San Diego Trip Part One ~ A tale of two chickens.

look I need to get back to writing. Two things, I realize that what I do on vacation is what I do for work..sad? until you realize you love what you do.

Enough about me..

I crammed a lot of eating into two days….

Chicken sandwiches. Sounds simple, yet done right…Son Please!

We are gonna start at Biga (this place was lauded by me from Chef Willy from 608) and rightfully so . Simple Italian ingredients don justice.


Biga CLT ~ baked crispy mary’s organic chicken skin. scamorza. tomato. pickled onions. basil. wild arugula. lemon aioli.

This on the description would have seemed heavy…it was not. the bread was perfect and fluffy, the sandwich calk full of flavor…on to the salad…


Arugula salad. Simple elegant and perfect. This is true Italian food no sauce, no fuss, just brilliant.

While walking out I just witnessed this..a chef training a cook on how to break down this beautiful fish.


Sometimes shut up and watch:)

And now on to Crack Shack:)


This makes me so happy on so many levels:)

So, the Crack Shak is Richard Blaze’s fried chicken restaurant (coming soon to Encinitas) and while I could prolificate ..I need to get back to watching Luke Cage on Netflix. Nuff said this place delivered the best chicken sandwich I have had..close second TBG’s Chicken Sandwich.


Coop Deville ~ Fried chicken, pickled Freno chilies, lime mayo, Napa cabbage, Brioche.

I was there at 9am when they opened..perfect service, and I was like “I will eat half” nope devoured it..hands down best-fried chicken sandwich I have had.

The most empty  you will see this place:)



The Miller’s Table ~ Open 6 Days A Week Starting Thursday.

The Miller’s Table will be open 11am till 9pm 6 days a week (closed Tuesdays) starting September 29th.  Come on by.


The Millers’s Table ~ 514 South Coast Highway, Oceanside.

Taste from a changing selection of wine and beer at Our Table in Oceanside, CA.  The Miller’s Table offers an array of fine wines and craft beers. We also serve sandwiches, fresh salads and small plates with cheese & charcuterie to pair. Whether you are having some me-time or spending the day with friends or neighbors, you can count on us to provide you with an unforgettable experience.

At The Table we have an ever changing selection of Wine and Beer Flights.  Each Wine is available to enjoy By the Glass or Bottle as well…plus if you fall in love, take a bottle home.  Six hand-picked drafts to choose from…rotating selection, plus bottles, all by taste or glass.  Please see our Facebook Page for this week’s selections….or better yet, come on by!

The Miller’s Table

514 South Coast Highway, Oceanside


Living Tea End Of Summer Party ~ Oceanside

I had the opportunity to attend Living Tea’s end of summer party this past Friday. It was an RSVP event through their mailing list for about 60 people. The festivities included music, food, and Kombucha cocktails.

living-tea Living Tea ~ 302 Wisconson Ave., Oceanside


Sake infused pineapple kombucha.


Wrench and Rodent / Whet Noodle were there slinging some food ~ Living Tea Roll ~ Rainbow sushi roll with a kombucha sauce.


There were a number of bands that played. This is Barnwell Shift (Members of Living Tea and guests.) This was my first time hearing them, they were really good.


The party in full swing.

If you were not able to attend, I highly suggest checking out Living Tea for their excellent Kombucha.

Also every second Sunday of the month they hold a community breakfast 9am-11pm. Organic, gluten-free pancakes, coffee, and kombucha! Open mic and live art!

Living Tea

302 Wisconson Ave. Oceanside

Succulent Cafe ~ Carlsbad (Now Open)

The second iteration of Succulent Cafe has opened at the end of State Street in downtown Carlsbad. Like the original cafe in Oceanside the cafe serves coffees, smoothies, teas, and pastries. Though the menu at the Carlsbad will be expanding in the future.


Succulent Cafe ~ 3000 block of State Street (Where State and Oak intersect.)


The current cafe menu.

The real charm and beauty of Succulent cafe is its atmosphere. The owner peter has a talent for creating relaxing friendly environments, where you are surrounded by living art. The best way to show this is through pictures, not words.









The space screams “event dinners & live music”. If you love the original Succulent cafe in Oceanside you’ll love this one. If you have not been to the Oceanside location, you’ll love both.

They have been open two days now, I will be back there next week and add any additional info.

Succulent Cafe 

300 block of State Street Carlsbad

@ State and Oak

No website yet, link is for the Oceanside location, I’m sure they can answer any questions.

There is an Instagram for the Carlsbad location succulentcafe_carlsbad

Campfire Dinner / Full Report ~ Carlsbad

While it was not my intention to write back to back articles on a single restaurant, the combination of a busy schedule, back pain, and the fact I loved my first trip, lead me to do just that.

Campfire is the first solo project of John Resnick (Ironside Fish and Oysters and Craft and Commerce). It brings an open kitchen and open flame cooking to the north side of State Street in downtown Carlsbad. The building, formerly an auto body shop, is transformed into what a camping lodge would look like if all the campers were hipsters. That is not a bad thing, the build out itself is beautiful utilizing natural woods and coppers to give it a homey yet modern feel. The design firm “Bells + Whistles” did an outstanding job. Blue Ocean Sushi would be another example of their fine work in Carlsbad.


Nothing like smelling burning wood half a block away. Campfire 2725 State Street, Carlsbad.


Campfire interior.

campfire int 4.jpg

Someone sucks at archery.


Campfire bar and open kitchen. That kitchen had to be hot as hell with how muggy and hot yesterday was.

Chef Andrew Bachelier has created a menu that capitalizes on the restaurant’s main theme, which is open fire cooking. You will see a lot of words like chargrilled and smoked throughout. This also carries over to the cocktail menu created by Leigh Lacap.


I started my meal off same as last time with the house made lemonade.


Char Grilled Oysters ~   cucumber. Meyer lemon. chili butter.

Mentioned in my previous post this was going to be a go-to dish for me and being true, it is. Beautiful dish.

OK, new stuff…………..


Broccoli ~   chermoula. lime. candied peanut.

This dish was recommended by the staff and was a hit. Perfectly cooked vegetables with a nice char flavor that set off well against the chermoula. Chermoula is a Mediterranean style marinade made of herbs oil, cumin, lemon, and salt or a variation of these ingredients, depending on region and chef.


Leek ~   fungi. creamy taleggio

As with the broccoli, the leek was cooked to a perfect al dente. The addition of the taleggio added a fruity tang to the dish. Again the act of char-grilling the vegetable added yet another flavor and texture component. This is a very rich dish with the cheese, perfect for splitting…I had to buckle down and eat the whole thing myself:)


Pork Middle Char Siu ~   farro. brussels sprout. apple

Chinese style pork set off against micro thin apple slices and farro. The brussels sprouts were fine but not essential to the dish. Solid dish flavor wise and well-executed pork.

Service was on point again. I plan on returning, still a lot of the menu to try.Plus I want to delve into the cocktail menu.


This is the end to a “bad weather day” in North County:)


2725 State Street, Carlsbad



Campfire (Lunch Report) ~ Carlsbad

I have been reporting on Campfire’s progress for a while now. They finally made their debut this week, opening for lunch and dinner Wednesday. While I have reservations for dinner on the 20th, I could not wait. I found myself with extra time on my hands and in the vicinity, so I popped by for lunch.

The dinner report will be more in-depth but from what I found it already looks like a winner.


Campfire 2725 State St. Carlsbad.


The bar has a pretty extensive craft cocktail,wine,and beer list. I went with my go to,lemonade, mint lemonade at that cause that’s how I roll. Made from scratch in a cocktail shaker.


Char Grilled Oysters ~ Myer lemon, chili butter, cucumber.

These are going to go on the must have list for each visit. They brought back memories of oyster festivals in Olympia Washington. Perfectly cooked, plump,juicy, with a slight hint of smoke. I almost ordered another plate before I remembered I was coming back so soon.


Tuna Belly ~ Long beans, soft-boiled egg, olive, shallot.

This was another great dish. It’s a cold dish which you may not get from the description but it holds tons of flavor. The stars of the dish are the long beans, which still have a char taste to them. The smoked tuna belly, egg and tapenade work to contrast and set the flavors off.

Again, I will have more on Campfire soon but I was just excited to share. Service was great, plenty of staff and a lot of the key positions are people from Ironside Fish and Oyster. At least that’s what my eavesdropping, I mean research, tells me.


2725 State St. Carlsbad

The Roxy Remodels & Re-opens ~ Encinitas

The Roxy, which has been open in downtown Encinitas since 1978, closed at the end of March for a major remodel and concept change. With the neighborhood changing and monthly rent in the 10,000 per month range the owners needed to attract new customers.

The new concept is a 20’s speakeasy vibe, with craft cocktails and updated “New American” menu under Executive Chef Chris Gallo. Long time regulars can still find a few of the old menu’s favorites, like Falafel Burgers and an artichoke sandwich alongside the new dishes.


The remodel is still underway, plans include opening up the front so the restaurant extends to the patio area, probably with roll-up garage-style doors or open window seats. The liquor license allows the establishment to serve alcohol outside as well.


The interior is still in transformation. The walls I doubt will remain white.



The bar and kitchen area give more of a hint as to the finished look.

I tried a few dishes off the new menu…..


Fig Crostini ~ aged Humboldt fog, sherry marinated figs, basil, honey

Great flavors that work great together. Beautiful figs by the way.


Salt Cure Foie Gras Torchon ~ honey roasted fig, cognac gastrique, brioche toast.

This dish is on the dinner menu but Chef wanted to show it off, and rightly so. This is one of the best versions of Foie Gras I have had. The preparation gave the Foie Gras a depth of flavor you normally do not get. There are those figs again.

Though still in a soft open mode the Roxy is putting out good food with attentive service. The weekends feature live music acts, which is nice, we can always use more venues supporting local music.

The Roxy

517 South Coast Highway 101, Encinitas


Oceanside Wine Society @ The Privateer Marketplace & Wine Bar ~ Oceanside

This last Monday, September 12th, I attended the monthly event of the Oceanside Wine Society. These events are hosted at The Privateer Marketplace & Wine Bar on a monthly basis and feature rotating wine makers or personalities.

The event was $20 for a light buffet style accompaniments and 5 tastings.


The Privateer Marketplace and Wine Bar


Charcuterie and Cheese to accompany the wine.


More of the Buffet.


The event attracted about 25 to 30 people.


This month the winemaker was One Hope winery out of Napa Valley. One Hope is about 8 years old and came about when its eight founders, who were in the wine business in Napa, got together to form the company. The CEO’s friend was fighting cancer at the time, so the idea arose to produce wines where a portion of all sales go to different humanitarian causes, ranging from Medical Research to helping Veterans.


The event was hosted by Caitlin Snyder of One Hope Winery.

I could show you pictures of the wines but there could be anything in that glass and you would never know. I’ll just mention 2 of my favorites of the evening. I think it’s better for everyone that way:)

2011 Santa Barbara Reserve Chardonnay ~ Notes of citrus and peach with a light trace of oak. Really nice I would buy this.  Proceeds from this wine benefit Alzheimer’s research.

2012 Edna Valley Reserve Pinot Noir ~ Really drinkable wine, not too many tannins. Berries and spice spring to mind. This would pair well with a salmon dish.

Members of the Oceanside Wine Society get 15% off bottles of wine featured at these events. You can sign up and find out all the benefits at The Privateer Marketplace. The events are open to walk-ins. You can find out about future ones by following the Privateer marketplace Facebook page.


The great team for the event.

Privateer Marketplace & Wine Bar

1704 South Coast Highway, Oceanside


Churchill’s Pub & Toolbox Brewing Co. ~ Sour Beer Events ~ San Marcos, Vista

Editors Note * I would like to introduce and welcome Justin Kunert to the North County Food team. Justin Will be covering local breweries and beer events. Here is his inaugural post.

For my first beer article, I decided to stick to something I know and love: sour beers.  Coincidentally enough, September obliged and provided back-to-back sour packed Saturdays.  To start off, Toolbox Brewing in Vista celebrated its 2-year anniversary on Saturday, September 8.  It was an awesome event for the brewery and its fans, given the great turnout at the event.


To commemorate its 2nd birthday, Toolbox served up its specialty by offering a dozen sour beers on tap, including barrel aged sours, wild ales, and saisons.  Our group managed to try six of the options on tap, and damn they were all good.  Four are shown below, my favorite being the 7.5% alcohol by volume (ABV) “Pinkies Up” – a barrel aged sour saison with plums, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves.  This beer carried a remarkably unique plum flavor and along with it an awesome pucker, like alcoholic pop rocks that make your lips shrink and eyes shut.  A phenomenal beer drinking experience.  We also tasted the Bramble on Rose, a bronze medal winner at the 2016 World Beer Cup and a gold medal winner at 2016 San Diego International Beer Competition.


Given my sour cravings, it is great to see this brewery make outstanding beer and to witness all of the support that it is receiving.  Check them out at their website ( and in this article from Draft Magazine (


The following Saturday, September 10, Churchill’s Pub and Grille in San Marcos hosted the 7th Annual Peter Reeve’s Memorial Sour Fest.  Churchill’s had over 40 different sour beers on tap!  Our group managed to make it through 12 different tasters, 8 of which made it into the picture below.  New Belgium’s “Le Terrior” was my personal favorite.


As for local representation, North County breweries contributing sours on the list included Belching Beaver, The Lost Abbey, Pizza Port, and the afore-mentioned Toolbox.  I would recommend getting your hands on Pizza Port’s “Halle Berrylicious” for some local sour flavor, though any of the options are solid choices.  The event attracted a huge crowd of sour enthusiasts and I am sure some kegs will still be around for sampling for those interested.  Check out Churchill’s here:

Churchills Pub

887 West San Marcos Blvd., San Marcos

Toolbox Brewing Company

1495 Poinsettia Ave. #148, Vista

All words and pictures by Justin Kunert

608 & Wine Weirdos Dinner ~ Oceanside

This past Wednesday saw 608 and Wine Weirdos come together and throw a 7-course wine pairing dinner at the restaurant. I have spoken at length on how I love 608 and respect Chef William Eick and how he approaches his craft, so this will be a little shorter recap of the dinner and the wines and dishes featured.


The evening was hosted by Mike of Wine Weirdos, who introduced each pairing during the dinner.


The first course consisted of house made sourdough and cultured butter, this was paired with 2014 Los Pilares Sparkling Muscat.

The wine was bottle fermented and used sustainable grapes, sourced from the local Rincon Indian Reservation. The bread was a good way to go with this as the yeast content of the sourdough stood up against the wine. This was by far my least favorite wine of the evening though.


Salmon, Ikura, natal plum, and local honey. Paired with a 2014 LaMontagne Marshall vineyards Malvasia Bianca.

This was a great dish and pairing. The saltiness of the roe and texture from the salmon skin and pine nuts worked perfectly with the fish. Throw in a bit of sweetness from the plums and everything worked in harmony.


Ahhh, the good stuff. Toro.


The third dish came in with world-class toro, whey, cherry tomato, and beach herbs. Toro is great, as we all know, but the king of this dish was the whey.  The sauce was reduced whey and butter and was lick the plate good. This was paired with a 2013 Deux Punx Sumu Kaw white blend. The wine matched well bringing some acidity and elements of pine with the pairing.


Willy sourced small scallops for the dinner’s fourth dish:)


Scallop, potato espuma, potato chips, and nori salt. Paired with a 2014 Russian River Vinyards Chardonnay.

Another great dish and pairing. The dish is a version of 608’s soft-boiled egg dish that is currently on the menu but substitutes the scallop in place of the egg. I personally like this dish better with the scallop. The sweet tender meat of the scallop hiding under the pillow like potato espuma, with the chips adding texture, works perfectly. The Russian River Chardonnay was also a winner. While I believe it was oak aged, it was not too heavy on that characteristic and was well-balanced with elements of fruit.


Ribeye, corn, mushroom, snail. A really nice dish with sweetness from the corn and earthiness from the mushrooms playing off each other. This was paired with a 2014 Bruce Patch Zinfandel. A nice example of that varietal.

The pictures from the dessert courses did not come out to my liking ( I was pretty deep in wine by this time). Also, there were some technical issues with the dishes and the pairings were hard. So I will just leave it at that.

Another great dinner at 608 and I hope to see more event dinners to come.


608 Mission Ave., Oceanside

Wine Weirdos