Photo by Amy TheiligRecent Sunday morning, around 10 a.m. Walked into Goko Café in Laguna Beach with an old love who wanted to "talk." Dreaded the concept but immediately loved the place, a dimly lit deli on PCH, one of the last remnants of the old Laguna Beach, the Laguna Beach of longhairs, coastal conservancy and a holistic lifestyle. Granola wasn't an epithet here—it was the breakfast special. Goko also advertised breakfast burritos, beet-heavy salads and about 20 veggie takes on the pita sandwich from a couple of pastel-colored chalkboard menus that loomed over our heads.
We settled on two fusion pitas: a grilled eggplant sandwich and something called the tabbouleh Jack. She ordered the former—she always loved her eggplant. Besides substantial lengths of fleshy, smoky eggplant, her pita sandwich contained feta cheese, bountiful roughage and some sweet, succulent red peppers, the sweetest outside Italy. She ate the pita slowly, savoring each bite as she did my absurd observations—"Ever notice Metallica sounds Mexican?" And despite my insistence, she knifed through the pita instead of grabbing it like a burger—she always was the classy one.
Between ramblings about love, Masonic-papal conspiracies and the parable of the prodigal son, I chomped through the tabbouleh Jack. At first, I felt cheated—where was the chunk of cheese? "Look inside the pita to see if they melted it," she said gently, and there it was: melted onto the pita bread and as thin as a coating of butter. The gooey, strong Jack trapped some wisps of bean sprouts and glued together some moist cucumber slices: an impromptu quesadilla. Just as impressive was the tabbouleh; not clover-green and bracing like what you find in traditional Middle Eastern but squash-yellow and hearty, like a buttery, grainy risotto. I insisted on eating it with my hands, but then the tabbouleh spilled across the table. She rolled her eyes, smiled and wiped it clean.
We shared a bag of Have'A tortilla chips, a sweet, soy-based version of the Mexican standard produced by a Laguna Beach company, and a fruity açaí smoothie. We laughed at two Chanel-toting teens who tried to act repulsed as a barefoot surfer flecked with sand ordered breakfast even as they eyed his tanned, toned body. And we bought each other some luscious gelato—strawberry for me, mint for her. We never really got around to the "talk." Our relationship is history, but so is that morning at Goko—and the memory of each lingers on in the stardust of our pita song.
GOKO CAFÉ, 907 S. COAST HWY., LAGUNA BEACH, (949) 494-4880.
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