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

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vegan Sushi @ Wrench & Rodent ~ Oceanside

Sushi ~ a Japanese dish consisting of small balls or rolls of vinegar-flavored cold cooked rice served with a garnish of raw fish, vegetables, or egg.

Davin Waite has been regarded as one of the best sushi chefs in San Diego for quite some time now. Not only is his culinary skill recognized by the diners of his restaurants ( previously the Fish Joint and now Wrench & Rodent Seabasstropub) but also among the Chef community in San Diego. He has, just through recognition of his talents by others, become an example of the strong culinary scene that has developed in North County over the last 5 to 6 years. I’ll stop there because you do not have to look hard to find similar accolades in various publications and websites touting his virtues and those of his food.

Lately, he has been expanding his efforts in creating increasingly diverse and complex vegetarian and vegan dishes. He has always had these options on his menu, or made dishes off the cuff for guests if requested, but I feel lately it is becoming more forefront.

With this in mind, I stopped in for a vegan omakasi meal, though a few fish dishes made their way to me as well as I am an omnivore and will eat anything he puts in front of me.

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Black pepper burnt cabbage nagiri.

A ton of flavor in these little guys. The preparation of the Cyclops Farms organic cabbage gave it a smokey flavor, making it a very savory dish.

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Dulse (seaweed) and tomato.

Another savory bite. The Dulse has a flavor that some compare to bacon, and while I did not get that 100%, it was a nice contrast against the sweet tomato.

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Barbecued beet with eel sauce.

Looking and tasting very close to eel nigiri, the texture of the beet was firmer differentiating itself and making this an interesting and tasty treat.

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Avocado, chili garlic, and chili oil.

lightest of the bites the avocado contrasted perfectly with the spice from the chili components on the dish.

All these dishes were interesting, exciting, and delicious. Wether part of an all vegan dinner or strewn throughout a regular omakase meal they will not disappoint.

As I had said, Davin threw in a fish dish before I even had a chance to order and I ordered a cooked dish from “The Whet Noodle”, his adjoining sister restaurant to Wrench & Rodent, just to bulk up the meal.

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Opah ~ Beet mash, kale kraut, lemon grass glaze, and lemon grass ash.

Opah is one of my favorite fish. This dish, especially the lemon grass glaze, made the fish shine. It does not look bad either:)

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Yellow Tail ~ Hatch chili romesco, herb quinoa, and fried okra.

Perfectly cooked yellow tail, a great sauce, and the best okra I have tasted. Another winner.

 

Wrench & Rodent Seabasstropub

1815 South Coast Highway, Oceanside

 

#food #foodporn #foodie #seafood #sushi #vegan #vegetarian #oceanside #wrenchandrodent #organic

 

 

 

A Taste Of Oceanside 2017 ~ October 7th

Get your tickets early as it will sell out.  This is the 4th Year and has grown from 400 to 1000 attendees, thanks to the hard work of Mainstreet’s promotional committee, the great restaurants, and of course the attendees.

Taste-Poster-for-CC

Get tickets here.

#oceanside #tasteofoceanside #food #foodie

Coming Soon ~ Oceanside & Carlsbad

So, one up-date on Oceanside and downtown Carlsbad continues to bring in new restaurants.

We finally know what is re-placing the old Jenny’s breakfast spot along coast Highway.

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Two Brothers from Italy, a local chain with four North County locations will open their fifth spot at 1001 South Coast Highway in Oceanside.

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Taste of  The Himalayas is opening their fifth San Diego location in Carlsbad Village in the old Mazen location at 300 #106-A Carlsbad Village Dr. I am excited about this as I love Nepalese food.

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Blue Water Grill is opening their seventh west coast location at 407 Carlsbad Blvd, once home to Fish House Vera Cruz. Fish House Vera Cruz used to be really good but went down hill in recent years and was in dire need of at least a remodel. I believe their Escondido location closed as well , leaving only San Marcos.

The breakfast place that closed a while ago at the corner of State St. and Grand Ave. now has a new tenant moving in.

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Shorehouse Kitchen a breakfast and lunch spot originating in La Jolla is opening their second location in Carlsbad.  They have an interesting menu, more complex than a run of the mill breakfast and lunch spot with some interesting sandwiches and a doggie menu.

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Did not get the address but its next to the corner and next to, the now also closed, T3 Tactical shop at 2825 State St.

There you go.

#food #foodporn #restaurants #foodie #carlsbad #Oceanside #seafood #himalayanfood #breakfast #pizza

 

 

Re-visit report: Panca Peruvian Cuisine & Rotisserie ~Oceanside

So, while it has only been about a year since my last visit to Panca (that’s pretty good for me with my schedule.) I wanted to stop by and try some of the dishes I have passed over during my previous visits. The thing I love about Peruvian food is that it truly is a “fusion” cuisine. In addition to the variations of flavors and ingredients based on geography and family tradition, you see the influences of Peru’s diverse cultural make up. “Peruvians view themselves as a racially mixed people: a “half indigenous, a third European, a sixth African and one part Asiatic”. Add to that the creativity of a talented Chef like Ioli and you get great Peruvian staples through an exciting lens.

I dragged my friend Chef Beau Bonham along for the meal. I learned he had not been to Panca so, this was going to be a treat for him to experience it and me to have someone along with another strong pallet to “food nerd” out with.

fish (1 of 1)

Tiradito ~ Fresh fish slices with a Peruvian yellow pepper lime sauce, Rocoto and Aji limo.

This along with the Wonton scallops are a must have dish when visiting for me. Unlike Ceviche the fish is not marinated in citrus. It is raw with the sauce added right before service. The freshness of the fish is highlighted against the citrus and heat from the sauce. It is quite spicy and will quickly catch up with you.

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Aji De Gallina ~ Chicken in creamy spicy sauce made with Parmesan, Peruvian yellow pepper, and walnuts, served over a bed of potato and a side of Peruvian white rice.

This was my first time trying this dish and both of us agreed it was the star of the meal. The sauce, while reminiscent of a curry is something unique. It has a body to it which we guessed was probably from slowly introducing parmesan into it while cooking.

potato (1 of 1)

Ocopa ~ Homemade Peruvian spicy sauce, Ocopa is made with Huacatay (black mint), peanuts, animal crackers and Peruvian yellow pepper, over a bed of potato.

Another fantastic interesting sauce. Thick with a mild bitterness or earthy quality. The closest comparison would be a mole sauce. The dish is Served chilled over boiled potatoes. This is an appetizer and like all her appetizers is easily sharable.

dessert (1 of 1)

Alfajores ~ Two short bread cookies with “manjarblance” (dulce de leche) in the middle; then topped with powdered sugar.

Beau insisted on getting their famous Alfajores. If you want a perfect example of how a text-book short bread is supposed to be, this is it. Perfectly light and flaky.

What a great meal, I’m glad I took the time to re-visit them. I whole handedly believe Panca is the best Peruvian food in San Diego County. Q’ero gets more attention (and is good) but Panca is a notch above and slightly less expensive.

Panca has future expansions in the works Here.

Panca Peruvian Cuisine & Rotisserie

1902 South Coast Highway, Oceanside

#food #foodporn #oceanside #peruvian #southamerican #peruvianfood #restaurants

 

 

7 Great Dishes ~ North County

A lot of times, while not doing a review, I experience a dish worth mentioning. These really do not support a full article, so from time to time I will compile them into one. Also if you follow northcountyfood on Instagram (Please do) you will get these one offs and general event things in North County.

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The Rooster Burger @ The Red Rooster, Oceanside ~ American cheese, Ortega chili, grilled onion, sesame seed bun, and your choice of toppings, in this case 1000 island dressing and a little mustard.

Pretty much an institution in Oceanside, the Red Rooster Bar has been around since, well forever. I remember my Dad bringing home Rooster burgers when I was in Jr. High. It is a juicy, tasty, dive bar burger. Pretends to be nothing more, yet it is.

o'side plate (1 of 1)

Weekly Chef Specials @ Petite Madeline ~ Though because they are specials they change weekly, ordering one of Chef Marc’s off the blackboard is the way to go here. He is a Chef I still can not pin down. He uses Asian influences and then throws an Italian pesto in. This one in particular “The O’side plate” included shrimp, pesto, tomatoes, pesto, and the genius addition of kohlrabi noodles (cabbage family).

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Avocado Grilled Cheese @ Barrel Republic, Oceanside ~ After seeing a video of the Chef making this sandwich I had to try it. Perfectly grilled sourdough, tomato, mozzarella, and tempura fried avocado. The avocado stays fresh and soft inside its light battered crust making the dish a lot lighter than it may sound. So, good.

  • Currently only at the Oceanside location.

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Tandoori Chicken Sandwich @ Flying Pig, Vista ~ Fried chicken, house BBQ sauce, on brioche. Another sandwich that after having seen it on Facebook knew “that is going my face”.  Upon arrival I thought “no way i am eating all that”. Yet, due to another light and flavorful batter and the fact the sandwich is so damn good, I destroyed the whole thing.

  • Currently only at the Vista location on the weekends

pelly-s-halibut-plate

Fresh fish Plate @ Pelly’s Fish Market, Carlsbad ~ Local Halibut, lemon butter, Spanish rice, and a side salad w / blue cheese dressing. Simple perfectly cooked fresh fish, not much more you can ask for.

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Heirloom Caprese Salad and Roast Beef Bites @ The Miller’s Table, Oceanside. Cyclops Farms heirloom tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, olive oil, and pesto. You can not go wrong with this flavor combo, especially when using top quality ingredients. Most of their sandwiches can be ordered as bites. The ingredients are served on bruschetta and quite filling making combining them with a salad a perfect summer lunch or light dinner.

yogurt (1 of 1)

16oz Blueberry Italian Ice and Mango Sorbet W/ Fresh Fruit @ Guava Lava Frozen Treats, Oceanside ~ First time trying this place out and I loved it. Cute interior, surgically clean, and a great selection of flavors and toppings. I love that they offer Ices and Sorbets in addition to yogurt. Tons of fresh fruit flavor, I shall return.

 

The Red Rooster

Petite Madeline Bakery & Bistro

Barrel Republic

Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen

Pelly’s Fish Market

The Miller’s Table

Guava Lava Frozen Treats

#food #foodporn #restaurants #oceanside #vista #carlsbad

 

 

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.

caramels

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Open House ~ Encinitas

So to be totally honest, I wanted to hate this place. Yet, not only did we get great service we had great food. This is when I eat crow. Originally, I was #1 overpriced, #2 style over substance. I was wrong on all accounts.

It does help to bring a friend who is a  great Chef.

chef

Could not think of a better Chef to run this. So, nice and kind. Plus the skill to back it up.

So, the part of my problem, is if I am out with friends, I get distracted. Also how many commas can you use:) At least 3:)

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Bao ~ Pork belly and chicken.

The one thing I ask from Bao is the dough and it delivered.

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Adobo octopus ~ another winner. Sry for the pic quality. When I am with a friend I get distracted. Really good though.

the deal.

This was a gift from Chef. Baja yellow tail, radish, avocado crema, and the suprise which made the dish, grape fruit.

 

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Dessert ~ I forgot the owners run Ribbon Pizza. Blue Ribbon butterscotch pudding.

Open House

345 S Coast Highway 101, Encinitas

*the place is huge it is really 3 restaurants under 1 roof. This is just about the Asain Kitchen. Highly recommend it.

#food #foodporn #encinitas

 

Lionfish ~ San Diego

I took the coaster down to San Diego to check out Lionfish at the Pendry hotel in the gas lamp district. Having been open for about 5 months, Lionfish is headed by local chef Jojo Ruiz and features modern coastal cuisine using fresh catch and seasonal ingredients.

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Lionfish ~ 435 5th Ave., San Diego

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The interior features neutral tones and wood with interesting lighting elements.

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Lionfish features a pretty big wine and cocktail list but the prices are a bit too high, with cocktails costing as much as an appetizer and a glass of Orin Swift’s “The Prisoner” going for $25 where it should be around $15.

I stuck with ice water and focused on the food, choosing three apps. and one main.

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Lamb Tartar ~ Gold beets, fennel, arugula, vanouvan yogurt, lavash.

The word that kept popping into my head when I ate this was “fresh”. The flavors were completely balanced with nothing overpowering the other elements.

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Stuffed Squid ~ Tomato relish, shrimp, Italian sausage, herb pistou.

Perfectly tender squid with deep-fried tentacles for texture. Great dish, though I wish the stuffing had more heat, maybe chorizo instead of the sausage.

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Spicy Grilled Octopus ~ Fernmented chile, crispy garlic, marbel potatoes, cilantro aioli.

This dish was highly recommended by the staff and in online reviews and rightfully so. In my recent review of “The Kettle Room” I claimed they had the best octopus dish I have ever had, that spot was short-lived as this dish overtook that position. Nice heat level and the most tender and flavorful octopus I have had.

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Herb Marinated Swordfish ~ Summer squash, cherry tomatoes, nettle puree, lavender.

Again, the Chef just knows how to balance flavor. Swordfish being a steak like cut of fish, much like tuna, comes off extremely tender and moist in this preparation. The summer squash holds its own against the star of the dish.

What I took away was Chef Ruiz is adept at balancing flavors harmoniously and executing proteins to perfection. The dinner with slightly more than 20% tip ran me $100 and was well worth every penny.

Lionfish

435 5th Ave. San Diego

#food #foodporn #seafood #sandiego

 

Harbor Fish Cafe ~ Carlsbad

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

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

Second, Squirrels.

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

When you see a squirrel you see this…

sq

When I see a Squirrel I see this…

evil-squirrel

Anyway back to fish and chips.

Harbor Fish and Chips has been around since 1981

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See the sign says so!

The View can not be beat.

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On a sunny day, please.

On to the fish and chips..

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Fish and Chips ~ It is Fish and Chips.

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

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

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

Harbor Fish Cafe

3179 Carlsbad Blvd, Carlsbad,

#fishandchips #squrrels #food #foodporn