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

Rosati’s Pizza ~ Vista

So, a few weeks back when it was still raining, I had a craving for deep dish pizza. I did a lot of research and searching and the only place I could find was Rosati’s in Vista. Now I normally don’t cover chains, but I have occasionally in the past. Also funnily enough a friend texted me asking if I knew anywhere to find deep dish pizza on Sunday, so I steered her to Rosati’s. Figured I’d post about it.

Now , I have never been to Chicago, though I have on two occasions ordered frozen deep dish pizza delivered to me from famous Chicago pizzerias. One was Giodarno’s and I forget the other one. They were good but frozen, thawed, and reheated in a home oven takes its toll on the end product. I have had deep dish on a few occasions across the country but nothing super special.

Even with my lack of deep dish expertise, I have my palate and a lot of restaurants under my belt to, I feel, make a fair assessment. I liked Rosati’s.

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Rosati’s Pizza ~ They have 20 locations in Illinois alone, which I guess is a good indication.

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Rosati’s Deep Dish Pizza ~ Green pepper, mushroom, sausage.

The deep dish pizzas take about 45 min. Meaning they are made to order. You can call ahead even if eating in to get one started if you want to minimize the wait.

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Still a little molten at this time. Plenty of cheese, the vegetables had a nice crunch to them and I really liked the sauce. It was chunky and had a nice acidity from the tomatoes.

I did not eat the top part of the crust, it was a little dry. the bottom crust was just fine. Since I destroyed this whole thing by myself, I really did not miss not eating the extra crust. Luckily due to tons of cardio I have the metabolism of a ferret at the moment.

They also do thin crust but I could suggest plenty of places that do a world-class thin crust, I would go here for their deep dish options.

If you are aware of any North County places that do a good deep dish let me know, in the mean time Rosati’s does a fine job with their version. I know a couple in Downtown San Diego and may hit one up on my next trip down. Another go at Himalayan Dine Inn for Nepalese food is my priority right now though for San Diego.

Rosati’s Pizza

307 Vista Village Dr., Vista

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

Belching Beaver Brewery Refresh Party / Belching Beaver Tavern & Grill ~ Vista

Belching Beaver Brewery Brand Refresh Party.

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Patio setting

Belching Beaver Brewery out of Vista is spicing up their logo and giving it a new look.  To mark the occasion, they hosted a beer and food event on their back patio on what turned out to be a gorgeous, warm sunny day in downtown Vista.  The event provided some new beers, an array of old favorites, and tasty food in a relaxed atmosphere.  The clincher was getting there early enough for a shady corner of the patio, only facing the sun to grab thirst quenching pours of Belching Beaver.  It was worth the sun exposure.  Having just experienced Chef Ramiro’s food pairing concoctions for The Bruery, I was excited to see what he could do with beers brewed just feet away from him.  All of his creativity is discussed below.

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Carnitas Tostada with Mango IPA

San Diegans know you can never go wrong with tacos and beer.  An IPA paired with spicy pulled pork on a fried tortilla was a fancy twist on the classic, as the mango salsa on the tostada married well with the Mango in the IPA.

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Green Papaya with Me So Honey Blonde

I was pretty skeptical when I grabbed this dish, curious how slaw would survive a hot afternoon.  I was pleasantly surprised by the flavor of the green papaya, mixed in a Me So Honey mustard.  It was a light, sweet, refreshing combination that reminded me of mid summer BBQ’s.

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Grapefruit Blintz with Hop Highway IPA

This fancy pancake was likely meant for last as a dessert, but my beer instincts told me to save the dark beer for last as I barbarically folded the fancy cake in half and ate it like a taco.  Washing down the sweet cream and sour grapefruit with a solid IPA made for a lovely “dessert.”

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Vegetable Mole with Viva La Beaver

The final dish and drink was a vegetable mole paired with their peanut butter and chocolate milk stout.  This beer is so delicious and creamy, and the bitter chocolate was a nice addition.  It helped to wash down the little bit of spiciness in the mole.

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To end the day, we tried one of the new beers released at the party.  It was the Coffee-Maple-Vanilla Scotch Ale.  If the name sounds like a mouthful, you should try the beer.  All the flavors mesh beautifully in this unique pour.  I noticed the maple mostly in the aroma, and the vanilla and coffee collapse onto the palate and end with a smooth, creamy finish.  It was on the sweeter side, so if you are not into sweet beers I suggest starting with a taster.  But this beer, among others, is definitely worth making the trip over to the Vista Tavern to drink and enjoy the outdoor patio as we get closer and closer to summer.

All Words & Photos by:  Justin Kunert

Belching Beaver Tavern & Grill

302 E. Broadway, Vista

#Vista #food #foodporn #beer #brewery #craftbeer #belchingbeaver

The T House: Open House, Bring Something / Take Something ~ Oceanside

Sunday was an open house / welcoming event at The T House in Oceanside. The T House is a social and community based venture helmed by Chef Beau Bonham and his partner Stacey Westbrook. To best understand it I would read the interview I did with Beau Here or check out their Facebook page  and Website.

The T House is located at their house / homestead in the Loma Alta district in Oceanside.

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Many things going on…..

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I arrived early and started helping out by slicing fresh Cyclops Farms strawberries for the jam we were going to make.

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Ready to start the jam making process.

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Organic strawberries, calcium, water, Pectin (natural plant-based thickener), and organic sugar. That is about as non processed a jam as you are going to get.

It would not set till the next day, but I ate some with a bagel and it was delicious. The next time I would add a little lemon for more acidity, but it tasted like fresh strawberries.

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Beau gave everyone who attended a tour of the garden. This is Stacey’s friend Michelle who was then tasked with cultivating all the greens and flowers for the salad that was going to be served.

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Some of the fresh Vegetables and herbs.

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Beau went over natural teas and extracts as well as a Korean version of Kombucha called Jun he had made.

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There was also a seed exchange. Want Heirloom Tomato seeds? Bring some seeds by to swap, or some fruit from your tree. You could also take them and when the ripen bring some buy or a tomato tort you made with them. Get the Idea?

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An Amazing Jackfruit that Tom Chongruk and Lora Chow from Travel 4 Food Fun brought by. Jackfruit is amazing. The entire inside including the seeds can be utilized. A lot of Vegans use the inside flesh like pulled pork. You shred it and then roast it with a BBQ sauce.

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Tom is from Thailand and brought an amazing curry he had made.

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A salad from the garden vegetables and flowers harvested earlier, plus some fresh jackfruit.

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A little lobster soup from Chef Daniel of LTH and fresh ciabatta bread from Chef Beau.

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Stacey made strawberry cupcakes. Little bundles of strawberry flavored love.

I t was a fun day. I met a lot of cool local people and had some good food. It started at noon and ended up running later than planed till about 8pm. I would say about 35 people came by through out the day. Hope to be involved more.

Be aware that because of my background I am going to gravitate towards the food aspects of the T House but that would be selling it short. It really is a lot more and something that needs to be experienced. It’s about participation and education. You can attend a class on extracts or you can teach one on a subject you know or want to know better. Again check out the links and get involved.

The T House

Join the mailing list at chefbeaub@gmail.com

#food #foodporn #urbanfarming #seedtrade #extracts #community #strawberries

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