Live Culture Cafe

 

IMG_3580Review #85

This week we were supposed to be blogging The Lanai.  Back in May after blogging Haggo’s Tacos on a Sunday night, we walked by to do a pre-check on the joint around 8pm.  It looked very casual and spacious, perfect for a big crowd.  So I collected a group of friends and we were all pumped to eat some Hawaiian street food.   Except I didn’t exactly think to check if their hours changed for summer.  About 30 minutes before we were supposed to meet like 20 people at The Lanai for dinner Mary sends me a text telling me they are closed.  Rather than cancel the blog, (blasphemy!) the only thing left to do was to skip the Lanai this week and move on to the next place, Live Culture.  “Isn’t Live Culture a frozen yogurt place?” asked a skeptical Mary.  “No, no, I said nervously checking their on-line menu.  They serve lots of food.  It’s quite dinnery actually, don’t worry.”  Well, not exactly.  But I didn’t want her or anyone bailing.  Blogging is about so much more than just the food.  It’s bringing friends and community together.  Who cares if we are eating sandwiches for dinner?  So I lied.

Live Culture.  Not the most appetizing name for a cafe.  I don’t really want to be eating “live” anything to be honest.  And speaking of unappetizing, I found this on the shelf by the entrance.

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Let’s take a closer look into this large jar now shall we?

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I’m sure they want us to think it is the Kombucha brewing, but really, how do we know?

Image result for alien movie in jar
other possibilities

Anyone wanting customers to purchase Kombucha should never EVER show it to people first!  Keep that scary ass jar in the back, Live Culture!  For the love of God!

Trying hard to erase what I just saw, I focused on the menu.  Other than drinks and yogurt, there are five sourdough sandwiches to choose from..

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Poor girls working at Live Culture.  This tiny place usually has ones and twos coming to the counter to order.  Not 20!  They were a bit flustered but did their best.  Instead of a kitchen, Live Culture takes pre-made sandwiches and heats them up in a small, electric George Forman-type-thing.  Something one might have in their dorm room.  Lucky for us, we weren’t in a rush, and they have a magnificent back deck to hang out on while we waited.

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Being a sourdough bread maker myself, I appreciated this bread.  It was good.  Very good.  This bread has been fermented for three days packing in all those probiotic benefits.  Did you know that many people with gluten intolerance can eat sourdough bread?  Eat it because it tastes great, but know that it’s considered one of the healthiest breads.

I ordered the Mozzarella sandwich with pesto, but it’s not really fair for me to give a review.  There was nothing wrong with it.  It was really tasty in fact.  But listen, I just got back from a trip to Italy.  I was in Cinque Terre which is home of the world’s best pesto.  I ate Buffalo mozzarella in Florence so mind blowingly creamy, I stood up on the table and sang operatic Italian.  Practically.  It’s just not fair for me to review this.  Not now.  Not just days from being in the epicenter.

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Mozzarella with pesto
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Hummus with roasted red pepper and artichoke

Our sandwiches were toasty and tasty and the pickle was homemade.  Everyone was happy with their $8 dinner.  Now on to dessert!

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Acai bowl
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Hawaiian-style with Acai
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Chocolate malt but chocolate chips are too big to fit through the straw.

 

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I glanced over at Hubby and almost choked on my fro yo.

“Are those…..sprinkles on your yogurt?” I asked in disbelief

“They fwere fwee.” He said with the spoon in his mouth.

“I don’t care if they were free.  I have known you for 25 years, and I have never seen you eat a sprinkle on anything!  You are not one who eats sprinkles!  You are one who complains that for every space a sprinkle is taking,  a space is not being used by something chocolate!  Who is this man I’ve married?  I felt like he was a stranger to me.  First he’s eating sprinkles but what’s next?  I got the chills.  What exactly are they growing in those jars?!

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Hubby-The-Man-I-Don’t-Even-Know-Anymore’s yogurt with SPRINKLES!!

Bottom Line:

Live Culture is a terrific lunch OR DINNER spot with wonderfully healthy frozen yogurt and delicious Kombucha.  (Ok, it’s mostly a lunch place.)  Their frozen yogurt is packed with extra probiotics so tastes a bit more tart than other places.  With toppings, you can’t really tell the difference, and the healthier the better to me.  They have a terrific back deck lit up at night with really nice music playing, not too loud.  Our group hung out there for more than two hours.  It’s the perfect hang out spot where you can eat, drink, and actually hear each other.  I will be back to try their Kombucha float during the day when the caffeine from the black tea won’t affect my sleep. Kombucha over frozen yogurt sounds like pure genius to me.  Can’t wait!

I do have three suggestions:

1.) Don’t have your employees chewing gum.  Ever.

2.) Please use filtered water in your self-serve drinking vessel.  The water tasted like terrible hose-water, only worse.  Really really bad.

3.)  Either find a new hobby other than alien-growing, or at least hide those jars far far away from the public!

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We love you Live Culture Cafe!  (Hubby’s pissed that I outed him on the sprinkles)

No blog next week!  Join us on our next blog on Saturday, July 20th (yes, they really are open then!) at 6:30pm at

The Lanai

Hawaiian Food | Plate Lunch | Ahi Poke | Fresh Fish Daily | San Diego, Ca

French Corner

French sign

Review #84

The French Corner is an adorable little cafe nestled on the 101 in Leucadia.  You have probably driven by it a million times and didn’t even know it existed.  There isn’t a huge sign out front and has no dedicated parking lot.   But what it has on the inside is heavenly!

First things first.  Are you in the mood for a savory or sweet meal?  This is a tough decision.  The sweet pastries in the display are sure to seduce you, but the paninis, quiches and other savory dishes on the menu sound so good too.

French quiches
Savory Goodness
French pastries
Hello Sweetness!
French goodies
A whole display of yumminess
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What are these sweet looking morsels and why aren’t they in my mouth?

Gluten-free are ya?  No problème!

French GF

 

What’s this I see by the register?  Bits and scraps of something that smells divine.  It’s a bowl of pastry samples- yes!  So smart.

French samples

Whichever way you go, start off with some or other organic coffee drink.  They have it all.  I ordered a cafe au lait.  It was perfection.

Hubs and I ordered paninis and BP (Our insatiable 14 year old, “Bottomless Pit”) ordered, what else?  French toast.  Always.  But we let him pick out a goody to share while we waited.  Remember, a shared goody at the table while one waits for their meal never has any calories.  He chose a slice of banana bread.  It was good but not my favorite.  Not overly sweet which I appreciate, but almost too banana-y.  Does that make sense?  Can banana bread in fact have too many bananas?  But trust me, it was devoured in record time between us all.  And with my delicious, creamy, dreamy cafe au lait, the world was fantastic right about now.

(Hubby note:  she’s nuts.  The banana bread had an excellent banana count.  There can’t be too many bananas in banana bread!)

French banana bread

There’s a nice deck wrapping around French Corner, and it’s outside seating only.    If you come early like we did, you can get a prime spot.

French patio We chose this portion of the patio which was very nice.  They even have a few toys for the youngsters and authentic french music playing to put you in a french mood.

French back

 

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Beautiful french music playing

The service wasn’t lightening fast, it was more “classically french”.  Which gave us plenty of time to notice our surroundings.  They have adorned this tree with lights and succulents.  Have you ever seen a tree decorated in succulents?  Because I haven’t.

French succulents

There’s also some…interesting…art to look at.

French mural

No need to wait to be served water.  Get off your ass and get it yourself!

French water

BP’s french toast looked great, but I am not a french toast expert.   Here’s what the true connoisseur says:  It’s good for a light breakfast.  I would give it a 7/10.  I’ll be ready for more food when I get home though.

French toast

Hubby ordered the Pesto and Turkey Panini.  They knocked this out of the freaking park!  The baguette was super crispy with the flavors of homemade pesto and a thick, balsamic reduction coming through.  Trés fantastique!

French panini

Their baguettes are made fresh right here.

French baguette

My caprese panini was equally amazing.  The reason why these paninis are so much better than all others is that they really mash the panini maker down hard on these bad boys.  These sandwiches get the cheese-wiz pressed out of them so that they are hot all the way through.  Think about it.  When was the last time you had a truly hot panini all the way through?  I’m guessing never.  Usually once the bread is toasted, they are deemed “done”.  But they aren’t!  And biting through warm bread into cold meat and cheese isn’t appetizing!  But here….oh here, they know what they are doing.  Smash these suckers as flat as you can French Bakery, and don’t stop until you have a completely warmed sandwich through and through.  Now this is how to do panini!

French caprese

Our only complaint is that our sandwiches were served with chips instead of the green salad.  A mistake they promptly fixed.

French salsa
Get this salad, not chips, with your panini for sure!
French Brulee
Well, no I have not.  YET that is!

BP’s other hobby besides eating is drawing.  During our wait, he drew a very lifelike portrait of Hubby waiting for his food:

French sketch
Hubby hungry!  Hubby need food!

Bottom Line:

Bring your dogs, bring you kids, just don’t be in a rush.  The reason your food takes a while is that it’s made with love.  And you can’t hurry love.  (Stop singing that song)  Let me know when you are going to the French Corner, they are open daily from 7:30-4:00, because I will want to meet you there.


***THE LANAI IS CLOSED!! Meet us just south for dinner and dessert st Live Culture instead!

Join us this Sunday, July 7th at 6:30pm at

The Lanai

http://www.thelanaileucadia.com/

We want a BIG crowd for this one.  It’s casual, it’s affordable, it looks like a lot of fun.  I’ve never been, so the verdict is still out on the food.  Have you been wanting to join Dining on the 101 but haven’t made it yet?  Do it now!  Looking forward to meeting some new friends!

Umi

Umi sign

Review #83

I love sushi.   Love love love. Like if-I-could-only-eat-one-food-for-the-rest-of-my-life love sushi.  I was thrilled to try a new sushi spot right here on the 101.  Well, new to me, not new new.  And if dive/hole-in-the wall sushi joints are often great, then this place should be the best.  Look at their sign, right above a cheesy auto trade advertisement.  And the outside has that run-down, “don’t eat here” look to it.  Good stuff.

Umi dive

I was surprised that we were able push tables around to accomodate a space for our group of 8 to eat together because this place is tiny!  Having the seats close together all snuggly gives Umi a quaint, neighborhoody feel that is warm and fuzzy.  And the people eating next to you elbow to elbow seem nicer than people eating at other places.

We only received one menu and even though we asked for more, didn’t get any.  It took a long time for all 8 of us to pass it around and decide on what to order.  The “Umi Special” menu looked really expensive.  5 pieces of sashimi for $25 was not up our alley.  And I didn’t understand featuring Bluefin Tuna from Spain when we have amazing Bluefin being caught just 40 miles off our San Diego coast in the waters of Mexico.  Why fly it all the way from Spain?

Umi specials

There were some recommendations on the wall, but for the life of me I have no idea what they were.  I recognized the word “sake” so I assume these are all drinks?  Maybe they are all different types of sake?  Or maybe some are food?  No idea.

umi more specials

We were told right away that they were out of all curry, which is a bummer.  I was planning on ordering some curry dishes to offset the expensive sushi habit I have become addicted to.  It was only 6pm, I don’t know why they ran out of curry so early.

Violet ordered the chicken spring rolls and Debbie ordered the vegetable spring rolls.  Violet’s came out first and once they were gone, Debbie’s arrived.  Then they noticed that the rolls had been switched and Violet was given the vegetable ones.  We pointed out the mistake and our waitress kindly brought Debbie some vegetable ones again.  Both Debbie and Violet were expecting Vietnamese-type of Spring Rolls in rice paper.  These were fried and were really just egg rolls.

umi rolls

Jen and Greg shared shrimp wrapped in potato which was interesting.  They were so small, there was no sharing.  These were one-bite-shrimp.

Umi potato shrimp

Hubby and I shared an 8-piece sashimi plate for $20.  Pretty steep considering how small the sashimi pieces were sliced.  We inhaled our $20 fish slivers and were as hungry as if they never happened.  The fish was very fresh and exquisite.

Umi sashimi

Jen and Greg shared an eel bowl.  It was more like a small rice bowl with the essence of eel.  That eel could still be alive and swimming missing such a small percentage of its body in this dish.

Umi eel

Our Crunchy roll was pretty but overly sauced and the pieces were very skimpy.  Most of the pieces just fell apart when we picked them up with the chopsticks because they were so thin they couldn’t stay in shape.  Tasty, yes, but not substantial at all.

Umi crunchy

Debbie, a sushi virgin, asked if she should eat the shrimp tails.

“Debbie, at these prices you need to eat every single thing on that board.  Tails, ginger, wasabi, even the banana leaf.  Not a grain of rice or sesame seed should be left behind!”  I told her.  And she did.

Umi tempura roll

I asked our waitress to please send the owner over so I could ask him some questions about the restaurant to share with my readers.  I told “Kazu” about the blog and asked him how long Umi has been here.  He told me to wait one minute then brought over a framed article from the wall for me to read.  Maybe he was annoyed that I called him over because he really didn’t want to give me the time of day.  He didn’t even ask me what my blog was called.  He just handed me the framed article and walked away.  Though he was game for having his photo taken.

Umi kazu
Kazu the owner

Jen and Greg said their Hamachi Kama was very good.  It was the most food on any plate we had seen tonight and the rest of us hungrily watched them devour ever morsel of flesh off those bones.

Umi kama

Our last roll was the Seared Salmon roll.  But unlike the teeny tiny piece of delectable salmon sashimi we had, this salmon had the flavor seared right out of it.  It was small and without that delicious salmony goodness.

Umi salmon

Our waitress said, ” Can I offer you all some dessert or are you pretty full?”

“Neither” I answered honestly.

We couldn’t order any more food without taking a second mortgage out on our home, so we had to be done even though we were still hungry.

When our check came, I noticed a few weird things.  First of all, Debbie had ordered a glass of Sovereign Blanc that was listed with a “$0” for price.  Giving us a glass of wine on the house would be nice, but they didn’t say anything like “Happy birthday.  Please enjoy this glass of wine on the house.”  (We, ok, mostly I,  may have thrown around some words in front of our waitress that mentioned the fact we were celebrating my 50th.  Hey, I get ALL of May, and part of June.  It’s 50 after all!)  So this $0 wine must be a mistake.  Plus, since I was the one writing the blog, wouldn’t I be the one to get “buttered up” with a free drink?  Definitely a mistake.  I also noticed we were charged $25 for our miniscule 8-piece sashimi order.  And I thought the $20 price tag on the menu was outrageous for how little food was served!

When our waitress came back Hubby graciously pointed out both mistakes, stating that it was in their favor to fix them, but we want to be fair.  (Honestly, I was in favor of taking the free glass of wine and over-looking the $5 sashimi mark-up but both Debbie and Hubby wouldn’t have it.  Those rule followers!  I need to hang out with shadier people.) So the waitress took back the bill and recalculated it.  When we got it back, we paid for it, but I took another look.  I noticed that Debbie’s once “free” glass of wine was put back on for $11.

“Wasn’t your wine listed as $8 a glass?” I asked Debs.

“Yes, but let’s not worry about it and just go.”  But I couldn’t just go.  No way, this isn’t right!  How can they over-charge her for the wine after she was honest enough to point out their mistake on not charging her in the first place?  They didn’t even thank her for her overrated honesty!

I went to the counter and explained it nicely to the gentleman working the bar.  The owner, Kazu, overheard me and came out to ask what was going on.

“There’s a discrepancy in our bill.” I explained to him, expecting an apology and, I don’t know, maybe making the glass of wine free again.  Instead, without a word, he turned around and went back into the kitchen!  Not a word.  Nothing!  I was shocked.  The waitress who had made all of these mistakes was flustered and embarrassed, but not at all apologetic.  She kept giving excuses like, “well, it comes up that way in the computer so it’s not my fault”.  And “The prices keep changing and the computer can’t keep up.”  And this is our problem….how?  Then she says roughly, “So what do you want me to do?  Put the difference back on the credit card or hand you actual $2 in cash?” she said a bit sarcastically.  I looked her in the eye and said, very slowly, “It’s t-h-r-e-e dollars, not two.”  She handed the cash to Debbie and as we walked out I knew it would be the last time I would ever be there again.

We walked over to Live Culture for some fro-yo to finish off our measly dinner that we just paid through the nose for.  I can’t tell you any more about Live Culture because we will be blogging them in a few weeks and I want to do a thorough job then.  (It was delicious and they are sooo nice!).

Bottom Line:

I’ll start with the good:  The small, surfer-style, local restaurant is quaint and has nice character.  The food was beautifully presented and was very delicious.  We didn’t order any ramen so maybe missed the boat in that arena.

The not-so-good:  The prices.  The servings are small and the prices are high.  Really high.  The service was mediocre.   Our water glasses were filled once, but then glasses stayed empty for the rest of the meal.  Our server served the wrong spring rolls but at least fixed it right away.  They were sold out of curry, which is a big deal when the only things on the menu are sushi, ramen and curries.

The unacceptable:  Having so many problems on the check and not owning up to them!  After we sent the check back the first time to fix, they should have double checked that things were correct.  And when they over-charged Debbie for the wine she was honest enough to even pay for at all, they should have, at that point, given it to her for free!  Of course it should have been taken off the check!  People who can’t do math should not be in charge of the bill.   A computer that can’t print out correct prices that match the menu should not be used.  An owner who lacks customer service skills should stay clear of their customers.

So when people ask me if I get special treatment from establishments once they know I’m blogging about them, I can definitely say, not always!

Umi is a fine place to go if you are rich and not hungry.  Just double, I mean, triple check your bill when it comes!


POSTPONED until June 2nd!

Our next blog will be on Sunday morning, June 2nd at 9am at

French Corner

http://www.frenchcorner101.com/

Haggo’s Organic Taco

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Review #82

I don’t understand why people kept telling me how lucky I was to have my birthday on Mother’s Day yesterday.  Are people insane?  I only get two measly days a year.  Having my birthday fall on Mother’s Day this year doesn’t make the day “double special” it cuts my “special” days down by half!  Well, I’m not having it.  No sir, not for 50!  I declare a do-over.  I’m taking a day in June to celebrate 50, so please save all your birthday wishes for me then.  Birthday on Mother’s Day is total crap.  Not doin’ it!

With that said, I had a lovely Mother’s Day yesterday with my mom, family and close friends.  Organic Tacos for Mother’s Day dinner sounded like the perfect dinner for me.  I have friends who wanted their husbands and kids to make them dinner with actual cooking involved.  Like I said, going out for Haggo’s Organic Tacos was exactly the right thing to do for me!

I’m an Organic Girl.  I buy all organic foods and almost all organic products for my home.   I’m anti-GMO’s, Monsonto, and all that’s evil and wrong in our food industry.  Hubby and kids call it obsessive.  I call it diligent.  And they are welcome even if they think I’m nuts.  I LOVE supporting restaurants who share my same philosophy.  I already loved Haggo’s by name alone.  And the fact that a very obscure Smiths song was playing when we got there cemented my love.

Our group of 10 took over this small open-aired taco joint.  And by doing so, they were instantly over their heads.  Only one young woman was working the whole front.  Taking orders, clearing dishes and wiping tables.  It was way too much for one person, but she flew around the place showering us with apologies and thank-yous for our patience.  One could hardly get upset.

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Haggo’s menu is fantastic with grass-fed steak, free-range chicken, whole wheat tortillas and a menu that is almost entirely organic. MY KIND OF PLACE! Cage The Elephant was playing, keeping things awesome.

This is a DDD place for you Food Network junkies, and Guy Fieri’s mug is on the wall to prove it.  You can watch the episode here.  Pretty cool to have Guy come to our little town of Leucadia!

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We all placed our orders, looking forward to the nachos and chips with guac to start because we were all really hungry.  This was only BP’s first dinner and he could barely contain himself.  Back of the house must have been as busy as front of the house, because nothing came out for quite a while, and when it did, it all came out together, appetizers and all.

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Gavin is here having a whale of a time waiting patiently for his food

The nachos were only ok, not at all worthy of the extra $4 we spent to add chicken. I would call this a side salad with the essence of chicken on top of chips more than “nachos”.

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The chips and guac were about the same caliber.  Guac was yummy but all and all, nothing too special here.

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Tracy ordered “House Pickles” from the menu.

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Instead of regular “pickles” she got pickled carrots.  Now she was in a pickle!  Should she return them or go with it?  They did taste good, but these are usually free at the salsa bar which they also don’t have here.  But since they are organic carrots, no points lost.  She kept them but most were left over.

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Hubby ordered one Organic Immortal Taco and one Grilled Fish Taco.

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He said the Immortal Taco was forgettable (so actually mortal) but they nailed the fish taco.  Winner!  Serving everything with healthy organic red beans and brown rice is a nice touch.  (Needs more salsas!)

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As our background music started going from obscure Smiths, Cage The Elephant and a fantastic lost Jimmy Cliff song to mainstream Stones, Police and Weezer, our food started to lose it’s coolness as well.

Bottomless Pit enjoyed his Loaded Quesadilla but inhaled it and then quickly asked what else there was to eat back at home for his “real” or “second” dinner.

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Loaded Quesadilla

It was suggested to me by our hostess/cashier/bus woman/server to try The Ron Burgundy burrito: grass-fed steak with cabbage slaw and caramelized onion.  They have his picture on the wall too, but no evidence that he’s actually been here.

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The burrito was good with lots of juicy caramelized onions.  But the steak got lost and I didn’t really taste it.  Which is too bad because I don’t eat a lot of red meat, so when I do, I really want to enjoy it.  I would have liked a few more salsa options to spice this baby up.  There was nothing wrong with it other than it tasting a little dull.

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Turning 50 isn’t too bad I guess.  It’s better than the alternative.  I’ve switched out my coffee for green tea and racquetball for Pickleball.   I used to run marathons and now I power walk.  On the treadmill.   And my bedtime went from 11pm to 9:30pm.  Ok, 9pm.  Switching greasy Mexican food from a CTS, to a place like Haggo’s is probably a good next step.  It’s just that there is a limited number of burritos left in the world that I will get to eat.  An actual number.  And I want every single one to be more delicious than the last.

Bottom Line:

I left Haggo’s Organic Taco feeling healthy and satisfied but also slightly disappointed.  I wanted to LOVE all the food here.  It has all of the organic and healthy ingredients I crave.  It’s like getting the treat of going out for dinner, but staying within the clean eating I like to do at home.  But for me, the flavors just fell a bit short.  I was impressed with the pricing, expecting way steeper for organic food.  The price point on most items here was very fair and not inflated which is a breath of fresh air.

I love what Haggo’s Organic Taco is bringing to the area, I really do.  But when Guy Fieri says he’s in “Flavor Town” I want more flavor!  To have an all organic restaurant in Leucadia is awesome and I will be back for those fish tacos!


Join us next Saturday, May 18th, 6pm at

Umi Restaurant

http://umi-restaurant.com/

Fish 101

IMG_3460Review #81

Having seen lines out the door for Fish 101 in the past, we decided to come for a 5pm dinner this Sunday night.  Hey, I will be turning 50 in a few short weeks and 5pm doesn’t actually seem all that early to me anymore now that my bedtime is around 9pm. That’s what happens.   You young whippersnappers will see.

Parking wasn’t easy on the 101, but we squeezed into a spot close by behind a blue VW just in front of a driveway.  Sorry if that was your car.  I really hope you were able to get out.  Hubby noticed the cute couple walking ahead of us and said, “You know they are dating because he’s holding her hand.  You know we’re married because I’m holding your crap.” I glanced over and saw what a good sport he was carrying my sweater, my purse and the lens cap so I could have full range of motion getting my first restaurant shot.

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We were lucky getting a large table in the front patio for our group of 9 because even at 5pm it was starting to get crowded.  There must be other folk rounding 50 here.  You order at the walk up counter and then wait at the table for your food.  The menu looked promising with many delicious sounding items.

Tracy started with an Arnold Palmer.  They make their own lemonade here.  If I drank tea this time of night I would be up until Thursday.  Some people can handle an evening AP, others just can’t.

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The food came out sporadically.  Some ate while others didn’t.  Then others ate while some were finished.  Just the way it goes here.

Tracy ordered the Grilled Mahi-Mahi plate with fries and coleslaw.  She ate silently and to herself finally announcing with a completely clean plate, “Excellent fish and best coleslaw I’ve ever had.”  Yet there wasn’t even a morsel left for me to taste!  She said it wasn’t the mayonnaisey kind, which is exactly why I would have liked it, but I won’t know until next time I go.  I will need to watch her more closely next time.  The quieter she is, the quicker my fork will have to be!

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Hubby and some others got fish/shrimp tacos.  Hubby said his grilled fish and shrimp were pretty good.  Dave said his fried fish tacos were excellent.  Personally, I’m a sucker for a do-it-yourself salsa bar.  The little sides of accoutrements were nice but not the same as a full blown bar.  The tacos at The Taco Stand will always win in my book.

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Diane really loved her Grilled Fish Sandwich and we both thought the side cucumber salad was flavorful and yummo.  She said she would drive back here all the way from UTC just to order this sandwich again.

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Jen’s Market Salad with shrimp was large and beautiful.

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Greg’s side of potatoes get points for having chimichurri but was too skimpy for a side costing $8.  There should be twice as many potatoes on that plate if you ask me.    There were so few, I felt bad even taking one to taste!  They did look crispy and delicious.

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Dana and I each ordered the Seafood Curry that was recommended to me when I was ordering at the counter.  I asked if it was spicy and was told “No, not at all”.  When I took my first bite I wasn’t sure I could handle the heat.  It was borderline too spicy for a wimp like me, but I dealt with it like a champ.  Then Dana said she was disappointed in the lack of heat in hers, so there you go.  It really depends on how wussy you are.  Some call it mild, I call it level 9.  It was presented beautifully and I was happy to be able to choose brown rice over white.  Was it the best curry I have ever had?   No, but it was good.  The veggies were perfectly cooked and the seafood was superb.

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Rick ordered Fish and Chips.  I didn’t try it, but I’m sure it was pretty good by the look of his cleaned plate.  Fried fish and potatoes, how can that be bad?

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Tracy ordered a Chocolate Crème Brulée for dessert.  The crisp burnt layer mixed with the creamy custard tasted delicious but the chocolate on the bottom was too thin and  cold.  Not my favorite.  I also thought it was a small serving.

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Diane ordered a Tres Leches for the table.  Again, it was too small.  It was also too sweet and not creamy enough.  Jen complained that she could only taste one leche.  The only Tres Leches cake I’ve ever had is at Q’ero and I felt that I was cheating on it.  I was embarrassed and ashamed at myself for straying.  It won’t happen again.

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I’ve heard that Fish 101 is a family owned, pillar of the community kind of place, much more than just mere restaurant.  It was too busy for me to ask anyone about this when I was there, so I figured I could learn a few things on their website.  Their website shows their menu (only a partial menu actually because most of the things we ordered weren’t on there), Instagram photos of amazing fish being caught and lots and lots of surfing photos.  There’s also a section to purchase apparel.  I figure they must have info on their home page about the kids they sponsor surfing, and about the fresh fish they catch, but all I could find in small letters was #fish101themovie.  Desperate for more info I clicked on it and found a cool, yet strange, 38 minute movie, mostly on surfing.  With some fishing and shots of the restaurant in there too.  It shows Fish 101 mentoring “groms” through surfing, fishing and diving, but doesn’t really explain who these kids are or how they get chosen.  Lots of surfing.  I was left with questions and after 38 minutes of  their movie, I was just done asking.  But I can see that local surfers and fishermen love this place and the people behind it.  I definitely got that.

Bottom Line:

Fish 101 is a very cute, totally Leucadian eatery with some of the freshest fish in town.  It’s an upscale surfer’s hangout where most everyone is a regular.  For our experience, we would give our food a 7.5/10.  Everyone liked their meal, but no one thought it was the best they’ve had.  The service was good, and the prices were only slightly elevated.  We’ve seen much worse.  The fish sandwich got the highest mark along with some of their sides like the coleslaw (from what I hear) and cucumber salad.  The fish tacos and curry landed in the middle and the desserts finished at the bottom.

Would I come back to Fish 101?  Sure I would if I were on the Leucadia side of town jonesing for seafood. With just a few minor tweaks, this place has all the bones to be amazing.  But in this blogger’s opinion, the seafood at The Encinitas Fish Shop takes the tuna in this market.  I held Hubby’s hand on the way back to the car, ’cause after 21 years of marriage this Thursday, I still want to be dating.


Join us in two weeks, May 12th (Mother’s Day) at 6pm at

Haggo’s Organic Taco

http://www.haggosorganictaco.com/

Leucadia Donut Shoppe

IMG_3447Review #80

I feel bad writing this blog for two reasons.  First, because I am not the most qualified.  I am not a donut person.  I can tell you exactly the last time I ate a donut.  It was July 19th, 2018 when we blogged VG donuts.  And before that was between the years of 1987-1991.  I rode horses competitively for the UCD Equestrian Team in college and we had a rule that whenever someone fell off, they had to bring the barn back goodies.  I remember bringing donuts.  Often actually.  But that was many years ago…

Now my family lives a more health conscious lifestyle where donuts don’t fit in.  Not that we don’t partake in plenty of alternative not-so-healthy choices, because we do.  But we would rather have something other than a donut.  Like ice cream.  Brownies are nice.  Fresh baked cookies don’t get thrown away.  Have you tried the desserts at Q’ero, East Village, Plum and Chiko that I recommended yet?  Worth it.  Donuts?  Nah.

And second, because it’s Passover and all good Jews are not eating leavened bread for one week.  But I pride myself in being more of a hypocritical Jew, following the laws and guidelines as they fit conveniently into my lifestyle, and ignoring or altering the ones that don’t.  So for us, it’s donuts for breakfast and matzo for our seder dinner.  Because we are hypocrites, not barbarians.

But we are good blog-writing, restaurant-trying sports here, so we took one for the team and went for donuts.  Not that it was hard.  Donuts are delicious and when having one because you have to, it takes all the guilt away.

We arrived Sunday morning at 9am and expected a line, but it was pretty dead.

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I was excited to look through the glass at all my choices, but those were pretty dead too.  9:00 on a Sunday morning is too late for donuts here.  We missed the crowds but they cleaned everything out.  I asked if more donuts were coming but was told this was all there is.

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We managed to scrape up three that looked good.  The last buttermilk donut for me, my favorite.  A lemon cream for Bottomless Pit and a chocolate cake donut for Hubby who actually doesn’t eat donuts because he doesn’t like them, all fat, sugar and calories aside.

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There is not a chance in hell I was eating donuts without coffee, so I brought my own organic cashew milk to go with it because I wanted it to be perfect.  (NOT because I’m a coffee and food snob as Hubby says).  It’s a do-it-yourself coffee station which I really like so I can leave the exact right amount of room in my cup for my cashew milk that I want.

BP loved his lemon cream and was very happy.  IMG_3452

Hubby’s chocolate cake donut was on the dry side, but it tasted great.  And with coffee, a little dry is fine with me, like a scone.  Yum.  Now scones I love.  But BP fixed the dryness of the chocolate cake his way.  Dip it into the lemon cream.  That kid is genius.

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My buttermilk donut was as delicious as I remembered a buttermilk donut to be.  But after half, it was more sugar than I could muster.  Thank goodness BP wasn’t full after eating his lemon cream and most of the chocolate cake so we didn’t have to waste the rest of that delicious buttermilk.

As we were leaving we saw all of the shelves being restocked with fresh donuts.  Hey!

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Bottom Line:

For not being a donut person, I must admit that our donuts were oh so good.  You know what my buttermilk donut reminded me of?  EVERY OTHER BUTTERMILK DONUT I HAVE EVER HAD.   That’s right, I’ve said it.  I can’t tell the difference from one to another.  They’re all good.  Obviously I don’t mean store bought ones.  But every donut shop donut I have had is basically the same.  I know everyone reading this is going to want to know which place is better:  Leucadia or VG’s.  And I’m sure everyone will have a strong opinion.  Everyone but me. Because to this donut non-connoisseur, a donut is a donut is a donut.  Good with coffee.   But second to a scone.  Or muffin.  Or bagel.  Or a crepe.  Or…you get it.

This is a cash only donut shoppe, so bring your own dough!


Join us Sunday, April 28th at 5pm (any later and it will be too crowded) at

Fish 101

https://fish101restaurant.com/

Cancun Mexican & Seafood

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Review #79

Cancun Mexican & Seafood is literally a hole in the wall.  And the wall is adjacent to a gas station, which is next to a 7-11.  None of this fine 101 dining with ocean views here.  Let’s be honest.  We were scared.

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The old, faded, cheesy pictures of their food on the front window did little to ease our concerns.

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Walking in we thought the establishment was very clean and there quite a few people eating here which was a good sign.  You can order in one line if you have a credit card or you can order in the other line with cash.  Both go to the same cash register, so make sure you get in the right line.  Exactly.

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Any restaurant boasting “seafood” in there name requires me to order some.  I chose the Seasoned Grilled Sea Bass which sounds very fancy for a fast-food Mexican hole-in-the wall next to the gas station.

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Their salsa bar is impressive with delicious additions such as grilled onions and marinated carrots.  It’s also the best labeled salsa bar in town.  Most places have you guessing by color which sauce will burn your face off.  Thank you Cancun!  The only downside is that there’s a sign on the glass stating patrons are limited to three small cups from the salsa bar.  But I didn’t see that sign.  What sign?  No picture of it, I must be wrong.  I may have taken 5-6.  Oops.

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In addition to the regular soda dispenser, they have one full of sweet Mexican drinks.

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Our food came out quickly.  Jen ordered the chicken soup which came with so many condiments, it was a really large meal.  The other soups looked just as good.

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Joyce got the enchiladas and said they were delicious.  She said she would rather come here to eat over Casa De Bandini any day of the week.  Except they have the margaritas at CDB.

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Hubby (still too nervous about eating at a gas station) played it safe and only ordered one chicken taco.  He was impressed.

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The grilled fish tacos were as good as anywhere, and hats off to the double tortilla vessel.  Well done.

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Kelly was in love with his Machaca burrito but I found the side salad hilarious.  Not sure he could finish all that salad!

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Kelly was impressed with the large number of peppers inside his burrito and wants to show you.

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My sea bass was delicious!  A little heavy on the onions, but it didn’t bother me.  The fish was well seasoned with crispy bits on the ends and flakey meat in the middle.  It came with rice, beans and a Miami Dolphin container of tortillas.  I would order this again next time.

(No, of course I don’t know that blue and orange are Miami Dolphin colors.  I bring sporty friends who know these things.)

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Everything was going great until this giant beast of a vehicle started backing up into the spot right by Kelly.  Eat near the window at your own risk!

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Bottom Line:

Cancun Mexican & Seafood was a nice surprise.   For a cheap(ish) Mexican fast food joint, this place rocks!  You can grab a burrito here, get some gum, magazines and condoms at 7-11 all while filling up your car at Berri Brothers.  Now that’s convenient!

Why fly all the way to Cancun when you can get a piece of it right here in Leucadia?

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Hubby & Joyce in (at) Cancun.  Should I be worried?

Good to know:  Rumor has it that Berri Brothers matches Costco’s gas prices and has the cheapest gas in town!

 


Join us this Saturday, April 20th at 9:00am at

Leucadia Donut Shoppe

https://m.facebook.com/LeucadiaDonuts/

Yes, I do know it I will be eating chametz during Passover, but I had a talk with God and he said as long as it’s for a good cause like the blog, I’m ok.  Phew!

chametz: leavened foods such as DONUTS forbidden to eat during Passover.  Oops.