Great Farmer’s Market Food ~ Oceanside and Leucadia

So, I have a bit of a love hate relationship with the food at farmers markets. While I love small independent food vendors offering ethnically diverse cuisine, in a venue that allows them to do so without the investment required by a food truck or restaurant, I still expect value for my money and want true authenticity. A lot of times the quantity and quality of food does not justify the price and the “authenticity” can be debatable.

Luckily enough there are a few that produce great authentic food at a good value. These are two of my favorites.

Ed’s Filipino Cuisine

Ed's Filipino food (1 of 1)

Ed’s sets up their stall Thursday mornings from From 9am till 1pm at the Oceanside Morning Farmer’s Market on Pier View Way. They really are not in full swing till around 9:30 or 10 due to them cooking everything on site, which makes it worth the wait.

I have a very high standard for Filipino food. My brother-in-law is Filipino, so I have been spoiled with great home-made Filipino dishes at large family occasions like holidays and birthday parties for years. Ed’s is the only place I have found that comes close to what my extended family can throw down. (and I have searched long and far).

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$9 Lunch ~ Lumpia (2 pork, 1 beef, 1 vegetable), Pancit, and a pork skewer.

Lumpia are very near and dear to my heart. They are time-consuming to make, like tamales, and good ones deserve respect. One of the keys is a light flaky crust, deep-fried just enough so it has a beautiful crunch and crumbles a bit like a great baguettte when you bite into it. Ed’s lumpia do this perfectly. Way too many lumpia I have tried just mimic egg rolls in texture making them, well, egg rolls. I do wish the sauce had more vinegar and was less sweet, but these are some of the best lumpia out there IMO.

The pork skewers are perfectly charred and full of flavor. I really like the marinade he uses and his charcoal hibachi grill gives the meat a nice, flavorful sear. The pancit is great and does not need any additional soy sauce or flavoring, bulking up the meal to provide a filling authentic Filipino lunch.

Second on my list is Arepas Papachon at the Leucadia Farmer’s Market, hosted Sundays at 185 Union Street from 10 till 2 in Encinitas. If you have not been to the Leucadia Farmer’s Market, it is really nice, especially for produce.

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Arepas Papachon ~ The arepas are formed and cooked to order, so it is a good idea to place your order and have a look around at some of the other stalls as it takes about 10 minutes.

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Pulled pork arepas plate , black beans, and plantains.

The arepa is sliced down the middle so you can stuff the pork inside. The first time I ordered this I thought the portion was a bit small but it ended up being very filling. Everything is very flavorful. The pork is nice and moist, the dough is hearty without being dense, and the black beans and sweet plantains round out a nice Venezuelan brunch.

So, those would be my top two food places I would recommend if someone asked me “what are some good food choices at the local farmers markets?”

I would also highly suggest stopping by Cheryl’s Caramels at the Oceanside Sunset Market for local hand-made candies and Doh! at Leucadia’s or Carlsbad’s markets for great vegan cookie dough.

Oceanside Farmer’s Market

Pier View Way, Oceanside

(Corner of Pier View and Mission)

9am till 1pm

Leucadia Farmers Market

185 Union Street, Encinitas

( Paul Eick Elementary School)

10am till 2pm

#food #foodie #farmersmarket #foodporn #Oceanside #leucadia #filipinofood #southamericanfood #venezuelanfood #lumpia #arepas

 

 

 

 

 

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

&

2216 South El Camino Real, Oceanside

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

 

Gourmet Artisan ~ Oceanside

Gourmet Artisan is a prime example of me coming up with a pre-formulated notion about a restaurant and then having them prove me completely wrong. While I have a pretty good radar based on years of experience and research applied deciding if I am going to check out a place it, as I am about to admit, it is not fool-proof.

Gourmet Artisan is one of those places whose exterior does a great job of masking the calibre of the food served within. unassuming, it does not stand out amongst the surrounding store fronts or display the offbeat character hinting at the potential of a hole-in-the-wall hidden gem.

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Gourmet Artisan ~ 409 Mission Ave. Oceanside. ( Downtown Oceanside in the Regal theater plaza.)

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Nice simple interior.

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The Menu ~ A nice range of sandwiches, salads, pastas, flat breads, pastries and smoothies. Due to the breadth of the menu, its location, adjacent to the theater and the beach, it is a perfect place for family outings or groups, as everyone should be able to find something that suits their tastes. What sets Gourmet Artisan apart from the other surrounding food options near by, is the quality of the ingredients they use and the fact they have a Chef constructing and executing the menu.

“It’s a restaurant of course they have a Chef”. No, there are plenty of restaurants, some a stone throws a way, that while they may have cooks, and may have very talented ones, they do not have a chef. It is even more rare in a fast casual setting.

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“Owner’s Favorite” Sandwich ~ Prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, marinated artichokes, confit tomatoes, fresh basil, and olive oil with a side salad.

I ordered this on my first visit and it is what brought me back for my second. The bread is delivered fresh daily from (funnily enough) Gourmet Artisan Bakery in Mira Mar (no relation) and is wonderful. The chibata had a crisp and flakey crust with a soft interior that is found in truly well crafted fresh bread. All the ingredients in the sandwich were of the highest quality, from the fresh mozzarella to the olive oil. It was a joy to eat.

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Chicken Marsala with rice.

After my first visit, having realized the error of my ways, I went back a second time to try more food and write an article. Originally, I was going top go with another one of their great sandwiches or a salad but the owner steered me to a new dish the chef had just added to the menu and was quite happy with.

It’s been a while since I have had Chicken Marsala but this is easily one of the best examples I have had of the dish. The rice, chicken and mushrooms were perfectly cooked but the sauce was the real star. The sauce had a great depth of flavor, a silky texture, and just enough acidity from the wine without being boozy.  It left me satisfied without being too full, which was great because I was surprised with a crepe for dessert.

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Crepe ~ Chocolate, fresh berries, ice cream, and whipped cream.

Though not a sweets person normally, I enjoyed the crepe and ice cream.

Gourmet Artisan is owned and operated by Adrien Cotto and his wife with the kitchen being helmed by Chef  Andrew Pinzon. It is definitely worth checking out and will be added to my normal downtown rotation.

Gourmet Artisan

409 Mission Ave. Oceanside

#food #foodporn #foodie #oceanside #sandwich #lunch #sandiego

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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.

La Takiza ext (1 of 1)

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.

vista-tacolist

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

Maru Restaurant (Korean BBQ) ~ Oceanside

With the closure of Aria a year or so ago Oceanside, and North County for that matter, lost its only option for Korean style BBQ.  Though Aria was a Korean / Japanese fusion place, also serving sushi, it scratched the itch for decent Korean fare.

Luckily, not only has the void left by Aria’s departure been filled, it has been upgraded in quality by the opening of the new Maru Restaurant. Even going so far as to occupy the same spot as Aria once did, Maru gives cause to smile for those, like myself, who enjoy Korean BBQ without having to drive to Convoy St. to get it. For the record Mana in San Marcos does not fit into the same quality range.

o

Maru ~ 3744 mission Ave. Corner of Mission and El Camino in the Stater Bros. shopping center.

At the time we were there they were in soft opening mode. They were still training staff, hiring, and did not have a full menu. By the time this post is out they should be up and running fully. We talked with one of the owners and the manager and they are very dedicated to quality of the food and the restaurants success. At the time they were commuting daily from LA to run the restaurant while looking for a place to live down here.

The menu spans appetizers like edamame, goyza, and tempura, to entrees like hot stone bibimbap, chicken and pork katsu, and of course an array of meat choices for table top Korean BBQ.

We started with the assorted Kimichi appetizer.

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Assorted Kimichi Appetizer ~ Cucumber, radish, and Napa cabbage kimchi.

All their Kimchi is made in-house, which results in a less brine and fresher Kimchi free of MSG. All were great but my favorite was the radish, followed by the Napa.

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Short Rib. The meat was wonderful with lots of marbling. Condiments of Salt, sauce, and a spicy dip accompanied the ribs.

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Grilling action.

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Kalbi Shio ~ Delicious marinated short rib. The marinade packed tons of flavor and again the quality of the meat was top-notch.

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Our spread.

My guest also had the hot stone bibimbap, which was also very tasty.

Meat choices run from $15 to $20. I would say for two people two meats and an app. or two would be a good meal. They also have lunch specials and bento boxes which are good for single diners.

Sake and beer is also offered.

The manager had mentioned “all you can eat” but I do not think that has been implemented yet.

Mana Restaurant

3744 Mission Ave. Oceanside

#food #foodporn #koreanbbq #koreanfood #oceanside #foodie

 

Yaya’s Fruit Bar ~ Vista

Yaya’s is the kind of place I love to coming across. It’s under the radar, unassuming,  family run, and delivers different and tasty food you do not find very often.

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Yaya’s is located in an aesthetically boring strip mall in Vista behind a McDonald’s at 1450 North Santa Fe Ave. at Bobier.

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The interior is clean with light wood and bright colors.

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In addition to their great fruit desserts, they offer 14 flavors of Thrifty’s Ice Cream, numerous fruit sorbets, smoothies, Acia bowls, and a few hot dishes like tortas and nachos.

Their assorted fruit desserts are what makes them special though. The walls are lined with pictures of them because the menu descriptions can not do them justice.

kikis desserts

Desserts Clockwise from top left ~ Chamango, Raspado, Acia Bowl , and Papas Preparadas.

All their desserts are extremely reasonable and made to order. Mine was $6.50 and huge…….

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Pepino Prepadado ~ Cucumber, jamica, papaya, cacahuates japoneses (japanese peanuts), Pica Fresca, hot sauce, and chili powder.

Just a taste and texture sensation. Sweet fresh fruit, crunch from the peanuts, chew from the candies, sourness from the lime juice, and heat from the chili powder and hot sauce. It was not too sweet, it was very vibrant and fresh tasting. Just a great dish.

I will definitely be back to try more or their creations.

Yaya’s Fruit Bar

1450 North Santa Fe Ave., Vista

#food #foodporn #vista #mexicanfood #mexecandessert #foodie