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

Gourmet Artisan ~ Oceanside

Gourmet Artisan is a prime example of me coming up with a pre-formulated notion about a restaurant and then having them prove me completely wrong. While I have a pretty good radar based on years of experience and research applied deciding if I am going to check out a place it, as I am about to admit, it is not fool-proof.

Gourmet Artisan is one of those places whose exterior does a great job of masking the calibre of the food served within. unassuming, it does not stand out amongst the surrounding store fronts or display the offbeat character hinting at the potential of a hole-in-the-wall hidden gem.

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Gourmet Artisan ~ 409 Mission Ave. Oceanside. ( Downtown Oceanside in the Regal theater plaza.)

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Nice simple interior.

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The Menu ~ A nice range of sandwiches, salads, pastas, flat breads, pastries and smoothies. Due to the breadth of the menu, its location, adjacent to the theater and the beach, it is a perfect place for family outings or groups, as everyone should be able to find something that suits their tastes. What sets Gourmet Artisan apart from the other surrounding food options near by, is the quality of the ingredients they use and the fact they have a Chef constructing and executing the menu.

“It’s a restaurant of course they have a Chef”. No, there are plenty of restaurants, some a stone throws a way, that while they may have cooks, and may have very talented ones, they do not have a chef. It is even more rare in a fast casual setting.

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“Owner’s Favorite” Sandwich ~ Prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, marinated artichokes, confit tomatoes, fresh basil, and olive oil with a side salad.

I ordered this on my first visit and it is what brought me back for my second. The bread is delivered fresh daily from (funnily enough) Gourmet Artisan Bakery in Mira Mar (no relation) and is wonderful. The chibata had a crisp and flakey crust with a soft interior that is found in truly well crafted fresh bread. All the ingredients in the sandwich were of the highest quality, from the fresh mozzarella to the olive oil. It was a joy to eat.

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Chicken Marsala with rice.

After my first visit, having realized the error of my ways, I went back a second time to try more food and write an article. Originally, I was going top go with another one of their great sandwiches or a salad but the owner steered me to a new dish the chef had just added to the menu and was quite happy with.

It’s been a while since I have had Chicken Marsala but this is easily one of the best examples I have had of the dish. The rice, chicken and mushrooms were perfectly cooked but the sauce was the real star. The sauce had a great depth of flavor, a silky texture, and just enough acidity from the wine without being boozy.  It left me satisfied without being too full, which was great because I was surprised with a crepe for dessert.

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Crepe ~ Chocolate, fresh berries, ice cream, and whipped cream.

Though not a sweets person normally, I enjoyed the crepe and ice cream.

Gourmet Artisan is owned and operated by Adrien Cotto and his wife with the kitchen being helmed by Chef  Andrew Pinzon. It is definitely worth checking out and will be added to my normal downtown rotation.

Gourmet Artisan

409 Mission Ave. Oceanside

#food #foodporn #foodie #oceanside #sandwich #lunch #sandiego

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Taste Of Oceanside 2017 ~ October 7th

Get your tickets early as it will sell out.  This is the 4th Year and has grown from 400 to 1000 attendees, thanks to the hard work of Mainstreet’s promotional committee, the great restaurants, and of course the attendees.

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Get tickets here.

#oceanside #tasteofoceanside #food #foodie

Yaya’s Fruit Bar ~ Vista

Yaya’s is the kind of place I love to coming across. It’s under the radar, unassuming,  family run, and delivers different and tasty food you do not find very often.

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Yaya’s is located in an aesthetically boring strip mall in Vista behind a McDonald’s at 1450 North Santa Fe Ave. at Bobier.

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The interior is clean with light wood and bright colors.

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In addition to their great fruit desserts, they offer 14 flavors of Thrifty’s Ice Cream, numerous fruit sorbets, smoothies, Acia bowls, and a few hot dishes like tortas and nachos.

Their assorted fruit desserts are what makes them special though. The walls are lined with pictures of them because the menu descriptions can not do them justice.

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Desserts Clockwise from top left ~ Chamango, Raspado, Acia Bowl , and Papas Preparadas.

All their desserts are extremely reasonable and made to order. Mine was $6.50 and huge…….

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Pepino Prepadado ~ Cucumber, jamica, papaya, cacahuates japoneses (japanese peanuts), Pica Fresca, hot sauce, and chili powder.

Just a taste and texture sensation. Sweet fresh fruit, crunch from the peanuts, chew from the candies, sourness from the lime juice, and heat from the chili powder and hot sauce. It was not too sweet, it was very vibrant and fresh tasting. Just a great dish.

I will definitely be back to try more or their creations.

Yaya’s Fruit Bar

1450 North Santa Fe Ave., Vista

#food #foodporn #vista #mexicanfood #mexecandessert #foodie

 

Re-visit report: Panca Peruvian Cuisine & Rotisserie ~Oceanside

So, while it has only been about a year since my last visit to Panca (that’s pretty good for me with my schedule.) I wanted to stop by and try some of the dishes I have passed over during my previous visits. The thing I love about Peruvian food is that it truly is a “fusion” cuisine. In addition to the variations of flavors and ingredients based on geography and family tradition, you see the influences of Peru’s diverse cultural make up. “Peruvians view themselves as a racially mixed people: a “half indigenous, a third European, a sixth African and one part Asiatic”. Add to that the creativity of a talented Chef like Ioli and you get great Peruvian staples through an exciting lens.

I dragged my friend Chef Beau Bonham along for the meal. I learned he had not been to Panca so, this was going to be a treat for him to experience it and me to have someone along with another strong pallet to “food nerd” out with.

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Tiradito ~ Fresh fish slices with a Peruvian yellow pepper lime sauce, Rocoto and Aji limo.

This along with the Wonton scallops are a must have dish when visiting for me. Unlike Ceviche the fish is not marinated in citrus. It is raw with the sauce added right before service. The freshness of the fish is highlighted against the citrus and heat from the sauce. It is quite spicy and will quickly catch up with you.

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Aji De Gallina ~ Chicken in creamy spicy sauce made with Parmesan, Peruvian yellow pepper, and walnuts, served over a bed of potato and a side of Peruvian white rice.

This was my first time trying this dish and both of us agreed it was the star of the meal. The sauce, while reminiscent of a curry is something unique. It has a body to it which we guessed was probably from slowly introducing parmesan into it while cooking.

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Ocopa ~ Homemade Peruvian spicy sauce, Ocopa is made with Huacatay (black mint), peanuts, animal crackers and Peruvian yellow pepper, over a bed of potato.

Another fantastic interesting sauce. Thick with a mild bitterness or earthy quality. The closest comparison would be a mole sauce. The dish is Served chilled over boiled potatoes. This is an appetizer and like all her appetizers is easily sharable.

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Alfajores ~ Two short bread cookies with “manjarblance” (dulce de leche) in the middle; then topped with powdered sugar.

Beau insisted on getting their famous Alfajores. If you want a perfect example of how a text-book short bread is supposed to be, this is it. Perfectly light and flaky.

What a great meal, I’m glad I took the time to re-visit them. I whole handedly believe Panca is the best Peruvian food in San Diego County. Q’ero gets more attention (and is good) but Panca is a notch above and slightly less expensive.

Panca has future expansions in the works Here.

Panca Peruvian Cuisine & Rotisserie

1902 South Coast Highway, Oceanside

#food #foodporn #oceanside #peruvian #southamerican #peruvianfood #restaurants

 

 

7 Great Dishes ~ North County

A lot of times, while not doing a review, I experience a dish worth mentioning. These really do not support a full article, so from time to time I will compile them into one. Also if you follow northcountyfood on Instagram (Please do) you will get these one offs and general event things in North County.

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The Rooster Burger @ The Red Rooster, Oceanside ~ American cheese, Ortega chili, grilled onion, sesame seed bun, and your choice of toppings, in this case 1000 island dressing and a little mustard.

Pretty much an institution in Oceanside, the Red Rooster Bar has been around since, well forever. I remember my Dad bringing home Rooster burgers when I was in Jr. High. It is a juicy, tasty, dive bar burger. Pretends to be nothing more, yet it is.

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Weekly Chef Specials @ Petite Madeline ~ Though because they are specials they change weekly, ordering one of Chef Marc’s off the blackboard is the way to go here. He is a Chef I still can not pin down. He uses Asian influences and then throws an Italian pesto in. This one in particular “The O’side plate” included shrimp, pesto, tomatoes, pesto, and the genius addition of kohlrabi noodles (cabbage family).

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Avocado Grilled Cheese @ Barrel Republic, Oceanside ~ After seeing a video of the Chef making this sandwich I had to try it. Perfectly grilled sourdough, tomato, mozzarella, and tempura fried avocado. The avocado stays fresh and soft inside its light battered crust making the dish a lot lighter than it may sound. So, good.

  • Currently only at the Oceanside location.

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Tandoori Chicken Sandwich @ Flying Pig, Vista ~ Fried chicken, house BBQ sauce, on brioche. Another sandwich that after having seen it on Facebook knew “that is going my face”.  Upon arrival I thought “no way i am eating all that”. Yet, due to another light and flavorful batter and the fact the sandwich is so damn good, I destroyed the whole thing.

  • Currently only at the Vista location on the weekends

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Fresh fish Plate @ Pelly’s Fish Market, Carlsbad ~ Local Halibut, lemon butter, Spanish rice, and a side salad w / blue cheese dressing. Simple perfectly cooked fresh fish, not much more you can ask for.

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Heirloom Caprese Salad and Roast Beef Bites @ The Miller’s Table, Oceanside. Cyclops Farms heirloom tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, olive oil, and pesto. You can not go wrong with this flavor combo, especially when using top quality ingredients. Most of their sandwiches can be ordered as bites. The ingredients are served on bruschetta and quite filling making combining them with a salad a perfect summer lunch or light dinner.

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16oz Blueberry Italian Ice and Mango Sorbet W/ Fresh Fruit @ Guava Lava Frozen Treats, Oceanside ~ First time trying this place out and I loved it. Cute interior, surgically clean, and a great selection of flavors and toppings. I love that they offer Ices and Sorbets in addition to yogurt. Tons of fresh fruit flavor, I shall return.

 

The Red Rooster

Petite Madeline Bakery & Bistro

Barrel Republic

Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen

Pelly’s Fish Market

The Miller’s Table

Guava Lava Frozen Treats

#food #foodporn #restaurants #oceanside #vista #carlsbad

 

 

Feast @ The Mission San Luis Rey ~ Oceanside

So, Wednesday the 26th marked the third incarnation of the Feast event at the Mission San Luis Rey here in Oceanside. Not only was this the third event, it was the biggest with 450 tickets being sold prior to the event online. With at the door sales the event attendance easily reached 500 plus.

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The crowd.

The atmosphere is one of the things that make this event so special. It is held in the Mission’s rose garden, normally closed off to the general public.

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The rose garden.

The event hosts 20 restaurants, including a few local breweries, and one distillery. It is pretty much impossible to try everything. Luckily my friend Cheryl of Cheryl’s Carmels housed me with a chair and water behind her booth as respite between food rounds.

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Cheryl’s Caramels ~ Hand made with love and no additives.

So, I started with Chef Willy’s offering from his restaurant 608. Last year he brought frog legs, this year was slightly more tame but still showed off why he is one of the most creative Chefs in North County.

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Tuna in Miso Broth ~ Grade A Tuna from Catalina Offshore in a light Miso broth. Instead of using Miso paste the broth was made with Sunflower seeds. Great refreshing dish.

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Cyclops Farms was there with fresh organic strawberries and wine pours from Chris Lobo of Native Wines. The strawberries could not only be sampled at their stand but found their way into the desserts of……

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Petite Madeline Bakery and Bistro bringing out their full spread.

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Those Cyclops Farm strawberries in action.

Making Their first showing at Feast, they are just coming up on their 1st year in business, was The Miller’s Table and Chef Stacy Miller.

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Watermelon and Feta Salad ~ A good choice to provide a fresh and light dish. There were a lot of tacos and sliders at the event so it was nice to have some contrast. She also brought her indulgent grilled cheese sandwich.

Two of the originals of the Oceanside food movement, as always, brought their A game.

Wrench and Rodent gave us two dishes.

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Wrench and Rodent’s Zucchini Gazpacho. Well it may have not plated the prettiest it was one of the top 3 dishes of the night. Full of flavor with a slight back heat.

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Opah Sloppy Joes and Cyclops Farms vegetables. The Opah Sloppy Joe was served on a bun which I forewent due to stomach space. A great tasty dish.

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Summer Squash Rillette W/ Peach Jalapeno Sauce on Crostini. The Flying Pig, two years in a row, produced what I thought was the dish of the night. A true “Chefs” dish, seemingly simple yet packed with technique and flavor.

One of my favorites, and on my revisit list for August, Panca Peruvian Cuisine and Rotisserie showed up with one of Chef Iiolie’s signature, and one of my favorite, dishes.

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Scallop Won-ton ~ seared scallop, lettuce, onion and carrot served with sweet and sour soy sauce, Huancaina sauce and cilantro.

A great dish that shows the cultural diversity of Peru.

These guys were new to me. I almost passed them up but I am glad I didn’t. Their presentation was spot on and the flavors were great.

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The Jennhouse Catering ~ Vegetarian Won-Ton Tacos and mini corn Elote.

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LTH did a Tuna  Ceviche Tostada. Super fresh tuna and I thought the addition of pine nuts in the ceviche was inspired.

The Privateer brought their classic cauliflower dish.

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Curried Cauliflower ~ A great, tasty vegetarian dish.

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Crostini ~ Tuna and house made humus (I love hummus so much)

Last but not least, Master’s Kitchen and Cocktail played it safe by deciding to roast a whole pig on site:)

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The Masters crew w/ owner Ryan in the back. There is deviance under that grin.

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Pork, pork, pork, pork..gotta be pork wonderful pork. If you change out the meat and know where that song is from you get +10,000 bonus points.

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Pork Taco ~ Tender delicious pork and a great salsa earn it a place in the top three of the night.

So, another great Feast event. I hit 4/5ths of what was there on offer. I do this professionally so I think I picked the right choices. If only I had an extra tummy.

There were a few places I did not try that I am now going to seek out as an individual restaurant review.  My only advice would be, remember people are eating a lot of food, keep portion size to 2 to 3 bites. Sure I can throw some away but that is not a good choice to have to make. Bring you’re A game because others are.

Top 3 of the night in order L to R….

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Flying Pig’s Rillette                    Master’s Pork Tacos            Wrench and Rodent’s Gazpacho

Links are in the restaurant offerings highlighted blue in the post. If you did not get a chance to go this year I highly suggest it for the future.

#food #foodporn #Oceanside #restaurants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Kettle Room @ Ballast Point 2nd Take

Words & Pictures bt Justin Kunert.

Buried behind beer bars and brewing equipment lies Ballast Point’s fine dining experience, the Kettle Room.  It seems weird to call this a hidden gem, given its location at one of the most popular breweries in San Diego.  But after swimming through the crowd of thirsty folk and busy servers, Chris and I found ourselves behind huge sliding glass doors in a dimly lit room, only accompanied by the three skeletons below.

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The Kettle Room greeting crew

And just like that, we were the only ones in the whole place.  Given the speakeasy vibe and lack of clientele, it felt like I was in on some secret that the rest of San Diego hadn’t caught on to.  It was a cozy spot set in the heart of the brewing area.  Here was the view from our table.

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Piles and piles of malted barley

I accepted the honor of ordering beer, and Chris handled the food.  The Kettle Room offers a concise menu focused on quality over quantity, with options for a prix fixe menu with or without beer pairings

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Slider (tart wheat ale), and the Sea Rose (cherry wheat ale).  The Habanero Sculpin is a favorite of mine and was a good way to start the meal.  The Biere de Garde had hints of both a Belgium style and a Saison.  I really enjoyed the Red-Eared Slider, it was tart, refreshing, with lots of carbonation – perfect for the start of summer.  We paired the sea rose with our dessert, it went well with the food, but otherwise this beer would probably be too sweet and fruity for me.

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The Biere de Garde and the Red-Eared Slider

As Chris mentioned in his article, this was truly an exceptional dining experience.  The service was incredible, the food was unlike anything I had ever had, and the beer was the perfect complement to round out the meal.  So next time you find yourself at Ballast Point in Little Italy.

tossing back a few beers and munching on pretzel bites, remember the culinary marvel hiding away in the back and go give it a try.

*editors note..this is why you have a second person, they pick up on things you miss:) Thanks, Justin.

The Kettle Room

2215 India St
San Diego, CA

 

#food #foodporn #beer

 

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

Petite Madeline Bakery & Bistro / Catering Done Right ~ Oceanside

So, let me start off by first saying if you are going to cater in Oceanside anymore , I’m going to throw in Taste of Oceanside as catering as well for sake of discussion, you have to bring your A game. The reason is other Chefs are bringing theirs and if you don’t you will not compete. These events, whether it be a catering gig for the city or an event like Taste of Oceanside or Feast, are basically a food business card, a first introduction, and when restaurants like Petite Madeline, 608, LTH, and more are bringing fresh shucked oysters, frog legs, and scratch made desserts a pizza or a cut up sandwich are not going to even register with people. If you are a pizza or sandwich shop I get it it’s what you do, I would just bring the absolute best you have and bring personality not people just handing out samples. This is more directed at restaurants who I see again and again half assing it or not putting an importance on the events..

Luckily that is not the case with Petite Madeline. Every event I have been to that they cater is phenomenal. Christine, and in this case Chef Marc, get it. I guarantee she breaks even or loses money when she caters events. She understands it is marketing.

The event I attended Saturday was held at the Oceanside Public Library. It featured People of different backgrounds speaking to their experience as Immigrants living in Oceanside / San Diego as well as the history of immigration in our area. It was really interesting and I wish the speakers were given more time.

The event was catered by Chef Marc of Petite Madeline. He did a great job of producing food that spoke to the subject matter being discussed by doing some great asian fusion dishes.

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Art on a plate.

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To start a play on Chicken Asada served on what I believe is a shrimp chip.

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Unagi Adobada ~ Unagi, sushi rice, wasabi micro greens, shiso leaf.

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Daikon and Quail ~ Quail tempura, grated daikon radish, miso dressing, red chili and tamarind sauce.

I loved this dish it also had a perfectly cooked quail egg and mushroom. The balance and textures were spot on.

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Chawan-Mushi ~ Custard eggs, enoki mushrooms, lotus root crisps, gingered-coconut snail, carrots, and ginko nuts.

A beautiful and interesting dish (in a good way).

See that is how you cater an event. Every dish was unique and worked well in a catering setting. This was served and plated at the front desk area of the library. Everything worked at the temperature it was served and people went back for seconds. The library received a grant to hold these events, whom ever caters the next one has big shoes to fill..

Or you could have this….

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At least make it cute…

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Panda Sandwiches FTW.

Thought it might be interesting to show his prep list and prep to show how Chefs work…

 

Petite Madeline Bakery & Bistro

223 North Coast Highway, Oceanside

#food #foodporn #petitemadeline #oceanside #Filipinofood