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

Wicked Poke ~ oceanside

So, my older brother was down from Olympia Washington to handle some house selling matters for the estate. While here I kind of gave him a tour of the food scene in Oceanside and mentioned Poke and its recent proliferation in North County and San Diego.

Apparently the Poke wave has not crashed in Olympia yet, I’m sure Seattle has seen its share with their abundance of seafood.

So, I used the opportunity to check out a new place called Wicked Poke in Oceanside. Based on word of mouth and some research I was pretty sure of the quality and giving him a good experience. Plus I get a post out of it:)

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Wicked Poke ~ 2401 Vista Way E, Oceanside

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Located in the center next to the huge LA Fitness (used to be Mervyn’s), Wicked Poke is a fast casual, build your own, Poke concept. Similar to Poki Poki if you are familiar with them. There will be a rant at the end about Poke vs Poki and trolls.

You can get a regular or large bowl. The regular is $8.99 and comes with three scoops of protein, the large is $10.99 and includes 5 scoops. You pick a base of salad, white rice, brown rice, or a mix. Your protein choices include salmon, tuna, spicy tuna, scallop, octopus and tofu. Then you pick through a myriad of topping and sauce choices. I liked that there was no additional charge for crab (probably Krab) or avocado.

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Medium Poke Bowl ~ 2 scoops salmon, 1 scoop tuna, white rice, avocado, crab, ginger, seaweed, green onions, sesame seeds, masago, sesame oil, and house spicy sauce. You also get a free cup of Miso soup which is nice.

Everything was really good. The proteins were fresh and flavorful and I liked that the sesame and house sauce were not over powering. My brother liked his as well. He is a foodie (the one who got me into food actually) and understood the concept before going in. I’m sure a Poke place will make it into Olympia’s food offerings soon.

I would rank this slightly better than Poki Poki but it’s really “6 in 1 or half a dozen in the other” it’s so close. I would just put it down to what was ordered and personal preference.

If you love poke I would suggest Yoshino in Carlsbad (get there early they sellout and cash only) and The Lanai in Encinitas (more expensive but great ingredients and Chef driven, in the old Haggo’s taco spot).

Wicked Poke

2401 Vista Way E., Oceanside

Rant time: Poke, Poki, and Trolls……advert your eyes if so desired.

So, the spelling about poke vs poki is unclear. Poke is the original Hawaiian spelling meaning “to slice or cut” or “section”.  Poki is a little more hard to get a uniform answer on, some say it is poke with japanese ingredients, some say it is just an acceptable mis-spelling that upsets Hawaiians. It is also used as marketing, lets say you want to open up Poke Garden and it is already taken by another restaurant in another city or state, Poki Garden is born.

As for trolls, do not email me with trivial BS ” Poki? you obviously have not done any research.” Look asshat sometimes I do not mention things in detail because I do not think its pertinent to the post. Save us both time and instead of emailing me lay down on the train tracks and wait for the Sprinter…I can give you the schedule.

Funny thing is $100 says this kind of email, like the one “Your name Northcountyfood” is misleading or is this some kind of coastal elitism”, are most likely both from restaurant owners whose restaurant I have not covered, or I mentioned their competition not them.  lots of space out there in the blogoshere, start your own and try and keep up.

Constructive criticism is always welcome, lame comments not so much:) I was a semi pro video gamer for a number of years your not gonna rattle me by trolling,

Now go eat some Poke?, Poki? ….decunstructed sushi.

 

Rooster Ramen : The Return ~coming Spring / Summer

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“Here they come to snuff the rooster
Yeah, here come the rooster
You know he ain’t gonna die
No, no, no, you know he ain’t gonna die”    

Alice in Chains ~ Rooster

So, a little while ago I mentioned on northcountyfood’s Facebook page, which you should be following as well, that a great Ramen place is returning to North County.

That place is Rooster Ramen. The original, high quality pop up Ramen in North County. Do not be fooled by Johnny come latelys.

Now, I am happy to say Rooster Ramen is returning with a full-fledged brick and mortar restaurant.

Having eaten Chef David’s Ramen at the old incarnation of the restaurant, I am eagerly awaiting and trumpeting the return!

Here is what David has told me about his new restaurant

Opening late spring / early summer

Highway 101 in an undisclosed location.

Full 30 plus Sake list, plus Sochu cocktails and a complimenting beer list.

Over 9 traditional ramen dishes taken from different regions of Japan, as well as a number of specialty takes on the noodle dish.

The menu will also feature small plates and Yakatori grilled items prepared on a traditional Binchotan charcoal grill.

A revolving specials board will be available daily and feature items based off of what is fresh and in season. Luxury items such as Osetra Caviar, Monk Fish liver, and pork cheeks will also make an appearance.

Prices for Ramen will run $9 to $14 with build your own as well as vegan and vegetarian options available. Expect to see a good bowl of Pho make an appearance.

The restaurant’s digital ordering system will emulate the Ramen vending ticket machines in Japan. This will not only give customers full control of the ordering process but will also increase its speed.

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Example of a Ramen ticket machine.

The restaurant will have the feel of a Japanese farm-house with plenty of outdoor seating, a lengthy Ramen bar, and a semi open kitchen.

Hours will be 11 am till midnight weekdays and till 2 am Friday and Saturday with an early morning Sunday hangover brunch. This will make it North County’s only late night spot, sans a few Mexican places..

All the restaurants plates, bowls, and cups will be hand-made ceramic from Pawena Studios out of LA.

More news and info to come as things progress.

Perfect timing as this is The Year of The Rooster! My sign as well)

North County 2016 ~ A look back

So, while 2016 did not see the growth explosion of new places opening  that 2015 did, it did see some important restaurants open and trends take hold or fade.

While this post is too short to be all-inclusive, it hits on what I think was important to the North County food scene over the last year. You know things are good when you really have to edit your self. Other wise it would be “Things I love in North County, see entire website.”

I am going to start with some of the most important restaurant openings in North County (IMO).

Campfire ~ Carlsbad

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Campfire is important for a number of reasons. One it is a great restaurant and would be right at home in the East Village, North Park or Little Italy’s  Food scene. Two, along with Land and Water Company it adds a second ingredient driven, properly sourced, foodie destination restaurant to the mainly touristy, mediocre Carlsbad Village food scene. Lastly, along with Carruth Cellar’s tasting room and Babba Coffee, it is helping to revitalize the north end of state street.

608 ~ Oceanside

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Opening in June of this year 608 brought upscale food in a comfortable setting to Oceanside, and at a price point that made it accessible. Chef Will Eick, in my opinion, is one of San Diego’s most talented young Chefs. He is bringing fine dinning techniques and ingredients and making them approachable. He also just introduced a seven course tasting menu option on the weekends offering the first non Omakase tasting menu option in Oceanside.

Belching Beaver Tavern and Grill ~ Vista

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Like Campfire did in Carlsbad, Belching Beaver joined the Flying Pig and added another farm to table, high calibre restaurant to the growing Vista food scene. Combine that with a talented Chef who focuses on farming and teaching children about food, where it comes from and how to grow it, you can not help love the place. Their beer is alright too:)

It is constantly on my visit, when I can list.

There were quite a few trends in the national food scene that were also seen in North County.

Some have hit their peak…

Fast Casual Poki restaurants. The trend actually hit last year and made its way to San Diego and in turn North County in 2016. You have Wicked Poki, Sunshine Japanese Food, and Poke Poke in Oceanside, Poke Waii in San Marcos, and soon to be opening PokeWan in Carlsbad. I think from the ones I have been to, Poki Poki is the best. If you want higher caliber, chef made Hawaiian food and Poke, I suggest checking out Lanai in Leucadia or Yoshino Japanese Deli in Carlsbad for Poke and Japanese.

Some trends are just continuing to grow…

The Artisanal Coffee / Tea scene has continued to show no sign of stopping for years now. It has finally hit Carlsbad and Oceanside. I should not say finally hit, but grown. The major players that have shown up recently are Banana Dang!, Loose Leaf Tea, Sleeping Tiger, Revolution Roasters, Copa Vida and Steady State Roasting. Who join a number of great coffee houses already in the area. For the first time, in its four-year history, Caffeine Crawl has added two North County routes in Oceanside and Carlsbad that are set to kick off this years San Diego event in January.

Caffeine Crawl San Diego

Declining and rising…

I think the fast casual Gourmet Burger explosion of the last few years is dying down. Not that I think these places will go away, I just feel you will not see as much of a proliferation of places like Habit Burger, Burger Lounge, and Pure Burger as you have.

I think the pendulum is on the up swing for fast casual healthy options like Lemonade, Flower Child, True Food Kitchen, Tender Greens and the like.

Best Dishes of the Year…

This is hard, but because these spring to mind instantly, I have to go with them. Two are from San Diego but deserve mentioning.

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Spicy Scallop Nigiri ~ Wrench and Rodent (Oceanside)

Made for me by Alex, this dish was perfect. Just a slight heat from the red Cyclops Farms jalapenos, and melt in your mouth scallops from Catalina Offshore.

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Pan Seared Opah ~ Flying Pig . (Oceanside)

This was a nightly special, beautiful Opah ( one of my favorite, if not favorite, fish) on red farro and micro greens.

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1 year Anniversary BBQ plate ~ Flying Pig (Vista)

Everything you could want (especially me) on a plate. Perfect Tr-Tip, Pork Loin, and Brisket, cooked over open flame and served with veggies and mash.

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Coop De Ville Chicken Sandwich ~ Crack Shack (SD but soon coming to Encinitas)

Apply named Crack Shack, so good. One of the best fried chicken sandwiches ever.

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Chicken Skin Sandwich ~ Biga (SD)

You think it would be heavy because the main ingredient is chicken skin, nope light and flavorful. I plan to return to Biga for dinner in the new year.

 

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Char Grilled Oysters ~ Campfire (Carlsbad)

Great dish that reminds me of oyster festivals on the sound in Washington State. I get this every time.

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Pork Belly ~ 608 (Oceanside)

I love me some pork and this is a perfect pork belly dish. It is smoked before curing (usually it is the other way around.) making it full of porky goodness.

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Assorted Cookies ~ The Cravory (Carlsbad)

Their cookies will change your life, they changed mine. You can get them at their shop in Bressi Ranch, or in Oceanside at Banana Dang! Favorites are the Red Velvet or Birthday Cake.

Special places that I was so happy to discover this year...

El Chapin

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Authentic and delicious Guatemalan food that can not be beat.

Sitaram

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Family run, fixed daily menu, vegetarian, Indian restaurant that needs to be tried by all.

 

What I’m looking forward to next year….

Trying 608’s tasting menu, Flying Pig’s Brewery, That Boy Good / Alpine Brewing restaurant and  brewery, LTH’s second concept , and much, much, more.

What you can look for from North County Food. A 3 to 4 chef “Dessert Dinner” at Petite Madeline for Oceanside Valentines Week. Another Chef Wine Dinner in March / April, and of course more restaurant highlights.

There you go a short recap of a great year food wise. Happy holidays to all and thanks for your support.

 

 

Black Friday Shopping For Foodies

Why deal with the lines and being told we only had 4 of those $200 TVs in the ad. Grab a San Diego Dining Out Passport at 35% off if you use this website’s code. Regularly $99 – $35 with code NCF2016

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These are all foodie restaurants that do not give out deals regularly. You get 2 for 1 entrees at some of San Diego’s best restaurants. Just show them the passport, they stamp their page and you save. No unfolding a piece of newspaper coupon that you have stuck in your wallet or purse.

There are many North County locations including 608, The Whet Noodle, and The Land and Water Company. Hey, jump on the Coaster and head down to Little Italy in SD and go to Bracero Cocina (that right there pays for 80% of the book.)

Disclaimers: Do not buy this as the sole gift for the one you love, do not use on a first date  (unless you are sly enough just to slip into the credit card holder with your payment). these situations will end badly.

Seriously, though it will allow you to try some great places at a great discount. Dining Out San Diego Magazine is well respected in the industry. Plus I would not be posting it if I did not think it was of value or pizza hut was in there.

Check out the magazine as well some great articles, the latest features an interview with North County’s own Davin Waite of Wrench & Rodent.  Click here

Bits and Bites..Plus Dish Of The Month & Stuff

So, this is a way for me to call out great food or places that either, I have covered at length or it was my day off. By the way, my days off look a lot like my days on, they still involve food and friends.

Let’s get started..

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Hummer Toast—hummus, cranberry, pecans & white iced tea.

Mario and Ton Ton are two of my favorites and they bring passion to every dish and every coffee.

Banana Dang! 

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The “Highway To Hell” Chicken Sandwich ~ Grilled chicken breast tossed in wing sauce, topped with melted pepper jack cheese, crispy fried onions and jalapeño slices, lettuce, tomato, and PCH sauce, served on grilled sourdough slices.

Not the best pic, but I was getting too much attention. Look I’m cute, but that not cute:). I think I was made. These guys delivered elevated bar food and great local beer selection.

PCH Sports Bar and Grill

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Bagby’s anniversary tacos and margaritas.

Full Disclosure..never been a fan of Bagby’s. The food is passable. This day they shined, both the food and service were spot on. Plus for a brewery they make a great margarita.

Bagby Beer Company

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Ajito, a small and  hard to find Japanese bento box and sushi place, run by a husband and wife team who were disciples of Kaz from Kaito Sushi. It is located next to fully loaded juicery in Encinitas off the 101.

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Salmon bento box and Japanese sausage. Nice little lunch.

Ajito 

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Marinated beef omelet.

One of Chef Marc’s weekly specials @ Petite Madeline.

Petite Madeline Bakery

Dish of the month (really month and a half) …is a tie!

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Scallop Nagiri ~ red jalapeno, sesame seeds, mystery sauce.

Chef Alex ~ Wrench and Rodent

Wrench and Rodent

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Pan Seared Opah ~ grains, organic micro greens (day off was not taking notes)

Chef Samantha Parker

Flying Pig /Oceanside

#greatfood #northcounty

Birdseye Kitchen Lunch Report, Plus New Openings, and Coming Soon. ~ Encinitas

So, I was in Encinitas yesterday afternoon walking the 101, north of Encinitas Blvd. and decided to have lunch at Birdseye Kitchen after my first choice was closed (more on that later).

Birdseye Kitchen is a smallish cafe serving both Vietnamese and Thai cuisine. So after my first place did not pan out I made my way inside for what turned out to be a nice lunch.

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Birdseye Kitchen ~ 504 North Highway 101, Encinitas

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It is nice there main front window rolls up to give the dining room plenty of light and fresh air, especially on a hot day like Friday.

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Pork Collar ~ Pork collar and bang bang sauce.

A simple dish of tender yummy pork with a great sauce to go with it.

birds eye Green papaya salad

Green Papaya Salad (Som Tam)

As good of an example of this dish as you can get. Light and full of Umami. I ordered an 8 on the spicy scale and it had a nice kick to it without overpowering the other flavors.

Birdseye Kitchen

504 North Coast Highway, Encinitas

As I was saying I had an original lunch destination. I had planned on hitting up a new Sushi and Bento box place that just opened called Ajito. It is the sister restaurant to one of the best Sushi places in all of San Diego, for traditional Sushi, Kaito in Encinitas. Unfortunately, the owner has taken some time off to spend with the family so they will not be back until August 22nd.

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The building on the left of Fully Loaded Juicery is the “blink and you will miss it” Ajito.

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Ajito sign

The only signs.

Culture Brewing

Making my way to downtown Encinitas it appears culture Brewing is set to expand to a third tap-room. There were a few small Culture Brewing signs, a permit application notice in the window, and a large fan blowing along the floor like it was drying sealant. The space is next to Vuori Yoga Clothing on Coast Highway, Encinitas in the 600 block.

Just a mural I liked.

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Have a great weekend.

Sugoi Sushi & BBQ~ Carlsbad

Would you eat it in a boat? Would You it with a goat? Would You eat it here or there? Would you eat it on the second floor of the women’s Macy’s at the Carlsbad mall?

Sugoi is a Carlsbad restaurant serving sushi, Japanese food, and Korean Bulgogi in the Carlsbad mall. I had heard good reviews and the location choice had my interest, so I decided to check them out.

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Luckily they have a sign out front or you would never know they were there.

The Carlsbad mall is going through a remodel, lots of vacancies, no more Orange Julius, or Disney store. Except for jeans I never shop brick and mortar anymore due to Amazon Prime and New Egg.

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Scrunched between Women’s denim and Tommy Hilfiger lies the restaurant.

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Nondescript clean interior.

int 2The menu is a little all over the place. The Sushi menu focuses heavily on rolls, though they have Nigiri and Sushimi.

What I ordered.

Nigiri Albacore

Albacore Nigiri. this was a fine version of nigiri. The fish was fresh and rice was fine. I would never put it at the level of Wrench and Rodent, Harney, Loveboat, or any serious sushi place, but it was solid.

Tempura

Mixed Tempura. The tempura batter was light and crispy. Shrimp and vegetables were cooked perfectly, a fine example of the dish.

Bulgogi

Bulgogi. The main thing about the joy of eating Korean food is the plethora of side dishes that come with the meal. The lack of Kimchee is a big downer. The meat itself was tasty and tender but reminded me a lot more of beef teriyaki than Bulgogi. I ate it, I just would not go in expecting authentic Bulgogi. The Miso soup was good.

So, my curiosity has been sated. I do want to mention my service was very good. I am not saying go here now. If you find yourself at the Carlsbad mall for whatever reason and are peckish Sugoi is surely a better option than Hot Dog on a Stick (though they have great lemonade), or another food court choice.

Sugoi

2599 El Camino Real

2nd-floor Macy’s Women’s

Carlsbad, Ca

 

Rooster Ramen ~ Encinitas

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Rooster Ramen is a Pop-Up Ramen restaurant that opens nightly inside the Bull Taco in Encinitas at 101 North Coast Highway 101. They start serving at 5:30 each evening alongside Bull Taco, though Bull Taco may only serve a limited menu after 5:30, not sure but I only saw burritos being eaten. So, either everyone wanted burritos or they have a limited menu.

They are a separate entity though because I paid on one POS for my Ramen, then ordered an Iced Tea and paid on Bull Tacos POS. Red Rooster Ramen does sell their own canned and bottled drinks. If you want something on tap you will have to pay separately. Not that this matters I just wanted to let you know, some people may get huffy and puffy over this….I hate those people, I was going to say secretly but I am pretty open about it:)

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 The only clue they are there.

Red rooster ramen kitchen

Burritos on the left, Ramen to the right.

Red rooster ramen interior

View from the patio, which is perfect for this time of year especially since they open late so the heat is gone and it is sunset time. I did not take a picture of the patio because it was crowded with families and women, who have no idea why I am taking pictures, I try not to creep people out. Plus you know what a patio looks like. Same as the inside but outside:)

The menu consists of a number of appetizers including Takoyaki, Goyza, and steamed buns.

Ramen comes two ways the house Tonkatsu, or build your own which offers three broths, miso, curry, or spicy sesame and a myriad of add-on choices.

What we had….

Ramen 1

Tonkatsu Ramen ~ Soft boiled egg, red ginger, sesame seeds, bean sprouts, Tonkatsu, scallion, nori, pork belly, garlic chips, and bamboo shoots, noodles.

I loved this. The egg, pork, and Tonkatsu were all cooked perfectly. The broth had a nice depth but was not over salty. Huge portion, by the way, I only got 3/4 of the way through this and I can eat.

Ramen 2

Curry Ramen ~ no idea what she added but pretty close to mine, minus the Tonkatsu.

My friend thought the curry broth was better than the standard broth I had. I do not know I did not get to try it….She was like a mother bear guarding a cub:), no I just did not ask, I was too concerned about getting through my bowl of Ramen.

I really enjoyed Red Rooster Ramen, cool pop-up concept, good food, and friendly service.

I would say I would go back but I already am, some friends saw a pic on my normal Facebook and want to go.

Rooster Ramen

101 North Coast Highway 101

Encinitas, Ca