Werewolf ~ San Diego

So, a lot of posts are going to be hitting you. I thought I would start with an easy one.

So, the thing I measure bar staffs against is the people at Masters in Oceanside and Werewolf in San Diego…for a very good reason. They understand how to make a cocktail.+

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So I went old school and ordered a whisky sour..this is what I got…

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It was so funny because the bartender said “Is it Ok if it comes in a fancy glass?” LOL yes I am fine. BTW great bartender that is why I hit this place up everytime I am in SD. Apperently egg whites are part of a whiskey sour…never knew yet so good.

Werewolf

San Diego, Ca

 

 

New Chef / Menu Items At Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen ~ Oceanside

So, I was invited with about 120 others to try some of the new menu items that will be coming to The Flying Pig’s Oceanside location starting Tuesday.

The new menu will feature Craft, Italian inspired dishes created by new Chef  Justin Lappies. Justin has been working with Executive Chef Mario Moser for the last three years and was tapped to replace exiting Chef Samantha Parker, who is now at Campfire.

Do not worry, it is not a complete menu change and you will still see Flying Pig staples on the menu, it is just an infusion of freshness accompanying the new Chef.

All the dishes were served “family style’ and varied with each table.

What we had…..

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Panzanella Salad ~ Heirloom tomato, red romaine, onion,basil, cucumbers, capers, fried house focaccia, house vin.

Great salad with super fresh ingredients. I would say an interpretation of a panzanella.

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Arancini ~ Arborio rice, herbs, mushrooms, house red sauce and truffle aioli.

A great light version of what can sometimes be a heavy appetizer. I loved the filling and the mushroom flavor. I did not care for the truffle aioli but the red sauce made up for it in spades.

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Meat Flatbread ~ Pepperoni, ham, sausage, house red sauce, caramelized onion, opal basil

Classic, tasty flatbread.

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Tagliatelle ~ Daily Bolognese, with aged parm.

This was my dish of the night. Perfectly cooked, hand-made pasta with a rich sauce that contrasted perfectly with the freshness of the greens.

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Campanile ~ Daily pesto, house sausage, mushrooms, aged parm.

Another tasty pasta dish, loved the pesto and the sausage. Pasta may have been slightly to al dente for my taste.

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Olive Oil Pound Cake with Champagne Gastrique

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Spumoni ~ Pistacio Gelato, Brandied Cherries.

Excellent gelato, could have used more kick out of the brandied cherries.

Overall, great food that will be a nice addition to the Pig’s menu. Just as long as the pork chop does not go anywhere:)

Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen

626 South Tremont Street, Oceanside

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.

 

 

Churchill’s Pub & Grille ~ San Marcos

Taking my role as a new writer for beer in North County very seriously, today I visited Churchill’s for their Peter Reeves 6th Annual Sourfest, and let me tell you, the reputation of this event , and this classic brew pub, did not disappoint. Churchill’s is known for being one of the prime locations in North County to access craft beer. They have partnered with many breweries in the area to make beers specifically released for their restaurant and special events that they have hosted. They also often hold festivals where most of their taps feature specific styles (such as Sour Fest).

We (some friends and myself) arrived at about 10:30am to beat the expected crowd for the 11 opening…

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Churchill’s, a noble establishment.

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Anxiously awaiting the event….

After the doors were opened we went immediately to the bar to place our orders. The beer list included around 40 sours, many of which were special releases, as well as a great selection of other styles (Including Russian River’s Pliney the Elder) for those that can’t handle a whole day of sour beer drinking….newbs.

Also some additional information for those readers who might not be familiar with a sour style beer. A sour beer is a beer that is brewed using wild yeast or bacteria. Using this type of culture creates a more tart, sour, and often sweet taste to the beer. Some common styles of sour beers include lambics, gose, and “wild” ales.

Some of the beers offered for this event.

Some of the beers offered for this event.

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The beer list from the event 🙂 Heavenly.

Some of the highlights in my personal and not-so-professional opinion were:

Firestone Walker Sour Opal- This wild ale aged in viognier barrels hits the spot as being a twist on the typical taste of this regularly brewed saison by Firestone Walker. This already excellent beer, with it’s bready refreshing flavor, was given a crisp tartness. It was not overpoweringly sweet as can occasionally happen in this genre of brews (I tend to prefer the tart sours over the sweet/fruity ones).

Lost Abbey Churchill’s Finest Sour 2015- This limited release beer is an annual creation by Lost Abbey to be released by Churchill’s. Though they had kegs from the 2013 and 2014 releases as well, I found the 2015 release to be the most worthy of praise (not that the others weren’t delightful). This round, however, aged in wine barrels with apricots and nectarines had that crisp flavor that makes you pretty convinced it is more hydrating than intoxicating, in spite of the 6.5% ABV.

Along with a day of great beer, Churchill’s concocted a special menu for the festivities featuring wild game dishes that would make both Teddy Roosevelt and Ron Swanson proud. My group shared the bison brisket bbq sandwich and the wild boar sliders. Both of which were just as foodie and pretentious enough to match our day of sour beer drinking. Loved it.

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Some light drinking at Churchill’s Sour Fest

This event was great. However, Churchill’s is definitely a spot worth your time on any other given day, as well as for their events. The restaurant never disappoints in grub or suds. Always sporting a rotating and fantastic beer list, this spot is definitely a gem in San Marcos. To top it off their menu is also frequently changing but includes English pub-style menu with some unique So-Cal twists. All in all, delicious and worthy of a stop next time your on the 78.

Churchill’s Pub & Grille

887 West San Marcos Blvd
San Marcos, CA 92069

churchillspub.us

Words and Pictures by Katie Cobb