I take Mission Boulevard home from work almost every day, which, it turns out, has its perils. Mission Beach's main drag is a world-class hodgepodge of mixed-use commerce, with beachy shops and stores huddled against funky multiple-unit facades and a few older single-family homes. Avert your gaze to take in all the fascinating angles, and you, too, may end up huddled against funky multiple-unit facades and a few older single-family homes, with a radiator or a fan belt in your lap (as I nearly did one day last week). And that most likely can't be good.
The eclectic feel doesn't stop with the beaten path, either. Sidestreets like Liverpool Court and Santa Barbara Place sound like they belong in other cities—so it might just be worth your while to stop at a hidden gem called The Olive Café and get your bearings amid all this culture shock. If you're smart (and, at first glance, you seem to fall into that category), you'll stop in for breakfast and order the delicious Popeye's Scramble—not one, not two, but three scrambled eggs loaded up with feta cheese and, of course, spinach. It's one of the more expensive items on the menu, but at $7.25, it's entirely worth the gamble. If your budget requires more forethought, there's always the à la carte menu—the fruit bowl will run you a stinkin' $2.50, with a serving of granola and a whole banana not far behind.
The Olive Café also serves lunch all day, just like breakfast. “All day” means 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays through Sundays (closing time is an hour earlier on Tuesdays and Wednesdays), but you have to go to 805 Santa Clara Place (just off Mission Boulevard) to take full advantage (the number is 858-488-1224). My working hours are pretty much like everybody's during the week—as long as you plan your trip accordingly, you're safe.