Tacos’s Don Paco ~ Vista

Taco’s Don Paco (yes the apostrophe is correct) opened about 2 months ago in Vista at 800 Civic Center Dr. just north of S. Santa Fe Dr. on the right.

ext (1 of 1)

It is a strip mall taco shop, though it stands out with its store front and clean interior.

int

*Interior photo via Yelp

They have the standard offering of Tortas, Burritos, Tostadas, Quesadillas, Mulitas. I think the stand out though are their street tacos. They have 13 types including quite a bit of ofal. Also they are only $1.75 each. My meal of 4 with a large drink was $8.23 total.

tacos (1 of 1)

An array of street tacos. Carnitas, Al Pastor, Lengua (tongue), and Suadero ( a cut of beef between the belly and leg).

The Al Pastor was super tasty and everything it should be, as was the Lengua, slow braised tongue. It melted in your mouth.

2 tacos (1 of 1)

Carnitas and Suadero street tacos.

Again, great carnitas. A lot of times carnitas at taco shops are too fatty or they use the cooking liquid to hide the dryness of the pork. These were tender and juicy.

Suadero, a very favor cut of beef. Actually reminded me of a cross between steak and a pork chop.

If you are looking for good honest Mexican food at a great price this is a place to try out. Any of the “bertos” style places are not even in the same league. Even my go to street taco place Primo’s gets edged out slightly.

One complaint, and if you go you will get this, they need bigger salsa cups.

 

Taco’s Don Paco

800 Civic Center Dr. Vista

#taco #food #foodporn

Corner Bakery Cafe ~ Encinitas

I can not eat high-end restaurant food all the time, so I like it when I can find high quality fast casual places like Lemonade, Flower Child, and I would now add Corner Bakery Cafe to that list.

I was in Encinitas on other business and came across the re-designed strip mall just east of El Camino Real on Encinitas Blvd. There is a lot going into that spot, a tap-room, Luna Grill, and it already houses a Habit Burger and the previously mentioned Corner Bakery Cafe.

20170620_113200

Corner Bakery Cafe ~ 1476 Encinitas Boulevard, Encinitas.

I did some research and this is the fourth San Diego location operated by the Feast Restaurant Group. They have another North County location across from the outlet stores in Carlsbad in the plaza that houses PF Changs and King’s Fish House.

The best reference I could give you is think Panera with better food and a real kitchen. I used to work for Panera and have nothing but positive things to say about my experience but I also know fresher ingredients when I eat them. Plus, working kitchen.

The interior is simple and clean. You order at the counter and then your food is brought to your table when ready. Pretty straight forward Fast Casual Dinning. I do not have any interior pics due it being somewhat busy and ripping one-off the web is always dicey.

They serve a full range of breakfast items from eggs, pancakes, and oatmeal. As well as sandwiches, salads, Pastas and chili. They offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner and are open till about 8 or 9pm.

I was down there at lunch time for my appointment so went the Sandwich and salad route.

salad (1 of 1)

Harvest Salad ~ chicken, field greens, green apples, toasted walnuts, cranberries and bleu cheese with raisin pecan sweet crisps and balsamic vinaigrette.

This was the smaller “cafe” size and it was big. It was everything I like in a salad, lots of different textures, great quality field greens, and I really liked the raisin pecan crisps. It was better than any salad I have had at Swami’s.

The bread that came with it was also really good.

sammie (1 of 1)

Uptown Turkey Avocado Sandwich ~ Smoked turkey breast, applewood smoked bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomatoes and mayo on whole grain harvest toast.

Great sandwich, lots of Avocado, Turkey and again, great bread. I should have re-plated it to show it better but I already get enough looks for spinning my plate around and taking like 10 pictures.

This was a lot of food, but they have combos available where it would be smaller portions of both.

Oh, they also have great lemonade and Iced tea. Hibiscus lemonade Arnold Palmer for the win. I love quality lemonade.

If you’re in the area they are a good quality option for a meal.

Probably my last post or next to last post for the month as I just had to throw some groceries away because I have not been eating in and I have to go through my groceries before I lose more.

Corner Bakery Cafe

1476 Encinitas Boulevard, Encinitas.

#food #lunch #foodporn

 

 

 

 

Mission Ave. Bar and Grill ~ Oceanside

So, side stepping politics, and there are a lot right now in Oceanside’s food world. Mission Ave bar and grill has a new Chef. Chef Daniel Luevano.

chef (1 of 1)

Chef and owner. Good feeling about this:)

It has been a while since I stepped into Mission Ave., for some reasons, but there is a freshness. You can feel it. I have talked with Chef Dan 3 times now and think he is a good fit. He seems passionate, energetic, and right for the business.

rangoons (1 of 1)

So, again menu is new. This was his take on Crab Rangoon. Instead of cream cheese, he used Avocado. Which was smart. It added that cream texture but freshened it as well. Also perfectly deep-fried, yet all the internal elements were perfectly handled. I really did not need the aioli.

steak (1 of 1)

Perfect Rib-eye. Funny enough, I was more fascinated with the potatoes and the chimichurri. This was probably a tie with my favorite chimichurri (Davin makes a great one) this one was not acidic and had a great balance of garlic. Plus the potatoes, which should be an after thought….nope, so good. Of course perfect steak, it was just the surrounding things that surprised me.

If, you have not been for a while I would revisit…

seriously:)

 

Mission Ave. Bar and Grill

711 Mission Ave., Oceanside

#food #foodporn #oceanside

 

 

608’s 1 year mark ~ Oceanside.

There are lots of posts coming but this deserves dibs:)

Where to begin? Chef Willy Eick is probably one of the best Chef’s I have ever met. That is not a slight to anyone else. I have just spent time talking with him enough to know. A. how much he cares, B his skill level, C, his desire to continue getting better, and D, probably the best plating skills I have seen. Also, I understand this all subjective. Yet, I am comfortable with my praise of him.

This is just going to be pics. This was $25 …really. Go find better food for that price.

squash (1 of 1)

Squash Blossom with shrimp stuffing.

beets (1 of 1)

Beets and mushroom. Long live beets:) Under-rated veg.

scalops (1 of 1)

Scallops, broccoli ( he loves brocoli for some reason) The star, other than perfect scallops were the little squash…no, really, they were.

cake (1 of 1)

I was just done at this time. Great dessert, could have used a sauce? That is just me:)

This guy is one of the true. You do not just get this talent you are born with it.

608

608 Mission Ave., Oceanside

#food #foodporn #oceanside #608

 

508 Tavern ~ Vista

Another great after work or lunch place. 508 Vista Tavern , gasp, in Vista.

20170606_124256

508 S Santa Fe Ave, Vista, CA

A sign would do them well:)

20170606_125111

Small, interment, clean. What you want from a local place.

Run by a great Boy and Girlfriend team. They were bartenders at Harrah’s for years. I think bartenders are the Marines of the kitchen world. They face all the MG fire, Kitchen staff is Army, sit back and use artillery, and executive Chefs are the Air force. I will stick by that:)

20170606_125605

Fried olives. Perfect beer food.

20170606_130043

Spicy Korean tacos. Again, great bar food.

Check them out. Great after work place or even first date. unassuming low-key.

508 Tavern

508 S Santa Fe Ave, Vista, CA\

#food #foodporn #vista

 

Bread and Barley ~ Leucadia

So, Bread and Barley recently opened a second restaurant in Leucadia along the 101 at 542 N. Coast Highway. The first restaurant is located in Covina, Ca.

ext (1 of 1)

I hit them during soft opening. They focus on affordable well crafted food and craft beer, though they do run a full bar. It is just good solid food. It is not going to change your life but if you want a good lunch or dinner, I would check them out.

int (1 of 1)

The place is not that big. When I was there they could not open the patio, I am guessing 60 seats or close to that either way.

steak (1 of 1)

Steak Sandwich~Grilled Hanger Steak, Chimichurri, Gruyere Cheese, Sourdough

Great sandwich, the steak was so tender and had obviously been marinated for a while. probably one of the best steak sammies I have had in a long time. House made chips.

If you are in the area, perfect place for a business lunch or a meet up. Roll up windows, so light and airy. great staff. They will do just fine, especially with the coming summer foot traffic.

Next week they should be in full open mode, with a full menu.

Bread and Barley

542 N. Coast Highway

#beer #food #foodporn

 

 

Crack Shack ~ Encinitas

The Crack Shack Encinitas, located at 407 Encinitas Blvd., is the second incarnation of the fast casual chicken restaurant by Michael Rosen and Richard Blais. Richard Blais is probably best known for his appearances on Top Chef as well as owning San Diego’s Juniper an Ivy.

The Encinitas location used to be Coco’s. With extensive remodeling I believe nothing remains of the former structure other than support beams and foundation.

20170601_135915

Hard to miss a giant chicken.

20170601_132526

The interior is one large open room with a large wrap around bar. They serve beer, wine, and liquor.

It is a fast casual order system. You order at a window outside near the entrance and food is then brought to your table.

They serve a number of sandwiches, fried chicken, salads, and a few odd ball items like Mexican poutine, deviled eggs, and matzo ball pasole.

When I first tried the Crack Shack at their little Italy location I declared it to be the best chicken sandwich I had ever had. While this time it was not that much of a life changing moment, it was still damn good.

20170601_133758

G-Bird and Firebird

The G-Bird ~ Chicken breast, shishito pepper relish, swiss, romaine, tomato, whole wheat brioche.

This was my favorite of the two. Really fresh tasting. I think the shishito pepper relish added a lot of flavor. Chicken was moist and beautiful

Firebird ~ Spicy fried thigh, cool ranch, pickles, crispy onions, potato roll.

Not very spicy and the crispy fried onions became wet limp onions. Still tasty chicken and the pickles are a smart addition.

The sandwiches are not pretty ( don’t be sandwich hating) but are tasty.

So, the plan was to have a friend come with me so I could show you guys two sandwiches. She could not make it so I ordered two and figured I’d take half of each home. Yeah, that didn’t happen. Lots of walkies tomorrow.

If you have not been I would check them out. They get busy so best to go off hours. I went at 1:30 ish on a Thursday and it was slow. They open at 9am but serve full menu.

They are expanding, to Costa Mesa I believe. This is a money-maker, best of luck to them.

The Crack Shack

407 Encinitas Blvd. Encinitas

#food #foodporn #friedchicken #encinitas

 

 

Pokewan Plus Some Coming Soon News ~ Carlsbad.

First up Pokewan then coming soon news.

So while waiting for a restaurant to open I was took a stroll around Carlsbad.

I headed over to see if Pokewan, Blue Ocean’s fast casual poke concept, had opened yet.

Turns out it has….

20170530_160104

Pokewan ~ 2953 Madison St. #101, Carlsbad

Pokewan is one in a list of fast casual poke places that has opened up in North County in the last year and a half or so.

20170530_160137

As per standard, you pick the size of your bowl. base, add ons, toppings, sauce. Its like subway with poke.

The interior is a clean design with touches of whimsy. I really liked it. Even though I was about to go to dinner I decided to grab a small bowl.

20170530_161438

See clean with whimsy. There was more whimsy I just did not take pictures of it, one can only handle so much.

poke (1 of 1)

Small poke bowl ~ Salmon, albacore, lots of ginger, avocado, wonton crisps, and lots of other stuff. the one thing I did, which I recommend, was get the cucumber spaghetti as a base. It adds a nice vinegar touch and lightens the bowl up.

Another thing I will add is being attached to a sushi bar adds a lot to the freshness and selection of fish available.

Forgoing restaurants that do poke, I would rank the fast casual poke places thusly…

Pokewan ~Wicked Poke ~ Poki Poki

It is very close, no one is light years ahead of the others. I just give Pokewan the edge due to the fish.

On a note do not contact me with the spelling of Poke or Poki. I know the difference and there is no real answer it’s all grey area depending on who you talk to. I spell it how the restaurant spells it. It’s a losing battle for you and a waste of my time and yours.

Pokewan

2953 Madison St. #101 Carlsbad

Coming Soon (ish)

So, while walking around Carlsbad village I came across these two projects in development.

The building at 2833 state st. (right near the transit station) has a restaurant called Shorehouse Kitchen coming in. No idea on style of food.

20170530_155402

20170530_155416

2833 State st. Carlsbad.

Next up is a little more interesting. The space just south of the new Barrel Republic has a gourmet doughnut shop going in. I talked with the Husband of the Wife and Daughter team who will be running it. He is doing all the build out and from what I saw and what he described it should be a really nice spot for doughnut in or doughnut to go. Plans for a July 4th opening.

20170530_175052

Home to future gourmet doughnut shop.

Also, at 3135 Tyler home of offshore crossfit. That building will become either a brewery or distillery (please be a distillery). The City Council has to approve rezoning but since the Mayor of Carlsbad owns the building you wanna put bets on that passing:)

The above is a rumor but from a good source with a business in that area.

There you have it lots going on in Carlsbad.

Harbor Fish Cafe ~ Carlsbad

First off you may be asking ” Why didn’t you go to the Oceanside Harbor Fish and Chips”

One, the Oceanside harbor is in dire need of a remodel upgrade, as our second biggest tourist attraction (next to the pier) it is kind of sad.

Second, Squirrels.

As a 5-year-old boy I was at the Carlsbad lagoon feeding ducks and some loons. A squirrel showed up, so I fed him too. Then another one, then another one. Then one decided he was not going to wait for me to throw bread and climbed up my leg and attached himself to me. I freaked. Spinning around trying to throw him off. My parents were too far away to realize what was going on. Eventually I fell to the ground and he scampered off. So that is why I do not go to the harbor.

When you see a squirrel you see this…

sq

When I see a Squirrel I see this…

evil-squirrel

Anyway back to fish and chips.

Harbor Fish and Chips has been around since 1981

sign (1 of 1)

See the sign says so!

The View can not be beat.

view (1 of 1).jpg

On a sunny day, please.

On to the fish and chips..

fish (1 of 1)

Fish and Chips ~ It is Fish and Chips.

Really nicely battered fish, crisp chips, malt vinegar and tartar sauce. What more do you want. I really like the batter. I lived in England for 7 months and this place has my favorite. There are other places that do a lighter tempura style batter which is good and a lot of places that do beer batter (or tout it), Yet this is my go to.

This is Nirvana, sitting at the counter, looking at the ocean, and eating my fish and chips.

Oh, by the way. The squirrel story..totally made up:) I just like this place better. Yes I am an asshole:)

Harbor Fish Cafe

3179 Carlsbad Blvd, Carlsbad,

#fishandchips #squrrels #food #foodporn

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 😦

Himalayan kitchen (1 of 1)

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