How to grow your restaurant business with video.

So, we have a great restaurant community up here in North County. Another thing we have, that may go over looked, is a great number of businesses that support that community. Whether it is Cyclops Farms providing great, local, organic produce to local eateries, or organizations like Mainstreet Oceanside and Visit Oceanside helping new restaurant owners build their networks and contacts. We are pretty lucky.

Another member of that community is “The King’s Touch Video” who specialize in video photography. I met the owners, Shawn and Roberta, over a year ago at a Mainstreet  promotions committee meeting. Not only was I struck by their experience and scope of work but also themselves as people. Since that time I have introduced them to a number of local restauranteurs and chefs, who they ended up doing video and photography for.

Because I am always doing one project or another, or just stuffing my face, I talk to these Chefs and owners over and over again and have heard nothing but high praise for the quality of work and customer service provided by Shawn and his wife .

The reason I am mentioning them here is because they want to focus more of their business on restaurants, chefs, and food as it is a passion of theirs.

Press play above to see their work. They also have a lot of food based examples on their website.

This is not a paid ad for their services. I just believe in their ability and think they are a great support business for the local restaurant community.

So, if you are in the market to expand coverage of your restaurant or bar through video, I would highly recommend their services.

The King’s Touch Video

#video #food #foodporn #business #northcounty #cyclopsfarms #mainstreetoceanside #visitoceanside #localbusiness

Great Farmer’s Market Food ~ Oceanside and Leucadia

So, I have a bit of a love hate relationship with the food at farmers markets. While I love small independent food vendors offering ethnically diverse cuisine, in a venue that allows them to do so without the investment required by a food truck or restaurant, I still expect value for my money and want true authenticity. A lot of times the quantity and quality of food does not justify the price and the “authenticity” can be debatable.

Luckily enough there are a few that produce great authentic food at a good value. These are two of my favorites.

Ed’s Filipino Cuisine

Ed's Filipino food (1 of 1)

Ed’s sets up their stall Thursday mornings from From 9am till 1pm at the Oceanside Morning Farmer’s Market on Pier View Way. They really are not in full swing till around 9:30 or 10 due to them cooking everything on site, which makes it worth the wait.

I have a very high standard for Filipino food. My brother-in-law is Filipino, so I have been spoiled with great home-made Filipino dishes at large family occasions like holidays and birthday parties for years. Ed’s is the only place I have found that comes close to what my extended family can throw down. (and I have searched long and far).

Filipino food (1 of 1)

$9 Lunch ~ Lumpia (2 pork, 1 beef, 1 vegetable), Pancit, and a pork skewer.

Lumpia are very near and dear to my heart. They are time-consuming to make, like tamales, and good ones deserve respect. One of the keys is a light flaky crust, deep-fried just enough so it has a beautiful crunch and crumbles a bit like a great baguettte when you bite into it. Ed’s lumpia do this perfectly. Way too many lumpia I have tried just mimic egg rolls in texture making them, well, egg rolls. I do wish the sauce had more vinegar and was less sweet, but these are some of the best lumpia out there IMO.

The pork skewers are perfectly charred and full of flavor. I really like the marinade he uses and his charcoal hibachi grill gives the meat a nice, flavorful sear. The pancit is great and does not need any additional soy sauce or flavoring, bulking up the meal to provide a filling authentic Filipino lunch.

Second on my list is Arepas Papachon at the Leucadia Farmer’s Market, hosted Sundays at 185 Union Street from 10 till 2 in Encinitas. If you have not been to the Leucadia Farmer’s Market, it is really nice, especially for produce.

arapes (1 of 1)

Arepas Papachon ~ The arepas are formed and cooked to order, so it is a good idea to place your order and have a look around at some of the other stalls as it takes about 10 minutes.

arapes pork (1 of 1)

Pulled pork arepas plate , black beans, and plantains.

The arepa is sliced down the middle so you can stuff the pork inside. The first time I ordered this I thought the portion was a bit small but it ended up being very filling. Everything is very flavorful. The pork is nice and moist, the dough is hearty without being dense, and the black beans and sweet plantains round out a nice Venezuelan brunch.

So, those would be my top two food places I would recommend if someone asked me “what are some good food choices at the local farmers markets?”

I would also highly suggest stopping by Cheryl’s Caramels at the Oceanside Sunset Market for local hand-made candies and Doh! at Leucadia’s or Carlsbad’s markets for great vegan cookie dough.

Oceanside Farmer’s Market

Pier View Way, Oceanside

(Corner of Pier View and Mission)

9am till 1pm

Leucadia Farmers Market

185 Union Street, Encinitas

( Paul Eick Elementary School)

10am till 2pm

#food #foodie #farmersmarket #foodporn #Oceanside #leucadia #filipinofood #southamericanfood #venezuelanfood #lumpia #arepas






DOH! Gourmet Cookie Dough ~ North County (soon to be everywere)

So, DOH! Gourmet Cookie Dough is made by Chef Annalise Brolaski and Nick Hart, right here in North County. They have created an amazing vegan and gluten-free cookie dough.


Annalise and Nick

Unlike the vast majority of gluten-free cookie products it has an incredible taste and texture. Unless you were told it was vegan and gluten free you would not know.


Prepared DOH! cookies. It is also great straight out of the tub raw,baked, or baked and then chilled in the fridge. You can also get baked, bake, and then chill, it’s a fourth option. I have had it three of those four ways and raw and baked then chilled are my favorites.

A little about Chef Annalise. I met her while looking for a third chef for an all dessert dinner I was putting together. At that time she was a pastry cook at Cucina Enoteca. She was extremely talented and impressive. At the age of 20 this is what she produced for the dessert dinner.


Annalise’s Dish for the dessert dinner~ Citrus Shortbread, Strawberry Grand Marnier Sauce, Honey Comb, Basil (red local basil which is incredible), Meyer Lemon Curd, Strawberry Honey Sorbet, Local Bee Pollen.

See what I mean?

Shortly after that she dropped out of the cooking scene for a while (which sucked because she had a lot to add to the culinary world and in my opinion was far from done.) She reemerged briefly doing some incredible deserts for Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub and starting her own company Deep Sea Desserts. Then as my friend Chef Beau put it when DOH! appeared “Yeah, those guys disappeared for a bit, went and had some kind of retreat / brainstorming in Hawaii and came back killing it.”. I do not know how accurate that is but it makes for a great story, and I like it so I’m sticking with that as to what caused the catalyst, because killing it is exactly what they have been doing.

They launched around October with the product and 2 months later can be found at Both Frazier Farms locations (Oceanside and Vista), Cream of The Crop in Oceanside, Carlsbad Ranch Market, Seaside Market (Cardiff), and soon, Specialty Produce. That is an insane amount of distribution for a start up. If they do not achieve national distribution in a year, I would be surprised. Their main hurdle is going to be production, the product and packaging are already there.


The DOH! stand at the Leucadia Farmers Market. (You can also find then at the Encinitas farmers Market.) They tend to sell out so get there early. I believe you can email them in advance to have an order ready for you.


Product ready for sale.

So, there you have it a local success story that is nowhere near done. Go, buy, support, eat, enjoy. Great gifts or for Holiday entertaining.

If you are a cafe or restaurant and want to add a great Vegan / Gluten free, easy to prepare option, trust me it is better than what you are currently buying and serving and it works out to about $.20 some odd cents per cookie at the wholesale price.


Available at Frazier Farms, Seaside Market, Cream Of The Crop, Carlsbad Ranch Market, Leucadia and Encinitas Farmers Market, and coming soon to Specialty Produce.

#vegan #glutenfree #food #northcounty #cookies





Neoteric Chefs Dinner ~ Part 2

Chef dinner bio 2

Chef Terri Mcillwain will be serving the second course at the Neoteric Chefs Dinner (Neoteric means modern and new)

Chef Terri specializes in farm to table Southern California coastal cuisine. Her dish will focus on Scallops and utilize fresh local ingredients from the farmers markets.

Reserve your spot by calling 608 at 760-291-1040

One Love Island Cuisine ~ Oceanside

So, this is my new jam, you have to drive to find good Jamaican food let alone great Jamaican food. So, we are lucky to have this place land in Oceanside.


If you not familiar with Jamaican food..just like any other true cultures food it is simple at heart. A meat a starch and a side. Ethiopian, Cuban, true Mexican it is all the same when broken down. It is what each culture does with those ingredients that make them distinct.


The signature dish of Jamaican food is Jerk Chicken, unfortunately you see jerk (insert protein here) at way to many places that have no idea.

These guys are the real deal; I will get into that in a bit.

The owners Sean and Cammal Walker are beautiful people. I can spot the fakes a mile away, been too long in the game.

OK, enough of me spouting on to the food.

Jerk chicken

Jerk Chicken ~ Rice, Mango Salsa

Ok, they kill that Jerk chicken…tender, juicy and a building heat. See that little container?scotch bonnet hot sauce. It is easy to bring heat; it is harder to bring heat and that kind of flavor. This would be my new srirchaha if they sold it by the bottle.

The mango salsa is just fresh cut mango, tomatoes, and herbs. It is brilliant because it cuts the heat.

and now

ox tail

OX Tail they also serve a goat curry both are excellent. I could go on and on but or fast casual just go here. Its something different it is authentic and it is good.

Total bonus they are at the Thursday Sunset Market.

One Love Island Cuisine

4225 Oceanside Blvd Suite K

Oceanside, Ca


Cyclops Farms Update ~ Oceanside 9/19/15

So, I get a few questions about Luke Girling’s Cyclops Farms project daily, so I thought I would do a quick update, since I spent the morning there Saturday.

The farm is up and running and supplying Organic certified Veg. to a number of restaurants including LTH, Wrench and Rodent, Petite Madeline and Real Bar and Bistro. You can also find his product at Cream of the Crop in South Oceanside.

Hours right now are Saturdays 8 am till 12:30 pm and Tuesdays 3 pm till 6:30 pm


veg 2

Lots of peppers and tomatoes at the moment.


stand 1

Locals buying local, what is not to love?

stand 2

The man Ed manning the farm stand.

tomatoes 2


Sunshine in a bucket.


Farmer Luke Girling in his limited edition Cyclops farms T-Shirt 1 of 1 $250 dollars on Ebay:)

Also, Luke’s wife grows and puts together great flower arrangements right on site.


An arrangement put together for me for Banana Dang! in Oceanside.

If you get a chance take a visit up to the Fire Mountain area in Oceanside, meet Luke and his family and grab some great produce and flowers.

The best way to track whats being sold and stand hours is to follow them on Facebook. 


Cyclops Farms

1448 Avocado Rd






Oceanside Sunset Market ~ Vendor Spotlight and Picture Essay

Having been a volunteer with Mainstreet Oceanside for about a Year and a half now, I know how much work goes into running the Thursday Markets. There are two the smaller more produce driven morning market and the night “Sunset Market” which features more of a street fair environment with live music, artists, and food. I have been to two over the last month or so and the crowd volume has picked up for the summer.

market 1

market 4

Pretty much this crowded the whole time. I love these two ladies in the second pic…I’m not taking pictures of you get over it, my camera was over my head “say anything boom box style” snapping crowd pics.

Now there are about 180 vendors for the markets and i would say 80% if not more are food vendors. That is a lot. Not all are good and not all are authentic. I will mention three here that are worth your time.

First is Shwings ~ New style Sushi and wings who i have mentioned before. Having been around for 7 weeks now it is nice to see them settled in and upping their game.

shwings 2

The Shwings menu offerings.

shwings 3

Chicken with pickled watermelon foreground and Bacon Avocado roll in the back.

shwings chicken sushi

Bacon &Avocado roll…great plating

Flaming Salmon 1

Right next door to Shwings is flamin’ Salmon.

Flaming Salmon 2

Hence the name. I had talked with the Owner / Chef about temp control and how the fish does not get dried out..his answer 20 years experience doing this in Germany.

flaming salmon 7

flaming salmon

Good stuff.

So the real reason I went down was to talk with Cheryl of Cheryl’s caramels

Cheryl hand makes her candy here in Oceanside in small artisanal batches. They are Gluten, nut, chemical, and preservative free. She makes 9 flavors ranging from Old Fashioned Caramel to Ginger Bread and Raspberry.


caremels service

Cheryl at her booth.

She used to work in the corporate world doing graphic design and marketing,. you can tell her booth screams vintage quality candy. She is also a great person and passionate about her product. The visuals draw you in and she sets the hook and reels you in with her personality.

caremels product

caremels cup

Went home with the “Old Fashioned” caramels. Perfect melt in your mouth rich flavor.

caremels me

Cheryl and some writer hack:)

There will be more about Cheryl and her product soon, also I heard good things about the Perogies near by and did not get a chance to check them out and want to hit up Olivia’s Kitchen for some African food (I love goat and it is hard to find)

night market_

The market at Sunsetish.

night market  2


Flamin’ salmon

Cheryl’s Caramels





ShWings new sushi and wing house ~ Oceanside

So, it is hard enough to strike out on your own in the restaurant industry and open your own place, even with years of experience, add moving to a new state and not having a location, that must be pretty daunting.

That is just what Chef Ryan Turk and Nijela Shama have done. Taking a concept they believe in and creating ShWings ~ New Sushi and Wing House. Ryan creates and developes the food and Nijela runs the Marketing and Social Media. I always find partnerships like this work best. Examples would be Mark and Kim Millwood of TBG, Davin and Jessica at Wrench and Rodent and loads of others.


Ryan has years of experience under his belt working as a Chef for the Caesar’s Palace organization in Las Vegas. Rotating around to assist as the “”Celebrity Chef” restaurants come in. Basically being available to fill in to any position needed, when needed, and dealing with extreme volume. Most recently he worked at the Vegas Outpost of famed New York steak house Old Homestead.

homestead h line int

Old Homestead Steak House LV

After 3 years in Las Vegas and a little convincing from family and friends Ryan decided to move to San Diego, North County and pursue his passion and ideas.


As a proof of the concept they have started at local Farmers Markets and breweries, like Oceanside’s Thursday Night Market pictured above.

The idea he has is for a non-fish based Sushi and Wing House….now right there the concept makes some people think hmmm…yet the idea is new and traditional at the same time.

Sushi simply means “cooked vinegared rice combined with other ingredients” though most familiar preparations include some kind of fish, even traditional Japanese Sushi houses have dishes like Tamago (egg) and inventive chefs have pushed the envelope for years to include ingredients like Kobe Beef and vegetables to their rolls or nigiri.

bacon roll

Bacon Roll ~ Bacon, cucumber,ginger,


Gochujang Wings with Asian Slaw

The wing concept is a perfect match as well, as Japanese fried finger foods have been around forever. I mean Chicken Karaage is Japanese fried chicken and an American version of that as a companion to Sushi featuring bacon and other Savory ingredients makes sense.

I have a huge standard for wings and these were great. Panko breaded for a light crispy taste, moist chicken and a sauce with depth. Slaw was on point too.


Ryan will have to explain his concept to customers from time to time, and while I was visiting them at the night-time market he did have to balance the role of Chef and showman. In the end though the food speaks for itself.


Wings being seasoned, sauce going.

I really like these guys and am excited to see where they go. Right now they are at a few North County Markets and breweries which you can track through their web page and Facebook. I will also throw up any info on the northcountyfood facebook page.

New Feature ~ Growing Local W / Luke Girling of Cyclops Farms

So, I plan on doing a monthly, maybe every 6 weeks, feature talking with Luke Girling of Cyclops Farms in Oceanside. The Article will cover whats going on at the farm, the programs he is running, the local farm to restaurant scene in Oceanside, plus tips for home gardening, planting. I will also have Chefs show off dishes that feature Oceanside grown produce.

If you do not know about the Cyclops Farms story you can go here or here.

(If you have any feed back on what you would like to see know about contact us at northcountyfood)

Breaking Bad - Growing Local

So,things have been kind of whirlwind. Tell me a little bit about the experience of getting Cyclops farms up and going.

Well, it’s a little more than just finding the land, throwing seeds out and watering them!
The paperwork/permit trail you have to complete is mind bending and never Ending! Being
that it’s an “urban” farm there are more hurdles to jump through and people to convince that it’s a good idea. I’m kinda exhausted before even farming! Don’t get me wrong, it’s been a great experience and I’ve learned a lot, it would just be easier to do in the middle of
nowhere! People have been very supportive and the city of Oceanside wants this to happen, so I’m gone charge and show this town where our food can come from. Really excited about this opportunity!

Where is the project at currently?

The project is about to really start rolling. CCOF (a California state organic certifier) just
came and inspected the property and went over our paperwork, we should be hearing about our certification this next week!!! We have made our beds and 1000’s of starts have been planted in the greenhouse, all though a little behind, we expect our first large plant out in a couple of weeks!!

I know you have been supplying some local restaurants locally already. You are in fact providing all the Strawberries and some other produce for our June Dessert Dinner. Who are you working with and how has the response been?

The response has been great as the local people and restaurants are hungry for this type of direct connection. Chef Davin of Wrench and Rodent has been the number one supporter, he takes anything I give him and turns it into something cool. Very inspiring. Chef Ian and chef/ owner Christine of Petite Madeline have had huge smiles and open arms. Chef Daniel of LTH is a key player and super cool to deal with. Chef Mario and chef/owner Roddy of Flying Pig said game on. Chef Beau of Masters is always supportive and very positive. The Privateer, The BLVD, Banana Dang!, Cream of the Crop and many individual chefs have stepped up to the plate to support also. I think I have a solid clientele!!

When do you see the Farm fully up and running, at least from a produce stand point?

We will be in full swing by August. Not that happy about the delay but it’s better than it not
happening at all! The term “Indian Summer” will be our motto this year! Since our weather
here is still Summerish until October, we will be able to have things later.
I know you have a lot of plans regarding education programs for children and interest in doing
CSA’s. though probably a ways off can you speak briefly about these.
The main goal is to get our farms structure solid then build on it. The more we talk with
locals, the more they say they want a CSA. CSA’s are awesome but the concept behind it has been diluted with programs that preach local but pull from farms all over the state, package into boxes and shipped to customers. When we do ours, everything in the box will be from our farm, grown by us. The idea is to reduce food travel, to support true local farmers, not another corporate food take over, like many of these other box programs. We need to slow down and appreciate how and where it’s grown, and my favorite how it’s cooked! That leads us to kids! Where are our kids in the future if we don’t educate them about food? They will not make it. It’s that simple. I plan on attacking this concept at any angle I can, through the schools, non profits, public outreach and the city. To teach someone how and why to grow is one concept, but to cook it or prepare it in an enjoyable way, well that’s an art. If we combine both worlds, well then, we’re all winning. On a quick note, involving retired military and starting a community sponsored cancer CSA rounds out my dreams for this project, whew!
I better get to work!


Example CSA Box


Lastly, Summer is just about here. What plants well and thrives this time of year? Also as a consumer what Vegetables or Fruits should you be taking advantage of being in peak season?

We are lucky to have the climate that we do! As you might assume, tomatoes, peppers,
cucumbers, squash, beans and melons do really well here. If you can get your hands on some organic local corn!! Watch out! That’s the stuff! Basil and storage onions are one of my favorite summer treats ! For fun, I would recommend trying a type of basil that you haven’t already had. Replace it in a dish that you’ve previously used other basil in and spazz up your dish a little. Simple: caprese salad!
Thank you, Chris Messenger for the support!

Luke Girling and CyclopsFarms Crew!


Owner / Farmer Luke Girling Cyclops Farms, Oceanside

Cyclops Farms


Gelato Etc. ~ Oceanside

A few weeks back I mentioned a new Gelato place opening up in Oceanside. Well Gelato Etc. has been open now for about 4 weeks, so I stopped by to take a look around.

ext 1

Just past the corner of Pier View and Coast Highway.


int 1

Clean simple interior.

The Falcones have been selling Gelato throughout San Diego at Farmers Markets and food events for the last 7 years. They decided to give up the gypsy life style of the markets and open a brick and mortar location.

The Gelato is made by Bottega Italiana a highly respected Gelato maker that was born in 2003 in Pikes Place Market in Seattle and now supplies some of the best Italian restaurants with their product. In San Diego you may have had their product at places like Solare or Piatta. The main difference with Gelato is that it contains approximately 60% less fat and calories than American ice cream.  Not all flavors contain dairy, but those that do are made with 2% milk. This gives it a richer creamier texture, with less fat and calories to boot.

gelato 2

In addition to around 16 flavors of Gelato they also serve 6 flavors of Ice Cream. In addition they serve root beer floats. I tried the pomegranate Gelato when I was there and it was very flavor full and smooth. You can taste the use of natural ingredients Bottega Italiana is known for.

In addition to Gelato they also sell some artesian products from local purveyors they have met through the years working the farmers markets.

int 3

Linda’s Brittle, SONO Trading Co. mustards, and others.

They are open Wednesday through Sunday starting at 11am.

Gelato Etc.

224 N Coast HWY
Oceanside, California