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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teri Cafe ~ Oceanside

Teri Cafe has been serving their freshly made ramen, udon ,and soba noodles in a casual environment to Oceanside residents for over 30 years. Their operation has grown so much they have an offsite noodle factory here in Oceanside to produce noodles for their two restaurants as well as professional and consumer clients.

I had not been to a Teri Cafe location in quite a while, not since they were in the old, now demolished mall near JoAnne’s Fabrics off of South El Camino Real. Since I now live near their Plaza Dr. location and love Udon I decided to pay them a visit, or two.

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Teri Cafe at 3809 Plaza Dr., Oceanside. They also have a location at 2216 South El Camino Real in Oceanside.

Teri Cafe serves their noodle dishes, as well as teriyaki bowls and plates, daily specials, and sushi in a fast casual atmosphere with the average price being around $10 to $12 depending on what you order.

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Teriyaki Chicken Plate ~ Teriyaki chicken, rice, salad, potato salad, and miso soup.

The teriaki plate comes with quite a bit of food. The chicken is moist and tender with a sweet teryaki glaze and perfectly cooked rice. The meal is rounded out with miso soup, a side salad and a scoop of potato salad. The accompaniments are fine but nothing overly exciting.

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Gyoza

On my second visit I decided to order two of my favorites, gyoza and udon soup. The gyoza were really nice with a crispy outer shell and flavorful filling.

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Chicken Udon Soup.

People say the star of udon soup is the broth. Teri’s broth is nice, it has depth and is not overly salty. In my opinion it is all about the noodles and these were perfect, soft thick udon with just a little tooth to them. You could tell they were fresh.

I am glad I paid them a few visits and now that one of their locations is within walking distance to me I will have it as a lunch or dinner option when I’m craving udon.

Teri Cafe

3809 Plaza Dr., Oceanside

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2216 South El Camino Real, Oceanside

#food #foodporn #foodie #japanesefood #oceanside #ramen #udon

 

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