Wings Mix ~ Vista

So, I had heard of a small restaurant in Vista that reportedly had some of the best hot wings around. It was tucked away in a dilapidated strip mall deep off South Santa Fe Ave., supposedly they also serve Mexican food and burgers. What did I find?

An odd little place that has great wings (or in my case chicken strips) and serves Mexican food and burgers.

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Wings Mix ~ 962 South Santa Fe Ave. Vista. The restaurant is located in the far East end of the strip mall.

menu

The menu covers all bases from breakfast to baby back ribs.

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Chicken Strips ~ Lemon Pepper and Original Hot (Buffalo)

This is what I came for, large tender chicken strips with a flavorful sauce. Both the sauces had a ton of flavor and a nice manageable heat level. I recently had strips at my go to place, Wings & Things, and Chicken Mix beat them hands down. These are not Gastropub mango jalapeno $12 for 6 “Chef” wings. These are fast casual, old school wings ( or strips ) in all their glory and damn tasty.

I can not speak to their whole menu but if you like wings, this is my recommendation.

Wings Mix

962 South Santa Fe Ave., Vista

#wings #chickenstrips #chicken #food #foodie #foodporn #spicyfood #vista #buffalowings

 

 

Dona Elena Pozoleria ~ Vista

So, while walking to La Takiza last month along North Santa Fe Ave. in Vista, I caught a sign out of the corner of my eye. At first I thought it said “pizzeria”, which seemed out-of-place for the area.  Upon stopping I found out it said “Dona Elena Pozoleria”. I got excited, immediately looked at the menu and added it to my must try list. I actually added to my “drag Chef Beau or Christina along” list.

So, Beau and I took the sprinter out to Vista to have lunch.

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Dona Elena specializes is Pozole, menudo, and soups. While they have some other items on their menu, the focus is on their soup based dishes. A lot of restaurants only offer these specialty items on Sundays or the weekend, Dona Elena offers them every day.

Their Pozole is offered in three varieties. White (Pozole without red or green sauce and ingredients), Red (addition of red sauce and chilis), and green (addition of tomatillos, cilantro, and jalapeno).

I went with the red pork Pozole and Beau got the green.

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Red Pozole ~ Pork, hominy, cabbage, onion, garlic, radishes, and limes served with crisp tortillas.

The large was huge, with plenty of pork, hominy, and all the accompaniments making it quite the lunch. It was not that spicy but Beau got a side of chili oil to add in and with its addition I was able to up my spice level to where I wanted it.

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Green Pozole ~ Chicken, cilantro, jalapeno, garlic, cabbage, onion, radishes, and limes with crispy tortillas.

I did not try the green pozole but Beau commented on how good it was, and like me finished the entire bowl.

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As if we did not have enough food, we split a beef sope. A great example of a sope but I think the reason to come here are their soup based dishes.

If you want to try another hidden gem in Vista I would add Dona Elena’s to the list of them along North Santa Fe Ave.

Dona Elena Pozoleria

1120 North Santa Fe Ave., Vista

#food #foodie #foodporn #vista #mexicanfood #pozole #lunch #dinner #san diego

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.

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Get tickets here.

#oceanside #tasteofoceanside #food #foodie

La Takiza ~ Vista

So, I am really starting to like Vista more and more, of course it has the well-known places like flying Pig and Belching Beaver Tavern, but for Mexican food it’s kind of like what Kerny Mesa and Convoy St. is for Asian cuisine. Though Vista’s hub tends to be more geographically spread out along North Santa Fe Ave. and East Vista Way.

I have been exploring more and more and I keep finding little community gems. Notice I said finding and not discovering, these restaurants are known in the community and people who seek these places like these out. Restaurants like Vamos A Texcoco, Taco’s Don Paco, and now La Takiza are some of the best in North County if not San Diego at what they do.

Like a lot of hidden gems, La Takiza is in a beige strip mall. Its colorful signage makes it stick out among the neighbors, even though it is in the back of a fairly large plaza.

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La Takiza ~ 1234 North Santa Fe Ave. #119

I was passing through the area and the sign caught my eye. After doing some research and looking at their menu, I wanted to return and check them out for myself. The menu is straight forward offering street style tacos, burritos, quesadillas, mulitas, plus menudo and birria. It was the range of meat, especially offal, offered that enticed me.

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Pork and offal, pork and offal, yum yum yum. So right up my alley.

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My lunch ~ Pastor burrito,  a Cochinita Pibil taco, and  a Cachete taco. Three salsas descending in heat from left to right ~ Habanero verde, Salsa Verde, Guacamole Verde. I liked the Habanero and Guacamole the best with all the types of pork.

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Pastor Burrito ~ Marinated pork, rice, onion, cilantro, and maybe a few other things. I got it “with everything”. (It is hard to get a good glamor shot of the inside of a burrito.)

Healthy sized burrito especially with the rice. Though it was good I thought the tacos ended up being the best vehicle to let their meats shine.

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Cochinita Pibil with pickled red onions and Cachete with Habanero pickled onions.

Both tacos were delicious. The Cachete was moist and melt in your mouth tender due to hours of cooking and the onions (from the salsa bar) added a nice contrast to the meat. The rock star though was the Cochinita Pibil, slow roasted chunks of pork in a stew like broth. The pickled red onions, which they will ask if you want them, are a must to finish this great concoction of flavors.  Tacos are the way to go here, they don’t interfere or mask the flavors of the meat. They also have a deal that if you order five tacos you get a free drink.

I almost forgot something important….

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Fresh made to order corn tortillas for the tacos.

If you love pork and good Mexican food I highly recommend La Takiza.

On my walk back to the Sprinter I came across another place to add to my must try list….

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Dona Elena Pozoleria ~They specialize in Pazole ( red, white, and green) as well as soups and stews.

La Takiza

1234 North Santa Fe Ave. Vista

 

#food #foodporn #mexicanfood #tacos #vista #pork #foodie

 

 

 

 

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