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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tacos’s Don Paco ~ Vista

Taco’s Don Paco (yes the apostrophe is correct) opened about 2 months ago in Vista at 800 Civic Center Dr. just north of S. Santa Fe Dr. on the right.

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It is a strip mall taco shop, though it stands out with its store front and clean interior.

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*Interior photo via Yelp

They have the standard offering of Tortas, Burritos, Tostadas, Quesadillas, Mulitas. I think the stand out though are their street tacos. They have 13 types including quite a bit of ofal. Also they are only $1.75 each. My meal of 4 with a large drink was $8.23 total.

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An array of street tacos. Carnitas, Al Pastor, Lengua (tongue), and Suadero ( a cut of beef between the belly and leg).

The Al Pastor was super tasty and everything it should be, as was the Lengua, slow braised tongue. It melted in your mouth.

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Carnitas and Suadero street tacos.

Again, great carnitas. A lot of times carnitas at taco shops are too fatty or they use the cooking liquid to hide the dryness of the pork. These were tender and juicy.

Suadero, a very favor cut of beef. Actually reminded me of a cross between steak and a pork chop.

If you are looking for good honest Mexican food at a great price this is a place to try out. Any of the “bertos” style places are not even in the same league. Even my go to street taco place Primo’s gets edged out slightly.

One complaint, and if you go you will get this, they need bigger salsa cups.

 

Taco’s Don Paco

800 Civic Center Dr. Vista

#taco #food #foodporn

508 Tavern ~ Vista

Another great after work or lunch place. 508 Vista Tavern , gasp, in Vista.

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508 S Santa Fe Ave, Vista, CA

A sign would do them well:)

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Small, interment, clean. What you want from a local place.

Run by a great Boy and Girlfriend team. They were bartenders at Harrah’s for years. I think bartenders are the Marines of the kitchen world. They face all the MG fire, Kitchen staff is Army, sit back and use artillery, and executive Chefs are the Air force. I will stick by that:)

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Fried olives. Perfect beer food.

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Spicy Korean tacos. Again, great bar food.

Check them out. Great after work place or even first date. unassuming low-key.

508 Tavern

508 S Santa Fe Ave, Vista, CA\

#food #foodporn #vista

 

Chronic Tacos Coming to Downtown Oceanside.

Chronic Tacos will be moving in at 208 N. Coast Highway in downtown Oceanside. The spot is 2 doors north of Swami’s across from TBG BBQ.

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Chronic Tacos is a fresh, Mexican, fast casual concept that started in 2002 in Newport beach. They now have about 40 US locations and some in Canada.

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They are basically decent americanized Mexican food. While I would love a mom and pop place, it still fills a vacancy that has been that way for a while and exposes people to other local places in the area.

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Rumor is Grubby’s (Carlsbad) is looking to come to Oceanside as well.

Chronic Tacos

Vamos A Texacoco ~ Vista

With my move into my new place closer to Vista, you will see more reports from that area. One place I have been meaning to go back and report on is Vamos A Texacoco. What sets them apart from other taco shops is their menu. It’s all about the BBQ Lamb here and that is what you should be ordering. They also serve goat as well as huitlacoche ( corn mushroom or fungus) and zucchini flower quesadillas.

Vamos A Texaco is a nondescript strip mall taco shop on the exterior.

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Vamos A Texacoco ~ 950 East Vista Way, Vista

I ordered the mixed lamb meal, a combination of lean meat and fattier cuts,

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Lamb Broth ~ Lamb broth, gabanzo beans, and tripe.

The order starts off with a lovely, rich cup of lamb broth. This has true depth of flavor.

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Full order of BBQ Lamb ~ 1/2 lb of mixed lamb meat, tortillas, and accompanyments.

The mixed plate is the way to go, you get the gamey, soft, and moist bits and the lean pieces that add structure.

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You can make little lamb tacos. ~ Lamb, cilantro, onion, and green salsa.

I made 4 hefty tacos with my order. The green salsa has a really fresh almost grassy flavor that goes great against the richness of the lamb and the cilantro and onions add texture. Tip ~ they are great dipped in the lamb broth.

At $10.75 this is an authentic, delicious, satisfying meal.

They also have whole lambs head if you are so inclined.

Vamos A Texacoco

950 East Vista Way,  Vista

608 Drops New Menu Ahead of Labor Day. ~ Oceanside

608 just dropped a new lunch and dinner menu starting today. While keeping some of the favorites it adds great-sounding dishes like… Burrata toast, octopus tostada, beef confit poutine, cured pork belly, and carrot and ricotta tortellini.

Lunch…

 

menu 1

Dinner…

menu 2

608

608 Mission Ave., Oceanside

Taco Stand ~ Encinitas

Taco Stand, which has locations in La Jolla, and Downtown San Diego, is a family run company serving authentic Mexican street-style tacos on fresh made-in-house tortillas.

They started their La Jolla location in 2013 and recently opened their third location in Encinitas at 642 South Coast Highway a few weeks ago.

Taco Stand Encinitas

Taco Stand, Encinitas.

I arrived shortly after opening on a Monday, so I encountered no lines. I had gone by last Friday and the line was 10 to 12 out the door. This is kind of deceptive as the ordering counter is 5′ inside the doorway. Kinda like the new Oceanside swami’s if you are familiar.

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Taco Stand Interior.

The menu is pretty simple 8 styles of street tacos from the obligatory Carne Asada to a vegetable nopal taco. About the same number of burritos, 5 styles of breakfast burritos, and a number of quesadillas and sides.

I decided to run the gamut and ordered three different tacos and a Mexican Coke.

Three tacos

My tacos left to right ~ Nopal, Al Pastor, and Grilled Pescado.

Adobada Taco

Tender pork, nice sweetness to the overall flavor of the taco.

Grilled Fish tacos

Good version of a fish taco. On all the tacos the freshness of the tortillas was noticeable and made a big impact.

Cactus taco

This was my favorite the cactus was cooked perfectly.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive fresh lunch in Encinitas I would hit them up. I would put them way above any place ending in “ertos” or any of the standard Mexican places. I would even put them slightly above Grubbie’s and Taco Taco. I think all three tacos and my Mexican coke came to $12 and change with tax.

Taco Stand

624 South Coast Highway, Encinitas

(across the street from Whole Foods)

Eve ~ Encinitas

So, I stumbled upon Eve in Encinitas by complete accident. While I usually take E street to get to the train depot in Encinitas, I decided to walk down to D street this time. I walked by Eve and did a double take. Though it has been a month or so since I had been in Encinitas I knew they were not there previously. I walked in and inquired about them. After talking to Scott Steele (Managing Partner) about what they were doing with the space, I got really excited and made plans to return.

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What caught my eye. Eve Encinitas

Eve is an all Vegan restaurant and juice bar. Though it is so much more which I will explain later.

The interior has a great feel to it. A lot of Vegetarian, Vegan, and Holistic places try to create a matching “Vibe” Eve actually does this in my opinion.

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The interior is open and calming. They also sell bottled pressed Juices to go.

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More of the interior.

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Some nice touches

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Counter service at eve.

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The Eve menu. It is basically broken down into bowls, salads, and entrees. They also serve smoothies and rotate 3 Kombuchas on tap provided by Oceansides Living Tea (Yay).

Again Eve is all Vegan and while I am a big meat-eater I love all food. So, I dove in….

eve bowl

Machu Picchu Bowl ~ Red quinoa, Peruvian purple potatoes, white beans, pickled beets, Peruvian Corn, wakame chuka, Peruvian Pichuberries, red Aji sauce

This had so many flavors working together it was great. I love Peruvian corn, Pichuberries, and Aji sauce. I love a lot of things Peruvian actually (note need to go back to Panca).

The two things in the back of the bowl that look like they are wrapped in paper are these…

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Pichuberries (also known as Inca Berries). They are so good, I need to hit up one of my Chef friends and see if they can tag some on to their Specialty Produce order. Think Kumquat meets grape.

jack fruit tacos

Jack Fruit Tacos & Side Salad ~ Roasted spicy organic Jack Fruit, black beans, cabbage slaw, roasted corn, cashew sauce, Peruvian Aji sauce, cilantro.

These were really tasty, the roasted Jack Fruit was meaty and a perfect base for the tacos. The side salad, which is usually a throw away was really good as well and I loved the dressing.

This is the Jack Fruit. It is part of the Mulberry and Bread Fruit family. It is fibrous and tastes like a cross between a mango and an apple, When you grill it takes on more of a sweet squash taste IMO.

jackfruit

Earlier I mentioned “and more” the and more comes in with the back room, by back room I mean a basketball court sized dance style studio where they hold tons of cool weekly and monthly events. Dance parties, Musicians, Guest Speakers, Artists, Sunday brunch and Yoga. You can keep up with them on their Facebook page.

eve performance space

About 2/3 of the space.

I really enjoyed my meal especially the inclusion of a lot of Peruvian Fruits and Vegetables. Whether you’re looking for good Vegan food or just something good to eat I would check them out. A lunch for 2 with drinks would run about $40 and it is a lot of food.

Eve Encinitas

575 South Coast Highway 101

Encinitas, CA

 

608 ~ Oceanside

Restaurant 608 (named after the address it sits on 608 mission Ave. in Oceanside) is the new, and first solo restaurant, by Chef William “Willy” Eick. If you follow me at all you know the high regard I have for Chef Willy.  Article #1   Article #2

I truly believe he is one of the most talented Chefs in San Diego. At age 26 he has only one way to go and by age 30 he will be a powerhouse.

Chef Willy’s food, I think, shows a mixture of New French, mainly in plating (he likes negative space) and its refinement. It also brings touches of New American Cuisine, mixed with a love for Japanese influences and ingredients.

Chef Willy’s path to 608 starts (as I know it) at Bistro West in Carlsbad working alongside Chef Jason Connolly, a great Chef in his own right. When Jason left Bistro West to go to Real Bar and Bistro Willy followed as his Sous Chef along with Felipe Orozco. Jason eventually left Real Bar and Bistro to go to Pamplemousse and Willy took over as head Chef, creating his own menu and bringing personal touches in, like his love of foraging for ingredients.

After getting to know Willy better and talking about his skill level he, as well as myself, knew he was destined to get his own place and soon. I got a message in early may he was finalizing meetings and would be opening a concept in the old Swami’s location June 1st.

I was thrilled but at the same time was thinking “that is a short time span”. The good things, the space was already a restaurant so no real build out. Decor change was an issue but as you see they pulled it off smartly. Minimal effort for maximum effect.

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The redone space.

I think it does the perfect job of riding the line between comfort and refined.

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The old “ordering counter” now serves as an intimate 5 seat bar space.

Another important fact is he brought a team with him made up of people he had worked with at Bistro West and Real Bar and Bistro. So, the team cohesiveness was already there. Felipe Orozco was a crucial part of this in my opinion and is now Willy’s right hand man and Sous Chef.

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Chef Willy and Sous Chef Felipe.

So, there is the history. Let us talk the present and the food shall we?

ribbon cutting

 Though being in “soft opening” for a week, the city,family,and friends turned out June 8th to officially open 608.
Lets look at some of the menu….
chicken

Mary’s Airline Chicken Breast ~ Charred corn, mushroom, Cherry tomato, corn mole, cornbread beignet.

short rib

Duroc Baby Back Ribs ~ Sweet chili and soy glaze, wild seeds, herbs

It is hard to make a glazed ribs look sexy in a picture..but trust me this dish is sexy.

veg risotto

Vegan Risotto ~ Seasonal and wild vegetables, pine nut milk

lobster tacos

lobster Tail Tacos ~ Sweet chili aioli, lettuce, tomato, onion

duck taco

Duck Skin Tacos ~ Onion, feta, peach jalapeno salsa, cilantro

beet salad

Beet Salad ~ Strawberry, almond, beet variations, goat cheese, sorrel vinaigrette

This is one of my favorite dishes. If you are a first timer and unsure what to order I would order the ribs and this and you will be very happy.

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Strawberry Dessert ~ Vanilla, mint, macha, white cake

Great dessert, basically a smart deconstructed play on a strawberry short-cake.

There you have it the new 608 and Chef Willy Eick. I would encourage checking them out. They are doing something different in Oceanside and the quality and creativity of the food can not be beat. Especially at the price point, dishes run from $6 for 3 Duck Skin Tacos to $13 for the Short Rib. They are open for lunch and dinner starting at 11 am.

608

608 Mission Ave. Oceanside

 

Some Stuff I Saw & Ate Today ~ Oceanside and Encinitas

So, while I put the finishing touches on the 608 post  (It will be up tomorrow morning).

Here is some stuff I saw and ate today. I know riveting right? It did happen though.

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Maui Benny ~ Poached eggs, smoked chicken, vegetables, pineapple, and rice.

Started my day with this and it was delicious.@Petite Madeline

Later after the 608 opening ceremony (I said it’s coming) I walked from Leucadia Blvd all the way to downtown Encinitas. Along the way I saw some things.

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Moto Deli Sandwich Co. is closer to opening (and by closer is I mean they put up a big black wall) Sandwiches, Salads, Craft Beer.

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Bread & Barley is opening a second location in Leucadia …They have one now in West Covina. I would say Gastropub for lack of a better word.

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The Taco Stand is getting ready to open a location across from the Whole Foods plaza on the 101 in Encinitas. They have had a La Jolla location since 2013 and are opening two more this year. Traditional mexican tacos on handmade tortillas. Take a look at their website landing page they look like the in and out of mexican food (They will probably not like that its just not the best pic)

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Salmon, asparagus, smoked roe, pea puree @Solace and Moonlight Lounge.

This was yummy . I forgot to take a pic of the dozen oysters I started with. $1 each during happy hour.

OH, I did come across this new Vegan place called Eve in Encinitas which I am really really excited about. Met one of the owners briefly before I had to catch my train. going back Friday. It is really cool.

Not the most interesting post but i just have my camera all the time and need to do something with the pics.

608 post will be up tomorrow have a good night:)