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….

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Park 101 ~ Carlsbad

So, Park 101, the 8,000 sq ft multi million dollar food and drink project opened a few weeks ago along Coast Highway in Carlsbad.

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The U-shaped complex features a downstairs lounging area, bar, coffee bar, and fast casual BBQ restaurant..

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Downstairs lounge complete with corn-hole and fire pit.

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Downstairs lounge from the upper deck.

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Second bar upstairs. They have 40 beers on tap, many local.

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Their fast Casual kitchen. They serve a number of salads and classic side dishes. The main focus is BBQ including, Tri-Tip, brisket, pulled pork, turkey, smoked fish and sausage. In addition they are open at 6am for breakfast burritos and the like.

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I went with Tri-Tip, coleslaw, white bread and pickles. Perfectly cooked Tri-Tip, tender and flavorful. Good portion size too.

With the summer and it being a great outdoor location it can get busy especially on the weekends.

Park 101

3040 Carlsbad Blvd. (Coast Highway), Carlsbad

#food #foodporn #bbq #carlsbad

 

 

Plywood and Construction Updates ~ North Oceanside Coastal.

So, walked around today and figure I would update on new restaurant construction.

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The old Jennie’s spot is repainted and clean on the inside. No realtor info or Licenses up in the window so, I do not know whats going in, but it looks ready to go.

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The boarded up spot between Joe’s Furniture and Coastal Liquor is going to be a place called “Fat Joe’s”. They have a liquor license up for beer and wine. I am guessing burgers, pizza, and beer.

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Lastly, the old Bessie’s Cafe spot as reported earlier will be a Malaysian style restaurant. They were removing the old front windows when I was there.

So, just a quick heads up.

#oceanside #news

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.

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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

 

4th of July parking lot Pop Up for the homeless ~ Oceanside

So, North County Food (me) teamed up with Chef Beau Bonham to stage a free pop up event on the 4th of July holiday. We used Beau’s catering van and grill and set up in the parking lot of the closed Ralph’s parking lot on Oceanside Blvd.

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Chef Beau and our fancy set up.

Our goal was to feed the homeless and disenfranchised, as well as anyone who came along.  The menu consisted of bacon wrapped hot dogs, home-made coleslaw, and ranch style beans.

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Our guests enjoying some lunch.

Beau did all the prep and cooked the hot dogs. My job was funding the event, plating, and doing recon runs to find people and let them know what we were doing. unfortunately, we did not feed as many people as we had hoped. We had learned with talking to our guests that the Sheriff department started doing “sweeps” of the homeless starting Wednesday in prep for the holiday weekend. I went downtown and the normal train stops I meet homeless all the time and it was pretty dead. Still it was fun and if we did not get the crowds we wanted it was still worth it.

#Oceanside #food

 

Pho Oceanside ~ Oceanside

This is a bit of a re-visit, but I last mentioned this place was in 2013. This probably north of Convoy street is the best Pho in North County.

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Like all great Pho places, nondescript and in a strip mall.

Like Ramen, everyone has their 2 cents about pho. Their broth is deep in flavor, the price can not be beat and it will make you happy. As a writer I could go on “Oh the broth was like re living a childhood dream, it brought me back to the time when my Grandmother…:” F that. It is good food. Nuff said.

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Pho ~ Rare steak, tendons, tripe, brisket.

Go eat.

Also the pork chop is insane:) Highly recommend the egg rolls as well.

 

Pho Oceanside

518 Oceanside Blvd, Oceanside

#pho #food #foodporn

 

 

Oceanside Brewing Company ~ Oceanside

Oceanside Brewing Company           

All words and pictures by: Justin Kunert

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The inconspicuous entrance

Tucked away in an industrial maze just off the 76 in northwest Oceanside, you will find a small square sign above a door.  The unassuming journey and entrance leads you to Oceanside Brewing Co. (OBC).  It is a sizable brewery, complete with numerous tables, an outdoor patio, and most importantly, 22 different taps of local indie beer.  Unlike its brewing neighbor, Legacy Brewing, which is visible from Route 76, OBC is more inconspicuous but surprisingly only one mile away.

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The many beer options alongside our friendly bartender

In addition to beer, you can find an eclectic variety of items in the brewery from games to art installations, and even a miniature brewing library.  Captain your own flight and choose five tasters, and then have the beers served to you in a variety of vessels, from war planes to battle ships.  The battle ship was crafted by a customer and former member of the military, and is designed to hold all 22 tasting options available at the brewery (check out pictures here).

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The assortment of beers

Their offerings include some of the more trendy beers such as the Desert Storm (New England style IPA) and multiple barrel aged beers.  They also have some cool experimental beers, such as the Spongebob Beer Pants (6.9% pineapple pale ale, which made me crave summer) and the Rosemary’s Baby (4.8% rosemary cream ale, which made me crave lasagna?).  Talk about a rollercoaster for the taste buds.  These were among many traditional styles including Belgians, Scottish Wee Heavy, and many German varieties.

For what seems like a smaller sized brewing system, it was amazing to find 22 different types of beer to try.  The bartender was great, and let us sample beers before we bought tasters.  He was eager to explain the inspiration behind each pour and chat about them with us.

The brewing system at Oceanside Brewing Co.

All around it was a great time and I really enjoyed the brewery, the environment, and the beers.  Though off the beaten path, they are definitely worth visiting!  Check them out here.

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The backyard patio

Oceanside Brewing Company

312-314 Via Del N, Oceanside

#beer #craftbeer #brewery #Oceanside

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

New Paleo / Gluten Free Coming To Leucadia.

A new Paleo and Gluten free eatery and bake house called Cultivate 101 will be opening in the space that until this month was El Torito Market & Taco Shop in Leucadia at 948 N. Coast Highway.

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The old El Torito Market. It is now totally gutted.

More when I know more.