Wings Mix ~ Vista

So, I had heard of a small restaurant in Vista that reportedly had some of the best hot wings around. It was tucked away in a dilapidated strip mall deep off South Santa Fe Ave., supposedly they also serve Mexican food and burgers. What did I find?

An odd little place that has great wings (or in my case chicken strips) and serves Mexican food and burgers.

20171003_120553

Wings Mix ~ 962 South Santa Fe Ave. Vista. The restaurant is located in the far East end of the strip mall.

menu

The menu covers all bases from breakfast to baby back ribs.

20171003_121639

Chicken Strips ~ Lemon Pepper and Original Hot (Buffalo)

This is what I came for, large tender chicken strips with a flavorful sauce. Both the sauces had a ton of flavor and a nice manageable heat level. I recently had strips at my go to place, Wings & Things, and Chicken Mix beat them hands down. These are not Gastropub mango jalapeno $12 for 6 “Chef” wings. These are fast casual, old school wings ( or strips ) in all their glory and damn tasty.

I can not speak to their whole menu but if you like wings, this is my recommendation.

Wings Mix

962 South Santa Fe Ave., Vista

#wings #chickenstrips #chicken #food #foodie #foodporn #spicyfood #vista #buffalowings

 

 

Great Dishes ~ September ’17

Near the end of the month I usually compile a list of dishes that did not appear in regular posts but deserve recognition. Sometimes it’s just a dish from a lunch I grabbed or maybe a restaurant that has already been covered quite a bit on the site. So, here are the ones from September that I think are worth trying if you happen to find yourself out and about and a bit peckish.

( No particular order )

burger O'side bar & grill (1 of 1)

The House Burger ~ O’side Sports Bar and Grill.

Always great. I would put it up there with the burger at Red Rooster. Served perfectly medium rare and comes with a side of crispy french fries for around $10.

O’side Sports Bar and Grill, Oceanside

smoked salmon roll Yoshino (1 of 1)

Smoked Salmon Roll ~ Yoshino Japanese Deli, Carlsbad.

I can not say how great Yoshino is for a quick, no frills sushi fix. Fresh sushi, made every morning by the Japanese family who owns the restaurant. They do sell out by 1pm most days, so go early. A truly great, little gem in the Carlsbad Village.

Yoshino Japanese Deli, Carlsbad

green beans flying pig (1 of 1)

Seasonal Vegetables ~ The Flying Pig, Vista.

This plate of farm fresh seasonal vegetables packed so much flavor. The vegetables that day were green beans with garlic, bacon, and micro greens topped with a brown butter sauce. The kind of food that leaves you wanting more.

The Flying Pig, Vista

pork sandwich petite madeline (1 of 1)

Pork Loin Sandwich ~ Petite Madeline Bakery & Bistro.

One of Chef Marc’s weekly specials. Pork loin, cucumber, red onion, spinach, and stone ground mustard on a house made roll. Tender, flavorful pork and fresh bread are a hard combo to beat.

Petite Madeline Bakery and Bistro, Oceanside

privateer salad (1 of 1)

Summer Salad ~ The Privateer Coal Fired Pizza, Oceanside.

Dropped into the Privateer on a whim for lunch and had this amazing salad. Cyclops Farms cucumbers, mango, tomato, and greens with a spicy vinaigrette. It was a really clever play on a Thai green papaya salad as far as the flavor profile, with shaved and cut cucumber replacing the green papaya.

The Privateer Coal Fire Pizza, Oceanside

yaki-udon (1 of 1)

Yaki-Udon ~ Huku Sushi & Robata, San Marcos.

I love Udon but have never had it prepared this way, I always get Udon soup. Udon noodles stir fried with chicken and lots of vegetables. I really enjoyed this, the noodles were perfect and still had bite. Also, great and attentive service, even though there was a Birthday Party with 15 people going on.

Huku Sushi & Robata, San Marcos

20170916_151127

Chicken Enchiladas & Carnitas Taco ~ Valerie’s Taco Shop, Vista.

A little Taco shop next to Starbucks on Emerald Dr. serving fresh, made to order, Mexican food and great salsas.

Valerie’s Taco Shop, Vista

wings wing n things (1 of 1)

Hot Buffalo Chicken Strips ~ Wings-N-Things, Oceanside.

An admitted guilty pleasure of mine. Tender all white meat strips with a spicy buffalo sauce and blue cheese dressing. No bread sticks, no carrots or celery, just down to business. I really like the spiciness and flavor of their buffalo sauce, making them my go to for this dish.

Wings-N-Things, Oceanside

kimchi (1 of 1)

monks bowl (1 of 1)

Kimchi & Pulled Pork Monk’s Bowl ~ East Village Asian Diner, Encinitas.

I love Kimchi and I think East Village Diner makes some of the best in North County. The Monk’s Bowls, or Clay Pots, come in a variety of options from all vegetarian to beef. I went for the pulled pork with a fried egg with kale instead of rice, it made for a great, tasty and filling lunch.

East Village Asian Diner, Encinitas

ceviche primos market (1 of 1)

Ceviche on Avocado with Chips ~ Primo Market, Oceanside.

Bought a small container of their fresh ceviche, two avocados, and a bag of tortilla chips as a take home dinner. I like their ceviche, it has a nice ratio of fish to the tomatoes, peppers, and onions. Also it is not too acidic. Paired with fresh avocado and chips it made for nice light dinner.

Primo Market, Oceanside.

fish ham (1 of 1)

Fish Ham ~ Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub, Oceanside.

From the ever creative mind of Chef Davin Waite. Yellowtail, brined like ham and then smoked. The name is pretty spot on as to its taste. Think smoked fish crossed with ham.

Wrench & Rodent Seabasstropub, Oceanside

Angelo's (1 of 1)

Big Mouth Burger Combo ~ Angelo’s Burgers, Oceanside.

Guilty pleasure for the month. A tasty double patty bacon burger with all the toppings and fries.

Angelo’s Burgers, Oceanside

Hope you had a great Month! Enjoy!

#food #foodporn #foodie #burger #lunch #dinner #oceanside #encinitas #carlsbad #san marcos #northcounty #seafood #mexicanfood #asianfood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where Chefs Eat.

So, recently I was thinking about the places I frequently find myself eating when not going out to review a restaurant. My go to places I visit at least once a month. I decided to ask a few local Chefs the same question.

Chef Willy (1 of 1)

Chef Willy Eick ~ 608 Restaurant.

” Wrench and Rodent of course, any chance I get, like all of us.”

“I also go to Punjabi Tandoor in Carlsbad with Chef Davin Waite, Chef Ramiro from Belching Beaver Tavern, and all our kids.”

What is your go to dish at Punjabi Tandoor? ” The usual, Chicken Tikka. My wife really likes their eggplant.

I also like Enzo’s BBQ for their ribs. They use U.S. Kobe beef ribs.” ….and of course any number of taco shops for late night grub.

Wrench and Rodent

PunJabi Tandoor

Enzo’s BBQ

20170908_094623

Chef Marc Santos ~ Petite Madeline Bakery & Bistro

“Pollos Maria, obviously for their chicken.” “There is one near my house and their chicken is so tender and flavorful.”

“I love fish and chips, so Harbor Fish and Chips or Harbor Fish Cafe in Carlsbad.”

“I also love freshly made sausage, there is a little European deli in Escondido that makes wonderful blood sausage.” “It is called Continental Delicatessen.”

Pollos Maria

Harbor Fish and ChipsHarbor Fish Cafe

Continental Delicatessen

 

davin (1 of 1)

Chef Davin Waite ~ Wrench & Rodent Seabasstropub / The Whet Noodle

Davin also mentioned Punjabi Tandoor. “Its a good place to meet up with other Chefs and all our kids.” “It’s good honest food and the outside seating works great, Chef’s kids can be little Hellions.”

“The Miller’s Table, Stacy is great and they have a lot of Vegan options for my wife.”

The Miller’s Table

 

Figured I would mention a few places I regular find myself visiting when I am not “working” as well.

Primo Foods in Oceanside. I go here at least once a week, before or after my beach walks, for inexpensive and great tasting Mexican food. They have great weekly specials.

Pho Oceanside. My go to comfort meal. $8.99 for a large bowl of happiness.

Petite Madeline. I usually eat breakfast here about 5 times a month. I pretty much order whatever “Chef Specials” Marc has made up for the week.

About once every two months I give in and eat a Gyro from Angelo’s Burgers in Oceanside. I have to keep it on a longer cycle because they are huge and probably over 3000 calories. Plus I have to get extra sauce, I mean I am already committing.

Primo Foods

Pho Oceanside

Angelo’s Burgers

Petite Madeline

 

#food #foodie #northcounty #Oceanside #restaurant #guiltypleasure

 

 

Dona Elena Pozoleria ~ Vista

So, while walking to La Takiza last month along North Santa Fe Ave. in Vista, I caught a sign out of the corner of my eye. At first I thought it said “pizzeria”, which seemed out-of-place for the area.  Upon stopping I found out it said “Dona Elena Pozoleria”. I got excited, immediately looked at the menu and added it to my must try list. I actually added to my “drag Chef Beau or Christina along” list.

So, Beau and I took the sprinter out to Vista to have lunch.

dona elena (1 of 1)

Dona Elena specializes is Pozole, menudo, and soups. While they have some other items on their menu, the focus is on their soup based dishes. A lot of restaurants only offer these specialty items on Sundays or the weekend, Dona Elena offers them every day.

Their Pozole is offered in three varieties. White (Pozole without red or green sauce and ingredients), Red (addition of red sauce and chilis), and green (addition of tomatillos, cilantro, and jalapeno).

I went with the red pork Pozole and Beau got the green.

dona elena red pazole (1 of 1)

Red Pozole ~ Pork, hominy, cabbage, onion, garlic, radishes, and limes served with crisp tortillas.

The large was huge, with plenty of pork, hominy, and all the accompaniments making it quite the lunch. It was not that spicy but Beau got a side of chili oil to add in and with its addition I was able to up my spice level to where I wanted it.

dona elena green pazole (1 of 1)

Green Pozole ~ Chicken, cilantro, jalapeno, garlic, cabbage, onion, radishes, and limes with crispy tortillas.

I did not try the green pozole but Beau commented on how good it was, and like me finished the entire bowl.

dona elena sopa (1 of 1)

As if we did not have enough food, we split a beef sope. A great example of a sope but I think the reason to come here are their soup based dishes.

If you want to try another hidden gem in Vista I would add Dona Elena’s to the list of them along North Santa Fe Ave.

Dona Elena Pozoleria

1120 North Santa Fe Ave., Vista

#food #foodie #foodporn #vista #mexicanfood #pozole #lunch #dinner #san diego

La Takiza ~ Vista

So, I am really starting to like Vista more and more, of course it has the well-known places like flying Pig and Belching Beaver Tavern, but for Mexican food it’s kind of like what Kerny Mesa and Convoy St. is for Asian cuisine. Though Vista’s hub tends to be more geographically spread out along North Santa Fe Ave. and East Vista Way.

I have been exploring more and more and I keep finding little community gems. Notice I said finding and not discovering, these restaurants are known in the community and people who seek these places like these out. Restaurants like Vamos A Texcoco, Taco’s Don Paco, and now La Takiza are some of the best in North County if not San Diego at what they do.

Like a lot of hidden gems, La Takiza is in a beige strip mall. Its colorful signage makes it stick out among the neighbors, even though it is in the back of a fairly large plaza.

La Takiza ext (1 of 1)

La Takiza ~ 1234 North Santa Fe Ave. #119

I was passing through the area and the sign caught my eye. After doing some research and looking at their menu, I wanted to return and check them out for myself. The menu is straight forward offering street style tacos, burritos, quesadillas, mulitas, plus menudo and birria. It was the range of meat, especially offal, offered that enticed me.

vista-tacolist

Pork and offal, pork and offal, yum yum yum. So right up my alley.

La Takiza the spread (1 of 1)

My lunch ~ Pastor burrito,  a Cochinita Pibil taco, and  a Cachete taco. Three salsas descending in heat from left to right ~ Habanero verde, Salsa Verde, Guacamole Verde. I liked the Habanero and Guacamole the best with all the types of pork.

La Takiza burrito (1 of 1)

Pastor Burrito ~ Marinated pork, rice, onion, cilantro, and maybe a few other things. I got it “with everything”. (It is hard to get a good glamor shot of the inside of a burrito.)

Healthy sized burrito especially with the rice. Though it was good I thought the tacos ended up being the best vehicle to let their meats shine.

La Takiza tacos (1 of 1)

Cochinita Pibil with pickled red onions and Cachete with Habanero pickled onions.

Both tacos were delicious. The Cachete was moist and melt in your mouth tender due to hours of cooking and the onions (from the salsa bar) added a nice contrast to the meat. The rock star though was the Cochinita Pibil, slow roasted chunks of pork in a stew like broth. The pickled red onions, which they will ask if you want them, are a must to finish this great concoction of flavors.  Tacos are the way to go here, they don’t interfere or mask the flavors of the meat. They also have a deal that if you order five tacos you get a free drink.

I almost forgot something important….

La Takiza int (1 of 1)

Fresh made to order corn tortillas for the tacos.

If you love pork and good Mexican food I highly recommend La Takiza.

On my walk back to the Sprinter I came across another place to add to my must try list….

Dona Elena (1 of 1)

Dona Elena Pozoleria ~They specialize in Pazole ( red, white, and green) as well as soups and stews.

La Takiza

1234 North Santa Fe Ave. Vista

 

#food #foodporn #mexicanfood #tacos #vista #pork #foodie

 

 

 

 

Yaya’s Fruit Bar ~ Vista

Yaya’s is the kind of place I love to coming across. It’s under the radar, unassuming,  family run, and delivers different and tasty food you do not find very often.

yaya's ext (1 of 1)

Yaya’s is located in an aesthetically boring strip mall in Vista behind a McDonald’s at 1450 North Santa Fe Ave. at Bobier.

yaya's int (1 of 1)

The interior is clean with light wood and bright colors.

yaya's ice cream (1 of 1)

In addition to their great fruit desserts, they offer 14 flavors of Thrifty’s Ice Cream, numerous fruit sorbets, smoothies, Acia bowls, and a few hot dishes like tortas and nachos.

Their assorted fruit desserts are what makes them special though. The walls are lined with pictures of them because the menu descriptions can not do them justice.

kikis desserts

Desserts Clockwise from top left ~ Chamango, Raspado, Acia Bowl , and Papas Preparadas.

All their desserts are extremely reasonable and made to order. Mine was $6.50 and huge…….

yaya's dessert 3 (1 of 1)

 

Pepino Prepadado ~ Cucumber, jamica, papaya, cacahuates japoneses (japanese peanuts), Pica Fresca, hot sauce, and chili powder.

Just a taste and texture sensation. Sweet fresh fruit, crunch from the peanuts, chew from the candies, sourness from the lime juice, and heat from the chili powder and hot sauce. It was not too sweet, it was very vibrant and fresh tasting. Just a great dish.

I will definitely be back to try more or their creations.

Yaya’s Fruit Bar

1450 North Santa Fe Ave., Vista

#food #foodporn #vista #mexicanfood #mexecandessert #foodie

 

New Plywood Report W/ Updates ~ Oceanside

A couple of additions to what is coming soon, plus an update.

20170810_105349

The space next door to Dairy Queen on Mission Ave and across the alley from 608 is under construction and the space is divided in two. The owner is reportedly building out a pizza restaurant attached to a brewery. Not sure if beer will be brewed on site or it will be more of a tap-room.

20170810_145335

Panca Peruvian Cuisine and Rotissery is expanding just two doors down from their original location in South O’ with “La Bodeguita De Panca”. Based on the name and liquor license it seems it will be a small Peruvian based market selling Chef Ioli’s great desserts with Peruvian beers and wine. Maybe some Peruvian staples as well. “Bottled Aji sauce please”.

Lastly, as mentioned by a follower, the new “Tequila and Mexican street food spot ” Jalisco Cantina  will in fact be next to Barrel Republic on Coast Highway..

20170810_102253.jpg

Thanks, have a great weekend.

#food #foodporn #restaurants #oceanside

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

Sinaloa MXN & Seafood

This is why I write. I am very lucky to eat the way I do and know the Chefs I know. As much as I love Monchong with tangerine salt and anything with snail butter from Chef Willy this is again what I relish. Family recipes passed down from generations. Do not go here and get a carne asada burrito, talk to the family, because that is who you will be dealing with. The mother cooks the son and daughter run the front of house.

ext (1 of 1)

int (1 of 1)

A modest interior hides what is really going on. On a side note the eldest son is a professional boxer.

I just said cook me something you love. She thought about it and it paid off.

cooking (1 of 1)

She asked me if I wanted to see how my food was being made. Yes, please and thank you.

soup (1 of 1)

A starter bonus dish. Soup made from the braise that my main was cooked in with star pasta. I felt like a little kid, this meal brought me back to my childhood. This what food is supposed to do.

menu (1 of 1)

The menu..I do not see what I ate on there. They do .99 cent fish tacos as well.

food (1 of 1)

Hands down the best chili relleno I have ever had. The fry? perfect, the bell pepper still had a crunch and was fresh. The sides flawless. I was told this was her mother’s and her mother’s and her mother’s recipe …it showed.

Then I was asked do want to try her flan she made this morning? You can not say no to that.

dessert (1 of 1)

Yep, and then this. Perfect.

Look I do not preach a lot but this place needs to be supported. You do not get this very often. They are lucky that a new Crunch Fitness is about to open in the same plaza along with a something I am not supposed to talk about gourmet doughnut place.

I tipped heavy and walked out spending $20 dollars a steal for what I ate.

Go, talk, eat. nuff said!

Sinaloa MXN & Seafood

1759 Oceanside Blvd. Oceanside, Ca

#food #foodporn #Oceanside #mexicanfood

Bits and Bites ~ December / January

So, here are some meals I had over the last month and a half, that while don’t fit into a stand alone post, deserve mentioning. You may want to check them out if you want a solid bite to eat.

20161226_121911_1_bestshot

Greek Chicken at Paul’s Place ~ Oceanside

Paul’s Place is owned by, I believe, the brother of the owner of Angelo’s. It is a fast casual restaurant serving a smaller but similar menu. The one thing I like is they serve a few more Greek items, like the Greek Chicken. Moist lemon chicken with rice pilaf and pita bread. A winner for lunch at under $10.

Paul’s Place ~ 3671 Mission Ave. Oceanside.

20170118_113722

Carnitas Plate Combo at Primo Foods ~ Oceanside

Perfectly moist carnitas, guacamole, rice, beans, flour or corn tortillas and a drink for $5.99 on Wednesdays. That can not be beat. Also check out their $0.69 Taco Tuesdays and BBQ on the weekends. They also have great homemade guacamole and salsas to go at the market. It’s a cornucopia of delicious options.

Primo Market ~ 606 Morse St. Oceanside

20170103_113303_7_bestshot

Cornish Game Hen at Luna Grill ~ Carlsbad

So, first off , it was surprising to see Cornish Game Hen at a fast casual restaurant, more surprising how well they executed it. It had a nice char on the outside and was tender and moist inside. Served with Basmati rice, charred tomato, and a house salad.

If you find yourself at the, hugely under construction, Carlsbad Mall, Luna Grill is a solid fast casual choice.

Luna Grill ~ 2501 El Camino Real, Oceanside.

20170119_124800_5_bestshot

Pepian at Aydee’s Garnacheria ~ Fallbrook

Aydee’s is a small cafe near downtown Fallbrook that does Mexican and Guatemalan dishes.

I wondered in for lunch and had a very solid version of Pepian (think Guatemalan Mole). While I wish the sauce had a little more depth it was still very satisfying. I also really liked the rice and beans. The rice was more of a Pilaf style and the beans were cooked rather than refried.

Aydee’s Garnacheria ~ 110 east Mission Rd. Fallbrook

20170114_112136_5_bestshot.jpg

Wood Fired croissants at Biga ~ San Diego

I was given one of these while at the Hog Roast at Biga last week. I did not mention them in that report because they were not part of the event but still wanted to give them a shout out. I have a pretty high standard for croissants and these are right up there with the best, plus the wood fire cooking just pushes them into that very special place. Definintly grab one if your in downtown San Diego, even if you’re not eating at Biga (which i highly recommend you do).

Biga ~ 950 6th Ave. San Diego

20170117_160957_7_bestshot

Pizza Of The Month “Spicy Spinach” at Pizza Port ~ Carlsbad

So last, and surprisingly my least favorite, pizza at pizza Pizza Port. Now, there was nothing wrong with this pie. The crust was good and I finished it, it just did not wow me. I have never been to Pizza Port and they are somewhat of an institution, so I was nearby and decided to try them. Maybe it was an expectation thing? I would much prefer The Privateer or Pizzamaniac for flavor. I know usually, I just won’t mention it but it did surprise me so I thought I would. I did not go in expecting Mozza, but was expecting more than I got.

Pizza Port ~ 571 Carlsbad Village Dr.

Ok, back to looking for a room to rent.