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Pacific Islander-inspired brunch keeps it breezy in San Juan Capistrano

Jasmin Gonzalez stands at her new Breezy restaurant in downtown San Juan Capistrano.
Jasmin Gonzalez stands at her new Breezy restaurant in downtown San Juan Capistrano. Gonzalez is known for finding obscure or virtually unknown and untested restaurant concepts and turning them into overnight success like Rodeo 39.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)
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As a commercial real estate developer, Jasmin Gonzalez has always worked behind the scenes, scouting tenants for hot spots like Stanton’s Rodeo 39.

“In building Rodeo 39, I made a lot of contacts and kind of fell into the restaurant industry,” said Gonzalez.

The popular Longanisa Bowl at the new Breezy restaurant in downtown San Juan Capistrano.
The popular Longanisa Bowl at the new Breezy restaurant in downtown San Juan Capistrano.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

In San Juan Capistrano, Gonzalez leased a prime corner property from Dan Almquist and brought in Ramen Shack, a concept from chef-owner and Ramen Burger creator Keizo Shimamoto.

“This was an excellent location and we tried to bring in the Ramen, but unfortunately Keizo got sick,” Gonzalez said.

Ramen Shack closed in July, when Shimamoto began experiencing health issues. So Gonzalez tapped into her contacts at Rodeo 39 and brought Shootz Hawaiian-inspired barbecue and Primal Cuts butcher shop together to create a new brunch spot at the location, Breezy Restaurant & Lounge.

Breezy restaurant, an Islander-inspired brunch and breakfast restaurant in downtown San Juan Capistrano
Jasmin Gonzalez stands at her new Breezy restaurant, an Islander-inspired brunch and breakfast restaurant in downtown San Juan Capistrano.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

“We flipped this space in about 45 days,” said Gonzalez.

The Island-style brunch concept features a Filipino-inspired breakfast menu that is very personal to Gonzalez and her Filipino heritage.

“I hold it really dear because bringing in the Filipino culture, a lot of people are not familiar, so we are introducing it in our way. We took the traditional and made it more modern.”

Much of the menu is made up of dishes that were favorites in Gonzalez’s family.

“I am big on loco moco. That was one of our favorites, and our loco moco sauce is not your traditional gravy sauce. We put our secret Breezy gravy sauce on it,” Gonzalez said.

Some dishes are personal in other ways.

“All the acai bowls are named after my kids, so Kaeli, Kainoa and Kekoa. A lot of it is super personal, and that is in everything that I do.”

Two acai bowls at the new Breezy restaurant in downtown San Juan Capistrano.
Two acai bowls at the new Breezy restaurant in downtown San Juan Capistrano.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Shootz chef Michael Dancel developed the menu that includes items like an adobo breakfast burrito, stuffed with shredded pork adobo, scrambled eggs, garlic rice, cotija cheese, avocado, sour cream, salsa verde and cilantro and ube pancakes with ube whip cream, toasted coconut flakes, coconut crema and mixed berries.

“For me personally, I have always wanted to figure out how to put Filipino food on the map” said Dancel.

Dancel grew up in his family’s Filipino restaurant in Moreno Valley and learned to cook from his mother.

“You always see different Asian restaurants starting to blow up, like Korean, Japanese, Chinese,” Dancel said, “and I would always be like, ‘Why not Filipino food?’”

The kitchen crew at Breezy restaurant finish a big order including the adobo burrito and loco moco.
The kitchen crew at Breezy restaurant finish a big order including the adobo burrito and loco moco, from left, during the brunch rush.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Dancel has enjoyed the experience of taking recipes he learned from his family and putting his own spin on them for Breezy, and Gonzalez said she appreciates Dancel’s perspective.

“I believe that food, just like art, needs to evolve,” said Gonzalez.

The Ube pancake stack with strawberry and blueberry "refreshers" at the new Breezy restaurant.
The Ube pancake stack with strawberry and blueberry “refreshers” at the new Breezy restaurant in downtown San Juan Capistrano.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

So far the restaurant has received a positive reception that gives Gonzalez a sense of pride. She is still hard at work curating tenants for Rodeo 72 in Whittier and River Street Marketplace in San Juan Capistrano, both opening in 2023. But she is also happy to have a place that is such a personal reflection of who she is.

“This is my baby in the sense that I think I am representing my culture,” said Gonzalez. “When you go to a Filipino household, the first thing they do is feed you. It’s all love. It just shows how much we care. It is the same here. I just want to feed you good food and have you feel the comfort I felt growing up.”

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