Duffs at the Beach & Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream

Duffs signReview #18

Duffs at the Beach is a new pizza joint in town.  It’s a scaled down version of their Connecticut and South Lake Tahoe locations, which both have full bars, unlike this one.  Duffs at the Beach is your typical Irish themed, Italian cuisine restaurant. Yes, you hear me right.  Irish themed, Italian food. They are serving pizza and salads now, but Sheppard’s pie and chicken pot pies are being offered soon!  Don’t over think this one.

Be prepared to have some craic* with your friends, though the brogue* spoke here in Encinitas won’t be authentic. Your servers will likely sound more like surfer dudes than Irish mates.  The place is set up for fun with a large drink menu if you are up for a gargle*.  Though if you get scuttered*, please take an Uber home. There is plenty of room to sit inside, but I recommend the patio for sure.

Duffs outside

We started with a Farmer’s Mixed Green Salad.  It was large and bang on*.  Plenty to share.  There were a generous amount of candied walnuts that seemed to keep disappearing out of the bowl.  The house made dressing was d-lish as well.  Tracy ordered the Roasted Beet salad which she loved.  Again, it was huge!  Though not organic, the produce is fresh, tasty and locally sourced.

Duffs Green Salad

My youngest ordered a Carnivore pizza.  It had bacon, spicy pepperoni and home made sausage.  We loved how the edges of the pepperoni curled and crisped from the hot pizza oven.  Don’t you just want to pick one off?

Duffs Carnivore

Some friends ordered the Margherita Pizza and were very happy.

Duffs Margharita

But the pizza we ordered, well, there was no comparison.  Go Wild Mushroom or go home!  Not too much cheese, mushrooms in every bite, a little chive, and a hit of truffle oil that sends it over the edge.  Mama Mia, or, by cracky*, it’s to die for!

Duffs Mushroom

Ricardo came to check on us and offered us some hot sauce.  We declined, but then he said, in a low, and deliberate way, ” how about some Habanero Ghost Pepper sauce, hmmm?”  We all stopped chewing for a moment and looked around.  It was deadly quiet until my husband said, “Yah, ok.  BRING IT.”  Ricardo took a long stare at him.  He was sizing him up as if deciding if my husband was man enough to handle this hot sauce.  He finally went back to the kitchen and came back with a very small amount of thick, red, spicy looking sauce.  My brave hubby reached for it, but Ricardo jerked it back, ” NO! He demanded.  Only for putting a drop.  A DROP, you hear me?”  We all nodded in fear.

Duffs hotsauce

Steve put one drop on his slice, took a bite and turned red.  “What’s it like?” we all  asked eagerly.  “Pain” he sputtered. “Liquid pain.”

Bottom Line:

Duffs at the Beach is a terrific pizza stop.  I urge you to come try a slice or a whole pizza, you won’t be disappointed.  And although that special hot sauce is fiery, Steve actually really liked it, so you might want to give it a try. Then when you are done, just head right down the stairs and cool your mouth off with a poke* at Handles.  Pizza, beer and ice cream.  What’s better than that?

*Irish Slang

craic- chat, converse, have fun

Brogue– Irish accent

Gargle-having an alcoholic drink

Scuttered- to be drunk

Bang on -accurate or correct

By cracky– an exclamation to express surprise

Poke– ice cream

—————————————————————————————————————————————-Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream

Handles Sign

Review # 18.5

Don’t get mad but we have gone out of order.  Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream, is NOT next in line down the 101.  But to be fair and do the establishment  justice, we felt it necessary to have more than one go at this place.  They offer over 50 flavors of homemade ice cream! We made an executive decision to try Handel’s both after Duffs at the Beach, and The Sandwich Spot which is next.  This is not the kind of place we can come to one time, order one scoop and do a proper review.

When driving by, one might think that U2 tickets have just gone on sale, or Shaun White is giving out autographs.  Nope.  It’s just a typical day at Handel’s.

Handles Line

Here is a tip:  Do not, I repeat, do NOT come between 1:00 pm- 9:00 pm and expect to get out of here under an hour!  Instead, here is what you do.  You come at 10:00 am, right when the doors open.  I am totally serious.  You will have no competition and can try all the flavors you want, without any pressure from hungry madmen behind you.  Taste them all, even the dairy-free ones!  Schmooze with the owner, or the friendly young scoopers, and taste away!  No need to buy anything,simply say your “thank-yous” and leave.  Then when you come back for real, you can SKIP THE LINE!!! Yes, this is no joke.  Most people don’t know that you can walk right up to the counter, on the left side under this sign,  and order.  This is a secret, no tasting, order-only line that most people don’t know about.  You might trip over a foot left for you while going to the front, or at the least, get sworn at, but I promise you, it’s completely kosher!

Handles order sign

My hubby ordered the Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie, right off the cusp. But come on, do you really need to sample this?  Because maybe putting chocolate ice cream , chunks of brownies then swirling peanut butter through it all might somehow not be as good as it sounds?  And folks, this is one scoop!

Handles Chocolate PB

Taking my own advice, I did previously sample some at 10:00 on a random Wednesday, so knew what I wanted to order.  It was the Graham Central. But I have to admit, that once getting a whole scoop of it, the large chunks of honeycomb candy, weren’t my favorite.  I loved the very grahmmy flavor of the ice cream, but the airiness of that candy wasn’t my thing.   Good thing I am coming back next time to try again!

Handles Graham Central

This review is to be continued…..


The next blog dinner will be at The Sandwich Spot at 90 N. Coast Hwy 101. Meet us there Sunday, September 3rd, at 4:30 to grab sandwiches, walk down for a picnic at Moonlight Beach, and then finish with an ice cream at Handel’s for the second half of the review!

Author: foodkibbitzer

I love to cook, especially soup, and bake challah. I ride horses, enjoy sarcastic people and am a food snob. I'm busy being mom to my two boys and I play mahj jong.

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