2014 In Review ~ or “A Totally Subjective List”

So, I hate lists because they force you into one answer to what is more than likely a multiple answer question. On the other hand the questions make you think a lot before answering because you only get one choice.

These are the questions I asked myself pertaining to this last year.

What was the most memorable Meal of 2014?
The four course tasting menu at Perfect Pairing in Carlsbad. I had a lot of great meals in 2014 but this tasting menu and wine pairing was perfect from start to finish.

Perfect pairings Logo

Perfect Pairings
300 Carlsbad Village Dr. #120
Carlsbad, CA


Opah Almandine

One of the four courses ~ Moonfish (Ono) Almondine.

Runners Up:
Tie between pre-opening dinner at Masters Kitchen where me and a friend ate through the whole menu and Anarchy Izakia pop up restaurant at Wrench and Rodent.

.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSeabass at Masters Kitchen.

yaki 3

Anarchy Izakia ~Yakitori Salmon belly w / red miso and Opah “tri tip” in porcini butter.

Favorite Chef: Daniel Pundik ~ Local Tap House
Daniel consistently delivers great food and the little “special items” I get to try are fantastic. His dish “Heirloom Carrot Five Ways” was a favorite of the Chefs’ Dinner in November.


Chef Daniel Pundik ~ Great Chef and goof ball:)

Daniel Pundiks' Dishes

Some of Daniel’s dishes (clockwise left to right) ~ Chicken and Waffles, Fried Green tomato w / Pork belly, Geek Salad, “Blue Collar” Burger.

Chefs Dinner 2nd course_

Daniel’s Heirloom Carrot 5 Ways from the North County Chef’s Dinner.

Runner Up: Beau Bonham ~ Masters Kitchen
Beau is one of the most creative and passionate chefs I know, his desserts are always creative and delicious (and he can hold his own on the savory side too).


Chef Beau Bonham.


Some of Chef Beau’s dishes (clockwise starting upper left) ~ Sorbet Trio, Smoked Butternut Squash Ice Cream,  Signature Candy Bar, Pumpkin Cheesecake.

Incredible hole in the wall finds of 2014. ~ Mediterranean Market , Vista

Family run Persian restaurant serving incredibly authentic and delicious food.


Mediterranean Market
1850 Hacienda Drive,
Vista, CA


Runner Up: When pigs Fly BBQ ~ vista

Great husband and wife BBQ competition team serving true BBQ attached to a gas station.

When Pigs Fly 1

When Pigs Fly BBQ
1211 E Vista Way
Vista, CA 92084


My Most Anticipated Opening 2014:  BLVD. Chinese Kitchen and Sake Bar

Just opened in time, though I’ve only scratched the surface of what they are doing they hold real promise and we need good Chinese in North County.

BLVD collage

BLVD Chinese Kitchen and Sake Bar
514 S. Coast HWY
Oceanside, CA

Things I’m looking forward to in 2015:

The continued growth of the North County food scene, hitting up more hole in the walls : Lebanese in San Marcos (thanks to a follower), Mexican seafood attached to a 7/11 in Encinitas, new Thai in Oceanside strip mall. Throwing more Chef Dinners (maybe even some Iron Chef style competitions.)

Odds and Ends

Best Thai Dishes:

Thai Table, Oceanside ~ Spicy Noodles, Thai Garden, Oceanside ~ Tom Yum Soup

collage 1Thai Table                                                              Thai Garden ~ Tom Yum Soup

Best Mexican Dishes:

Primo Market, Oceanside ~ Street Tacos, Lola’s 7 Up Market, Carlsbad ~ Carne Asada Burrito, Mariscos Ensenada, Oceanside~ Seafood.

Mexican coll

Primo’s Taco Trio                          Lola’s Carne Asada             Mariscos’  Aguachile

Best South American:

Panca Peruvian Cuisine and Rotisserie, Oceanside (try their Peruvian seafood dishes and bring home some Aji sauce it’s the Peruvian Sriracha). Runner up: Sabor De Vida Brazilian Grill, Encinitas  (great tri-tip and Brazilian sausage)

South American Coll

Panca’s Tiradito                                                Sabor De Vida’s Sample Plater

Best Pizza:

Blue Ribbon Pizzeria, Encinitas, Close second The Privateer Coal Fired Pizza Oceanside.

pizza coll

Blue Ribbon’s Harvest Pizza                     Privateer’s Arugula and Proscuitto Pizza

Best Burger:

High end: Mission Ave. Bar and Grill, Oceanside (Lamb Burger), Dive Bar Burger: Red Rooster, Oceanside

burger coll

Mission Ave Bar and Grill’s Lamb Burger            Red Rooster’s Rooster Burger

Best Wings:

TBG BBQ, Oceanside ~ Spicy Wings (hands down), Only others that come even close Mission Ave. Bar and Grill’s Caribbean Jerk Wings

wing coll

TBG’s Hot BBQ Wings            Mission Ave. Bar and Grill’s Jerked Wings

Best Cocktails:

Masters Kitchen and Cocktail, Oceanside~ Any drink hits it out of the park and the whole bar staff knows what they are talking about..


Master’s Basil Lemon Drop. I also highly recommend the “Hot Brazilian Monk” though you really cant go wrong with any of their cocktails. It’s amazing what great product, house made syrups, and know how can produce.

Best Beer:

Beer Brewing Company, Oceanside ~ Nano Brewery producing unique and delicious beer.

beer brewing

Best Small Plates:

Solterra, Encinitas ~ Spanish inspired small plates and great wine

solterra coll

Solterra’s Octopus,Mint Fingerling Potatoes         Citrus and Harissa Marinated Olives

Best BBQ:

Tied due to different styles of BBQ: TBG BBQ, Oceanside (Mississippi Style BBQ), When Pigs Fly BBQ, Vista (Texas and KC Style BBQ)

bbq coll

TBG’s Ribs                                      When Pigs Fly’s Brisket and Pulled Pork

Best Sushi:

Wrench and Rodent, Oceanside (innovative fresh sushi), Close second Land and Water Company, Carlsbad.

sushi coll

Wrench and Rodent’s Swordfish Belly             Land and Water’s Octopus

Best Breakfast / Pastry:

Petite Madeline Bakery, Oceanside


              Petite Madeline’s Spinach and feta Croissant Breakfast Sandwich.

Best Coffee and Tea:

Best Coffee: Cafe Ipe, Encinitas. (best coffee I have had) Best Tea: Living Tea, Oceanside (only Kombucha brewery in San Diego and so good.)

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES                                     Living Tea’s “Cherry Bomb” Kombucha

I asked a few Others their thoughts on ~Best Meal in 2014? and What you are looking forward to in 2015? I would love to hear feed back from readers too.

Davin Waite: Chef ? Owner Wrench and Rodent Seabbasstropub ~ ” Hard to pick a best meal but when iole at Panca started to work with seafood that comes close.”  “Can’t wait to see what this town can become (Oceanside)” “Really looking forward to BLVD opening”

Ryan Jubela: Owner Masters Kitchen `~ “Beer Can Chicken at Mammoth Tavern, Chef Kerry Mechler”, “I am looking forward to the continued growth of restaurants in Oceanside.”

Gumaro Escarcega: Program Manager, Mainstreet Oceanside ~ “My best dish this year is – Rim Talay – Any Curry!!! I can’t have enough of this dish…” Im being bias, but I’m looking forward on downtown Oceanside food scene as it develops in the next few years.”

Mark Millwood ~ Chef / Owner TBG BBQ ~ “Market Restaurant’s Tasting Menu”

Christine Loyola: Chef / Owner Petite Madeline ~ ” I want to see someone do something different not just the same old same old” (note I paraphrased her words.)

Anyway, have a great Holiday season and look forward to any of your answers.


3 thoughts on “2014 In Review ~ or “A Totally Subjective List”

  1. Thanks for all the great posts this year! I’m keeping this one open in my browser as a reminder of a few places I have yet to try. Looking forward to checking out BLVD soon.

    An idea for a BBQ place that you might not have been to / reviewed yet — Felix’s BBQ with Soul in Oceanside is great, especially for the variety of delicious side dishes.

    Just went to Flying Pig for their new Sunday brunch, and the ricotta pancakes were killer. Also their take on “bacon and eggs” was unlike anything else I’ve seen (it involved pork belly and squash puree).

    • Thanks for the kind words and support of the site. As far as BBQ I have been to Felix’s a few times but it was before I started the site and was very happy with my meals there. I have tried a lot of BBQ around North County and most fall short I eat at about double the places you see here on the site I just have a rule of if its bad or just kinda meh i just don’t mention it. I believe you have to have a smoker and make your own sauce to be considered “real” BBQ. There are a few others around if you don’t mind a little travel. I would look at Oink and Moo Burgers and BBQ in Fallbrook, Coops West Texas BBQ in Lemon Grove, and Iron Pig Ale House in Pacific Beach all do real BBQ well.

      Flying Pig is great Chef Mario was involved in our last Chef dinner and served a great dish. Beef Belly with pickled squash.

      • Hi, this is the chef and owner of Oink and Moo in Fallbrook. My wife and I would love to have you visit our restaurant and enjoy some of our food and fantastic service that we are known for. We also have a uniquely decorated restaurant that I think you will enjoy. Keep us in mind. Jonathan and Jennifer Arbel
        Oink and Moo

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