breakfasts, lunches and weekends – to venture out of your “hood” to try someplace new.

Coronado is best known for attractions that include the Hotel Del Coronado, North Island and a gorgeous beach. It’s accessible by ferry … a nice change of pace from the hassle of a car and finding a parking spot. Away from the Del crowds and a quick walk from the ferry landing is Tartine, a European style café that features all manner of food made on site including cakes, pastries, pâté, sandwiches, salads and a small dinner menu. Spinach, tomato and Gruyere quiche is eggy, light and creamy in a crisp, melt-in-your-mouth crust … no soggy mess here. Ginger cookies are chewy and not too sweet. It’s a perfect place to start the day at 6 a.m. with a latte or wind down later in the day with a glass of wine. Wednesdays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., join “Women Who Wine,” where a selection of wines is offered at half price and men are also welcome. Tartine, 1106 First St., Coronado, (619) 435-4323. Open daily 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Down at the Del end of town are many small shops, a wonderful independent bookstore and across the street, Café 1134, where you can sip an espresso and read the newspaper on a lazy Sunday morning. There, breakfast is an all-day affair and after 11 a.m. paninis, wraps, sandwiches and salads abound. There is sidewalk seating as well as a small counter area with servers who know how to pull a good espresso. In April, Kristin Aldridge bought the café and brought in a chef to bring the menu up to speed. The kitchen is open late on Fridays and Saturdays (10:30 p.m. kitchen closes; 11 p.m. café closes) and early risers on weekdays can get coffee at 6 a.m. – breakfast begins at 7 a.m. Café 1134, 1134 Orange Ave., Coronado, (619) 437-1134.

Away from the beach, in Mission Gorge, where fast food joints are everywhere, there is Café Divine – everything fast food is not. Nestled in a small strip mall at the northern end of Mission Gorge it’s a place for coffees, homemade soups, salads, sandwiches and desserts. Owner Alvarina Vargas makes many Portuguese pastries – some can be ordered ahead – and others like the airy filhos (think sugar donut, puffy like a petite pillow) are available on Saturday and Sunday only … and worth the trip! Café Divine, 6690 Mission Gorge Road, #1, San Diego, (619) 282-1159). Open daily from 8 a.m.

Tidbits: Point Loma residents will soon have Crazy Burger where Ciao Amore Ristorante has been for years on Rosecrans next to the Point Loma Shelter Island Drug Store.

Look for snazzy splits of Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne to be the highlight of the soon-to-open Stingaree, another in vogue place with three venues under one roof – restaurant, nightclub and rooftop bar-in the Gaslamp at Sixth and Island. Owner and managing member James Brennan also has the Side Bar and Ciro’s Pizzeria in the Gaslamp.

Join Del Mar’s Aniata Cheese Company at Carlsbad’s Wine Street for a Pinot and cheese tasting on Nov. 18. $30. Wine Street, 6986 El Camino Real, Carlsbad, (760) 431-8455 for more information.

Marcie Rothman loves good food – no matter where it’s cooked – at home, a hole in the wall or a white tablecloth restaurant. Known as The $5 Chef on radio, television and in her two cookbooks, Marcie travels far and near with an eye on what’s current in food. You can find her at

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