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.+

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

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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.

Werewolf

San Diego, Ca

 

 

New Brunch Menu @ Masters Kitchen and Cocktail ~ Oceanside

It has been a while since I visited Masters, at least 3 months. Their new Chef and Brunch menu caused a stir for me to meet up with my friend Beau Bonham and check it out.

Chef Richardi is originally from Florida. He began his culinary career as a line cook at Pacifica Del Mar, from there he rose through the ranks at  Rancho Valencia, La Valencia Hotel, The Chart House, The Santaluz Club and Roppongi. He is now Executive Chef at Masters and has started to put his stamp on their menu.

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Chef Richardi and Ryan (owner) both great people.

Masters Chef Beau and Ryan (1 of 1)

This Beau person and Ryan:)

The new brunch menu features a good range of dishes from decadent to healthy and simple.

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Of course we went for decadent. I just did a three-mile beach walk and Beau, like me, eats very simple when not dining out.

Before we could begin Chef brought this out…

Masters salmon (1 of 1)

House cured salmon, micro greens, and radish.

Perfect, and I mean perfect cured salmon. I almost went with the everything bagel on the menu because of the salmon but this scratched that itch perfectly, freeing me up for other choices. Thanks Chef.

Masters Steak benny (1 of 1)

Steak and Eggs Benedict ~ Flat Iron steak (cooked perfect medium rare), poached eggs, artisan sourdough, hollandaise, and breakfast potatoes.

The steak was on point and the hollandaise was not over powering. A lot of hollandaise is thick and for lack of a better term gluggy..not this one. Also those potatoes, next time I am ordering an additional side order of those. They reminded me of patatas bravas..so good.

Beau stole the show though…

Masters Chicken and Waffles (1 of 1)

Chicken and Waffle ~ Rosemary waffle, fried chicken breast, smoked bacon, chicken apple sausage gravy, over easy eggs.

A lot of brunch places near by do a chicken and waffles dish. This one is different, it ditched the classic maple syrup route for something more complex. The gravy, I believe due to the apple sausage kept the sweet element and the fry on the chicken breast was almost reminiscent of a Milanese. Also huge, leftovers to take home kind of dish.

The other thing that made me happy was it was crowded.

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Masters dinning area (1 of 1)

Great to see busy restaurants before tourist season has even started.

 

Masters Kitchen & Cocktail

208 South Coast Highway, Oceanside Ca

#food #foodporn #oceanside #brunch

 

 

 

 

Rooster Ramen : The Return ~coming Spring / Summer

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“Here they come to snuff the rooster
Yeah, here come the rooster
You know he ain’t gonna die
No, no, no, you know he ain’t gonna die”    

Alice in Chains ~ Rooster

So, a little while ago I mentioned on northcountyfood’s Facebook page, which you should be following as well, that a great Ramen place is returning to North County.

That place is Rooster Ramen. The original, high quality pop up Ramen in North County. Do not be fooled by Johnny come latelys.

Now, I am happy to say Rooster Ramen is returning with a full-fledged brick and mortar restaurant.

Having eaten Chef David’s Ramen at the old incarnation of the restaurant, I am eagerly awaiting and trumpeting the return!

Here is what David has told me about his new restaurant

Opening late spring / early summer

Highway 101 in an undisclosed location.

Full 30 plus Sake list, plus Sochu cocktails and a complimenting beer list.

Over 9 traditional ramen dishes taken from different regions of Japan, as well as a number of specialty takes on the noodle dish.

The menu will also feature small plates and Yakatori grilled items prepared on a traditional Binchotan charcoal grill.

A revolving specials board will be available daily and feature items based off of what is fresh and in season. Luxury items such as Osetra Caviar, Monk Fish liver, and pork cheeks will also make an appearance.

Prices for Ramen will run $9 to $14 with build your own as well as vegan and vegetarian options available. Expect to see a good bowl of Pho make an appearance.

The restaurant’s digital ordering system will emulate the Ramen vending ticket machines in Japan. This will not only give customers full control of the ordering process but will also increase its speed.

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Example of a Ramen ticket machine.

The restaurant will have the feel of a Japanese farm-house with plenty of outdoor seating, a lengthy Ramen bar, and a semi open kitchen.

Hours will be 11 am till midnight weekdays and till 2 am Friday and Saturday with an early morning Sunday hangover brunch. This will make it North County’s only late night spot, sans a few Mexican places..

All the restaurants plates, bowls, and cups will be hand-made ceramic from Pawena Studios out of LA.

More news and info to come as things progress.

Perfect timing as this is The Year of The Rooster! My sign as well)

New Chef / Menu Items At Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen ~ Oceanside

So, I was invited with about 120 others to try some of the new menu items that will be coming to The Flying Pig’s Oceanside location starting Tuesday.

The new menu will feature Craft, Italian inspired dishes created by new Chef  Justin Lappies. Justin has been working with Executive Chef Mario Moser for the last three years and was tapped to replace exiting Chef Samantha Parker, who is now at Campfire.

Do not worry, it is not a complete menu change and you will still see Flying Pig staples on the menu, it is just an infusion of freshness accompanying the new Chef.

All the dishes were served “family style’ and varied with each table.

What we had…..

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Panzanella Salad ~ Heirloom tomato, red romaine, onion,basil, cucumbers, capers, fried house focaccia, house vin.

Great salad with super fresh ingredients. I would say an interpretation of a panzanella.

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Arancini ~ Arborio rice, herbs, mushrooms, house red sauce and truffle aioli.

A great light version of what can sometimes be a heavy appetizer. I loved the filling and the mushroom flavor. I did not care for the truffle aioli but the red sauce made up for it in spades.

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Meat Flatbread ~ Pepperoni, ham, sausage, house red sauce, caramelized onion, opal basil

Classic, tasty flatbread.

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Tagliatelle ~ Daily Bolognese, with aged parm.

This was my dish of the night. Perfectly cooked, hand-made pasta with a rich sauce that contrasted perfectly with the freshness of the greens.

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Campanile ~ Daily pesto, house sausage, mushrooms, aged parm.

Another tasty pasta dish, loved the pesto and the sausage. Pasta may have been slightly to al dente for my taste.

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Olive Oil Pound Cake with Champagne Gastrique

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Spumoni ~ Pistacio Gelato, Brandied Cherries.

Excellent gelato, could have used more kick out of the brandied cherries.

Overall, great food that will be a nice addition to the Pig’s menu. Just as long as the pork chop does not go anywhere:)

Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen

626 South Tremont Street, Oceanside

North County 2016 ~ A look back

So, while 2016 did not see the growth explosion of new places opening  that 2015 did, it did see some important restaurants open and trends take hold or fade.

While this post is too short to be all-inclusive, it hits on what I think was important to the North County food scene over the last year. You know things are good when you really have to edit your self. Other wise it would be “Things I love in North County, see entire website.”

I am going to start with some of the most important restaurant openings in North County (IMO).

Campfire ~ Carlsbad

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Campfire is important for a number of reasons. One it is a great restaurant and would be right at home in the East Village, North Park or Little Italy’s  Food scene. Two, along with Land and Water Company it adds a second ingredient driven, properly sourced, foodie destination restaurant to the mainly touristy, mediocre Carlsbad Village food scene. Lastly, along with Carruth Cellar’s tasting room and Babba Coffee, it is helping to revitalize the north end of state street.

608 ~ Oceanside

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Opening in June of this year 608 brought upscale food in a comfortable setting to Oceanside, and at a price point that made it accessible. Chef Will Eick, in my opinion, is one of San Diego’s most talented young Chefs. He is bringing fine dinning techniques and ingredients and making them approachable. He also just introduced a seven course tasting menu option on the weekends offering the first non Omakase tasting menu option in Oceanside.

Belching Beaver Tavern and Grill ~ Vista

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Like Campfire did in Carlsbad, Belching Beaver joined the Flying Pig and added another farm to table, high calibre restaurant to the growing Vista food scene. Combine that with a talented Chef who focuses on farming and teaching children about food, where it comes from and how to grow it, you can not help love the place. Their beer is alright too:)

It is constantly on my visit, when I can list.

There were quite a few trends in the national food scene that were also seen in North County.

Some have hit their peak…

Fast Casual Poki restaurants. The trend actually hit last year and made its way to San Diego and in turn North County in 2016. You have Wicked Poki, Sunshine Japanese Food, and Poke Poke in Oceanside, Poke Waii in San Marcos, and soon to be opening PokeWan in Carlsbad. I think from the ones I have been to, Poki Poki is the best. If you want higher caliber, chef made Hawaiian food and Poke, I suggest checking out Lanai in Leucadia or Yoshino Japanese Deli in Carlsbad for Poke and Japanese.

Some trends are just continuing to grow…

The Artisanal Coffee / Tea scene has continued to show no sign of stopping for years now. It has finally hit Carlsbad and Oceanside. I should not say finally hit, but grown. The major players that have shown up recently are Banana Dang!, Loose Leaf Tea, Sleeping Tiger, Revolution Roasters, Copa Vida and Steady State Roasting. Who join a number of great coffee houses already in the area. For the first time, in its four-year history, Caffeine Crawl has added two North County routes in Oceanside and Carlsbad that are set to kick off this years San Diego event in January.

Caffeine Crawl San Diego

Declining and rising…

I think the fast casual Gourmet Burger explosion of the last few years is dying down. Not that I think these places will go away, I just feel you will not see as much of a proliferation of places like Habit Burger, Burger Lounge, and Pure Burger as you have.

I think the pendulum is on the up swing for fast casual healthy options like Lemonade, Flower Child, True Food Kitchen, Tender Greens and the like.

Best Dishes of the Year…

This is hard, but because these spring to mind instantly, I have to go with them. Two are from San Diego but deserve mentioning.

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Spicy Scallop Nigiri ~ Wrench and Rodent (Oceanside)

Made for me by Alex, this dish was perfect. Just a slight heat from the red Cyclops Farms jalapenos, and melt in your mouth scallops from Catalina Offshore.

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Pan Seared Opah ~ Flying Pig . (Oceanside)

This was a nightly special, beautiful Opah ( one of my favorite, if not favorite, fish) on red farro and micro greens.

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1 year Anniversary BBQ plate ~ Flying Pig (Vista)

Everything you could want (especially me) on a plate. Perfect Tr-Tip, Pork Loin, and Brisket, cooked over open flame and served with veggies and mash.

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Coop De Ville Chicken Sandwich ~ Crack Shack (SD but soon coming to Encinitas)

Apply named Crack Shack, so good. One of the best fried chicken sandwiches ever.

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Chicken Skin Sandwich ~ Biga (SD)

You think it would be heavy because the main ingredient is chicken skin, nope light and flavorful. I plan to return to Biga for dinner in the new year.

 

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Char Grilled Oysters ~ Campfire (Carlsbad)

Great dish that reminds me of oyster festivals on the sound in Washington State. I get this every time.

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Pork Belly ~ 608 (Oceanside)

I love me some pork and this is a perfect pork belly dish. It is smoked before curing (usually it is the other way around.) making it full of porky goodness.

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Assorted Cookies ~ The Cravory (Carlsbad)

Their cookies will change your life, they changed mine. You can get them at their shop in Bressi Ranch, or in Oceanside at Banana Dang! Favorites are the Red Velvet or Birthday Cake.

Special places that I was so happy to discover this year...

El Chapin

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Authentic and delicious Guatemalan food that can not be beat.

Sitaram

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Family run, fixed daily menu, vegetarian, Indian restaurant that needs to be tried by all.

 

What I’m looking forward to next year….

Trying 608’s tasting menu, Flying Pig’s Brewery, That Boy Good / Alpine Brewing restaurant and  brewery, LTH’s second concept , and much, much, more.

What you can look for from North County Food. A 3 to 4 chef “Dessert Dinner” at Petite Madeline for Oceanside Valentines Week. Another Chef Wine Dinner in March / April, and of course more restaurant highlights.

There you go a short recap of a great year food wise. Happy holidays to all and thanks for your support.

 

 

The Miller’s Table Wine Dinner 12.14.16 ~ Oceanside

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The Miller’s Table will be hosting their first Wine Dinner, this Wednesday December 14th at 7pm.

The dinner will feature 3 courses paired with wines from Oregon and Burgundy.

$45 pp + tax/tip Call to reserve…442.615.7200 Seating is limited.

Staci is an expert in pairing and delivers great Wine Country inspired cuisine. I highly recommend checking it out.

The Miller’s Table

415 South Coast Highway, Oceanside

 

PizzaManiac ~ Vista

So, my friend Dinah recommended this place and since she has pretty good taste, I figured I would check it out. I am glad I did.

PizzaManiac is in a strip mall in Vista sandwiched between Taco Bar and a laundromat.

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PizzaManiac ~ 1461 North Santa Fe, Vista (corner of Santa Fe and Bobier)

The interior is simple and clean and houses a big ass pizza oven.

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The previously mentioned big ass pizza oven.

They have about 9 specialty pies or you can build your own. They also have a 2 slice and drink special for $7.00 which is a great deal especially for the quality of the pizza.

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My slice ~ Pesto, garlic, mozzarella, and feta.

Great toppings, real mozzarella, not greasy plastic cheese, and a delightfully light and crispy crust. The crust sold it for me.

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Buffalo Wings

Due to them not having a deep fryer, these are baked. Great wings, crispy on the outside and moist and tender chicken. It looks like they would need sauce (which they provide.) but I used very little. Because they are coated before baking the buffalo sauce seeps in, departing a lot of flavor.

They will start serving beer in the future.

 

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Ben Phillips ~ Proud owner and Vista native.

Ben is a great guy and a local business owner who is doing things right. Fresh ingredients, treated with care. the kind of business and individual this site is focused on supporting.

Trivia ~ he originally wanted to call his place “Passion Of The Crust”, which I love, he may still do T-shirts. If he does I will buy one:)

Next time you want pizza or wings give PizzaManiac a try, you will be glad you did.

Pizzamaniac.

1461 North Santa Fe, Vista

 

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

Taps and Tapas Beer Event @ The Miller’s Table Sunday

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To kick off San Diego Beer Week join The Miller’s Table Sunday, November 6th for a special 4-course Tapas and beer flight menu featuring beers from San Diego’s 32 North Brewing Company.

The menu is $25 dollars and pairs tapas dishes like…

Fresh rosemary popcorn with rosemary butter, sweet and spicy nuts, tuna and olive tapenade on cucumber paired with 32 North’s Pilsner

and..

Tortilla Espanola with sweet peppers and lemon aioli paired with their Berliner Weiss.

 

In addition, The Millers Table will serve its standard menu and beer and wine selection.

for more info contact Staci @ The Miller’s Table 442-615-7200

The Miller’s Table

514 South Coast Highway, Oceanside

#themillerstable #sdbeerweek #32northbrewingcompany

Pappalecco Caffe’~ Cardiff

I journeyed into the deep south (Cardiff) to check out casual Italian at Pappalecco. Pappalecco is a fast casual, high quality, Tuscan inspired, small, local chain with outposts in Little Italy, Kensington, Hillcrest, and now Cardiff.

They were getting a lot of positive reviews on Yelp, and you know what I say “Yelp is never wrong”. Oh, wait I meant, you know what I say “F%#k Yelp”, yep that was it. I do use Yelp as a tool to find places along with other sources like Eater and Chowhound. Wow, I just realized I despise all my sources. Ok, back on track.

The Cardiff location opened a few weeks ago, so I grabbed a bus and headed down.

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Yep, I’m in Cardiff.

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Pappalecco Caffe’ ( you can tell it is extra fancy because of the two ffs and the ‘ ). It is located in a small strip mall at 2101 San Elijo Avenue, Cardiff by the Sea.

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Simple clean interior (thought I was gonna say light and airy didn’t you). Sorry, I’m in a weird mood tonight.

You place your order and then put a number on your table. I will say the staff was very polite and friendly.

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Toscano Panini ~ Prosciutto, Tomato, Basil, Mozzarella

Great sandwich, fresh ingredients and a great balance between the flavors. I’m a stickler for good Mozzarella and they used good Mozzarella.

In addition to the Paninis, Pappalecco makes in-house Pastries and Gelato.  I imagine these are made centrally by them and distributed to the various locations. They hold their pastries and gelatos to only 5 main natural ingredients. Again, I do not know if that means only five , or five core ingredients. Regardless, its good hand crafted stuff:)

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See, told you five main natural ingredients. They have about 20 or so flavors, about four of which are gluten-free and vegan.

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I went with the Lemon. It was dense as you would expect from gelato, with a nice vibrant lemon flavor.

If you find yourself in the tail end of North County ( I do not want to hear it Del Mar and Solana Beach) I would check them out if you are looking for good quality quick Italian.

 

Pappalecco Caffe’

2101 San Elijo Avenue, Cardiff by the Sea