Thursday, May 19, 2016

Popping Into Poche Burger

Poche Burger and Kitchen
2727 Via Cascaddita 
San Clemente, CA 92672

The weather has been beautiful lately, and Katie has wanted to get out and walk on our Sundays off together. One of my favorite spots to walk is the San Clemente Beach trail. Not only is it one of the most picturesque walking trails around, it is relatively flat, so it's not so strenuous that we will want to skip breakfast, and take a nap instead. On this particular Sunday we had the pleasure of having my good friend Ozker tag along with us. After our three mile jaunt, the three of us headed to Poche Burger, which is about a five minute car ride from the trail.

Located in the same strip plaza as the San Clemente DMV, which is hands down the most convenient one around, Poche Burger has been in business almost two years now. It's owned and operated by a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education in New York, Hooman Mofidi. He needed a change, sold off his successful West Village restaurant, and returned to OC, where he grew up, and attended University High in Irvine.

Taking over the old Corky's Cafe spot, Poche Burger and Kitchen is basically a burger restaurant, but they also have quite a following for their brunch items. That's what we were here for, as we arrived on a recent Sunday morning near noon. Inside the modestly decorated restaurant is about 15 or so tables, and a bar, which has a full range of liquor, beer and wine behind it. The sports bar vibe is unmistakable with three TVs above the bar, and the subtle jab to my Ducks fan gut, with the inclusion of an LA Kings plaque on the wall, with two replica Stanley Cups above it. Even though it's apparent that I'm in enemy territory, I'm still willing to give their food a legitimate shot, so let's see how everything came out for us as we tried to refuel after our walk along the shore.

I have to admit I was little surprised by Ozker's selection, the PB an J Burger ($11). Ozker does not seem like the type to enjoy outrageous food, but he was pretty happy with this burger. The burgers here are half pounders, and this one came with peanut butter, a house made grape jam, grilled onions, and jalapenos, but Ozker did not want these peppers on his burger, as he's pretty sensitive to heat of any sort. He really enjoyed the toasted brioche bun, which really held everything together well here, and provided a nice crunch element. I'd probably get this burger next time I came here, as the jalapenos, combined with the sweet and salty parts really piqued my interest, especially since Ozker did not share any bites with me.

Kate leaned towards a more breakfast vibe with her meal at Poche Burger, when she selected the Breakfast Burrito ($10.75). This was a massive breakfast burrito which featured bacon, chorizo, or steak, scrambled eggs, rice, beans, salsa verde, and cheese added for a dollar more. Katie had the bacon here, and was a little intimidated by the size of this burrito. It was good, but she barley made a dent in this, and had it later for dinner. She was not a big fan of the truffle hash browns though. The truffle really overpowered here, and became too rich for her tastes. If you want a breakfast burrito that you can have for both breakfast and dinner, this is the place to come.

I went for the Chorizo Burger ($9.75) here, which is the perfect hybrid of both breakfast and lunch. Instead of the beef they use in all of their other burgers, this one was made up of a very tasty house made chorizo patty, and was topped with a fried egg, salsa verde, and garlic aioli. This was a delicious burger, and perfect for people that are torn between having lunch and breakfast. The chorizo was not greasy like some tend to be, it held together nicely, and was prominent since they were a little light handed with the aioli and the salsa on this. The bun was also a standout, and a nice change from normal hamburger buns. The fries were a good side item, but were not elevated to anything over that.

I saw Cap'N Crunch French Toast ($11) on the menu here, and could not let an opportunity to order it slip through our fingers. This was also topped with fresh berries, and came with two slices of bacon. This was fine, but I was expecting it to be more like the one at Stacks Pancake House in nearby Dana Point. This version was fair, but it needed more Cap"n Crunch covering the bread. Most bites lacked the sweetened cereal, and was just like regular french toast, which is not bad, but not next level great. Eating the thick cut bacon here got me excited to have a burger with bacon on my next visit.

Poche Burger and Kitchen was a very solid burger spot, and I look forward to coming back again soon to try one of their other burgers, like their much talked about Jalapeno Cream Cheese Burger, or their Bacon Mushroom Burger. No these are not going to crack my top five burgers in OC, but if you are in the area, you definitely need to try them out. Breakfast items were solid, and good sized, so you will most likely skip lunch, and maybe opt for a light dinner. Service veered towards beach casual on this morning, as it was warm and friendly, but not really in any rush to move things along, which is fine on a Sunday morning. Poche is a great option for people wanting to grab a bite after enjoying one of the better walking trails in OC.

Out of five pockets, (because poche is French for pocket, and Poche Beach is right near here), five being best to zero being worst, Poche Burger and Kitchen gets 3 pockets.

For more information about Poche Burger and Kitchen, head to their website here:

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