Halcyon, Stella Public House, plus bonus ~ San Marcos

So, I recently went to check out the new Halcyon Coffee + Bar + Lounge and their sister establishment Stella Public House located in the new mixed use enclave that is called “Block C” North City in San Marcos.  North City is set to be, once finished, an urban living utopia or dystopia, depending on your point of view. My friend Beau said it best. “High rise upscale apartments with cacti and bicycles on the balconies and hipster coffee houses and restaurants on the street level.” Pretty dead on actually. Luckily I like hipster coffee places and restaurants, good ones anyway.

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Block C ( Why does that name conjure up images of Judge Dread and Mega City One for me?)

Halcyon, and Stella Public House, are part of a small chain with two locations in Texas. The new San Marcos location is actually a relocation of their East Village spot in San Diego.

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Halcyon Coffee + Bar + Lounge

Open 7am till 2am Halcyon is a coffee bar during the day serving up breakfast items, salads, and sandwiches. At night it turns into a lounge with wine, beer and cocktail service.

It has a bright, laid back atmosphere with lots of large open roll up windows. The space flows across a couch filled lounge area into their sister establishment Stella Public house.

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Iced Tea and a daisy:)

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Stella Public House calls itself a “Farm to Pizza” establishment. I can see that. Its menu is designed around shared plates and wood fired pizzas. Plus, to be a Gastropub I think it’s law you must have a $14 burger, pork belly, and ceviche on the menu ( though technically I think you can sub the ceviche for poke and the burger for sliders.).  I do not recognize the farms they are sourcing from listed on their website but the food we had used top quality, fresh product. Plus, to be honest, I only know like six farms by name anyway.

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A beautiful open kitchen and bar area run along the North wall. Flowing and / or seamless would be good adjectives to describe the space.

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The large roll up windows / doors continue the indoor out-door theme from Halcyon. Justin ( beer contributor for NCF ) stuck with water, as due to being in soft opening mode they were not serving beer yet. They open officially 10/6. Justin lived, we went to a brewery right after this:)

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Burrata Plate ~ Burrata, prosciutto, and accompaniments.

Delicious, fresh burrata with great prosciutto. We both loved this. Easily enough for two as a starter.

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Texas Bee Sting Pizza ~ house mozzarella, serrano, sopressata, parmigiano, with local honey drizzle and cilantro.

I was not that hungry but still devoured 3 slices of the pizza. It had a nice balance of saltiness from the cheese playing off the right amount of sweetness from the honey and a little bit of spice from the serranos. A really nice pizza, I would order it again.

Also shout out to the staff for being friendly and dealing with the slight chaos that comes with a new establishment opening perfectly.

Halcyon & Stella Public House

250 North City Drive Suite #3 | San Marcos, CA

BattleMage Brewing….

As I mentioned in the title, a little bonus. After Eating at Stella we headed over to check out Battle Mage Brewing Company. Justin will do a full article on them and their beers, but I just wanted to mention them.

BattleMage started up about five months ago and is a fantasy themed brewery ( Dungeons & Dragons, Magic The Gathering, Game of Thrones ). Their beers have names like Goblin King, Chaotic Evil, and Hooded Assassin. They have D&D nights every Tuesday, Magic the Gathering Wednesdays, and board games available to play anytime. Basically, I love them:) Here are a few pics till Justin writes them up. Good beer in a variety of styles. I highly recommend checking them out.

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Wall of Magic The Gathering Cards.

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Beer list and kick ass mascot art work. Really good prices, flights of 4 tasters are $5, pints $5, and growlers $15. Yes, I bought a T-Shirt, wearing it right now:)

BattleMage Brewing Company

2870 Scott St, Vista, CA

#food #foodporn #foodie #pizza #coffee #beer #brewery #craftbrewery #sanmarcos #northcounty #D&D #games #vista

 

 

 

 

Guava Lava Frozen Desserts ~ Oceanside

So, I had been told about Guava Lava Frozen Desserts around a year ago by the husband of the owner and then again more recently from a follower of North County Food. This, and the fact that I recently moved across the street, finally got me to check them out. To be honest my mind-set was “It’s a Mom and Pop yogurt shop, how great could it be?” Turns out, pretty great.

I love cold treats. I can not buy popsicles without the box being gone in two days. I also love Ices, sorbets, sherberts, and fruit based smoothies. This fact makes Guava Lava a perfect treat destination for me, you think I would have gone in sooner.

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Guava Lava Frozen Desserts ~ 3910 Vista Way #115, Oceanside Ca. (Home Depot Center & 78)

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Owner Marlene and her husband previously owned and operated their own food truck before deciding this was more reflective of their life style and love for Southern California.

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The interior is colorful, very well put together, and exceptionally clean.

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The surf and beach decor is carried through out making for a calm and cheery environment.

The menu at Guava Lava features frozen yogurt and Ices, smoothies, Acia bowls, coffee drinks, and various other treats.

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Blackberry Ice and mixed fruit non- dairy yogurt with fresh fruit toppings.

I was very excited to see they had an Ice and non – dairy options ( I eat dairy I just prefer non – dairy). It was full of fruit flavor and the addition of the fresh fruit just made it that much better.

They have about 14 to 15 flavors available at one time and the choices range from classic frozen yogurt, gelato, and custard, to the above mentioned Ice and non – dairy options. You have a choice of cone or cup. The cups come in 16 and 24 once sizes and are priced by weight. I had the 16 oz. and it ran about $6 and was more than plenty as an after dinner dessert.

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On my second visit I had a cherry and cranberry smoothie. I love tart flavors over sweet and this has become my new go to drink. All of their smoothies are dairy free and use fruit juice and no added sugar. There are two exceptions on the menu, one being the PB & J smoothie ( peanut butter and strawberry ) and the other the Maikai Monkey ( peanut butter and banana ), which contain dairy.

So, after procrastinating for a year, I am glad I went in and tried them out. It’s also great they are within walking distance, so I can go back when I am craving a cold treat.

Guava Lava Frozen Desserts

3910 Vista Way, Oceanside Ca

#food #foodie #foodporn #yogurt #frozenyogurt #oceanside #coffee #dessert

Panels Comic Book Coffee Bar ~ Oceanside

So, Panels Comic Book Coffee Bar opened this last Saturday at 713 Mission Ave. in Oceanside. Thanks to King’s Touch for instagramming about them or they would have slid under my radar for a while. They are basically 2 doors up (east) from Mission Ave. Bar and Grill.

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Talking with the owner, they had originally looked for a location in the Hillcrest area, but with the costs and amount of coffee competition chose Oceanside for its growth in the coffee and culinary fields as well as events like the monthly Art Walk and Sunset Market.

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The layout of their comic book store coffee hybrid is done very well. It feels an equal balance of both entities. It is not a Coffee Shop with some comics, nor does it feel like a comic book store with coffee. It balances both perfectly.

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The layout, which has media only along the walls helps with the clean and balanced feel of the shop.

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The menu covers all the main coffee-house staples. They are sourcing from Bird rock Coffee Roasters out of La Jolla, who are well-respected for their coffee.

So, whether you are picking up a new release, grabbing a coffee, or both check these guys out. It is a great atmosphere where you do not have to be a comic book enthusiast or coffee fanatic to enjoy it, but if you are it makes it a little extra special.

dp coffee (1 of 1)Nuff said.

Panels Comic Book Coffee Bar

713 Mission Ave. Oceanside

#food #foodporn #oceanside #comicbooks #coffee

Park 101 ~ Carlsbad

So, Park 101, the 8,000 sq ft multi million dollar food and drink project opened a few weeks ago along Coast Highway in Carlsbad.

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The U-shaped complex features a downstairs lounging area, bar, coffee bar, and fast casual BBQ restaurant..

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Downstairs lounge complete with corn-hole and fire pit.

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Downstairs lounge from the upper deck.

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Second bar upstairs. They have 40 beers on tap, many local.

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Their fast Casual kitchen. They serve a number of salads and classic side dishes. The main focus is BBQ including, Tri-Tip, brisket, pulled pork, turkey, smoked fish and sausage. In addition they are open at 6am for breakfast burritos and the like.

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I went with Tri-Tip, coleslaw, white bread and pickles. Perfectly cooked Tri-Tip, tender and flavorful. Good portion size too.

With the summer and it being a great outdoor location it can get busy especially on the weekends.

Park 101

3040 Carlsbad Blvd. (Coast Highway), Carlsbad

#food #foodporn #bbq #carlsbad

 

 

Corner Bakery Cafe ~ Encinitas

I can not eat high-end restaurant food all the time, so I like it when I can find high quality fast casual places like Lemonade, Flower Child, and I would now add Corner Bakery Cafe to that list.

I was in Encinitas on other business and came across the re-designed strip mall just east of El Camino Real on Encinitas Blvd. There is a lot going into that spot, a tap-room, Luna Grill, and it already houses a Habit Burger and the previously mentioned Corner Bakery Cafe.

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Corner Bakery Cafe ~ 1476 Encinitas Boulevard, Encinitas.

I did some research and this is the fourth San Diego location operated by the Feast Restaurant Group. They have another North County location across from the outlet stores in Carlsbad in the plaza that houses PF Changs and King’s Fish House.

The best reference I could give you is think Panera with better food and a real kitchen. I used to work for Panera and have nothing but positive things to say about my experience but I also know fresher ingredients when I eat them. Plus, working kitchen.

The interior is simple and clean. You order at the counter and then your food is brought to your table when ready. Pretty straight forward Fast Casual Dinning. I do not have any interior pics due it being somewhat busy and ripping one-off the web is always dicey.

They serve a full range of breakfast items from eggs, pancakes, and oatmeal. As well as sandwiches, salads, Pastas and chili. They offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner and are open till about 8 or 9pm.

I was down there at lunch time for my appointment so went the Sandwich and salad route.

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Harvest Salad ~ chicken, field greens, green apples, toasted walnuts, cranberries and bleu cheese with raisin pecan sweet crisps and balsamic vinaigrette.

This was the smaller “cafe” size and it was big. It was everything I like in a salad, lots of different textures, great quality field greens, and I really liked the raisin pecan crisps. It was better than any salad I have had at Swami’s.

The bread that came with it was also really good.

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Uptown Turkey Avocado Sandwich ~ Smoked turkey breast, applewood smoked bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomatoes and mayo on whole grain harvest toast.

Great sandwich, lots of Avocado, Turkey and again, great bread. I should have re-plated it to show it better but I already get enough looks for spinning my plate around and taking like 10 pictures.

This was a lot of food, but they have combos available where it would be smaller portions of both.

Oh, they also have great lemonade and Iced tea. Hibiscus lemonade Arnold Palmer for the win. I love quality lemonade.

If you’re in the area they are a good quality option for a meal.

Probably my last post or next to last post for the month as I just had to throw some groceries away because I have not been eating in and I have to go through my groceries before I lose more.

Corner Bakery Cafe

1476 Encinitas Boulevard, Encinitas.

#food #lunch #foodporn

 

 

 

 

North County San Diego Magazine “Best Of” Winners

It’s great to see North County getting some notice for what we who live up here have known for a while…

Best Smoothies ~ Banana Dang!, Oceanside

Best Upscale Happy Hour ~ Masters Kitchen & Cocktail, Oceanside

Best Neighborhood Eatery ~ The Miller’s Table, Oceanside

Best Casual Night Out ~ The Privateer Marketplace & Wine Bar

Best Organic Farm ~ Cyclops Farms

and more you can see the full list here……

Best Of

 

 

Gelato-Go Coming to Downtown Oceanside

Gelato-Go a small franchise chain with 6 locations in Florida is coming to downtown Oceanside. Their Florida locations have great reviews. Their Gelato runs $4 to $6 depending on size. They also serve coffee and pastries. The location is next to American Deluxe Barber Shop across from Barrel Republic on the 101 in Oceanside.

They are doing a full build out, not just putting in a fridge case and some shelves like the other short-lived gelato location.

Rumor has it Baked Bear is also looking for a spot downtown (Ice cream and cookies). So, summer should have plenty of options for cold treats.

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#gelato #icecream #sweets #food #foodporn

Living Tea’s Monthly Pancake Breakfast ~ Oceanside

This Sunday was Living Tea’s monthly pancake breakfast. If you are not familiar with Living Tea Brewery, they are a kombucha Brewery and tap-room located in Oceanside at 302 Wisconsin Ave. If you have had Kombucha at a local bar or restaurant there is a good chance it was one of theirs.

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The Breakfast starts.

Each 3rd Sunday of the month they throw a Pancake breakfast from 10 am till noon. The breakfast is donation base allowing you to pay what you can or thinks fair. All proceeds go to local charities. They do these events as a thank you to their supporters and to help strengthen the sence of community in the area.

I have been wanting to attend one and was able to on the 19th.

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Puppies! The event is kid and dog friendly.

I arrived right at 10 so I could say hi. There were probably 10 people when it started and around 25ish when I left about 10:45 but its a fluid event where people come and go throughout the 2 hours.

In addition to the pancakes they also serve coffee and kombucha during the breakfast. The coffee is included with your donation or lack there of if you can not afford it. Not sure about the kombucha I did not get any. Though I have had it many times and have included it in some of my Chef dinner events.

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The Pancake Master. I should have asked his name but Pancake Master is a pretty good nickname.

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Accoutrements for the pancakes ~ Bananas, apples, and oranges.

I went with apples and bananas.

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See told you I went with apples and bananas. Spiralina, gluten-free, organic pancakes with said bananas and apples plus chia hearts.

The pancakes were light, moist, and fluffy with a slightly crisp exterior. The batter was made with coconut oil which gave them their moisture. The fruit and the chia hearts were a great accompaniment.

 

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They also host open mic for musicians and singers to play during the breakfast. I did not catch this performers name but she was good. The boys from Living Tea / Barnwell Shift (that is their band) jumped in to accompany her.

I really like the thought behind these breakfasts and the food ain’t bad either:) I would highly recommend checking one out.

Living Tea

302 Wisconsin Ave. Oceanside

#food #foodporn #pancakes #kombucha

 

Caffeine Crawl ~ Oceanside / Carlsbad

This last Friday, January 20th marked the 4th annual San Diego Caffeine Crawl, the 57th crawl overall, and most importantly, the 1st featuring North County craft coffee and tea purveyors from Oceanside and Carlsbad.

One of my favorite things about North County’s culinary scene is the camaraderie and support the Chefs and Owners show to one another. This is also true for the craft beverage scene up here as well. Everyone involved was excited to be a part of the event and happy to see the Coffee and Tea Scene getting its just deserves.  Trust me this is not true everywhere, even San Diego has its fair share of cut throat competition (though events like the one I just attended at Biga and the chefs involved show that there are exceptions). With the momentum of this years success, hopefully next year will expand to include more participants and probably a 3rd route.

Our guide Pia talking about Caffeine Crawl.

The North County crawl consisted of two routes, starting in Oceanside and Carlsbad and crossing over. Each route had 5 stops and was about 3 miles in length. North County Food covered the Oceanside to Carlsbad route and I enlisted BeersNBytes  (a Carlsbad based food website) to cover the Carlsbad route.

*I will include another link at the bottom of the post to check out their coverage and their great website.

The crawl started at Banana Dang! In Oceanside. In addition to being a sponsor and catalyst for bringing the Caffeine crawl to North County, it was Banana Dang’s! 2 year anniversary.

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Owners Mario and Thanh-Thanh with Chef Beau Bonham goofing off while I tried to get a serious picture 🙂

Prior to the Crawl Banana Dang! thanked their loyal customers for 2 years of support with free bananas, frozen bananas, Vietnamese Coffee Jell-O Shots, and $2 cappuccino.

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Vietnamese Jell-O Shots

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Banana art by Maitu and yours truly.

Banana Dang! gave a presentation on their origin and experience in Puerto Rico as an “at origin” coffee shop

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Thanh-Thanh talking with the Crawl attendees.

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They served 2 different coffees. One from Puerto Rico (Sandra Farms) and another from Nicaragua (Don Isidro) to contrast the mild nature of an “island coffee” versus a high elevation more robust bean. They were both roasted by Manzanita Roasting Company out of Rancho Bernardo.

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To complete the Puerto Rican experience, local Chef Beau Bonham made a classic accompaniment of freshly baked Pan De Agua served with Queso Blanco, and Dulce De Lechosa (Papaya cooked in its own syrup with cinnamon and vanilla)

The Second stop was around the corner at Loose Leaf Tea Bar.

Shane explaining what he would be featuring …

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Loose Leaf Tea’s Mango Ceylon Tea on nitro.

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The group enjoying the offerings and the great mural artwork at Loose Leaf Tea.

Next up was South Oceanside’s Revolution Roasters.

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Revolution demonstrated the same coffee made with 3 different water sources. The first was made using distilled water, the second Oceanside tap water, and the third using Revolution’s reverse osmosis water.

The coffee using the tap and distilled were really close in character but you could definitely tell the one made using the reverse osmosis method.

Afterward we headed down to Carlsbad to Steady State Roasting. Steady State Roasting has been around for about 8 months (I believe). This was my first time there and I loved the small space tucked away off State St. in Carlsbad, which it shares with other artist’s workshops.

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The funky space that is State Street Roasting.

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State Street is entering a roasting competition in Austin later this year and served the Kenyan provided to the roasters. They served the coffee using a 15 min roast and a shorter roast more like the one they would be doing for the competition. The shorter roast definitely had more balance and interesting notes.

The Crawl showed, through the various demos, that so much from what water is used, roasting times, and of course the origin of the bean each have a huge impact on the finished product. That was without even touching on temperature, machines, execution, storage, and on and on.

Final stop on the crawl was Carlsbad’s Baba Coffee.

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My pics did not come out so I used one from my previous visit.

While Baba Coffee does not roast, they make a conceded effort to source from the best local purveyors. Their coffee is roasted by Pannikin who also provides them with scratch made baked goods. They served a delicious mint tea with honey from Tea Gallery out of San Diego.

So, happy to be a part of the event, helping out, and experiencing North County’s first Caffeine Crawl. I cannot wait to see what next year brings. We should be able to expand the number of stops and offerings. If you did not get to attend conduct one of your own. You do not have to do it in one day. Introduce yourself to one of the local craft coffee purveyors and ask questions, trust me they love to talk about this stuff.

Banana Dang!

115 S Coast Highway, Oceanside

The Loose Leaf Tea Bar

408 Mission Ave, Oceanside

Revolution Roasters

1863 S Coast Highway, Oceanside

Steady State Roasting

2680 State Street, Carlsbad

Baba Coffee

2727 State Street, Carlsbad

Caffeine Crawl

BeersNBytes

Caffeine Crawl 2017 ~ North County

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Caffeine Crawl is an event put on by “The Lab”. “The Lab” is a company that helps high-end, craft beverage companies promote their products through graphic design, media, and events.

One such event is the Caffeine Crawl. Exactly as the name implies caffeine Crawls are events that allow coffee lovers to experience craft coffee houses and roasters in their area. The first crawl was held in Kansas City in 2011 and multiple events have since been held nation wide.

This coming  January 20th to 22nd , caffeine crawl will hold it’s fourth San Diego based event with ten routes through out San Diego county. The best thing is that for the first time two of these routes will be held in North County.

The routes will highlight seven of Oceanside and Carlsbad’s best purveyors of craft coffee.

North Coast:
Baba Coffee
Banana Dang
The Loose Leaf
Revolution Roasters
Sleeping Tiger Coffees
Steady State Roasting

Succulent Cafe

The routes are bikeable or driveable and cover about 3 miles. In addition to great coffee, there are educational demonstrations at each stop. Wether its roasting styles and how choices as a roaster effect the end product or talking about what it is like to run an “At origin” coffee shop in Puerto Rico, there is a lot to learn about the craft and what  goes into producing a great cup of coffee.

Here are the outlines for the two North County routes…

s851142438705973840_p432_i20_w222  Purchase Tickets Here

This is a 3.5 mile biking route that visits 5 different stops. It begins at Succulent Cafe (505 Oak Avenue, Carlsbad, CA 92008) at 1:00pm, sharp!

Other stops include Sleeping Tiger CoffeesSteady State RoastingRevolution Roasters, and concludes at Banana Dang. This route ends at 4:00pm. You provide your own transportation shop-to-shop. This is a suggested biking route, but driving as your form of transportation is also fine.

This is a 3 mile biking route that visits 5 different stops. It begins at Banana Dang (115 South Coast Highway, Oceanside, CA 92054) at 2:00pm, sharp!

Other stops include The Loose Leaf Revolution RoastersSteady State Roasting and concludes at Baba Coffee. This route ends at 5:00pm. You provide your own transportation shop-to-shop. This is a suggested biking route, but driving as your form of transportation is also fine.

Below is ticket and event info…
Important details pertaining to your ticket :
– New to Caffeine Crawl? Here’s a fun FAQ for you to learn more.
– You will receive a confirmation email from one of us within 24 hours after your ticket purchase. Be sure to check the email you bought the tickets from.Your physical ticket(s) will be mailed to you (unless within 4 days of the event, in which case they will be held for you at will call at the start of the event).
– Tickets include an event bag with Crawl goodies and souvenirs, and admittance to all stops on your selected route (includes a drink sample, and short, educational presentation at each stop). You will receive the event bag at the start of your route. 
– You will receive an electronic route schedule the week of the event via email, as well as a program that is a printed route schedule, at the start of the event. Be sure to check the email you bought the tickets from.
– Children are welcome (must have a ticket), and there are sometimes caffeine-free options. There are occasionally alcohol-based coffee drinks. All drinks are at the discretion of participating shops. If wanting to bring a child under 7 years of age please contact us first. 
– Each stop along the route has a set start and end time that was confirmed with that business, and will be provided to you before the event. This is to keep the event organized, and give each ticket holder the best experience possible. Please be prepared to stay on schedule and follow cues from your tour guide, as there will be multiple routes in operation at once. 
– Tickets are non-refundable. Same situation as a concert, sporting event, or any other event.
– Biking and walking routes can drive if weather is bad to day of the event. Caffeine Crawl and The LAB will not be held responsible for any travel-related incidents while attending Caffeine Crawl. By purchasing a ticket, you agree to the Terms & Conditions, maintaining full responsibility for your personal and vehicular safety, and your own items, while traveling between shops by foot, car, bus, or bicycle.

 

So, embrace your chance to be part of the first North County based caffeine Crawl. Yay North County. Represent!

Caffeine Crawl Website

#northcounty #coffee