Blue Ocean Robata & Sushi ~ Carlsbad

The last time I was at Blue Ocean Robata & Sushi was back in 2014 a few weeks after they opened. I have been meaning to go back and explore the menu a little more but you know, stuff. So, when they reached out to me I jumped at the opportunity and grabbed my friend Chef Beau to tag along. It is always good to have a backup palate.

If you did not know, Blue Ocean is operated by the same group that owns Love Boat Sushi and their five locations around San Diego County. They opened Blue Ocean in 2014, offering an expanded menu and unique setting. More recently they opened Pokewan next door, serving poke bowls in a fast casual setting.

On a tangent, if you like poke, I would highly suggest Pokewan. In my opinion they are the best of the fast casual poke places around and benefit from being attached to Blue Ocean and their sushi bar. The quality of the seafood puts them above the competition. Hint, get your bowl with cucumber noodles instead of rice, it makes for an extremely light and refreshing treat.

OK, back to Blue Ocean…

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The interior was designed by Bells & Whistles who have also designed Starlight, Smoking Goat, and Bracero. I love the design, its modern without being sterile and has a very sexy vibe to it.

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The restaurant boasts a 20 seat sushi bar in addition to the dining area.

The menu is large enough to offer variety without being overwhelming. In addition to a great sushi menu, offering a nice selection of rolls, nigiri, and sashimi, the menu also offers small plates, specialty dishes, and desserts. A robata menu starts at 4pm offering traditional Japanese charcoal grilled meat, seafood, and vegetable skewers.

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Bao Bao Buns ~ glazed pork belly, napa cabbage slaw, spicy mayo.

I love Bao and pork belly so this was a no brainer. Perfect, melt in your mouth pork wrapped inside soft fluffy bao. The thing that pulled it all together though was the slaw. It was not mayo heavy like a lot of slaws and provided the needed crunchy element and a nice hint of heat.

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5 Spice duck Tacos ~ Coconut scallion crepe, mint napa slaw, hoisin lime, fried ginger.

Another great dish. The use of a crepe instead of the overused fried won ton as the taco shell was great. The duck was tender and flavorful with the slaw making another appearance, though this time sporting a different flavor profile. To quote Beau “the kitchen knows what they are doing”.

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Screaming Yellow Tail ~ ponzu, crispy garlic, olive oil, cherry tomato, sweet onion.

Now things started to get serious. Lovely yellow tail in a very tasty and interesting sauce. It is one of those dishes that when you first taste it you get one thing, in this case sweetness from the ponzu, then as you eat it your palate starts picking up more and more depth. Beau actually broke out his phone and took notes. The consensus was the oil the garlic was cooked in was then poured over the dish slightly searing the fish adding smokiness and depth. This was recommended by our server and rightfully so.

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Albacore Delight ~ Albacore and krab mixed with miso sauce, cucumber, crunch powder
Topped With ~albacore, avocado, green onion (chili oil, ponzu).

This is my go-to roll. I am not usually a roll person, I like nigiri and sashimi, this is the exception. I always ordered it at Love Boat Sushi (which is where I discovered it). I will go so far as to say this is my favorite sushi roll ever and anywhere. I know, big statement and that includes the local big players as well as nationally. Note I said “roll”. The reason is it ticks all the boxes for me, it is light with a hint of sweetness and then you get heat (that is not overwhelming) from the chili oil. If you want more heat just dip the piece into a little more chili oil. Truly a joy to eat.

I was really glad I revisited Blue Ocean Robata & Sushi. I knew it was going to be good but it actually exceeded my expectations. They have a really good happy hour and the atmosphere really makes it a good choice for a date or night out.

 

Blue Ocean Robata & Sushi

2958 Madison St., Carlsbad

#food #foodporn #sushi #japanesefood #robata #carlsbad #northcounty #seafood #spicy

 

 

 

Feast @ The Mission San Luis Rey ~ Oceanside

So, Wednesday the 26th marked the third incarnation of the Feast event at the Mission San Luis Rey here in Oceanside. Not only was this the third event, it was the biggest with 450 tickets being sold prior to the event online. With at the door sales the event attendance easily reached 500 plus.

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The crowd.

The atmosphere is one of the things that make this event so special. It is held in the Mission’s rose garden, normally closed off to the general public.

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The rose garden.

The event hosts 20 restaurants, including a few local breweries, and one distillery. It is pretty much impossible to try everything. Luckily my friend Cheryl of Cheryl’s Carmels housed me with a chair and water behind her booth as respite between food rounds.

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Cheryl’s Caramels ~ Hand made with love and no additives.

So, I started with Chef Willy’s offering from his restaurant 608. Last year he brought frog legs, this year was slightly more tame but still showed off why he is one of the most creative Chefs in North County.

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Tuna in Miso Broth ~ Grade A Tuna from Catalina Offshore in a light Miso broth. Instead of using Miso paste the broth was made with Sunflower seeds. Great refreshing dish.

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Cyclops Farms was there with fresh organic strawberries and wine pours from Chris Lobo of Native Wines. The strawberries could not only be sampled at their stand but found their way into the desserts of……

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Petite Madeline Bakery and Bistro bringing out their full spread.

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Those Cyclops Farm strawberries in action.

Making Their first showing at Feast, they are just coming up on their 1st year in business, was The Miller’s Table and Chef Stacy Miller.

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Watermelon and Feta Salad ~ A good choice to provide a fresh and light dish. There were a lot of tacos and sliders at the event so it was nice to have some contrast. She also brought her indulgent grilled cheese sandwich.

Two of the originals of the Oceanside food movement, as always, brought their A game.

Wrench and Rodent gave us two dishes.

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Wrench and Rodent’s Zucchini Gazpacho. Well it may have not plated the prettiest it was one of the top 3 dishes of the night. Full of flavor with a slight back heat.

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Opah Sloppy Joes and Cyclops Farms vegetables. The Opah Sloppy Joe was served on a bun which I forewent due to stomach space. A great tasty dish.

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Summer Squash Rillette W/ Peach Jalapeno Sauce on Crostini. The Flying Pig, two years in a row, produced what I thought was the dish of the night. A true “Chefs” dish, seemingly simple yet packed with technique and flavor.

One of my favorites, and on my revisit list for August, Panca Peruvian Cuisine and Rotisserie showed up with one of Chef Iiolie’s signature, and one of my favorite, dishes.

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Scallop Won-ton ~ seared scallop, lettuce, onion and carrot served with sweet and sour soy sauce, Huancaina sauce and cilantro.

A great dish that shows the cultural diversity of Peru.

These guys were new to me. I almost passed them up but I am glad I didn’t. Their presentation was spot on and the flavors were great.

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The Jennhouse Catering ~ Vegetarian Won-Ton Tacos and mini corn Elote.

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LTH did a Tuna  Ceviche Tostada. Super fresh tuna and I thought the addition of pine nuts in the ceviche was inspired.

The Privateer brought their classic cauliflower dish.

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Curried Cauliflower ~ A great, tasty vegetarian dish.

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Crostini ~ Tuna and house made humus (I love hummus so much)

Last but not least, Master’s Kitchen and Cocktail played it safe by deciding to roast a whole pig on site:)

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The Masters crew w/ owner Ryan in the back. There is deviance under that grin.

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Pork, pork, pork, pork..gotta be pork wonderful pork. If you change out the meat and know where that song is from you get +10,000 bonus points.

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Pork Taco ~ Tender delicious pork and a great salsa earn it a place in the top three of the night.

So, another great Feast event. I hit 4/5ths of what was there on offer. I do this professionally so I think I picked the right choices. If only I had an extra tummy.

There were a few places I did not try that I am now going to seek out as an individual restaurant review.  My only advice would be, remember people are eating a lot of food, keep portion size to 2 to 3 bites. Sure I can throw some away but that is not a good choice to have to make. Bring you’re A game because others are.

Top 3 of the night in order L to R….

top 3

Flying Pig’s Rillette                    Master’s Pork Tacos            Wrench and Rodent’s Gazpacho

Links are in the restaurant offerings highlighted blue in the post. If you did not get a chance to go this year I highly suggest it for the future.

#food #foodporn #Oceanside #restaurants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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….

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

 

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.

 

 

Fish District ~ Carlsbad

So, while I was out at Bressi Ranch in Carlsbad covering Cravory Cookies, I popped in for lunch at Fish District. I had heard good things, and while I would not make it a destination, it is a solid lunch option if you are in the area.

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Fish District ~ 2675 Gateway Road, Carlsbad

Fish District is a small Southern California Chain of about 5 locations specialising, funnily enough, in fish.

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Fish and Chips

I broke the fish so you could see that it was indeed moist and flakey on the inside. I liked the batter it was in between an English beer batter and a Japanese tempura. While not a huge fries guy, the fries were great especially with the addition of malt vinegar.

Because I always want to report on as much as possible I totally over ordered and added a Poke Bowl. I was asked if I wanted the “lunch” portion, I think I thought that meant smaller so I said yes..turns out the opposite is true.

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Poke Bowl ~ Tuna

The Poke bowl was good. The fish was fresh and all the accompaniments were tasty. I think I like the build your own bowl concept better because I like my stuff spicy.

Tip: Avoid prime time lunch hours, the place was packed, as was the parking lot. Service was still good and efficient, but all the little office worker bees were descending on the area for their break.

 

Fish District

2675 Gateway Rd, Carlsbad, CA

New Poke Place Pokewan Comming to Carlsbad

Carlsbad is booming right now, with the opening of Campfire, Baba Coffee, Carruth Cellars, and Succulent Cafe, plus the soon to be opened Barrel Republic.

The people behind Blue Ocean Robata Sushi at 2958 Madison Street (same people behind Love Boat Sushi as well) are opening a fast casual Poke restaurant next door.

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This pic is about a month old. I would say late November early December for the opening. Not a lot of details, it will be called Pokewan, a build your poke bowl concept like a lot of others that have popped up in San Diego over the last year.

#poke #carlsbad

Feast ~ Mission San Luis Rey, Oceanside

Two things. First, I LOVE THIS EVENT SO MUCH, I HAD SO MUCH FUN, GREAT FOOD, GREAT SETTING, GREAT PEOPLE! Second, Is it possible to have a food hangover?

This past Wednesday marked the second annual Feast event at the Mission San Luis Rey. The event is held in the courtyard of the rose garden, which is normally not open to the public. The setting is a huge part of what makes the event so special.

Rose Garden

Said rose garden.

Feast set up

The courtyard. There is something about a 218-year-old setting that brings grace and tranquility.

The event was held on the north side of the courtyard as opposed to last year’s more narrow southern side. This space is large so though the crowd was bigger this year it was more spread out. My friend Mario and I guessed about 4 to 5 hundred guests total.

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Feast at full swing.

night begins to fall At sunset.

All the restaurants involved were North County based.

There were roughly 25 food vendors plus 2 beer vendors, Belching Beaver (who sold out early) and Oceanside Ale works, plus two vendors doing hard liquor.

I did not try everything but I went for quality. Even though most of the dishes were small plates one or two bites, it adds up quickly.

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San Luis Rey restaurant and Bakery

Mission Bakery

These guys have been around forever, tucked away near the mission producing great baked goods and honest Mexican food. They rolled out with an assortment of great desserts.

San Luis Rey Bakery

490 N. El Camino Real

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Candy girls

Cheryl ( center) and the talented lovely women from So Rich Chocolates.

Cheryl , besides being one of the coolest people on the planet, makes homemade world-class caramels. She can be found at the Thursday Oceanside Farmers Market and online.

Cheryl’s Caramels

Chocolates tent

So Rich Chocolates are custom Vista-based, chocolatiers. They focus on wine and beer pairings with their Chocolates and can be found at local breweries and wineries throughout North County. I believe they will be at the Belching Beaver Oceanside taproom grand opening . Their high-quality chocolate is worth checking out.

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Great Chocolate. I had the dark and the white ghost pepper chocolates. Both were melt in your mouth delicious with a nice back heat from the ghost peppers.

So Rich Chocolates

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Always a crowd favorite, Chef Daniel was there with an LTH classic.

LTH Deviled Eggs

LTH’s upscale deviled eggs. this is a perfect event food, delicious, and 1 or 2 bites.

Local Tap House

308 South Coast Highway, Oceanside

 

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Team Petite Madeline was there with their large assortment of hand-crafted pastries.

Petite Madeline crew

Petite Madeline Spread

Petite Madeline Spread 2

Pick any one, you can not go wrong.

I had a mushroom Vol Ar Vent (not pictured because I suck) that was great and more suited to my savory preference. I am not a big sweets person:(

Petite Madeline Bakery & Bistro

223 N. Coast Highway, Oceanside

 

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Both Privateer Coal Fired Pizza and Privateer Market Place and Wine Bar were in the house.

While The market did a deconstruction of their Charcuterie plate, featuring Prager Brothers bread, Mikolich honey, local jams and Angel Salumi. Privateer brought their Avo Toast.

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Avocado Toast ~ Prager Brothers Bread, avocado, onion, strawberry

That is a basic description of this dish, in actuality, it is way more complex both in technique and flavor. I dare anyone to sit down with ten of these and see how long they last you.

Privateer Coal Fired Pizza

1706 South Coast Highway, Oceanside

 

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Though I was a little bummed Chef Iolli did not bring her incredible seafood, she did some beautiful deserts. Which shows how versatile of a chef she is.

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The dessert that looks like it has tapioca on the bottom..no that’s quinoa. What? Again incredible Chef.

 

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Wrench and Rodent showed up in true form as always bringing a perfect dish for the event.Wrench and rodent

Cantaloupe Gazpacho ~ Yellowtail with french beans and zucchini spaghetti from Cyclops Farms.  Davin in all his Davinessness:)

Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub

1815 South Coast Highway, Oceanside

 

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Ryan from Masters brought a California take on a New England staple.

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Lobster roll ~ Langoustine, kimchee, avocado, on a Hawaiian roll.

Nice refreshing offering. I would have liked more heat from the kimchee but, as I have said before, I have a high heat tolerance.

Masters Kitchen and Cocktail

208 South Coast Highway, oceanside

 

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608, Chef Willy is my hero of the event for having the balls to do frogs legs. Not only that he converted people who never tried them and probably would not get a huge opportunity in North County restaurants. Hats off sir.

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I have always said they taste like chicken and a little bit of fish. His description was they have a salmon quality to them which is more accurate. Tasty and tender none the less.

608 Frog Legs

Frogs Legs ~ Coconut milk braise, lobster tail curry, foraged greens.

That is what I am talking about right there!

608

608 Mission Ave., Oceanside

 

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Mission Ave Bar and Grill brought, from my walking around and talking to people, one of the crowd’s favorite dishes. It was Fresh,cool,and bite-sized. Again perfect for the event.

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Hawaiian Poke ~  Sweet Maui onions, green onions, wonton crisps, wasabi caviar, and shiso.

Mission Ave Bar and Grill

711 Mission Ave., Oceanside

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In what I considered the dish of the event (small margins as everything was great and people brought their A game) Flying Pig blew me away.

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Duroc pork on the grill.

Samantha Perker Flying Pig

Chef Samantha Parker plating up. Duroc Pork with a Fennel ash and Cumin rub, served with a Santa Rosa Stone fruit salad.

The pork had a nice smoky flavor to it due to the cooking method and the rub. Though the serving was only about an eighth of an inch thick it still packed tons of flavor and held its moisture. That takes some skill to pull off. The stone fruit salad was a great addition providing contrast while still having savory elements in its own right. Again IMO dish of the event.

Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen

626 S. Tremont St., Oceanside

230 South Santa Fe, Vista

 

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Cannot forget the people I came with.

banana dang

Banana Dang! Mario and crew serving Love and craft, pour over Chai Iced Coffee and Vietnamese Iced Tea to the masses. They make great smoothies too.

Banana Dang!

115 South Coast Highway, Oceanside

 

Sothern Snow Balls

last but not least. This just made me happy. I was crushed when Southern Snow Balls closed on Wisconsin St.. Glad to see they are back. Great couple and great product. They can be found Thursday through Sunday in Oceanside in “The College of Beauty” Parking lot in South Oceanside.

OK, so there you have the gist of it. If you did not go you missed out big time. Make sure you make the next one, totally worth your time.

Shout out to Nino from Ono Yum for putting this together.

 

 

Poki Poki ~ Oceanside

Ok, so this restaurant spells their name Poki Poki. The dish is traditionally spelled Poke, so I will bounce back between the two spellings.

Poke is a huge trend right now with at least 6 new restaurants focused on it opening in San Diego  within the last 6 months. These restaurants range from the “build your own” style to more standard restaurant concepts.

Even though trending Poke has been around forever. The I Love Poke Fest, put on by Ono Yum, has been going for years and is one San Diego’s most popular food events.

Poke ,if you are unfamiliar, is a Hawaiian raw fish salad. Think Sashimi over rice or salad. The more modern variations add various ingredients and sauces.

Poki Poki opened about 3 months ago in Oceanside at 3480 Marron Rd.. I found out about them through Chef Beau Bohnham. He mentioned all his kitchen staff were talking about the place. I also have a friend on Facebook who loves them, her wife has a lot of dietary restrictions and it is one of the few places they can both eat.

As soon as I got a chance I grabbed a Chef friend and headed out.

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Poki Poki is a fast casual restaurant serving poke bowls. You start your order at one end, Choose the size of the bowl you want, and start adding ingredients.

Poki Poki int 1

Starting point ~  size, white rice, brown rice, and type of fish.

Poki Poki int line

Working our way down the line.

Poki Poki int 2

Poki Poki int sign

More interior pics ( I took them might as well use them)

Poki Poki bowl 1

My friends Poke bowl. I have no Idea what she got..on to mine.

Poki Poki bowl 2

Large Poke Bowl ~1/2 salad, 1/2 rice, Yellow Tail, Salmon, spicy sauce,spicy mayo, everything added but wasabi.

I really like the 1/2 and 1/2 combo as a base. Fish was fresh (and were there around 5pm).

I really liked it, fresh and not too heavy. I had so much food earlier and still ate this all. The 2 bowls and the drinks came to a little over $20, not bad at all.

For a nice change-up to other fast casual options, I liked them and will go again.

Poki Poki 

3480 Marron Rd., Oceanside