I’ve been in a foul mood. I’ve been sick for 10 days, I don’t feel great and I’m not really fit for public display. But I am tired of being couped up in the house, and I can’t leave my faithful readers hanging, so the blog must go on!
I did a little research into the Biergarden of Encinitas before we went and what I saw wasn’t good. First of all, I found multiple complaints about the service. Second, the menu looked really expensive. I just wasn’t in the mood for these shenanigans. Or maybe I was. Hubby was right there with me, ready to pounce. Either way, this place was going down, and we were taking no prisoners!
Hubby and I got there early to assure a table for the 7 of us. Our hostess eyed my camera and I let her know that I am writing a food blog about them tonight.
“What’s the name of it?” she asked.
“Dining on the 101”
“Huh, never heard of it.”
“Really?” I replied in my most superior voice. “I mean I do have like 10-12 people who regularly read it every week.” What rock has she been hiding under?
“Yah, but it’s mostly your family” piped up Hubby. “Your mom, your sister. There’s your dad….” he received an elbow in the gut.
Other than being ignorant of high quality food blogs about Encinitas restaurants, she was actually very nice and had a table fixed up for us out back like we wanted.
Although I was out for blood tonight, I have to admit that this place has a very nice set up. There’s a long patio out front perfect for day drinkers to literally hang out on the 101 while still being legally part of the establishment. Can’t get busted for being drunk in public this way. The inside was nice too with a cool tree decorated in the entrance.
There’s also ample seating out back which is what we chose for tonight.
Our friends arrived and we all ordered drinks and some appetizers. They have a great beer selection, but what else would you expect at the Biergarden? I’m not giving them much credit on that one, it’s a no brainer. The appetizers ranged in price from $9 (just plain ole edamame) to a cheese board for $19. For perspective, I recently reviewed Third Corner Bistro, a very posh, upscale restaurant, much fancier than Biergarden. They have a meat and cheese board for $16.
One thing I will give them points for is their dinnerware. I’m a sucker for pottery, and these plates and bowls were really pretty.
We ordered the $14 Artichoke Dip, or should I say Fourteen like it’s written out in words in a color so light, you can barely read it. But that’s their trick! Hubby was pissed. When looking for prices, he wants a hard number in black ink. He doesn’t want to take the effort to read it in a word. A number, just a number! Huge pet peeve of his.
When the dip arrived, just like I expected, there was a disproportionate quantity of chips per size of dip to accompany it. There should be enough chips to support every bit of dip. Chips are cheap. Why can’t any place be generous with them? This is a real problem happening all over the 101 and something must be done. The dip was really good though. Ok fine, it was outstanding. If I must be honest, it was the best artichoke dip I’ve ever had, ok? Instead of pulverizing those poor delicate artichokes into a mushy dip, the chef left them large, full of integrity and it was awesome. The fresh tomatoes on top added the perfect touch. I was impressed.
Just moments later, to my surprise, out came the Bier Pretzels. They’re served with mustard and cheese sauce all for $12, I mean twelve. Sure, they were good, but at $2 a bite, I would much rather have been eating sushi. Not pretzels. Jennifer and Greg said the mustard was very delicious, but that’s just mustard.
Here’s another thing I noticed online about their menu that really turned me off. All of their chicken salads use dark meat instead of breast. I’m sorry, but if you are at a gastropub ordering a salad with a menu full of fried food and burgers, you probably want it with white meat! Who puts dark meat on a salad? Biergarden! Of course I’m sure they will switch it for white meat for an astronomical fee if you ask though. Which is just what I did.
“It’s a dollar more for white meat” our server kindly told me. Ok, one dollar more isn’t so bad, but still. On an already-overpriced salad that’s the only healthy option on the menu, they should just know to use white meat. Hubby and I decided to add white meat chicken to a vegetarian Quinoa Salad, hoping it would be enough to share. That turned a sixteen dollar salad into a twenty-one dollar one. Ouch.
“I was looking at the Quinoa Salad too but pickled cucumbers don’t sound good to me” noticed Debbie. Sweet Debbie. Pretty Debbie. “Pickled cucumbers are just pickles” whispered Mary gently to her.
While waiting for our meal I thought it was very handy that they put a Wells Fargo right across the way. That’s no accident. You will most definitely need to grab some extra cash for your dinner. Maybe even get a loan.
Our Quinoa Salad with white meat chicken arrived, and it sure was nice looking.
“The chicken is dry” said Hubby poking it with his fork. But he was reaching. When eaten with a bite of salad, it really was delicious, and not dry. Those “pickled cucumbers” were mighty spicy and added another layer of flavor to the salad that was unique. Was it worth twenty-one dollars? Um, NO!
Jen and Greg shared a Portabello Sandwich with sweet potato fries. They said the Ciabatta bread and fig jam brought the sandwich to a new level. They loved it.
My inner bitch was in full force tonight. It’s actually not so much as “inner” as it is hanging out right there on the surface at all times. But I had a bee in my bonnet, and it was time for someone other than Hubby and my boys to get my wrath tonight.
Prepare to pay $16-$17 for a burger at Biergarden. For comparison, one of the best burgers I’ve had doing this blog was at another upscale gastropub, Priority Public House. An equivalent burger there runs $14 and that’s with ORGANIC GRASS-FED BEEF!
I don’t want to dwell on the negatives, so here are the positives: Optimal location. Really nice atmosphere. Killer front and back patios. A great place to hang with a friend or two over beers. The food is very good and the dishes they serve it on are pretty. Service was all around terrific.
If you’re the kind of person that has a buck or two in your pocket and you don’t mind paying a bit more than you should for good food, this may be your place. And if you want to hang out in this trendy establishment but you don’t have a buck or two in your pocket, Wells Fargo is right there.
Next week we have a double blog! Starting at 5:30pm on Sunday, December 30th we will be at
Culture Brewing Company
ending up at