Wings Mix ~ Vista

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

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

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

menu

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

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Chicken Strips ~ Lemon Pepper and Original Hot (Buffalo)

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

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

Wings Mix

962 South Santa Fe Ave., Vista

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

 

 

Great Dishes ~ September ’17

Near the end of the month I usually compile a list of dishes that did not appear in regular posts but deserve recognition. Sometimes it’s just a dish from a lunch I grabbed or maybe a restaurant that has already been covered quite a bit on the site. So, here are the ones from September that I think are worth trying if you happen to find yourself out and about and a bit peckish.

( No particular order )

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The House Burger ~ O’side Sports Bar and Grill.

Always great. I would put it up there with the burger at Red Rooster. Served perfectly medium rare and comes with a side of crispy french fries for around $10.

O’side Sports Bar and Grill, Oceanside

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Smoked Salmon Roll ~ Yoshino Japanese Deli, Carlsbad.

I can not say how great Yoshino is for a quick, no frills sushi fix. Fresh sushi, made every morning by the Japanese family who owns the restaurant. They do sell out by 1pm most days, so go early. A truly great, little gem in the Carlsbad Village.

Yoshino Japanese Deli, Carlsbad

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Seasonal Vegetables ~ The Flying Pig, Vista.

This plate of farm fresh seasonal vegetables packed so much flavor. The vegetables that day were green beans with garlic, bacon, and micro greens topped with a brown butter sauce. The kind of food that leaves you wanting more.

The Flying Pig, Vista

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Pork Loin Sandwich ~ Petite Madeline Bakery & Bistro.

One of Chef Marc’s weekly specials. Pork loin, cucumber, red onion, spinach, and stone ground mustard on a house made roll. Tender, flavorful pork and fresh bread are a hard combo to beat.

Petite Madeline Bakery and Bistro, Oceanside

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Summer Salad ~ The Privateer Coal Fired Pizza, Oceanside.

Dropped into the Privateer on a whim for lunch and had this amazing salad. Cyclops Farms cucumbers, mango, tomato, and greens with a spicy vinaigrette. It was a really clever play on a Thai green papaya salad as far as the flavor profile, with shaved and cut cucumber replacing the green papaya.

The Privateer Coal Fire Pizza, Oceanside

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Yaki-Udon ~ Huku Sushi & Robata, San Marcos.

I love Udon but have never had it prepared this way, I always get Udon soup. Udon noodles stir fried with chicken and lots of vegetables. I really enjoyed this, the noodles were perfect and still had bite. Also, great and attentive service, even though there was a Birthday Party with 15 people going on.

Huku Sushi & Robata, San Marcos

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Chicken Enchiladas & Carnitas Taco ~ Valerie’s Taco Shop, Vista.

A little Taco shop next to Starbucks on Emerald Dr. serving fresh, made to order, Mexican food and great salsas.

Valerie’s Taco Shop, Vista

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Hot Buffalo Chicken Strips ~ Wings-N-Things, Oceanside.

An admitted guilty pleasure of mine. Tender all white meat strips with a spicy buffalo sauce and blue cheese dressing. No bread sticks, no carrots or celery, just down to business. I really like the spiciness and flavor of their buffalo sauce, making them my go to for this dish.

Wings-N-Things, Oceanside

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Kimchi & Pulled Pork Monk’s Bowl ~ East Village Asian Diner, Encinitas.

I love Kimchi and I think East Village Diner makes some of the best in North County. The Monk’s Bowls, or Clay Pots, come in a variety of options from all vegetarian to beef. I went for the pulled pork with a fried egg with kale instead of rice, it made for a great, tasty and filling lunch.

East Village Asian Diner, Encinitas

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Ceviche on Avocado with Chips ~ Primo Market, Oceanside.

Bought a small container of their fresh ceviche, two avocados, and a bag of tortilla chips as a take home dinner. I like their ceviche, it has a nice ratio of fish to the tomatoes, peppers, and onions. Also it is not too acidic. Paired with fresh avocado and chips it made for nice light dinner.

Primo Market, Oceanside.

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Fish Ham ~ Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub, Oceanside.

From the ever creative mind of Chef Davin Waite. Yellowtail, brined like ham and then smoked. The name is pretty spot on as to its taste. Think smoked fish crossed with ham.

Wrench & Rodent Seabasstropub, Oceanside

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Big Mouth Burger Combo ~ Angelo’s Burgers, Oceanside.

Guilty pleasure for the month. A tasty double patty bacon burger with all the toppings and fries.

Angelo’s Burgers, Oceanside

Hope you had a great Month! Enjoy!

#food #foodporn #foodie #burger #lunch #dinner #oceanside #encinitas #carlsbad #san marcos #northcounty #seafood #mexicanfood #asianfood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dona Elena Pozoleria ~ Vista

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dona Elena Pozoleria

1120 North Santa Fe Ave., Vista

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

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

 

 

 

La Takiza ~ Vista

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

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

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

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La Takiza ~ 1234 North Santa Fe Ave. #119

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I almost forgot something important….

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Fresh made to order corn tortillas for the tacos.

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

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

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

La Takiza

1234 North Santa Fe Ave. Vista

 

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

 

 

 

 

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.

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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

 

7 Great Dishes ~ North County

A lot of times, while not doing a review, I experience a dish worth mentioning. These really do not support a full article, so from time to time I will compile them into one. Also if you follow northcountyfood on Instagram (Please do) you will get these one offs and general event things in North County.

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The Rooster Burger @ The Red Rooster, Oceanside ~ American cheese, Ortega chili, grilled onion, sesame seed bun, and your choice of toppings, in this case 1000 island dressing and a little mustard.

Pretty much an institution in Oceanside, the Red Rooster Bar has been around since, well forever. I remember my Dad bringing home Rooster burgers when I was in Jr. High. It is a juicy, tasty, dive bar burger. Pretends to be nothing more, yet it is.

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Weekly Chef Specials @ Petite Madeline ~ Though because they are specials they change weekly, ordering one of Chef Marc’s off the blackboard is the way to go here. He is a Chef I still can not pin down. He uses Asian influences and then throws an Italian pesto in. This one in particular “The O’side plate” included shrimp, pesto, tomatoes, pesto, and the genius addition of kohlrabi noodles (cabbage family).

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Avocado Grilled Cheese @ Barrel Republic, Oceanside ~ After seeing a video of the Chef making this sandwich I had to try it. Perfectly grilled sourdough, tomato, mozzarella, and tempura fried avocado. The avocado stays fresh and soft inside its light battered crust making the dish a lot lighter than it may sound. So, good.

  • Currently only at the Oceanside location.

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Tandoori Chicken Sandwich @ Flying Pig, Vista ~ Fried chicken, house BBQ sauce, on brioche. Another sandwich that after having seen it on Facebook knew “that is going my face”.  Upon arrival I thought “no way i am eating all that”. Yet, due to another light and flavorful batter and the fact the sandwich is so damn good, I destroyed the whole thing.

  • Currently only at the Vista location on the weekends

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Fresh fish Plate @ Pelly’s Fish Market, Carlsbad ~ Local Halibut, lemon butter, Spanish rice, and a side salad w / blue cheese dressing. Simple perfectly cooked fresh fish, not much more you can ask for.

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Heirloom Caprese Salad and Roast Beef Bites @ The Miller’s Table, Oceanside. Cyclops Farms heirloom tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, olive oil, and pesto. You can not go wrong with this flavor combo, especially when using top quality ingredients. Most of their sandwiches can be ordered as bites. The ingredients are served on bruschetta and quite filling making combining them with a salad a perfect summer lunch or light dinner.

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16oz Blueberry Italian Ice and Mango Sorbet W/ Fresh Fruit @ Guava Lava Frozen Treats, Oceanside ~ First time trying this place out and I loved it. Cute interior, surgically clean, and a great selection of flavors and toppings. I love that they offer Ices and Sorbets in addition to yogurt. Tons of fresh fruit flavor, I shall return.

 

The Red Rooster

Petite Madeline Bakery & Bistro

Barrel Republic

Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen

Pelly’s Fish Market

The Miller’s Table

Guava Lava Frozen Treats

#food #foodporn #restaurants #oceanside #vista #carlsbad

 

 

Coming Soon Report ~ Downtown Vista

While walking around enjoying the annual Vista Hot Rod Run a source gave me some info on a few upcoming restaurants.

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When Pigs Fly BBQ is building a full-blown restaurant next to Wavelength Brewing on Main Street. This husband and wife team have been serving their award winning competition BBQ out of their, mainly to go, location inside the Chevron gas station at 1211 East Vista Way. It is great to see them expand. You can check out my review of their current location here.

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An organic juice and smoothie bar “Mo Milk Organics” will be going in at 210 East Broadway. Internet searches brought up nothing.

So, a few additions to the ever-expanding Vista scene.

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My source..well he talks to me anyway.

#food #vista #restaurant

Tacos’s Don Paco ~ Vista

Taco’s Don Paco (yes the apostrophe is correct) opened about 2 months ago in Vista at 800 Civic Center Dr. just north of S. Santa Fe Dr. on the right.

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It is a strip mall taco shop, though it stands out with its store front and clean interior.

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*Interior photo via Yelp

They have the standard offering of Tortas, Burritos, Tostadas, Quesadillas, Mulitas. I think the stand out though are their street tacos. They have 13 types including quite a bit of ofal. Also they are only $1.75 each. My meal of 4 with a large drink was $8.23 total.

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An array of street tacos. Carnitas, Al Pastor, Lengua (tongue), and Suadero ( a cut of beef between the belly and leg).

The Al Pastor was super tasty and everything it should be, as was the Lengua, slow braised tongue. It melted in your mouth.

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Carnitas and Suadero street tacos.

Again, great carnitas. A lot of times carnitas at taco shops are too fatty or they use the cooking liquid to hide the dryness of the pork. These were tender and juicy.

Suadero, a very favor cut of beef. Actually reminded me of a cross between steak and a pork chop.

If you are looking for good honest Mexican food at a great price this is a place to try out. Any of the “bertos” style places are not even in the same league. Even my go to street taco place Primo’s gets edged out slightly.

One complaint, and if you go you will get this, they need bigger salsa cups.

 

Taco’s Don Paco

800 Civic Center Dr. Vista

#taco #food #foodporn

508 Tavern ~ Vista

Another great after work or lunch place. 508 Vista Tavern , gasp, in Vista.

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508 S Santa Fe Ave, Vista, CA

A sign would do them well:)

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Small, interment, clean. What you want from a local place.

Run by a great Boy and Girlfriend team. They were bartenders at Harrah’s for years. I think bartenders are the Marines of the kitchen world. They face all the MG fire, Kitchen staff is Army, sit back and use artillery, and executive Chefs are the Air force. I will stick by that:)

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Fried olives. Perfect beer food.

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Spicy Korean tacos. Again, great bar food.

Check them out. Great after work place or even first date. unassuming low-key.

508 Tavern

508 S Santa Fe Ave, Vista, CA\

#food #foodporn #vista