Himalayan Kitchen ~ Encinitas (round 2 )

So, its hard for me to re-visit restaurants, especially so soon. I loved this place so much I headed back down with a Chef friend of mine to check them out again.

The place is Himalayan Kitchen at 1337 Encinitas Blvd, Encinitas.

You can read my more detailed original post here.

This quick post is just to give you mine and my guests thoughts on the second visit.

First off, Momos were not ready yet 😦

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L to R

Basmati Rice ~ perfectly cooked lightly seasoned rice as an accompaniment

Rato Bhale ra Bhanta ~ Diced eggplant and chicken cooked with exotic spices Nepalese style. This was the star dish. Rich depth of flavor and perfectly cooked eggplant and tender chicken.

Lamb Biryani ~ Lamb, basmati rice cooked in special herbs and spices. similar to the one I had the last time and just as good. The lamb was tender and flavorful and the rice perfect.

We also had Badami Naan which was delightful.

This is my new favorite spot. I will be here again and again. Chef concurred its delicious.

Himalayan Kitchen

1337 Encinitas Blvd Encinitas

608’s Tasting Menu in Photos ~ 608 Oceanside.

Here is Chef Willy’s 7 coarse tasting menu in photographs.

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The tasting menu is available Thursdays thru Sundays.

$65 pp and there is a vegetarian option available. Recently a 3 coarse version has been added.

608

608 Mission Ave Oceanside

#foofporn #food #tastingmenu

 

Top Choice Fish Market & Eatery ~ Carlsbad

Top Choice Fish Market & Eatery has opened recently at 6118 Paseo Del Norte in Carlsbad. Located next to Tip Top Meats the Top Choice Fish shares the same owners as the famous butcher shop and German market.

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The interior is simple and clean as one would expect from a fish market. It is divided into two sides. The retail market and the eatery.

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The eatery.

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The fish case.

The quality of ingredients is apparent. Perfect flesh and also perfect butchery. All fish are provided by San Diego’s very own Catalina Offshore Products.

They also have a selection of whole fish. Every fish I saw head the clearest eyes.

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The one at the bottom of the middle row looks pissed.

In addition they carry shellfish as well as a freezer case of other items like fish heads.

Taking a note from the butchery next store Top Choice Fish offers consumers the opportunity to buy 8oz cuts of fish and have it cooked and paired with two sides for cost of purchase plus $5. This what I came here for.

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I selected a beautiful piece of Opah for my lunch.

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Opah, grilled medium rare with coleslaw, Spanish rice, and a small salad

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Perfect medium rare, as asked for.

They offer a number of cooking styles and bastes. You could have Salmon fried fish and chips if so desired. In addition a selection of seafood gumbos, and chowders are also able to be purchased.

The prices vary by choice of fish but my Opah plate came to about $15. I was happy with that. The quality of product and cooking would stand up to any restaurant kitchen worth their weight. The sides were a let down, not bad just OK. Because it is a market there is no sales tax on most items.

The fishmongers were on point but the staff, though nice, was still a little bit green. I noticed a few order mistakes, which were quickly and appropriately handled. All in all a great lunch.

There is now North County access to the same great seafood products used by San Diego’s best Chefs. Now just because you have a paint brush does not mean you are gonna be Picasso, but at least now you have a really good paint brush.

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I drew a Opah.

Top Choice Fish Market & Eatery

6118 Paseo Del Norte, Carlsbad

#food #seafood #foodporn # fishmarket #restaurant

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Himalayan Kitchen ~ Encinitas

I was so excited when I came across this place. Great Himalayan food in North County…YAY! I was having to sneaking down to San Diego’s Himalayan Dinning Inn every month.

Himalayan cuisine encompasses food from the countries of India, Bangladesh, and my favorite Nepal. Though a lot of the ingredients are similar, the meats and spices will vary from country to country.

In India you see more curries and hotter spice levels. Nepali cuisine in general uses different spicing and is usually more mild.

That is why I love a restaurant like Himalayan Kitchen that can do these different variations on dishes and do them well.

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Himalayan Kitchen 1337 Encinitas Blvd. Encinitas (sprouts shopping center corner of Encinitas and El Camino )

Before the food let me mention the staff, I was so impressed. Professional, cortiouse, and friendly. Two of the staff were new. First day I think? They handled a lunch rush better than I have seen trained wait staff.

The other thing is they were very informative. I am not the normal customer. I do research. I actually read the menu a few times online, looked stuff up, and like most cases know what I’m getting before I come in. The other customers on the hand, had generally no idea what anything was. The staff was great in walking them through it. The other thing I thought was great was a lot of the customers sayed ” we saw you and wanted to learn more about this kind of food”. That was great to hear.

On to food……………

I love Momo. “Its kind of like a Gyoza or Chinese steamed dumpling” or that is what people would have you believe…it’s not. Because of whats inside, the spices, plus a slight lightness to the dough it is a Momo, or as I call them little packets of love.

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Vegetarian Momo ~ minced cabbage, spinach, cashews, nuts, paneer, onion, cilantro, green onion, and spices.

what does that filling look like?

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That is what love looks like.

Seriously, so much flavor. Great mix of spices. Slight heat at the back. They also come in chicken and lamb. As much of a carnivore I am, I suggest going with the vegetable ones.

Momo is one of the most popular snack foods and is sold on almost every street corner in cities in Nepal. With good reason.

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Himalayan Biryani ~ Vegetables, paneer, Tandori cooked lamb, Tandori cooked chicken, shrimp, Himalayan spices.

Loved this dish. The rice was perfect, every grain was separate, had seasoning, and the right tooth. All three proteins, perfect seasoning, and tenderness. This is a huge portion. You could easily order Momos 🙂 and two entrees for 3 people.

They have heat levels much like a Thai restaurant. Their heat levels are honest. I ordered an 8, they warned me and suggested a 7. The 7 had heat that built with the dish as you ate through it. I could have done an 8 and will next time, but be warned the first time round down 1.

There are, at least, over 60 versions of this dish in the Himalayas. Just depends where you are what spices and proteins will be involved. In the more northern reasons you will see nuts and raisins for example, like this version. While it reminded me of paellea, unlike that dish these ingredients are cooked separately and then assembled.

Quickly, on the menu are over 51 items as mains, many are vegetarian. Field day for vegetarians man. If you are gluten-free plenty of vegetables and they did find a man who was there while I was some crackers as well.

Also great lunch specials ~ two curries, rice, lentil, soup and bread $7.95 to $11.95 depending on what curries.

It is not an Indian restaurant, it is a Himalayan restaurant. You will find some familiar dishes but many new ones as well….and Momos.

Wheeew, lots to say but it’s because I loved this little place. I think this and El Chapin were my two favorite strip mall restaurant finds in the last 8 months or so. I already knew about Irinas’a so they do not count.

Strip mall restaurant is the political correct term for hole in the wall:)

Himalayan Kitchen

1337 Encinitas Blvd. Encinitas

(sprouts shopping center corner of Encinitas and El Camino )

#indian #himalayan #nepal #food #foodfinds.

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

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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

 

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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

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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

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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

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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

 

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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

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Have a great Easter! North County options coming shortly.

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

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

Crust Pizzeria ~ Carlsbad

Crust Pizzeria is a Chef driven, gourmet pizza restaurant located on the border of Carlsbad and Encinitas at 3263 Camino De Los Coches, Carlsbad. (sprouts shopping center.)

The restaurant is pretty large with a medium-sized bar area, an open kitchen area, and seating for about 75 inside and an additional 40 on the patio. Still it gets busy on nights and weekends.

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Crust Pizzeria

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Crust Pizzeria interior.

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Master Pizza Chef Charlie Meola working at his craft.

Chef Meola has been working at his craft for 18 years. This experience and his passion for only using the best ingredients shows in his food. I was luck enough to grab some of his time and you can read that interview Here.

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Cheese Pizza by the slice available at lunch.

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Pepperoni Pizza ~ Grande mozzarella, Boars Head pepperoni, and fresh-cut basil.

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Tasia ~ Belle chevre goat cheese, kalamata olives, grilled eggplant, zucchini, Grande Mozzarella, feta cheese, oregano, lemon zest, and chili flake.

The pizza I had on a previous visit was the Sophia ~ Spicy sausage, crispy chard, olive oil, fontina cheese, ricotta, and rosemary.

I do not have a pic because my phone ate it:(  but it was delicious. Perfect crust, loved the quality of the cheese and the balance of flavor.

I would put crust in the top 4 pizza places in San Diego at the moment. First off don’t give me the Filippi’s they are mediocre. Pizza Port is OK if your close and want to grab lunch. Urbn does not know how to cook or time their crust, both times it was charred and inedable around the outside ( and I was there when it was slow so it’s not like they got distracted.)

No, I would say Biga, Crust, and The Privateer followed fourth by Pizza Maniac (for an old school grab a slice after work or school place.)

I know I talked mainly about pizza but Crust also does pastas, salads, and sandwiches.

I plan on going back for non work eating soon to explore the menu a little more along with going back to Biga for lunch because it was too dark for pics at dinner.

Crust Pizzeria

3263 Camino De Los Coches, Carlsbad

#food #foodporn #Pizza

Himalayan Dine Inn ~ San Diego

This place has been on my radar for so long. I finally made it a point to eat there. I am glad I did.

So, the Himalayans are a mountain range shared by seven countries.This food comes from Napal. The best I can describe it is China meets India. Mild curries and what I had, Momos. Little dumplings of love:)

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These were perfection. Made to order..you do understand why that is important. This was made with love. This with tip was under $15 dollars a steal.This is when words fail me..Go the best I got. I will be back.

Actually I have more the lamb..the filling was insane. This is why I love food. Simple brilliant..sorry you need to eat here.

Himalayan Dine Inn

1010 Broadway, San Diego

New Brunch Menu @ Masters Kitchen and Cocktail ~ Oceanside

It has been a while since I visited Masters, at least 3 months. Their new Chef and Brunch menu caused a stir for me to meet up with my friend Beau Bonham and check it out.

Chef Richardi is originally from Florida. He began his culinary career as a line cook at Pacifica Del Mar, from there he rose through the ranks at  Rancho Valencia, La Valencia Hotel, The Chart House, The Santaluz Club and Roppongi. He is now Executive Chef at Masters and has started to put his stamp on their menu.

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Chef Richardi and Ryan (owner) both great people.

Masters Chef Beau and Ryan (1 of 1)

This Beau person and Ryan:)

The new brunch menu features a good range of dishes from decadent to healthy and simple.

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Of course we went for decadent. I just did a three-mile beach walk and Beau, like me, eats very simple when not dining out.

Before we could begin Chef brought this out…

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House cured salmon, micro greens, and radish.

Perfect, and I mean perfect cured salmon. I almost went with the everything bagel on the menu because of the salmon but this scratched that itch perfectly, freeing me up for other choices. Thanks Chef.

Masters Steak benny (1 of 1)

Steak and Eggs Benedict ~ Flat Iron steak (cooked perfect medium rare), poached eggs, artisan sourdough, hollandaise, and breakfast potatoes.

The steak was on point and the hollandaise was not over powering. A lot of hollandaise is thick and for lack of a better term gluggy..not this one. Also those potatoes, next time I am ordering an additional side order of those. They reminded me of patatas bravas..so good.

Beau stole the show though…

Masters Chicken and Waffles (1 of 1)

Chicken and Waffle ~ Rosemary waffle, fried chicken breast, smoked bacon, chicken apple sausage gravy, over easy eggs.

A lot of brunch places near by do a chicken and waffles dish. This one is different, it ditched the classic maple syrup route for something more complex. The gravy, I believe due to the apple sausage kept the sweet element and the fry on the chicken breast was almost reminiscent of a Milanese. Also huge, leftovers to take home kind of dish.

The other thing that made me happy was it was crowded.

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Masters dinning area (1 of 1)

Great to see busy restaurants before tourist season has even started.

 

Masters Kitchen & Cocktail

208 South Coast Highway, Oceanside Ca

#food #foodporn #oceanside #brunch

 

 

 

 

Pre – Opening Dave & Busters ~ Carlsbad.

So, I was invited recently to check out the new Dave & Busters opening January 30th at the Carlsbad Mall. Though different from my normal restaurant modus operandi I was excited to grab my friend Mario from Banana Dang! and Check it out.

I am glad I did I had a lot of fun and was I impressed with the build out.

The new Dave and Busters inhabits what was the lower part of the old Robinson’s May Company. It shares this newly remodeled wing with Regal Cinemas, 24 Hour Fitness, Pizza Press, Luna Grill, Pannera Bread, and soon The Cheesecake Factory. The rest of the mall is 80% boarded up and under construction.

Before bemoaning corporate entities too much, the reality is, it is a mall and the Dave and Busters alone employs 216 locals, that whole wing alone once completed probably 600+.

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Putting the final touches on the exterior at 2501 El Camino Real Suite 140, Carlsbad.

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Entry way on the lower level of the east wing.

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40,000 square feet of sports bar, restaurant, and games.

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The restaurant section of Dave & Busters. I’m guessing it holds 80 to 100ish.

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The facility hosts 2 private meeting rooms. This is the larger which has an independent audio and video system. They offer catering services which offer customizable menus for any occasion.

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I was impressed with the sports bar area. A Huge amount of TVs including 3 4k digital 100″ screens. They carry all sport packages including UFC events.

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It was nice to see Belching Beaver’s mango IPA on tap as well as Stone.

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You gotta have an updated version of old school skeet ball.

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Marc, another member of the press, playing Mario Olympics.

They have, obviously, a ton of games that work off of a ticketless card system for credits and points. Dave and Busters is 18 and up unless that person is accompanied by a guardian 25 or older.

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I really wanted to play the Star Wars Battle Pod game but I ran out of credits shooting robots and racing cars badly with Mario. I would treat this place like Vegas come in with a set amount or it could quickly become a money sink.

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You can redeem your points from playing games at the prize center.

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The prizes have upgraded since I was younger, I usually left from an arcade with this…..

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I’d still get stuck.

We were treated to a buffet of their menu items to try out. The quality was better than expected putting it above places like Buffalo Wild Wings.

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Sample offerings.

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One of my plates:) The baby back ribs were especially good for a non BBQ specialty joint. I also went for seconds of the fish and chips.

My favorite offering was (and I’ll use their pic because its pretty)…

bbbacon-burger

Cheese Burger with smoked bacon. This was really tasty.

So, there is your sneak peek at Dave & Busters in Carlsbad. I will be back to grab a drink and a bite at the sports bar…and play that Star Wars game.

Dave and Busters

2501 El Camino Real, Carlsbad