After many years of frequenting the Pannikin, I did something today I’ve never done before. I took a table inside the front window and it gave me an up-close and personal view of their incredibly diverse clientele. It made me feel lucky to have a place like the Pannikin, where people from all walks of life can come together to enjoy great coffee, tea, food and a sense of community.
In the hour I was there I overheard cyclists in colorful attire speaking Italian, a slightly disheveled hipster raving about the Lady Gaga concert the night before, two lithe yoga women energized from a session speaking of peaceful easy things, a guy in a suit who seemed to savor this break from the hectic business world, a mom and her toddler having a minor freak out over the pie selection, an assortment of action sports moguls, and an elderly couple who appeared to be very much in love after many years.
On top of that, local author Eliza Rhodes, whose first book “Sign Language,” a compilation of her daily words of wisdom is being published this summer, was scribing on the chalkboard out front. That just touches on the wide assortment of people that frequent this Leucadia gem and part of what makes it so representative of the enclave of Leucadia. Oh, and when I say assortment, let me back that up with the fact that on average, 500 people per day go through their doors. Enough said.
Personally, it’s been my preferred choice for out-of-the-office business meetings, long breakfasts or lunches with my son, somewhere to bring reading to catch up on, and special events (as I just booked my first occasion there, more on that later). It’s on my list of local landmarks to visit when I have out-of-town guests and their reaction is never less than amazement. I mean really, it’s a beautiful, old-school train station that is filled with funky antiques, local artwork, unique gifts, the aromas of roasting coffee and some of the best baked goods anywhere.
Combine all that with its prime location on Coast Highway 101 and you have to hope that any “beautification” of Leucadia does not mess too much with this treasure. Remember to keep some of the “funky” in Leucadia all you redevelopment advocates.
So now that we’ve established that the Pannikin is a pretty darn cool place to spend some time, let’s talk about the food. Master baker Anel Gallejos creates some of the finest muffins, pies and other various sweet delights I’ve ever experienced. Not to mention the on-premises coffee roasting going on and the world class selection of teas.
While the Pannikin is renowned for all things baked, their selection of savory delights rank right up there. I’m a huge fan and connoisseur of quiche and the chicken artichoke and ham tomato are as good as I’ve had anywhere. Owner Shawn Holden turned me on to his secret … cream cheese mixed in with the eggs instead of half and half. In fact, I don’t know that I’ve ever had a breakfast dish at Pannikin that I did not like. They steam their eggs and serve them Greek, Sicilian, and huevos rancheros style. A wide variety of bagels including a lox and cream cheese combo is also available.
Lunch at the Pannikin is equally appealing. The curry chicken salad is delightful and there is a nice selection of salads, sandwiches and a homemade soup of the day. I like the soup and half sandwich combo and the big bean chili is a hearty satisfier. I like to pair my lunch with a fine Orange Crush or Orangina for a more European flair.
Of course the Pannikin is famous for their coffee and tea selection and trust me, both are as good as you will find. Go for the Keith Richards Espresso or Mexican hot chocolate. I did not see anything on the menu for over $8 and there is a really fun gift shop with sweets and coffee and tea accessories.
I mentioned an upcoming business event I’m planning at the Pannikin. They host events on a regular basis including wedding receptions. If you have not experienced this treasure, you really are missing out. Learn more at pannikincoffeeandtea.com.
The Coast News has been delivering high-quality news, community voice and storytelling since its inception in 1987. Since then, the news organization has grown into a successful newsgroup covering a majority of San Diego’s populous North County region.