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.

lionfish ext. (1 of 1)

Lionfish ~ 435 5th Ave., San Diego

lionfish int (1 of 1)

The interior features neutral tones and wood with interesting lighting elements.

drink menu (1 of 1)

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.

lamb tartar (1 of 1)

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.

stuffed squid (1 of 1)

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.

spicy octopus (1 of 1)

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.

swordfish (1 of 1)

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.


435 5th Ave. San Diego

#food #foodporn #seafood #sandiego


Werewolf ~ San Diego

So, a lot of posts are going to be hitting you. I thought I would start with an easy one.

So, the thing I measure bar staffs against is the people at Masters in Oceanside and Werewolf in San Diego…for a very good reason. They understand how to make a cocktail.+


So I went old school and ordered a whisky sour..this is what I got…

drink (1 of 1)

It was so funny because the bartender said “Is it Ok if it comes in a fancy glass?” LOL yes I am fine. BTW great bartender that is why I hit this place up everytime I am in SD. Apperently egg whites are part of a whiskey sour…never knew yet so good.


San Diego, Ca



Campfire Dinner / Full Report ~ Carlsbad

While it was not my intention to write back to back articles on a single restaurant, the combination of a busy schedule, back pain, and the fact I loved my first trip, lead me to do just that.

Campfire is the first solo project of John Resnick (Ironside Fish and Oysters and Craft and Commerce). It brings an open kitchen and open flame cooking to the north side of State Street in downtown Carlsbad. The building, formerly an auto body shop, is transformed into what a camping lodge would look like if all the campers were hipsters. That is not a bad thing, the build out itself is beautiful utilizing natural woods and coppers to give it a homey yet modern feel. The design firm “Bells + Whistles” did an outstanding job. Blue Ocean Sushi would be another example of their fine work in Carlsbad.


Nothing like smelling burning wood half a block away. Campfire 2725 State Street, Carlsbad.


Campfire interior.

campfire int 4.jpg

Someone sucks at archery.


Campfire bar and open kitchen. That kitchen had to be hot as hell with how muggy and hot yesterday was.

Chef Andrew Bachelier has created a menu that capitalizes on the restaurant’s main theme, which is open fire cooking. You will see a lot of words like chargrilled and smoked throughout. This also carries over to the cocktail menu created by Leigh Lacap.


I started my meal off same as last time with the house made lemonade.


Char Grilled Oysters ~   cucumber. Meyer lemon. chili butter.

Mentioned in my previous post this was going to be a go-to dish for me and being true, it is. Beautiful dish.

OK, new stuff…………..


Broccoli ~   chermoula. lime. candied peanut.

This dish was recommended by the staff and was a hit. Perfectly cooked vegetables with a nice char flavor that set off well against the chermoula. Chermoula is a Mediterranean style marinade made of herbs oil, cumin, lemon, and salt or a variation of these ingredients, depending on region and chef.


Leek ~   fungi. creamy taleggio

As with the broccoli, the leek was cooked to a perfect al dente. The addition of the taleggio added a fruity tang to the dish. Again the act of char-grilling the vegetable added yet another flavor and texture component. This is a very rich dish with the cheese, perfect for splitting…I had to buckle down and eat the whole thing myself:)


Pork Middle Char Siu ~   farro. brussels sprout. apple

Chinese style pork set off against micro thin apple slices and farro. The brussels sprouts were fine but not essential to the dish. Solid dish flavor wise and well-executed pork.

Service was on point again. I plan on returning, still a lot of the menu to try.Plus I want to delve into the cocktail menu.


This is the end to a “bad weather day” in North County:)


2725 State Street, Carlsbad



Carlsbad Updates and News

So, went down to Carlsbad for lunch and to check in on a couple projects. I ended up finding more stuff popping up.

Went by Campfire on the 2700 block of State street to see where they were at and man…still a long way to go. Campfire will focus on locally sourced, sustainable food cooked over their 48″ open flamed grill. The location used to be an automotive shop and I heard oil contamination under the floor has set them back.


campfire exterior

Campfire Exterior

campfire int

Campfire Interior Work In Progress.

Next door to Campfire, Baba Coffee is poised to open soon. They are currently hiring Baristas and probably about 90% complete. Baba Coffee will serve an array of coffee drinks, pastries. salads,sandwiches, and oddly enough craft beers.

baba coffee exterior Baba Coffee Exterior


Baba Coffee Interior

Behind Baba Coffee Carruth Cellars has opened their tasting room. I actually checked them out and will write more about them in a stand alone post.

Baba Coffee

Walking around I saw Barrel Republic is building out their Third location mid-downtown on State street a few doors down from Vigilucci’s.

carlsbad barrel Republic

New Barrel Republic.

Most interesting is Peter Loyola who owns Succulent Cafe is expanding to Carlsbad with a much grander space at the end of state street. With the amount of space I would guess it will be more than just coffee and smoothies. The space is beautiful and once Peter gets done with it I am sure it will be another little Oasis.

succulent cafe ext 1

succulent cafe exterior 2

Three of the four exterior walls are made up of succulent planters. The exterior design has an almost Japanese tea garden feel to me.

succulent cafe intI’m sure the large interior will also feature a ton of plants and sculptures.

Yeah, so lots going on. Go go North County:)



North Eats Today ~ Go

Hosted by Baker & Olive — the 3rd annual North Eats food festival.

San Diegans will have the opportunity to experience the North County food scene from over 30 participating chefs, restaurants, and food brands based north of the 56-freeway. Center stage at this festival will be a live cooking competition featuring 94.9 DJs Cantore & Woods and live music by local North County artists Barnwell Shift.


Taste of Oceanside 2 ~ The Tastening

“Taste of Oceanside” . The Taste of Events have been around for a while and run year around throughout san Diego.


Last year Mainstreet Oceanside brought back the idea of hosting one in Oceanside, they held a small version a few years back but obviously now the downtown restaurant and business scene is more conclusive to this type of event.  I was on the promotions committee for last year’s and involved in concept and planning. The first hurdle was going to the city and the board and ensuring certain concerns were addressed. So last year we brought it back. It was a lot of work and planning. In the end we sold over 500 tickets not including comps.

(Note this year I was just an advisor so all the success goes to The Mainstreet team)

This year the goal was 1000 tickets and while I do not have the numbers yet, I think the event reached that goal. You have to understand the majority of the pre work and event day of work is done by volunteers. The people who are paid, if you broke it down by hour make at best minimum wage. It’s a complex event and takes a lot to pull off.

The main spear head of this event and really any event is Gumaro and behind the scenes guy Rick of Mainstreet.

I think the whole Mainstreet team deserves a lot of respect for executing this event.

Ok, so taste of Oceanside 2015! …I was too Ill to eat anything so I went around and like the UN was an observer. My little sister, though did buy tickets for herself, her husband Dan, and Dan’s Mom…and I think my little awesome nephew Will tagged along too.

So this is her report. Understand when I say my little sister has serious foodie cred. she does. My sister has eaten at some of the best restaurants on the west coast from 1,2.and 3 Michelin starred restaurants to the best hole in the wall places. I know because guess who brought her there a lot of times. When she was in highschool she was eating at Fleur De Lis and meeting Herbert Keller. She has also become a great home cook.

Here is her experience with some pics by me.

First, this is a great event that highlights several local establishments and allows diners to try a variety of dishes & restaurants that they may not have a chance to otherwise. That being said, here’s my review:

So top pick for quality and flavor was Petite Madeline Bakery, they had a soufflé with roasted pork and pie crust circle alongside a pumpkin swirl cheesecake. Both were small but delicious bites packed with flavor. The soufflé was savory and light and the pie crust circle was flakey and not too buttery. The pumpkin cheesecake was delicious. And their service was fast.


Petite Madeline’s pork and Pie.

Top pick for quantity was Harney Sushi. They offered a variety of 4 maki sushi rolls. One was very spicy, deep-fried and garnished with jalapeno. Other were filled with crab or shrimp tempura and garnished with fresh fish. I’m glad I ate their portion last because it would have stuffed me to the point I would not have been able to try all the other spots.

The one that needed the most work was Masters. I ate here before and food was good but this was a disappointment. They offered a swordfish slider on a sweet (Hawaiian style) roll. First, they were not prepared for the crowd. There was a line of about 8 people and we waited almost 20 minutes for the food. The fish was very smelly and had a strong fish taste (which is a bad thing). It tasted like it had  been sitting out too long. And their bloody mary mix was way too spicy. I know they make their own blend and maybe with vodka and garnishes it may taste good but it was not that great on its own. 

Other spots I tried that were good were Breakwater brewery Mediterranean pizza, Mission Ave Bar & Grill chicken wings, and Maui Wowi Coffee Co. pina colada smoothie, and That Boy Good pulled pork slider. We didn’t make it to all the spots but we did cover good ground.


The line at TBG


TBG Pork Sliders.

My 2 cents for next year…They need to have the even in one central location, like at the Junior Seau amphitheater. All the vendors in one spot, or a few concentrated areas, works better than trucking it up and down Hill St. on a hot day; especially when some of the locations are over ½ a mile away. Three hours may seem like ample time to visit each location but it’s not, so the event also needs to be longer. Perhaps 5 hours would allow enough time. Also, this year they did have a trolley, but if you utilizing a wheelchair or stroller this was not an option for you, so that was a big disappointment. Also the trolley did not stop at every location; perhaps having bike rickshaws, like they used to have in downtown San Diego, would be an option for next year.

Also, to the business involved. If you are participating in an event that sells 1,000 tickets, you need to be ready and prepared to serve 1,000 people in a relatively quick time. I found that several spots had waits that were way too long. To the point that people were skipping location because they had to wait for food that should have, for the most part, been prepared in advance.

Overall the event was fun and I will go again next year.

Here are some of my pics from the event my sister did not make it to.


Local Tap House’s ceviche. ~ This was a smart dish. Pre prepared and storable at the right temp until serving. So if you needed 12 servings asap filling the shells and garnishing could be done fast.


Sweet Organic Love offering artisan donuts at Banana Dang! ~ Strawberry, Banana & Chocolate and Green Tea.


Banana Dang! offered organic coffee and their Purple Dang Smoothie.


Gyoza at Blvd Chinese Kitchen ~ Another smart choice for the event.


Celeste Barbier ~ performing at Harbor Cafe for the event.

Here are my thoughts.

  1. The restaurants that do the best during these events are ones that do catering a lot or serve a dish that is easily replaced to handle crowds.
  2. I feel the event should be spread out , as it was this year, using the individual restaurant store fronts. I think it is a more effective marketing tool, for that restaurant, if someone actually goes to your location rather than a tent.
  3. I also agree with the comments from participating restaurants and brewers I included below.

Feedback from restaurants and brewers.

  1. Volunteers provided to the restaurant should spend some time with the restaurant prior to the event.
  2. Entrance – it seemed as though all guests were funneled through one entrance with their goodie bags and tickets.  This immensely clogged the first few sip stops for the first 20-30 minutes.  Not a huge deal, but might be nice to have people “begin their walk” from different points of downtown, to even out flow especially at the beginning.
  3. “pre-setup.” This would be great! To have product pre-chilled and stationed, would be so helpful!
  4. I thought attendance and engagement were both great!  I felt we definitely gained some great community awareness and new fans, which is all we can hope for.  I would definitely participate again next year.

So, all in all a great successful event, lots of wins, some things to work on.

I think what best sums it up is one of my regulars on Northcountyfood’s facebook page said he went to the event and a number of times while waiting in line over heard people say “I did not know Oceanside had so much going on”

West Steak and Seafood ~ Carlsbad

So, I had mentioned August was the second anniversary of North County Food. It also marks the third year anniversary of my heart disease and my heart decided it would be great to celebrate by visiting the hospital for 8 days. Spent time at UCSD Cardiology, had tons of tests, new drugs and dropped 15 lbs of water weight. I like being 174lbs just a hard way to get there.

So, coming out of that I wanted to write, and treat myself. After thinking long and hard a Dry Aged Steak dinner sounded perfect….and I wanted to go full steak house meal all the way.

Just a note my heart disease is not “that kind of heart disease” I have the arteries of a 20 year old, perfect blood pressure, so a steak on occasion is fine and after the long term diagnosis options put before me lately , called for it

Back to the steak dinner, I wanted to keep it North County so my choices were West Steak and Seafood and Vigilucci’s Steak and Seafood. I went with the first.


West Steakhouse

West Steak, along with Bistro West is located in Carlsbad right off the 5 at Cannon Rd. It is an interesting juxtaposition, it is part of corporate restaurant group but they try to source local and have a unique identity at the same time. They have employed some great local talent like Chef Jason Connolly who ran Bistro West for years and they own their own farm which is run by Farm Manager Like Girling, who has now gone on to start up Cyclops Farms in Oceanside. The current Chef of the steak house is Dave Abella who has a long history with the Roy’s restaurant group and is respected in the chef community.

Both the Steak House and The Bistro are beautifully appointed rooms with great bars and well trained staff. If you re-built them out today they would be a lot sleeker with metal surfaces and reclaimed wood but the art deco style still holds up as being classy and not stuffy.

bar 1

bar 3

Bar Area

dining roomDinning Room

I wanted the full classic steakhouse meal so I started with the Shrimp Cocktail.

shrimp cocktail 1Shrimp Cocktail ~Wasabi horseradish, cocktail sauce

Perfectly cooked shrimp and a nice sauce with just enough kick. I had this with a Lovebock Sauvignon Blanc NZ which paired perfectly.

The shrimp cocktail is almost served “ironically” now but has an interesting history. It gained popularity in the 60’s in the US and England but its roots go back to Auguste Escoffer (look him up interesting character and one of the fathers of development of modern French cuisine.) Here is a great short read about him

Lets talk steak ~ specifically dry aged steak. Aging a steak does two things. It removes excess water content from the meat (this does not make it less “juicy”) what it does is intensify the flavor. Think of cooking down a stock if that helps. The second thing it does is breaks down muscle fibers making the meat more tender.
There are two methods of aging dry and wet aging. I believe dry aging is the superior method. Wet aging is faster and less costly and thus used more widely. The results are similar but if you can get it dry aged is the way to go.

steak 1

Center Cut NY Strip Loin, Nebraska, grain finished, aged 30 days. West Farm Vegetables and Buttery Mushrooms.

steak med rare

Asked for a just rare version of medium rare and that is what I got.

Steak was perfect, the vegetables and mushrooms were as well still plenty of bite and flavor. Paired with one of my go to reds “The Prisoner” Red Blend by Orin Swift Napa


Warm Cherry and Apple Cobbler ~ Vannilla bean ice cream, macadamia nut gram cracker crust.

Cobbler was great but it was just a vehicle for that little glass of golden heaven known as Inniskillin Ice Wine, a true Ice wine, not we are going to put grapes in a freezer and make a bullshit ice wine. Highly recommended for the soul.

My meal was great, better than I even anticipated. Service was spot on my server Sanger knew the menu and the wine list. I came in with research done and she knew everything. The place was hopping the whole time and for a room that seats 148 they do all of this out of a tight kitchen space.


Highly recommend it if you want to indulge in some wine and steak.

West Steak & Seafood

4980 Avenida Encinas
Carlsbad, CA 92008


By:  Sheen Fischer

There is no greater way to forge friendships replete with trust, common experience, shared sacrifice and spilled blood, sweat and tears than to work together with others toward a goal that cannot be achieved in any other manner than through collaboration.  When that collaboration includes great food, copious laughter, unfettered truth, shared passion and a noble cause, it takes on an exquisite purity, transcending all conceit and vanity, even if only for a few hours.

CK sign

Such is the case with Collaboration Kitchen, conceived of by Tommy Gomes of Catalina Offshore, hosted in Catalina’s facility and sponsored by Specialty Produce and Camp Chef. CK, so shortened because, let’s face it, the whole name takes up more room in the mouth than a giant Monchong filet, is an underground, educational cooking event that is held to raise money for local charitable causes.  Usually there are one or two well-known local chefs or cooking personalities that do the main presentation and an army of volunteers, many of them outstanding chefs in their own right who help to execute the evening.

Sam Rebecca

Entry into the event can only be gained by monitoring social media sites such as Facebook and then clicking as rapidly as humanly possible when the announcement is made before tickets sell out.  You must also make it past the ever alert gate keepers like Catalina Offshore’s PR and Social Media Director, Rebecca Gardon.  Don’t let her angelic smile fool you, she can rip you to shreds with not a waver of the lips and you’ll still run to friend her on Facebook.  The event is BYOB and everyone brought B.  They also brought an appetite, an attitude of open expectation and support for the cause.

Continue reading

The Lion’s Share ~ San Diego ~By Sheen Fischer

“You May Share the Labours of the Great…”A Rainy Day in San Diego 

Road trip logo

On one of those handful of dreary, chilly, misty days that we get each year in our beautiful County of San Diego, it can be awfully tempting to wait out the inclement weather by curling under a blanket with hot brewed tea and a bowl of microwave chili to binge watch the latest, greatest cable series. Wait…does that make me sound like a girly man?


Instead we headed out to the Strand in Oceanside and did some Land SUP. Being out on a rainy day is a great way to enjoy the best of Southern California without the crowds!


We made a quick stop at one of Oceanside’s new favorite neighborhood hangouts after landsurfing. Local Taphouse & Kitchen, capably captained by Chef Daniel Pundik gave us the opportunity to re-fuel with the house BLT Bloody Mary. There’s really just nothing like Brunch in a Glass!


Last December while visiting family in the South, we drove from Houma, Louisiana to Ft. Walton Beach, Florida – usually about a 5 hour drive on I-10. Since it was a foodie excursion, we took the coastal route which is about 7 hours, had breakfast in New Orleans, late morning snacks in Biloxi, Mississippi, lunch in Mobile, Alabama and dinner in Destin, Florida – about a 12 hour day with four meals in four separate states. The day started off overcast, muggy and about 70 degrees in Louisiana in the morning. It was just about exactly the same in Florida that evening. That’s Gulf Coast weather for you.
The great thing about San Diego and our microclimates is that you can drive about 15-30 minutes in any direction and be in a whole new scene. So, we headed out of the gloom down the freeway to our fair city of San Diego proper and, voila, we discovered blue skies!


Other than the rain, is there any reason we might we venture so far south? Well, we’ve been hearing great things about this place, The Lion’s Share, with Executive Chef Mark Bolton at the helm, and we thought we might as well get the lowdown for our North County readers.


The Lion’s Share is a very cool little gastropub with the feel of a speakeasy. Some have referred to a “dive bar” feel, but I would disagree. This place is dark, yes, but it is also clean and airy feeling with the open front door visible from most points of the interior. It has a laid back crowd, unexpected at a place just a few blocks from the heart of downtown. This is a very comfortable place to hang out in – just the right amount of busy without any sign of franticness and a steady, light buzz of energy, activity and conversation. The absolute lack of any hint of pretentiousness, superiority or snobbery here is a revelation. Even on a Friday night, there always seemed to be a table available for walk-ins. Quick note: Street parking was a challenge, but parking is available at Seaport Village or valet is available at The Headquarters a half block away, allowing you to enjoy a short walk.


We were there for the cocktails as much as the food – maybe more than the food. The True Blood, pictured on the right and one of the house specials is a refreshing concoction of Pimm’s, lime and fresh, pressed raspberries. All of the flavors worked well together, each giving the others a nudge trying to establish leadership.
I’ve been on this thing lately where I test all new bars by finding out if they can do a true classic Whiskey Sour or Ramos Gin Fizz. It’s a dirty trick, I admit, because each requires raw egg white and a lot of shaking. The Ramos Gin Fizz, for instance, takes about 15 minutes to make properly, the last 12 of them being shaking. Henry Ramos, the inventor of this drink, had to hire a stable of “Shaker Boys” who would stand in line and shake each drink for a few minutes and then pass it down the line.
Suffice it to say the Whiskey Sour pictured here was a great precursor for the evening to follow.


Heading up the food offerings of the evening were the deviled eggs. Does everyone love deviled eggs? Is it genetic? In any case, each presentation, Espellette, Tobiko Caviar, Prosciutto and Truffle (our personal favorite) and the Quail Confit, brought its own unique character of flavor and texture to bear.


Wild Boar Poutine – What is it about crispy fried potatoes, savory meat, white cheddar cheese all bound together by gravy that make a person’s knees weak? This dish should be mandatory pub food worldwide.

rabbit sausage

Our third starter of Rabbit Sausage could have been served on a plate, alone, and been a solo superstar. But, it also shone in the midst of house made mustard, a perfect medley of pickled onions and vegetables and a sourdough crostini grilled with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt (so good!).

drink 3

By this time, I was ready for round two. Little did I know that our server Brandon considered it a personal challenge to show me the best that his bar could perform by interpreting my Whisky Sour order as an egg white showdown. Enter the Pepperdine. A Tequila based cocktail with a smoky, Mezcal fueled kick and creamy egg white induced texture, this tincture of pepper infused drink signaled that all previous offerings of the evening were foreplay. The games were about to begin.


This pretty cool picture greets you on the way to the restrooms!


When I say “Hand Pie”, think Empanada. However, the pastry on this Rabbit Hand Pie is the kind of light, buttery, flaky crust that you thought your Mom used to make until you discovered the pre-packaged pie crust under the Totino’s pizza in the freezer. The savory, melt in your mouth pie was seriously enhanced by the carrot puree and pickled onions. These served their purpose of rounding out the complete bite as deconstructed elements of the rabbit stew filling that were both necessary and welcome on the plate.

drink 2

Pepperdine? Pepperdine Who? Brandon’s next suggestion of the evening for me was once again an egg white drink. This one was juniper based, with gin, Cynar and lemon. It was herbaceous and had just the right amount of bitterness, which acted as a type of tongue brush to cleanse the palate for the next course.


…there is no known universe, no conceivable notion, no level of existence, no legend, no rumor, no fairy tale nor children’s fable that would ever have me walking out of any joint that serves chicken fried quail without ordering it. Honestly, I’m not that into the whole sweet and savory thing, so the waffle and syrup had the potential to be major deterrents, but… (Please refer to the beginning of this paragraph).
It may have been an adverse reaction to the egg whites that had me slow on the uptake, but it was at this point in the meal that I realized that each ingredient Chef Mark has decided to include on a plating has a purpose. In this dish, the mustard maple syrup elevated both quail and the entire sweet and savory genre of food preparation to a level not previously thought to have existed. But, it was the simple watercress salad with a vinaigrette dressing that pierced the sweetness of the dish and provided an intermission between bites so that each successive mouthful felt again like the first.

bread pudding

Once again, I was served an egg based cocktail. This dessert cocktail Brandon had ready almost before I could order the fresh strawberry, waffle bread pudding with house made cherry whip cream that stands up like butter and has chocolate shavings on top. The house bread pudding here changes almost weekly as chef infuses whatever ingredients are freshest.
But, back to the missing cocktail. Yeah, I forgot to take a picture – flog me. I am deeply chagrined, especially since this drink was an exploding supernova amongst a night filled with stars. Branded the New York flip, this drink has a whole egg (that’s what flip means in bartender speak) shaken with tawny port, rye whiskey and nutmeg. The end result is a drink that tastes like the rare unicorn-like offspring of egg nog and a chocolate martini – creamy, rich, decadent and fulfilling.
The light sweetness of this drink offset by the bitterness of the nutmeg combined with the bite of the whiskey and the rich creaminess of the whole egg made me wish I were home, curled under a blanket, with THIS drink, binge watching the latest, greatest cable series. Cheers, my friends!

The Lion’s Share
629 Kettner Blvd, San Diego, CA 92101

Chasing The Dragon ~ Kombucha in North County

Kombucha is a lightly effervescent fermented drink of sweetened black and/or green tea that is used as a functional food. It is produced by fermenting the tea using a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, or “SCOBY”.

Kombucha used to have a bad rap since most of it was made in jars by people who did not know what the fu@# they were doing. These days it is a scientific business aimed to produce the purist product possible. As much care and science goes into brewing Kombucha as beer and wine and the people doing it are equally involved and dedicated as the Brew-masters and Vinters in those craft industries.

As kombucha starts to show up on tap and bottles at not only coffee houses but bars and restaurants, people are starting to not only embrace it but seek it out. The industry side of the equation is starting to find new ways to incorporate and play with this new product. Mixologists are adding it to craft cocktails or combining it with beer. At our last North County Chefs Dinner, Chef Beau Bonham coordinated with a local Kombucha brewer to pair his deserts with a custom blood orange and hibiscus blend instead of a dessert wine or aperitif. That was my idea by the way

So while this movement is growing I was asked by a local Kombucha distributor kombutchaontap  who reps about 7 brands over 40 locations  if I wanted to do a tasting tour of various bars and restaurants in North County that are serving Kombucha and how they are using this product in different ways. I of course jumped at the opportunity.

What that led to was one of the best days I have had in a long while. I have to credit to Deanne from kombuchaontap for putting up with me. She got the full on me (which I have been told is kinda hard to take).

The day started at 83 Degrees. 660 Carlsbad Village Drive

83 ext

They serve two kombuchas ~ Living Tea’s Ginger and The BU’s Lavender.

83 menu

83 cocktail

The Kombucha Breeze

From there we went to Dany P’s

D's 2OK, side note, my house and the one I grew up in are blocks from here. These are my old stomping grounds and this was such a dive bar and Greenbrier was not a street to be around after dark. Now I think I found a new place to hang and play pool. Total change around.

D's twisted

Angry Orchard Cider and GT’s Ginger Kombucha

D's 3

GT’s Kombucha, Legacy Brewing’s Guava beer, and Angry Orchard Apple Cider.

After all that bottled Kombucha and Mexican food seemed like good call.

Primo’s Market. Dinner for two for $7.50 come on.


GT’s Trifecta Kombucha and kick ass street tacos. Really nothing more to say.

I love tea and Kombucha is tea taken to the next level. I am down with anyone who is passionate about the things they are doing and that is what really struck me on this day. This is the new industry..

If you have not tried Kombucha  …try it it is all around you and  kombuchaontap is great resource for where to find it. That is all I can say. I really want to look on back on this post in 3 years and see how far this industry has grown.

So links (and trust me no one pays me this is all just love)

The real authority on this


These guys are the big boys in the game GT


I really like these guys (drawn to the dark horse)


I have to mention Living Tea.  local boys…the sand box is big enough for everyone. I have to give a call out to Ryan Jubela …the guy could do anything he wants ans he is so supportive of the local community, as am I . Do not divide and conquer ,,,just conquer