Heidelberg Pastry & Bistro appetizingly affordable

Glori Fickling

With a spacious deck fronted by a lacy ficus tree and a refreshing

glance of the Pacific Ocean, Heidelberg Pastry & Bistro has been

attracting a dedicated breakfast and lunch clientele for some 13

thriving years.

This is the popular creation of Ferdinand Littner, an executive

chef who designs the creative menus, pastries, cookies and breads,

and who last year launched Cafe Vienna in South Laguna.

Tangerine walls of the welcoming interior serve as a complementary

canvas for the continuing succession of paintings displayed by local

artists. The arrangement of abstract renderings by well-known

Provanovich glows with a riot of brilliant colors reflecting the

rainbow hues of the cafe's vintage California pottery.

Aside from the white cups containing coffees, lattes and teas,

bright shades of red, yellow, violet, blue color each of the bowls,

plates and saucers that frame delicious dining presentations. In

these come generously heaped arrangements of omelets, salads, soups,

sandwiches artistically designed to pique appetites. Commencing with

breakfast, which is served all day, the menu offers everything from

waffles, potato pancakes, muesli and fruits, to a variety of egg and

omelet presentations and a choice of bagels and croissants

complemented with salmon, veggies, blue cheese and ham. These are

priced from a nominal $1.95 for a bagel with cream cheese or butter

and home made jam to $8.95 for egg-white based omelets lavished with

spinach, cheese, sundried tomato and a slice of ripe avocado. Sides

of roasted potatoes, sausage, grilled cherry tomatoes, breads and an

egg or egg white, are $.95 to $2.50.

The lunch menu offers create-your-own-sandwich selections with a

choice of meats, cheeses, breads and half a dozen hot selections for

$6.25 to $7.95. These range from hot pastrami and turkey melt to

grilled cheese and a veggie burger, each served with a green salad or

hot roasted potatoes. For chilled sandwiches there's roast turkey,

white tuna, pastrami, black forest ham or Swiss, provolone, Monterey

jack and American cheeses filling baguettes, croissants, pumpernickel

and seven-grain breads. These are $5.95, $2 more for a hearty bowl of

soup, a Greek, Caesar or house salad and half a sandwich.

Topping a quartet or hot entrees at $8 to $12 comes wiener

schnitzel, Littner's Vienna version, breaded veal scallopini

accompanied with savory roasted potatoes, lingonberries and mixed

greens. Grilled chicken breast shows up several times, as a main

course sauced with fresh-sliced mushrooms, complemented with braised

red cabbage and roasted potatoes. Then again perched atop angel hair

pasta in a creamy garlic basil sauce. Plump ravioli are filled with

spinach and cheese enhanced with creamy tomato sauce.

Salads rate a special category. Starting at $5.25 for the house

arrangement going to $9.95 for pasta salads, each hefty portion is

heaped high, embellishments arranged attractively on top, as in a

whole sliced chicken breast seasoned with balsamic vinaigrette or

warm duck breast with gorgonzola cheese and raspberry vinaigrette.

Side orders, $1 to $3.25 include seven ounces of grilled chicken

breast, a scoop of tuna, extra feta cheese and half a sandwich.

Velvety potato leek soup stars among a trio of daily options for

$3.95. These steaming bowls are teamed with slices of pumpernickel

bread bubbling with melted cheese crisped with chopped onions.

Imported European beers and California wine are available, the

latter poured into sparkling stems. The mouth-watering entry display

of pastries and cookies baked early every morning in the immaculate

stainless steel kitchen is about all one needs to satisfy sweet

cravings, whether for breakfast or as a luscious lunch finale. Bon



Gorgonzola triangles, Asian shrimp skewers, chicken with peanut

sauce, roasted tomato bruschetta, crisp wontons plump with Chinese

chicken salad! These were "a few of our favorite things" prepared by

Laguna's A la Carte.

The event was at Diane deBilzan's Forest Avenue art gallery last

Saturday to celebrate the birthday/new collection of artist William

de Bilzan. A la Carte's Sue Chick, principal of the popular

restaurant-catering company on Coast Highway, followed all these

taste treats with a bountiful basket heaped with fresh melons and

berries. Count on gracious Lagunan Greg Rayes, ever at the ready, to

expedite your personal selections. Phone (949) 497-4927.

* GLORI FICKLING is a longtime Laguna Beach resident who has

written restaurant news and views columns since 1966. She may be reached at (949) 494-4710 or by e-mail at ghoneywest@aol.com.

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