The Hard Truth

If you come to this site and get upset about the language I use? It is going to get ugly really fast. Because if you thought that language was harsh …you have no idea..and its always someone I did not review for a very good reason.

 

Edit..the people that respect me are the ones that I care about. Do not know you  and do not care.

 

Easter Sunday Dining Options Around San Diego

Some great Easter dining options around the Greater San Diego area.

Lakehouse Hotel & Resort & Decoy Dockside Dining            

1025 La Bonita Drive

San Marcos, CA 92078

(760) 744-0120

http://www.lakehousehotelandresort.com/

Dining dockside on Easter makes for a true southern California spring holiday. Enjoy an Easter Sunday brunch buffet on April 16 with sweet and savory breakfast favorites, a chilled seafood display, hand-carved meats and a decadent dessert bar, all beginning at 9:00 a.m. The little ones can take part in free Easter egg hunts, taking place at 10:30 a.m. and at 1:30 p.m. Brunch-goers will listen to live music performances from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for a truly relaxing holiday. The cost to attend is $60 for adults, which includes free-flowing sparkling wine, and $19 for children 12 and under. To reserve your spot, call (760) 744-0120. Be on the lookout for a special appearance by the Easter Bunny!

Photo Below: Decoy Dockside Dining

image008

 

TRUST

3752 Park Boulevard

San Diego, CA 92103

(619) 795-6901

www.trustrestaurantsd.com

Nestled in the neighborhood of Hillcrest, chic eatery TRUST is taking Easter brunch to the next level this year. Soak in the sunshine on the restaurant’s patio while indulging in the Lemon Meringue French Toast, a mountain of Brioche bread topped with vanilla Ricotta, toasted almonds, lemon curd, graham crackers and blueberry. Let the bartenders at TRUST work their mixology magic by making the perfect brunch beverage to pair with your meal. Brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For additional information and reservations, call (619) 795-6901.

 

Photo Below: TRUST’s Lemon Meringue French Toast

 

image09

 

 

The Westgate Hotel

1055 2nd Avenue

San Diego, CA 92101

(619) 238-1818

www.westgatehotel.com

The Westgate Hotel invites locals and weekend visitors alike to join in Easter Sunday festivities! The hotel will feature Easter-themed afternoon teas and a festive Easter Champagne brunch where a cotton-tailed guest is scheduled to hop in and say hello.

Easter Bunny Teas: Enjoy a European-style afternoon tea, featuring kid-friendly petit fours and mini pastries, along with an Easter egg hunt and magic show on the Riviera Terrace. Families can meet the Easter Bunny beginning at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, April 14 and Saturday, April 15. The price is $50 for adults and $35 for children 12 and under, plus tax and gratuity.

Champagne Brunch: On Sunday, April 16, experience The Westgate’s traditional Easter Champagne Brunch, complete with fresh seafood, made-to-order omelets, carving stations and a children’s section. Little ones will be entertained by a face painting artist and a visit from the Easter Bunny. Brunch will be served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The price is $89 for adults and $35 for children 12 and under, plus tax and gratuity.

Reserve online today! http://www.westgatehotel.com/events-promotions/special-events/easter-celebrations

Photo Below: Easter Bunny with kids

image010

Parc Bistro-Brasserie

2760 5th Ave.

San Diego CA 92103

(619) 319-9472

http://www.parcbb.com/

Enjoy a lovely Easter Sunday brunch at Parc Bistro-Brasserie in the heart of Banker’s Hill. With classic French dishes ranging from sweet and savory crepes to steak, seafood towers, and more, there’s something to satisfy everyone at the table. Brunch offerings also include specialty cocktails and $13 bottomless mimosas. View the brunch menu by visiting www.parcbb.com or call (619) 319-9472 to make a reservation.

Photo Below: Parc’s Seafood Tower

image011

 

Monello

750 West Fir St.

San Diego, CA 92101

(619) 501-0030

https://www.lovemonello.com/

Make Milanese cuisine part of your Easter celebration this year at Monello. On Saturday, April 15 and Sunday, April 16, Monello is showcasing an “egg”-stravagant selection of dishes for their crowd-favorite brunch including Eggs Benedict con Agnello e Spinaci or lamb eggs benedict and spinach. They will also serve a special Lamb Pizza made with cheese, mushroom and spinach. Top these delicious dishes off with the perfect cocktail from their new brunch drink menu including mimosa carafes with your choice of juice or a Caprese Bloody Mary made with vodka, in-hour tomato juice and topped with a fresh mozzarella Caprese skewer. To make reservations, please call (619) 501-0030 or reserve a spot via OpenTable.

Photo Below: Monello’s New Brunch Cocktails

image012

Bencotto

750 W Fir St #103

San Diego, CA 92101

(619) 450-4786

https://www.lovebencotto.com/

 

The chefs at Bencotto Italian Kitchen, right next door to Monello, will also be serving up a few specials to celebrate Easter this year. Lunch and dinner specials on Saturday, April 15 and Sunday, April 16 will include Lasagna Agnello + Porcini e Fontina, homemade lamb lasagna with mushroom and porcini, and Stinco de Agnello con Patate Arrosto al Tartufo, lamb shank and roasted truffle potatoes. Bencotto is open for lunch and dinner every Saturday and Sunday beginning at 11:30 a.m. Reservations are recommended and can be made online or by calling (619) 450-4786.   

 

Photo Below: Bencotto’s upstairs dining area

 

image013

Giuseppe Fine Restaurants & Catering

700 Prospect Ave.

San Diego, CA 92037

(858) 581-2205

www.grnfc.com

Don’t feel like going out for Easter brunch this year? Giuseppe Catering’s Pronto Delivery program allows you to forget about the stress and cleanup that comes along with hosting, so you can sit back and enjoy your get-together, guests, and an exceptional meal. For formal or large-scale events, the Fine Catering team will be there every step of the way to make sure your event is unforgettable—in the best way. Find full menu details and catering options at www.grnfc.com or call (858) 581-2205 to learn more.

Photo Below: Giuseppe Catering Deviled Eggs

image028

Have a great Easter! North County options coming shortly.

#food # restaurants #easter #brunch #easterbrunch #sandiego

Things To Do This Weekend In Oceanside.

Saturday ~ After waking up from you Saint Patrick’s Day exploits, head to Masters Kitchen and Cocktail for brunch featuring dishes like…

Masters Chicken and Waffles (1 of 1)

Chef Richardi’s upscale take on Chicken and Waffles. Perfect post party night meal. Bonus, they have endless Mimosas if you need a little hair of the dog.

Brunch runs 10am till 2pm at Masters Kitchen and Cocktail 208 S Coast Hwy, Oceanside

Afterwords head to the beach and enjoy this weather.

Sunday ~ Head over to Wisconsin Street and join in Living Tea’s Community Pancake Breakfast.

17239937_681558068683756_6242912593817399235_o

“We’ll be making GREEN pancakes, infused with Spirulina…. that’s right, Organic Gluten-Free GREEN Pancakes! We’ll also have our organic raw kombucha and organic coffee available.”

“Everything is donation based, so whatever you can afford to donate is great. And those who can’t donate, come eat for free and enjoy some good community time. All donations go towards future community breakfasts, and additional funds are donated to local charities. It’s a Give Back Oceanside event with Living Tea and Nii Foods!”

The event runs 10am to 12pm at Living Tea  302 Wisconsin Ave, Oceanside.

Also Sunday ~ Another communal event will be hosted By the The T House equinox event starts at noon and goes until 6pm.

17202686_1239036292810935_752810940044764041_n

There will be light food (I believe he said lobster bisque and bread) and lots of information about food, urban homesteading, gardening, spiritualism and more. contact chefbeaub@gmail.com to learn more you can also check out the T Houses website or you can also contact me through this website.

To learn a little about what they are about you can read my interview with Chef Beau T house co-founder HERE.

Have a great weekend.

Rooster Ramen : The Return ~coming Spring / Summer

 flat800x800075f
“Here they come to snuff the rooster
Yeah, here come the rooster
You know he ain’t gonna die
No, no, no, you know he ain’t gonna die”    

Alice in Chains ~ Rooster

So, a little while ago I mentioned on northcountyfood’s Facebook page, which you should be following as well, that a great Ramen place is returning to North County.

That place is Rooster Ramen. The original, high quality pop up Ramen in North County. Do not be fooled by Johnny come latelys.

Now, I am happy to say Rooster Ramen is returning with a full-fledged brick and mortar restaurant.

Having eaten Chef David’s Ramen at the old incarnation of the restaurant, I am eagerly awaiting and trumpeting the return!

Here is what David has told me about his new restaurant

Opening late spring / early summer

Highway 101 in an undisclosed location.

Full 30 plus Sake list, plus Sochu cocktails and a complimenting beer list.

Over 9 traditional ramen dishes taken from different regions of Japan, as well as a number of specialty takes on the noodle dish.

The menu will also feature small plates and Yakatori grilled items prepared on a traditional Binchotan charcoal grill.

A revolving specials board will be available daily and feature items based off of what is fresh and in season. Luxury items such as Osetra Caviar, Monk Fish liver, and pork cheeks will also make an appearance.

Prices for Ramen will run $9 to $14 with build your own as well as vegan and vegetarian options available. Expect to see a good bowl of Pho make an appearance.

The restaurant’s digital ordering system will emulate the Ramen vending ticket machines in Japan. This will not only give customers full control of the ordering process but will also increase its speed.

2042_11

Example of a Ramen ticket machine.

The restaurant will have the feel of a Japanese farm-house with plenty of outdoor seating, a lengthy Ramen bar, and a semi open kitchen.

Hours will be 11 am till midnight weekdays and till 2 am Friday and Saturday with an early morning Sunday hangover brunch. This will make it North County’s only late night spot, sans a few Mexican places..

All the restaurants plates, bowls, and cups will be hand-made ceramic from Pawena Studios out of LA.

More news and info to come as things progress.

Perfect timing as this is The Year of The Rooster! My sign as well)

Dining Out San Diego Passport

So, if you follow me you know, I do not sell things on this website. This is a bit different, Dining Out San Diego has partnered up with me to offer their Dining Passport at a special rate through my site.

sd1passbook_cover-600x600

If you’re not familiar with Dining out San Diego it is a great magazine featuring Chefs and Restaurants across San Diego. Also, unlike other publications, they have supported North County Chefs and Restaurants.

The Passport allows you to receive 2 for one entrees at 50 San Diego Restaurants that normally do not do deals.

Some of the North County restaurants include 608, The Whet Noodle, Land and Water Company, Harney Sushi, Iron Fist Brewing, Wooden Spoon. There are more great restaurants up and down the coast.

Normally it costs $99 and is good for a year. With our partnership, it is $35 (64% off).

At that cost, it pays for itself in 2 meals.

You keep the passport and every time you use it that page is stamped. It is not a coupon book. These restaurants have a great relationship with the magazine. They want to be in it.

I mean Bracero Cucina De Raiz does not put coupons in the reader.

To order go here ~ Dining Out Passbook  and enter code NCF2016 at checkout.

Here is a complete list of restaurants:

 608, Americana, Arterra Del Mar, BICE, Bracero, Bullys, Cafe Gratitude, Cafe Lulu, Caffe Calabria, Cali Comfort BBQ, Catania, City Tacos, Common Theory, Crest Cafe, Cupcakes Squared, Eclipse Chocolate, En Fuego, Enoteca Style, Farmers Bottega, Fig Tree Cafe, Hacienda de Vega, Harney Sushi, Henry’s Pub, Hodads, Holiday Wine Cellar, iDessert, Indigo Grill, Ironfist Brewing, Isabel’s Cantina, Kous Kous, Land & Water Co, Maderas, Mish Mash, Napizza, North Park Market, Pearl Hotel, Petrini’s, Prepkitchen, Puesto, Pushkin, Salad Style, Salt & Cleaver, Sausage & Meat, Solare, Spike Africa, Studio Diner, Talavera Azul, Toscana, Tostadas, Tuscany La Costa, VIVA, Whet Noodle, whisknladle, Wooden Spoon, Wrench & Rodent, Yummy Cupcakes

I have used mine 3 times now and know where I’m going for the 4th.

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-1

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

succulent-cafe-menu

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.

succulent-cafe-2

succulent-cafe-3

succulent-cafe-4

succulent-cafe-5

succulent-cafe-6

succulent-cafe-7

succulent-cafe-8

succulent-cafe-11

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

Flying Pig, Vista ~ 1 Year Anniversary

This Sunday Flying Pig’s Vista location celebrated it’s 1 year anniversary with an outdoor grill blowout.

flying pig sign

The Vista location stemmed out of the huge success of The Flying Pig Pub in Oceanside. That location was one of the forerunners of today’s growing north county culinary scene and still serves a packed house nightly. Last year owner Roddy decided to open the Pig’s second location in an old bank building at 230 South Santa Fe, Vista. The new location was more than double the size of the original and boasted an outdoor patio area absent in the first. He brought over Executive Chef Mario Mosser to oversee the new restaurant and promoted Chef Samantha Parker to run the Oceanside location (smart because she kills it).  With everything in place, the new Flying Pig was once again on the forefront of an expanding new culinary scene.

flying pig patio

Outdoor patio @ Flying Pig Vista

The thing he pulled off with the new location, which is hard to do, is launch a second restaurant off the success of the first that, had a familiarity to it in concept and menu , but at the same time had it’s own identity. A lot of restauranteurs try this and fail or just cookie cutter the original idea.

A good example of this being done successfully would be Mario Batali’s second restaurant Lupa, coming off the heels of the insanely successful Babbo in 1999. you could easily have lunch at the vista Flying Pig head west and enjoy dinner at the Oceanside location and you would not feel like you ate at the same restaurant twice. Unless you doubled down on one of the few menu crossover items, but that would be on you wouldn’t it ?

Anyway, I grabbed the Sprinter to vista and planned to enjoy the culinary festivities.

flying pig anniversary int 3

People streaming in for the anniversary.

On my way in, I was trying to decide what to get. Do I go for their killer tri-tip or something porkish?

They made the choice easy for me with their anniversary special menu.

flying pig anniversary menu

I get to have it all for $20 …sold and done. 🙂

flying pig meat

Lots of meat. I got there at 10 am, Chef Mario had been working the grill since 5am that morning.

flying pig anniversary plates 2

Left to right ~ Tri-tip, pork brisket, and pork loin. Warm potato salad and cole slaw in the back and mashed potatoes underneath. There’s also grilled veg. on there somewhere.

Everything was cooked to perfection. I’m a sucker for Tri-tip and this example was perfect. The Pork brisket was melted in your mouth gorgeous, and the star for me was the Pork loin, brined for 4 days, it was juicy and tender with a slight sweetness to it. The sides held their own as well living up to the brilliance of the meats.

My plate before and after.

Owner Roddy is also a level 2 Sommelier and he paired a great Red blend to accompany my meal a Tre Toscana ~ 80% Sangiovese, 10 % Merlot, and 10% Cabernet. With Roddy’s knowledge, their wine list is worth checking out.

Here is a brief video interview with Chef Mario and Owner Roddy. I asked them about the first year of the Vista Flying Pig and memorable moments.

 

 

hope you got out to celebrate with them. If not they are there producing great food 7 days a week. Go check them out.

Flying Pig Pub and Kitchen

230 South Santa Fe Ave., Vista

Today was also the annual “Rod Run” in downtown Vista, with over 400 classic cars on display. I walked around and took pics of some of my favorites.

 

Still no Hemi Cuda’s though:(

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Dream Car

 

 

Pillbox Tavern and Grill ~Solana Beach

I came across Pillbox Tavern and Grill and Chef Shelly at this year’s North Eats food festival. I tried her pulled pork and decided, while a little out of normal covering range, I really wanted to check them out. I jumped on the Coaster and headed down to Solana Beach.

Pillbox exterior and chef

Chef Shelly outside Pillbox Tavern and Grill

Pillbox, named for the beach it is located near, ( is about half the size of 608 or LTH). the exterior is in the design of a victorian style house and boasts a very light and airy interior. I was there on a beautiful day and still felt connected to the outside.

Pillbox interior

Pillbox’s interior.

The menu is a tavern menu but with lots of options. Also, Chef Shelly’s cooking gives everything a twist and elevates it.

I was mentioning the pulled pork is what brought me down here but they also have 13 kinds of wings.The styles run from Lemon Pepper dry rub on the mild side to Fire Island on the extra hot side.

I love wings, so I ordered a basket of 10 wings and spit it with two sauces.

Pillbox wings

Habanero BBQ (L) and Gangnam (R)

Habanero BBQ ~ Habanera sauce combined  with their house made with the Chefs BBQ sauce.

Gangnam ~ Spicy Asian mustard BBQ sauce.

Both were really good. The Habanero BBQ wings were not as spicy as I thought they would be, but still very good. I really liked the Gangnam wings with the spicy mustard sauce.

Pillbox pulled pork

Pulled Pork Sandwich ~ Slow roasted pulled pork, Chef’s BBQ sauce topped with coleslaw and an onion ring on a brioche bun.

This what I came for, the pork was moist and tender. The Chef’s BBQ sauce is great, it is a little more on the sweet side just for your info. More similar in style to Texas or Mississippi BBQ sauce.

Almost everything is made in-house. The service was spot on, they were full with a line waiting to come in while I was there and my glass was always refilled and food came out in a timely manner.

Another reason to check them out is you can go to one of the best-looking beaches in North County (IMO) a block and a half down the street.

Solana Beach_

Solana Beach  2

Solana Beach  3

Solana Beach  4

Pillbox Beach, Solana Beach

Pillbox Tavern and Grill

117 West Plaza Street

Solana Beach, CA

 

 

Chef Promotion @ Petite Madeline

So, Marc Santos who has been holding down the Sous Chef position at Petite Madeline Bakery & Bistro for the last 4 or 5 months, has officially been promoted to Chef De Cuisine. AKA Executive Chef.

image1 (1)

This is well deserved. Christine has let Chef Marc run the weekly and weekend brunch specials for a while now and his talented shows. I have had a lot of these and this promotion came as no surprise to me.

Here are some of his specials that I had…

port melt

Portobello Mushroom w / herb beading, Provolone cheese, baby spinach, and bang bang sauce on a rustic bread bun. Side Kumquat and mint salad.

Smoked Turkey Omelet

 

Smoked turkey, spinach, caramelized onion, and mozzarella omelette

blue plate special

Blue Plate Special, seared tuna, quinoa salad, cooked apples, fresh local strawberries, sun dried tomatoes, poached egg.

Chef Marc will also be part of the 608 / North County Food Chefs dinner at 608 Tuesday August 9th.Tickets available by calling  608.

Chefs dinner mock

Petite Madeline Bakery & Bistro

223 North Coast Highway, Oceanside

 

Eve ~ Encinitas

So, I stumbled upon Eve in Encinitas by complete accident. While I usually take E street to get to the train depot in Encinitas, I decided to walk down to D street this time. I walked by Eve and did a double take. Though it has been a month or so since I had been in Encinitas I knew they were not there previously. I walked in and inquired about them. After talking to Scott Steele (Managing Partner) about what they were doing with the space, I got really excited and made plans to return.

eve ext

What caught my eye. Eve Encinitas

Eve is an all Vegan restaurant and juice bar. Though it is so much more which I will explain later.

The interior has a great feel to it. A lot of Vegetarian, Vegan, and Holistic places try to create a matching “Vibe” Eve actually does this in my opinion.

eve int 1

The interior is open and calming. They also sell bottled pressed Juices to go.

eve int 2

More of the interior.

eve int touches 1

int touches 2

Some nice touches

eve int 3

Counter service at eve.

eve menu

The Eve menu. It is basically broken down into bowls, salads, and entrees. They also serve smoothies and rotate 3 Kombuchas on tap provided by Oceansides Living Tea (Yay).

Again Eve is all Vegan and while I am a big meat-eater I love all food. So, I dove in….

eve bowl

Machu Picchu Bowl ~ Red quinoa, Peruvian purple potatoes, white beans, pickled beets, Peruvian Corn, wakame chuka, Peruvian Pichuberries, red Aji sauce

This had so many flavors working together it was great. I love Peruvian corn, Pichuberries, and Aji sauce. I love a lot of things Peruvian actually (note need to go back to Panca).

The two things in the back of the bowl that look like they are wrapped in paper are these…

inca berry

Pichuberries (also known as Inca Berries). They are so good, I need to hit up one of my Chef friends and see if they can tag some on to their Specialty Produce order. Think Kumquat meets grape.

jack fruit tacos

Jack Fruit Tacos & Side Salad ~ Roasted spicy organic Jack Fruit, black beans, cabbage slaw, roasted corn, cashew sauce, Peruvian Aji sauce, cilantro.

These were really tasty, the roasted Jack Fruit was meaty and a perfect base for the tacos. The side salad, which is usually a throw away was really good as well and I loved the dressing.

This is the Jack Fruit. It is part of the Mulberry and Bread Fruit family. It is fibrous and tastes like a cross between a mango and an apple, When you grill it takes on more of a sweet squash taste IMO.

jackfruit

Earlier I mentioned “and more” the and more comes in with the back room, by back room I mean a basketball court sized dance style studio where they hold tons of cool weekly and monthly events. Dance parties, Musicians, Guest Speakers, Artists, Sunday brunch and Yoga. You can keep up with them on their Facebook page.

eve performance space

About 2/3 of the space.

I really enjoyed my meal especially the inclusion of a lot of Peruvian Fruits and Vegetables. Whether you’re looking for good Vegan food or just something good to eat I would check them out. A lunch for 2 with drinks would run about $40 and it is a lot of food.

Eve Encinitas

575 South Coast Highway 101

Encinitas, CA