How to grow your restaurant business with video.

So, we have a great restaurant community up here in North County. Another thing we have, that may go over looked, is a great number of businesses that support that community. Whether it is Cyclops Farms providing great, local, organic produce to local eateries, or organizations like Mainstreet Oceanside and Visit Oceanside helping new restaurant owners build their networks and contacts. We are pretty lucky.

Another member of that community is “The King’s Touch Video” who specialize in video photography. I met the owners, Shawn and Roberta, over a year ago at a Mainstreet  promotions committee meeting. Not only was I struck by their experience and scope of work but also themselves as people. Since that time I have introduced them to a number of local restauranteurs and chefs, who they ended up doing video and photography for.

Because I am always doing one project or another, or just stuffing my face, I talk to these Chefs and owners over and over again and have heard nothing but high praise for the quality of work and customer service provided by Shawn and his wife .

The reason I am mentioning them here is because they want to focus more of their business on restaurants, chefs, and food as it is a passion of theirs.

Press play above to see their work. They also have a lot of food based examples on their website.

This is not a paid ad for their services. I just believe in their ability and think they are a great support business for the local restaurant community.

So, if you are in the market to expand coverage of your restaurant or bar through video, I would highly recommend their services.

The King’s Touch Video

#video #food #foodporn #business #northcounty #cyclopsfarms #mainstreetoceanside #visitoceanside #localbusiness

Halcyon, Stella Public House, plus bonus ~ San Marcos

So, I recently went to check out the new Halcyon Coffee + Bar + Lounge and their sister establishment Stella Public House located in the new mixed use enclave that is called “Block C” North City in San Marcos.  North City is set to be, once finished, an urban living utopia or dystopia, depending on your point of view. My friend Beau said it best. “High rise upscale apartments with cacti and bicycles on the balconies and hipster coffee houses and restaurants on the street level.” Pretty dead on actually. Luckily I like hipster coffee places and restaurants, good ones anyway.

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Block C ( Why does that name conjure up images of Judge Dread and Mega City One for me?)

Halcyon, and Stella Public House, are part of a small chain with two locations in Texas. The new San Marcos location is actually a relocation of their East Village spot in San Diego.

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Halcyon Coffee + Bar + Lounge

Open 7am till 2am Halcyon is a coffee bar during the day serving up breakfast items, salads, and sandwiches. At night it turns into a lounge with wine, beer and cocktail service.

It has a bright, laid back atmosphere with lots of large open roll up windows. The space flows across a couch filled lounge area into their sister establishment Stella Public house.

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Iced Tea and a daisy:)

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Stella Public House calls itself a “Farm to Pizza” establishment. I can see that. Its menu is designed around shared plates and wood fired pizzas. Plus, to be a Gastropub I think it’s law you must have a $14 burger, pork belly, and ceviche on the menu ( though technically I think you can sub the ceviche for poke and the burger for sliders.).  I do not recognize the farms they are sourcing from listed on their website but the food we had used top quality, fresh product. Plus, to be honest, I only know like six farms by name anyway.

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A beautiful open kitchen and bar area run along the North wall. Flowing and / or seamless would be good adjectives to describe the space.

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The large roll up windows / doors continue the indoor out-door theme from Halcyon. Justin ( beer contributor for NCF ) stuck with water, as due to being in soft opening mode they were not serving beer yet. They open officially 10/6. Justin lived, we went to a brewery right after this:)

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Burrata Plate ~ Burrata, prosciutto, and accompaniments.

Delicious, fresh burrata with great prosciutto. We both loved this. Easily enough for two as a starter.

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Texas Bee Sting Pizza ~ house mozzarella, serrano, sopressata, parmigiano, with local honey drizzle and cilantro.

I was not that hungry but still devoured 3 slices of the pizza. It had a nice balance of saltiness from the cheese playing off the right amount of sweetness from the honey and a little bit of spice from the serranos. A really nice pizza, I would order it again.

Also shout out to the staff for being friendly and dealing with the slight chaos that comes with a new establishment opening perfectly.

Halcyon & Stella Public House

250 North City Drive Suite #3 | San Marcos, CA

BattleMage Brewing….

As I mentioned in the title, a little bonus. After Eating at Stella we headed over to check out Battle Mage Brewing Company. Justin will do a full article on them and their beers, but I just wanted to mention them.

BattleMage started up about five months ago and is a fantasy themed brewery ( Dungeons & Dragons, Magic The Gathering, Game of Thrones ). Their beers have names like Goblin King, Chaotic Evil, and Hooded Assassin. They have D&D nights every Tuesday, Magic the Gathering Wednesdays, and board games available to play anytime. Basically, I love them:) Here are a few pics till Justin writes them up. Good beer in a variety of styles. I highly recommend checking them out.

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Wall of Magic The Gathering Cards.

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Beer list and kick ass mascot art work. Really good prices, flights of 4 tasters are $5, pints $5, and growlers $15. Yes, I bought a T-Shirt, wearing it right now:)

BattleMage Brewing Company

2870 Scott St, Vista, CA

#food #foodporn #foodie #pizza #coffee #beer #brewery #craftbrewery #sanmarcos #northcounty #D&D #games #vista

 

 

 

 

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 )

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stumblefoot Brewing & Mother Earth Brewing ~ San Marcos and Vista

Stumblefoot Brewing Co. and Mother Earth Brew Co.

All words and pictures by Justin Kunert

Near San Elijo Hills at the bottom of San Marcos, and south of the brewing and tasting room cluster where Vista, Carlsbad, and San Marcos meet, you’ll find Stumblefoot Brewing Company.  Open since 2012, it’s likely you’ve heard of or visited this spot before, or perhaps seen their sour ale, Quadraven, at bottle shops or liquor stores. But this spot may appear different from your last visit, as the company just changed ownership earlier this year.  With the change came a refreshed logo and an updated ambiance in the tasting room.  One thing that did not change is the brewer, and judging by the amount of people in the tasting room, the beer has maintained its quality taste and consistency that has kept it running since 2012.  I was eager to sample as many beers that legal blood alcohol limits would allow.

beer 1The beer line-up

I went for four 5 ounce tasters: Take This Job And Nugget  Session IPA (5.5%), Inner Penguin IPA (6.9%), Chester Brown Ale (5.5%), and QuadRaven Sour Ale (11.5%).  Chris ordered two half pours, opting for Cher-ish the Journey Cherry Kettle Sour (6%) and Strawberry Gose Sour (4.5%).  The standout for both of us was the QuadRaven, providing a noticeable pucker, slight malt backbone, and mild booziness, even at 11.5%.  The Brown Ale was unfiltered, an interesting take on recent brewing trends.  I felt it gave the beer a creamy texture, and lighter body.  The aroma on the Penguin really threw me off, I was expecting a more tropical fruit smell given it being a hazy IPA.  But it smelt more like a Belgian beer would, which I thought was really interesting.  The Session, Gose, and kettle sour were all really refreshing, especially on a hot day.

beer 2The brewing equipment at Stumblefoot

With no food options or food truck at Stumblefoot, we ventured into downtown Vista to visit Urbn Pizza and Mother Earth Brew Co.  Order pizza at Urbn and they will deliver it to you while you drink at Mother Earth.  I love this set up, it’s like having a permanent food truck at the brewery.

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Beers and backdrop at Mother Earth Brew Co.

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Clockwise from left: Say When, ESB, Rooftop, Sin Tax

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Urbn and IPA while at Mother Earth

While here, we both ordered the Extra Special Bitter (5.4%), Rooftop IPA (7.5%), Say When IPA (7.5%), and the Sin Tax Imperial Peanut Butter Stout (8.1%).  I love the ESB here; it is smooth, balanced, light, and has a wonderful maltiness on the nose and on the finish.  Definitely order it on your next visit, as it was a bronze medal winner at the 2016 Great American Beer Fest.  Sin Tax served as a perfect vessel for my last beer of the day.  After the always successful pizza and IPA combination, the peanut butter, chocolately, and roasty stout flavors of Sin Tax made the dessert like beer a perfect finish to the evening.

Stumblefoot Brewery

1784 La Costa Meadows Dr #103,
San Marcos,

 

Mother Earth Brew Co.

206 Mainstreet Vista

#food #foodporn #beer #brewery #microbrew #vista #sanmarcos #stumblefoot #motherearthbrewing #pizza

 

 

 

Panda Garden ~ San Marcos

So, one of the things I have been striving to find here in North County is a good Chinese restaurant. I have tried quite a few. The reason you do not see posts about them is that they did not meet the same level of quality as most of the restaurants featured on this site. Opinions, like most things, are subjective but I found nothing in the Chinese food category  I would feel comfortable sending someone to on a recommendation.  That has now changed, I can honestly recommend Panda Garden in San Marcos. It’s not on the level of Bay Area Chinese restaurants, but it is quite good.

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Standard strip mall location. I have never been to a great “fancy” Chinese restaurant.

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Nice clean interior. I liked the calmness of the bamboo green accents.

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Lunch specials come with the Chinese version of chips and salsa, fried won-ton chips with sweet and sour sauce and hot mustard. I’m convinced good Chinese hot mustard is on par with Wasabi for sinus clearing ability. Also included with the specials are a bowl of egg drop soup and an egg roll.

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Yu-Shang-Chicken ~ water chestnuts, tree ear, white onions, green onions, bamboo shoots, celery, and carrots in a spicy garlic sauce.

Perfectly cooked vegetables and chicken in a spicy garlic sauce (not that spicy). The dish came out piping hot straight out of the wok and was very tasty. The egg roll was pretty standard.

One order? Ha, amateur hour with your “one order”.

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Noodles in Black Bean Sauce ~ Shrimp, beef, and vegetables in black bean sauce.

This is under their soup section on the menu, but it does not resemble a soup. The black bean sauce has more of a gravy like consistency. It is hearty, a little earthy and very delicious. I also loved the noodles, thick, and slightly chewy similar to Udon style noodles.

This is one of the most popular noodle dishes in Korea, even though it actually originated in China, you can find it being served in almost every Chinese restaurant there.

So, I would reiterate that I think Panda Garden is the best option for Chinese food in North County ATM. As a caveat, I do have to revisit Spicy King in Vista for a second try as I think I just ordered wrong due to my lack of understanding the Chinese language when I was there.

As for Korean and Italian. I have a review of the new Manu Korean BBQ hitting later this week and an Italian place in my sites that looks promising. Right now my recommendation for Italian is Trattoria Itrulli in Encinitas we will see how Vista fares.

 

Panda Garden

742 S Rancho Santa Fe Rd, San Marcos

#food #foodporn #chinesefood #sanmarcos #foodie

Easter Sunday Dining Options Around San Diego

Some great Easter dining options around the Greater San Diego area.

Lakehouse Hotel & Resort & Decoy Dockside Dining            

1025 La Bonita Drive

San Marcos, CA 92078

(760) 744-0120

http://www.lakehousehotelandresort.com/

Dining dockside on Easter makes for a true southern California spring holiday. Enjoy an Easter Sunday brunch buffet on April 16 with sweet and savory breakfast favorites, a chilled seafood display, hand-carved meats and a decadent dessert bar, all beginning at 9:00 a.m. The little ones can take part in free Easter egg hunts, taking place at 10:30 a.m. and at 1:30 p.m. Brunch-goers will listen to live music performances from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for a truly relaxing holiday. The cost to attend is $60 for adults, which includes free-flowing sparkling wine, and $19 for children 12 and under. To reserve your spot, call (760) 744-0120. Be on the lookout for a special appearance by the Easter Bunny!

Photo Below: Decoy Dockside Dining

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TRUST

3752 Park Boulevard

San Diego, CA 92103

(619) 795-6901

www.trustrestaurantsd.com

Nestled in the neighborhood of Hillcrest, chic eatery TRUST is taking Easter brunch to the next level this year. Soak in the sunshine on the restaurant’s patio while indulging in the Lemon Meringue French Toast, a mountain of Brioche bread topped with vanilla Ricotta, toasted almonds, lemon curd, graham crackers and blueberry. Let the bartenders at TRUST work their mixology magic by making the perfect brunch beverage to pair with your meal. Brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. For additional information and reservations, call (619) 795-6901.

 

Photo Below: TRUST’s Lemon Meringue French Toast

 

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The Westgate Hotel

1055 2nd Avenue

San Diego, CA 92101

(619) 238-1818

www.westgatehotel.com

The Westgate Hotel invites locals and weekend visitors alike to join in Easter Sunday festivities! The hotel will feature Easter-themed afternoon teas and a festive Easter Champagne brunch where a cotton-tailed guest is scheduled to hop in and say hello.

Easter Bunny Teas: Enjoy a European-style afternoon tea, featuring kid-friendly petit fours and mini pastries, along with an Easter egg hunt and magic show on the Riviera Terrace. Families can meet the Easter Bunny beginning at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, April 14 and Saturday, April 15. The price is $50 for adults and $35 for children 12 and under, plus tax and gratuity.

Champagne Brunch: On Sunday, April 16, experience The Westgate’s traditional Easter Champagne Brunch, complete with fresh seafood, made-to-order omelets, carving stations and a children’s section. Little ones will be entertained by a face painting artist and a visit from the Easter Bunny. Brunch will be served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The price is $89 for adults and $35 for children 12 and under, plus tax and gratuity.

Reserve online today! http://www.westgatehotel.com/events-promotions/special-events/easter-celebrations

Photo Below: Easter Bunny with kids

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Parc Bistro-Brasserie

2760 5th Ave.

San Diego CA 92103

(619) 319-9472

http://www.parcbb.com/

Enjoy a lovely Easter Sunday brunch at Parc Bistro-Brasserie in the heart of Banker’s Hill. With classic French dishes ranging from sweet and savory crepes to steak, seafood towers, and more, there’s something to satisfy everyone at the table. Brunch offerings also include specialty cocktails and $13 bottomless mimosas. View the brunch menu by visiting www.parcbb.com or call (619) 319-9472 to make a reservation.

Photo Below: Parc’s Seafood Tower

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Monello

750 West Fir St.

San Diego, CA 92101

(619) 501-0030

https://www.lovemonello.com/

Make Milanese cuisine part of your Easter celebration this year at Monello. On Saturday, April 15 and Sunday, April 16, Monello is showcasing an “egg”-stravagant selection of dishes for their crowd-favorite brunch including Eggs Benedict con Agnello e Spinaci or lamb eggs benedict and spinach. They will also serve a special Lamb Pizza made with cheese, mushroom and spinach. Top these delicious dishes off with the perfect cocktail from their new brunch drink menu including mimosa carafes with your choice of juice or a Caprese Bloody Mary made with vodka, in-hour tomato juice and topped with a fresh mozzarella Caprese skewer. To make reservations, please call (619) 501-0030 or reserve a spot via OpenTable.

Photo Below: Monello’s New Brunch Cocktails

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Bencotto

750 W Fir St #103

San Diego, CA 92101

(619) 450-4786

https://www.lovebencotto.com/

 

The chefs at Bencotto Italian Kitchen, right next door to Monello, will also be serving up a few specials to celebrate Easter this year. Lunch and dinner specials on Saturday, April 15 and Sunday, April 16 will include Lasagna Agnello + Porcini e Fontina, homemade lamb lasagna with mushroom and porcini, and Stinco de Agnello con Patate Arrosto al Tartufo, lamb shank and roasted truffle potatoes. Bencotto is open for lunch and dinner every Saturday and Sunday beginning at 11:30 a.m. Reservations are recommended and can be made online or by calling (619) 450-4786.   

 

Photo Below: Bencotto’s upstairs dining area

 

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Giuseppe Fine Restaurants & Catering

700 Prospect Ave.

San Diego, CA 92037

(858) 581-2205

www.grnfc.com

Don’t feel like going out for Easter brunch this year? Giuseppe Catering’s Pronto Delivery program allows you to forget about the stress and cleanup that comes along with hosting, so you can sit back and enjoy your get-together, guests, and an exceptional meal. For formal or large-scale events, the Fine Catering team will be there every step of the way to make sure your event is unforgettable—in the best way. Find full menu details and catering options at www.grnfc.com or call (858) 581-2205 to learn more.

Photo Below: Giuseppe Catering Deviled Eggs

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Have a great Easter! North County options coming shortly.

#food # restaurants #easter #brunch #easterbrunch #sandiego

Dining Out San Diego Passport

So, if you follow me you know, I do not sell things on this website. This is a bit different, Dining Out San Diego has partnered up with me to offer their Dining Passport at a special rate through my site.

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If you’re not familiar with Dining out San Diego it is a great magazine featuring Chefs and Restaurants across San Diego. Also, unlike other publications, they have supported North County Chefs and Restaurants.

The Passport allows you to receive 2 for one entrees at 50 San Diego Restaurants that normally do not do deals.

Some of the North County restaurants include 608, The Whet Noodle, Land and Water Company, Harney Sushi, Iron Fist Brewing, Wooden Spoon. There are more great restaurants up and down the coast.

Normally it costs $99 and is good for a year. With our partnership, it is $35 (64% off).

At that cost, it pays for itself in 2 meals.

You keep the passport and every time you use it that page is stamped. It is not a coupon book. These restaurants have a great relationship with the magazine. They want to be in it.

I mean Bracero Cucina De Raiz does not put coupons in the reader.

To order go here ~ Dining Out Passbook  and enter code NCF2016 at checkout.

Here is a complete list of restaurants:

 608, Americana, Arterra Del Mar, BICE, Bracero, Bullys, Cafe Gratitude, Cafe Lulu, Caffe Calabria, Cali Comfort BBQ, Catania, City Tacos, Common Theory, Crest Cafe, Cupcakes Squared, Eclipse Chocolate, En Fuego, Enoteca Style, Farmers Bottega, Fig Tree Cafe, Hacienda de Vega, Harney Sushi, Henry’s Pub, Hodads, Holiday Wine Cellar, iDessert, Indigo Grill, Ironfist Brewing, Isabel’s Cantina, Kous Kous, Land & Water Co, Maderas, Mish Mash, Napizza, North Park Market, Pearl Hotel, Petrini’s, Prepkitchen, Puesto, Pushkin, Salad Style, Salt & Cleaver, Sausage & Meat, Solare, Spike Africa, Studio Diner, Talavera Azul, Toscana, Tostadas, Tuscany La Costa, VIVA, Whet Noodle, whisknladle, Wooden Spoon, Wrench & Rodent, Yummy Cupcakes

I have used mine 3 times now and know where I’m going for the 4th.

Churchill’s Pub & Toolbox Brewing Co. ~ Sour Beer Events ~ San Marcos, Vista

Editors Note * I would like to introduce and welcome Justin Kunert to the North County Food team. Justin Will be covering local breweries and beer events. Here is his inaugural post.

For my first beer article, I decided to stick to something I know and love: sour beers.  Coincidentally enough, September obliged and provided back-to-back sour packed Saturdays.  To start off, Toolbox Brewing in Vista celebrated its 2-year anniversary on Saturday, September 8.  It was an awesome event for the brewery and its fans, given the great turnout at the event.

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To commemorate its 2nd birthday, Toolbox served up its specialty by offering a dozen sour beers on tap, including barrel aged sours, wild ales, and saisons.  Our group managed to try six of the options on tap, and damn they were all good.  Four are shown below, my favorite being the 7.5% alcohol by volume (ABV) “Pinkies Up” – a barrel aged sour saison with plums, lemongrass, and kaffir lime leaves.  This beer carried a remarkably unique plum flavor and along with it an awesome pucker, like alcoholic pop rocks that make your lips shrink and eyes shut.  A phenomenal beer drinking experience.  We also tasted the Bramble on Rose, a bronze medal winner at the 2016 World Beer Cup and a gold medal winner at 2016 San Diego International Beer Competition.

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Given my sour cravings, it is great to see this brewery make outstanding beer and to witness all of the support that it is receiving.  Check them out at their website (http://www.toolboxbrewing.com/home/) and in this article from Draft Magazine (http://draftmag.com/25-breweries-on-the-rise/).

 

The following Saturday, September 10, Churchill’s Pub and Grille in San Marcos hosted the 7th Annual Peter Reeve’s Memorial Sour Fest.  Churchill’s had over 40 different sour beers on tap!  Our group managed to make it through 12 different tasters, 8 of which made it into the picture below.  New Belgium’s “Le Terrior” was my personal favorite.

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As for local representation, North County breweries contributing sours on the list included Belching Beaver, The Lost Abbey, Pizza Port, and the afore-mentioned Toolbox.  I would recommend getting your hands on Pizza Port’s “Halle Berrylicious” for some local sour flavor, though any of the options are solid choices.  The event attracted a huge crowd of sour enthusiasts and I am sure some kegs will still be around for sampling for those interested.  Check out Churchill’s here: http://churchillspub.us/.

Churchills Pub

887 West San Marcos Blvd., San Marcos

Toolbox Brewing Company

1495 Poinsettia Ave. #148, Vista

All words and pictures by Justin Kunert

Decoy @ The Lakeside Hotel / Resort ~ San Marcos.

Decoy has a chance to bring great higher end dining to the San Marcos area. It has everything going for it, waterfront location, it is situated next to a 14 million dollar resort that was just voted one of the best in the United States, an experienced Chef with a good track record, and the build out of the restaurant itself, which is nothing but breathtaking in its design and originality.

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Decoy exterior

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Decoy’s bar and lounge area serves as a mood setting pass through into the main dining room. The bar like the restaurant boasts interesting art pieces and accent lighting, I would lose the flat screen TVs though, they are a misplaced element in an otherwise beautiful room. If you’re out for dinner or drinks and just have to know the score of the game be an asshole and just look at your phone.

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Some of the mixed media art pieces that adorn the restaurant. They call for a close inspection to reveal some of their intelligent detail. Like the deer cut out, that uses fishing lures and pieces of fishing rod embedded in the piece.

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The interior as I stated earlier is world-class in detail and execution. It reminded me a lot of Encuentro Guadalupe Restaurant in Baja as far as feel at night-time.

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Encuentro Guadalupe Restaurant, Valle De Guadalupe, Baja

Tangent…I really want to stay in one of their eco-lodges…so cute and the view….

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Ok, back on track…

The menu at Dockside, in my opinion, is perfect in its size, large enough to host a range of dishes without being overwhelming and still providing space for specials or alterations. The wine and specialty cocktail list follow suit in this.

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To start we split a burnt orange negroni as there was going to be wine involved later. My partner in crime thought it needed more Campari as it was shy on the bitter element. The bruleed orange was awesome, though.

Moving into appetizers…

decoy-strawberry-caprese

Strawberry Caprese ~ tomato, baby kale, burrata ice cream, balsamic.

Great combo of flavors, it needed more balsamic though as it sets off the dish and calling the burrata an “Ice cream” is a bit of a stretch.

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Kung Pao Sweetbreads ~ peanut, scallions, sesame, kung pao glaze, cucumber.

I love sweetbreads and order them every time I see them on a menu. These were OK. The dish reminded me a lot of a good version of orange chicken with a little bit of spice. With the exception of a little softer mouth feel the sweetbreads could have been mistaken for poultry.

The mains though shined brightly….

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Bass ~ roasted artichokes, Chinese sausage, braised beans & natural clam broth.

This was a rock star dish. Great product, cooked to perfection all playing off each other.

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Quail ~ fingerling potato salad, duck scotch egg, apple gastrique.

Though on the hot appetizer menu, we ordered this as a second main and it served perfectly in that role.

The addition of the scotch egg was a delight, the quail, and the potatoes were cooked perfectly and had a wonderful flavor. The apple gastrique added a perfect overall sweetness to the dish. A true winner.

The staff was friendly and attentive, and for being a new restaurant overall well-informed. My friend did challenge them a bit by asking a few questions regarding the food and wine. At one point I told our server he was walking into a trap when she asked for advice about a particular wine choice, he handled himself well, though.

Decoy is set up to become a great restaurant, right now it is a very good one. Being in its infancy that is fine and the path to get there is very doable. In my experience, the dishes we had for our mains outshined the appetizers quite a bit. I will definitely be back in the future to see where they land.

Decoy

Lakeside hotel & Resort

1025 La Bonita Dr., San Marcos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Things To Check Out Labor Day Weekend.

Here are a few goings on this coming Labor Day weekend around North County.

 

The Alley Art Festival in Vista. September 3rd 10am till 10pm in downtown Vista.

activities

More info here ….Alley Art Festival

 

Two restaurant openings……………

The Miller’s Table in Oceanside will open Thursday – Sunday for wine, beer, and food 5:30 to 9pm.

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The Miller’s Table  514 South Coast Highway, Oceanside.

Decoy the new restaurant at lake San Marcos is open and looks fabulous….

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Decoy @ The Lake House Hotel & Resort, San Marcos.

and of course…

beach

The Beach~ located West of you.

Have a great holiday weekend all:)