Philz Coffee

Philz sign

Review #38

Note: From now on I am referring to my youngest as BP (Bottomless Pit)

I love coffee but coffee don’t love me.  I used to be a hard core user but have switched over the years to being a prissy tea drinker.  Sure, I sleep better at night and my heart beats at a normal rate.  Plus,  I am no longer a pre-coffee manic mess every morning.  But man do I enjoy a beautifully large cup of steaming hot morning pleasure.  I allow myself this treat just once in a while, and today is the day!  I have been really excited to come to Philz for a cup of joe.  In fact, for the passed few days, I’ve been a bit obsessed.  As the afternoons start to drag or my kids start to whine, I just keep thinking to myself, “Sunday is almost here.  Happiness is waiting”.  Yes, I’m like a coke addict with this stuff.

Hubby, BP and I chose to walk the few short miles to breakfast this morning while the oldest teen slept in, missing all the fun as usual.  We talked, or maybe we didn’t, I don’t know…I couldn’t stop thinking about my upcoming score.  I walked fast.  Once we got there, we had to take a minute to figure things out.  It wasn’t obvious how Philz works exactly.  Hubby and BP were instantly drawn to the display cases.

Philz toasts

Philz goodies

Philz goodies 1

I was told by Debbie, a seasoned Philz patron, that I had to order my coffee from the coffee line first, then go order food, then pay for it all, then go back and wait for my coffee.  They have great choices.

Philz menu

Philz is not your typical coffee place.  They have no espresso drinks here.  That’s right people.  No mochas, lattes or cappuccinos here at all!  Each cup of coffee at Philz is crafted individually for their customer.  Let me tell you that when I say you will NOT miss your espresso, that I am not lying!  I was warned about Philz coffee.  It is strong.  So strong, that it for advanced coffee connoisseurs only.  Having abstained for so long, I didn’t want to burn a hole in my stomach, so I carefully ordered a small cup, half decaf, lightly brewed coffee with lots of milk.  None of the fancy flavors for me, I don’t like my coffee sweet.  This has got to be the safest way to ease back into things.   Once it was ready, my friendly barista asked me to taste it to make sure it was just to my liking.  I’m glad she understood exactly how important this one cup of coffee is to my life!  I took a small sip and felt the strength of it hit me like a train.  My barista looked at my face and asked, “More milk?  Yah, I think more milk”.  I handed it back and she lightened it up even more for me.  Man, I remember those college days when I could have drank a whole mug of this stuff!  Black!

Happiness was quickly settling in until I spotted BP inhaling a Very Berry Muffin on his way to our table.  He was almost done with it and he wasn’t even sitting down yet.  Everything went into slow motion at this point.  “W-A-I-T!  I  need to get my picture!” I yelled in deep, slow-motion voice.  I shoved someone out of my way and while cradling my coffee, leaped across to the table like a freaking super hero to grab him before it was gone.  You see, we have a deal.  The kids can come while we blog, but I get to a.) take a picture before they eat and b.) get to taste it so I can blog about it.  In reality, I am lucky if either happens.  BP looked up at me, terrified, and put down the muffin.  It was much prettier before, but at least you can see the berries, right?

Philz muffinA mostly eaten Very Berry Muffin

The muffin was indeed worth hoarding.  It was delicious, with the sweetness coming from the berries themselves.

Mary ordered the Istanbul Treat, which is a black tea made from fruits and spices.  She said it was great.

Philz teaIstanbul Treat Tea

Qwen ordered a Banana Coconut Muffin which, unlike some, she gracefully shared.  It was really good.Philz banana

BP ordered a Hummus & Tomato Toast, inhaled it, then went back and ordered another.  At this point, he earned his new nickname: Bottomless Pit.

Philz hummusHummus & Tomato Toast

Hubby and I ordered The Mediterranean Toast with avocado, egg and zatar- a middle eastern spice mix.  We’re familiar with zatar because our middle eastern exchange student brought us tons of it, and we love it.  Now I know it goes great on avocado toast!  Philz gets their bread from Bread and Cie in Hillcrest.  As a fellow sourdough bread baker myself, hats off to them.  Bravo on making an excellent sourdough with the perfect, chewy crust.

Phiz avo

Mary ordered a bagel sandwich that looks scrumptious.

Philz bagel

While eating, we heard really loud pounding.  We followed the sound and found out it was coming from the bashing of pistachio shells for the Ricotta Pistachio Toast.  Yah, we ordered one of those too.  Drizzled seductively with honey, this is wonderful!

Philz pistachioRicotta Pistachio Toast

The food is great.  My coffee is finished.  Man I’m feeling good.  I mean, I’m feeling really really good!  My God Qwen, your eyes are beautiful!  And Debbie, have you always looked so gorgeous in pink?  Can you believe this marvelous weather?  The sun is shining, we are on the coast, and this is our home!  How did we get so lucky?  I feel so good, why don’t I drink coffee more often?  What do you mean I’m talking fast? I’m not talking fastIjustfeelreallyreallygoodandIhavelotsofenergyandlotstosay!  Ok, BREATHE!

Bottom Line:

There are always haters out there.  Philz’ haters say their coffee is bitter and way too strong.  It’s true, Philz coffee is not for everyone.  They’ve created a unique niche in the crowded, Encinitas coffee ecosystem.  For those that want fancy espresso drinks, you have a ton of other choices to go to, all close by.  Philz is for the hard core coffee drinkers.  Those that want to ingest high octane fuel and have the stomachs to handle it.  The pastries and avocado toasts at Philz are worth coming for, even if you aren’t man enough for their coffee.  But if you do go for a glorious cup, oh my!  The air feels cleaner.  The ocean is bluer.  And life, is just marvelous!

Next week’s blog will be on Sunday, March 11th at 5:30 pm

Union Kitchen & Tap



The Encinitas Ale House

Ale sign

Review #37

You know when your kid won’t let you take their picture?  It starts at an early age where they run away from you or stick their tongue out.  But as they get older, it doesn’t get better like you thought it would.  Sure you have friends who have beautifully framed family photos in their homes.  Pictures of their kids smiling away in the snow, at the beach, or on a boat.  Uh uh, not you.  Your kids sees the camera and throws hateful laser beams out of their eyes, spewing annoyance and disgust.   The look on their face so vile, you don’t even want a picture now because you never want to remember this moment ever again.  So you offer to take them for a burger in exchange for just one good picture.  But that’s not good enough for him, so you strike a bargain and agree to take him AND his buddies for dinner in exchange for just one picture.  Well, here’s what I got.

Ale Griffin

Earlier that night…..

The Encinitas Ale House is really small.  In fact, it should more properly be called The Encinitas Ale Cottage.  Or The Encinitas Ale Shack.  The Encinitas Ale Closet would also work.  There was no way our group of 13 was going to sit together.  My teens were more than happy to take a table as far away from the stodgy adults as possible.  So considerate.

Taps are hanging everywhere.  This is a true watering hole and they mean business.

They have 32 beers on tap and over 400 different bottles of beer.  They rotate the taps every few days so if you like something you taste, drink up!  It’s unlikely to be there next time!

Ale taps

Only one beer stays on tap, and that’s the Pink Elephant Beer, properly named “Delirium”.

Ale large elephant

Since this is what Kelly was drinking, and I always trust Kelly when it comes to something as important as beer, I ordered one too.

Ale elephants

By the time you finish one, two, or six of these, it’s really fun to try and pronounce all of the German signs on the walls.

Ale German

I know you just read that in your horrible German accent.  You can’t read it with your American accent even if you try, right?  Try this one.

Ale funny german

Clearly, this game is way more fun after you’ve had some Delirium, you gotta try it.

The menu offers both Munchies and Starters.  Starters are like appetizers.  You want a little nosh before your meal to help whet your appetite, so you order some crab cakes, nachos or stuffed mushrooms.  Munchies, on the other hand, are needed after you’ve been drinking.  It’s the time when you need to ingest large quantities of fried things immediately.  They’ve got both covered for you here.

Ale menu

Hubby went with a flight and some fish tacos.  He thought his beers were outstanding but the tacos were just “good”.

Ale flight

Ale tacosFish Tacos

Since The Encinitas Ale Closet, I mean HOUSE,  is known for their locally world famous burgers…

Ale sign 1

…a lot of us ordered them.  My youngest ordered a Patty Melt which came on thick, buttered sourdough with caramelized onions, cheese, and lots of meat.  This entire plate was inhaled within minutes.  This kid stopped eating off the Kid’s Menu when he was three.  It’s like we don’t feed him.  Watching him, you would think it’s the first meal he’s had in weeks.  He would have eaten a second one.

Ale patty melt

The Encinitas Ale House is known for their unusual types of meat including rabbit, alligator, elk, bison, goose, wild boar and anything else they can hunt and skin.  I’ll leave the more adventurous meats for someone else.  I ordered a Trio burger made with brisket, short rib and chuck.  I like my meat to be lots of things, dead mostly, but not adventurous.

Ale burgerTrio Burger

Of course it was great!  Could have used a pinch more salt, but otherwise, it was quite enjoyable.  Honestly, the little side salad it came with was just as good!  It was a spring mix with feta, corn and lots of other chopped up yummy things.  Not just your standard side salad at all.

Joyce ordered the Oven Baked Mac and Cheese. Only three words:  OH MY GOD!!!!

Ale mac

There’s really only one way to make this better, and Shoshana ordered it.  Prepare to have your mind blown….LOCALLY WORLD FAMOUS MAC AND CHEESE PIZZA!  Yes, this exists!  They had it topped with Sriracha sauce.  I gained five pounds just looking at it.

Ale mac pizza

The Mushroom Marsala Burger was stuffed to the gills with mushrooms.

Ale mushroomMushroom Marsala Burger

Time to check on those teens getting their free meal, for the cost of one good picture.  Two of them sure look pleasant.  The other shooed me away.

Ale teens

You will probably want to order the Parmesan Garlic Fries.

Ale friesParmesan Garlic Fries

I asked the bartender about this wall of plaques.  He let me know it’s for the “80 beers in 80 days club”.

Ale Hall of fame

It’s pretty simple.  You just need to drink 80 beers within 80 days and you win!

Ale 80

Now, you don’t have to drink one beer a day for 80 days.  You can do what Zack does.  He comes often and drinks a lot of beers, and the bartender just keeps adding them up.  As long as he hits 80 beers within 80 days, he wins!  Zack is on beer number 30-something, but I think it’s only been 3 days.  He’s good.

Ale Zack

He will get his name on the plaque, a sweatshirt with this logo, and the number to his nearest AA meeting.

Ale surfer

Bottom Line:

The Encinitas Ale House is a cozy place for beer and high end bar food.  If I weren’t in the mom stage of my life, the 80 beers in 80 days would definitely be something I would do.  It’s the kind of bar where everyone knows your name.  All 13 in our group loved their food.  Our waitress was nice and worked hard going from table to table. She was the only one working there taking orders. My point is, you may need to wait a while so don’t be in a rush.  Drink beer while you wait.   It’s locally world famous after all.

Next week’s blog will be on Sunday, March 4th at 9:00am

Philz Coffee

1060 Coast Hwy 101







The Encinitas Fish Shop

Fish sign

Review #36

Today was a weird day.  Our house flooded due to a broken pipe, my dog was blessed by a rabbi, and my 16 year old was suddenly filled with gratitude and appreciation for me, for no reason.  Weird day.   I’m ready for a dinner out tonight!

Warning!  Do not come to the Encinitas Fish Shop if you don’t eat seafood or you don’t like dogs!  (Don’t reverse that) But if you do, whether you’re a beginner or advanced seafood eater, there is something for everyone.  First, you will most likely have a very long line to wait in because this is the place all seafood lovers want to be.  For the beginner seafood eater, waiting in line is the perfect time to get acquainted with your dinner.  They have colorful pictures and descriptions of all your choices framed on the wall.  Handy!

Fish pictures

The more advanced eaters may want to order a daily special, grab some poke or pick from the fillets in the display and go from there.

Fish fishes

Fish fish

Make sure you say hi to Jerry; he’s just chillin’.

Fish Jerry

You pick your fish, your flavor and your style.  Don’t worry, this large sign explains it all.  Plus the cashier will help you if you are still overwhelmed by the time you get to her.

Fish menu

Then you have to find a table.  Good luck with that.  I sent Hubby ahead of our group and had him hunt then hold a table for us.  He almost got mugged for it and was desperately texting me to hurry the-something-up!  The covered outdoor area is large, has lots of TVs with the Olympics on, and they have heat lamps above to keep everyone toasty in the winter.  Dogs are not just welcomed here, they are practically enthroned.  I wanted to get by this puppy to grab an extra chair, but he certainly wasn’t moving.  I went around the long way.

Fish dog

The only problem with the long way, was this cute guy clearly had dominion over this area and let me know it.  Not a problem at The Fish Shop though.  Dogs can bark and holler all they want.  Here, dogs rule.

Fish dog2

The Encinitas Fish Shop has a nice variety of locally brewed beer (we sure are micro brewery blessed in this town), but sometimes you just need a $5 Tecate, right Lynne?

Fish Lynne beer

Being advanced seafood eaters, we started with a large order of ceviche.  You can order it with just fish or just shrimp, but a combo seemed like a no brainer.  I like ceviche.  I even like a bit of spice.  But I find many places who tout they have the best ceviche, have it over-powered with spiciness.  The Encinitas Fish House has their ceviche down!  I don’t use the word “perfect” lightly, but it was perfect!  And yah, they know it!

fish cevichecombo fish & shrimp ceviche- large

Geoff ordered the fish & chips and said they were great.  I noticed a lot of families with kids here tonight, and all the kids were eating fish & chips too.  And notice how Geoff scoffs at the two house-made, elevated sauces that accompany his dish.   Geoff, goes right for the Heinz!  Geoff, you are such a kid!

Fish n chips

John ordered a TKO taco that comes with fresh mango salsa.  It was huge and only $5. I tried to grab the picture before he dug in, but that wasn’t happening.  It was too good!

Fish TKOTKO taco

Mary ordered the Coconut Shrimp, and was very happy.  Not everyone likes coconut with their shrimp (Hubby).  But if you do like coconut with your camaron, order these.

Fish coconut shrimpCoconut Shrimp

The last time I was here I ordered a delicious salad with mahi mahi, and was determined to order differently this time.  But then I saw a salad go by while I was in line, and I couldn’t help myself.  This time I got it with scallops.  The pickled onions and crispy veggies were so good.  These scallops were cooked exquisitely!  Maybe a wee too many capers though.

fish scallop

Hubby ordered his fish with the Fish Shop seasoning and thought it was great, but a little salty for his liking.  Look at that generous piece of fish though!

fish yellowtail

Debbie, who loves it here so much she just ate here LAST NIGHT, ordered her salad with salmon.  There were a wee too many capers on Debbie’s salad too.  Look at our matching caper piles when we were finished!Fish capers

Bottom Line:

I LOVE The Encinitas Fish Shop!  They have really fresh fish and know exactly how to cook it.  The food is superb, the atmosphere casual and hip, and the portions are generous.  If you are trying to eat healthy (yes, trying, it’s so hard!), order your fish grilled.  If you are throwing all caution to the wind, by golly, then fry them S.O.B.s!  (They have a crab cake sandwich that I can’t stop thinking about….)  Our servers were friendly, helpful and even with the long line, our food came out fast.  I can’t wait to bring my visiting land-locked friends to this Encinitas gem!  Just go somewhere else if you don’t like dogs or are allergic to kids.

**Tip- Bypass the long line and grab a seat at the bar.  You can order your food here too!

Next blog will be on Sunday, February 25th at 5:30 pm

The Encinitas Ale House

located on Hwy 101 at “J” St.







Potato Shack Cafe

PS sign

Review #35

“Coffee, coffee, coffee” The mantra playing on a loop in my head on our two mile walk to breakfast this morning.  T’was a late night last night.  Lots of fun.  Too much fun.  As we passed Honey’s Bakery on the 101 heading towards the Potato Shack Cafe, I looked longingly inside at those beautiful carafes of coffee greeting people the minute they walked in the door.  “Hello my darling, welcome back…” they cooed to me as I sadly kept walking. I dreaded the inevitable Sunday morning wait for a table at the Potato Shack, then another wait for my caffeine fix. I’m not going to lie.  I was tired, hungover, and in a foul mood.  But the stars were aligned today, because when we arrived, there were two large tables waiting for us.  Not only that, but the waitress took one look at my bloodshot, pleading eyes, and brought me my coffee immediately.  No ordering needed!  She’s seen the likes of me before.  She knew.

Now before I go on, you might be scratching your head at the address of the Potato Shack Cafe.  It’s 120 W I St.  That’s right, it’s not even on the freaking 101!  But it’s so close, you can see it right over there.  And they have this reputation for man-hole sized pancakes!  Plus, it’s my blog, my rules, so stop being so technical and give a gal a break!

The Potato Shack Cafe is quaint and cozy with seating both inside and out.  They have these beautiful wooden tables I couldn’t help but admire now that I had coffee and was human again. Each one is unique with it’s own character.

PS table

PS table 1

PS table2

Jim, the owner, and self-proclaimed “Walmart greeter” was in, so I invited him to sit with us to tell the Potato Shack Cafe story, which he was more than happy to do.  The Potato Shack Cafe has been around for 35 years, with Jim and his son, Scott, running it for the past 30 years.  Many of the staff have been working here for over a decade.  The Potato Shack was double the current in size at one point, taking over the location next door, then regressed back to it’s original size with the boom of restaurants taking over the 101.  Instead of being bitter, Jim extends help to his competition like loaning out coffee when they run out if need be.  Jim is an ex-marine who’s all heart.  Between his work for the Make-A-Wish foundation, coaching the Torrey Pines high school football team, and dabbling in some smaller businesses, Jim’s plate is full, leaving most of the work at The Shack to Scott.  Jim’s motto for The Shack is simply to give his customers more than they expect, and to always do right by them.  Though The Shack doesn’t take credit cards, there is an ATM machine right inside.  “People are so funny” says Jim. “Sometimes they will come in, not knowing we’re ‘cash only’ and then they freak out when they get the bill and can’t pay.  I tell them not to panic, it’s only pancakes, eggs and bacon we are dealing with here!  Breathe!”  He then has them write out an IOU with their name and how much they owe on a piece of paper, puts in on the wall, and tells them to please bring it by next time.  Not even later that day, just next time.  And you know what?  EVERYONE DOES.

So now I’m madly in love with Jim, the Potato Shack, and everything it stands for. Do we even need to order food?  I’m ready to write a glowing review as is!  Ok, ok, we are all pretty hungry, let’s eat some grub!  Hubby ordered a Banana-Walnut pancake.  IT DOESN’T EVEN FIT ON THE PLATE!

PS banana nutbanana-walnut pancake

Kellen ordered an apple-cinnamon pancake with his eating technique of starting from the inside, moving outward. Maybe that’s a sign of extreme intelligence.  Or we (probably) just have a weird kid.  Both pancakes were absolutely delicious.  Though if I were to order one next time, I will merge the two and get a cinnamon-banana-walnut pancake.  A “cinnbanut”.  That name should seriously go on the menu.

PS apple cinnamon

Not wanting so many carbs, haha, you’ll see, I stayed away from the man-hole cover sized pancakes.  Instead, I ordered an omelet. They have lots of additions, each one costing a reasonable $1.  I opted for an omelet with spinach, bacon and feta, my favorite trio-combination.  It came with potatoes and bread of choice.  I mean, I almost switched the sides for fruit.  That really was my plan.  But don’t I HAVE to try the potatoes at the Potato Shack?  And you know what goes great with potatoes and eggs?  Rye toast! Bring on the carbs!

PS omletOmelet with spinach-bacon-feta and rye bread

Though the potatoes may look plain, they really are scrumptious.  So scrumptious that I kept finding Kellen’s fork stabbing brutally at my plate every time I turned my head.  The omelet was packed to the gills with all the good stuff, no skimping here!

Ps omlet innerds

A reasonable thing to do is to split one pancake between two (or more) people.  That’s what a few of us did in our group.

PS split

I looked over and saw that a slightly ballooned Hubby had slowed way down, but was almost done with his entire pancake!  He waved our waitress over.

“Do I get anything if I finish?”

“Three” she said, completely unimpressed.  “You need to finish three, and I’ve only seen it happen once”.

Bottom Line:

Please don’t forget about the Potato Shack Cafe! They are located right off Hwy 101, nestled on I st. This charming, family run breakfast nook has everything you want on a hung-over Sunday morning, or any other one.  Enjoy a cinnbanut man-hole cover sized pancake, an award-winning omelet (well, if I had an award they would get it), or come for lunch, they offer that too.  Invite Jim to your table for a cup of joe!  He’s a great guy who puts his heart into this place.  And it shows.  So far, this wins for my all time favorite Encinitas breakfast!


I would like to take a minute to shamelessly plug the charity event I worked on last night.  (Hence the hangover!) It was to raise money for the upcoming 16th annual Bike-A-Thon our local Magdalena Ecke Family YMCA is having on February 24th to raise money for kids in our community who need help.  Thank you to all of the people who came out last night, and for all of our wonderful sponsors and local businesses who donated!

It’s not too late to help! Click on the link to donate any amount. Please put it towards my team, “Spinheads”.  THANK YOU!!!


Please join us next week on Sunday, February 18th at 6:00 pm

The Encinitas Fish Shop

1010 South Coast Hwy 101

Trattoria i Trulli


Review #34

Trattoria i Trulli.  That’s a mouthful even before you’ve ordered anything.  Most folk just call it “Trulli” pronounced “Truly”.  Actually, I’m not even sure if that’s how you are supposed to say it, but right or wrong that’s what we have been calling it since we moved here in 2000.  Although I hate to use the word “fancy” about any of our beach town restaurants, you will want to change out of your swimsuit and put on your big boy/girl clothes for this dinner.

Expecting a crowd on Saturday night, we came right when they opened to assure a table for our large group.  They have a beautiful patio out front for smaller parties or a quaint inside space that has a warm, Italian-cottage feel to it.


Recently, my BFF surprised me with actual Dining On The 101 Business cards, and I like to pass them out freely when we go out to blog for two reasons.  First, it can’t hurt to let an establishment know you are about to review them in case they want to give you a little extra VIP treatment. And second, no…that’s it.


You are first greeted at Trulli with their wall of wine. My mouth was already watering.


Although we have great memories of Trulli, Hubby and I have not eaten here in about 15 years.  I suppose that’s because we like to try new places, and sometimes forget about ones we have tried and liked.  Then we get stuck on 3 or 4 go-to places and rarely stray. This is one of the great things about Dining on the 101 project.  It forces us out of the rut and into new or almost forgotten territories like Trulli.  Trulli’s homemade bread and garlicky red sauce are exactly how we remembered it, and came quickly to the table.IMG_2424

Hubby and I ordered an appetizer of Calamari Adriatico. It is calamari simmered in a tomato sauce with spinach.  That’s right Tracy, you can order calamari that isn’t fried and is still delicious!  I asked the waiter to put it right in front of me so I could get a picture FOR MY BLOG.  He either didn’t know what a blog was, or was doing his best to act very cool.  No questions asked.  No extra “please enjoy”s.  He just placed it down and left.  Not rudely, just not with anything extra.  Oh well.  There was a generous amount of tender calamari, especially for an appetizer but I found the sauce to have too much garlic and spiciness for my liking.  Hubby was happy he didn’t have to share, he loved it.

IMG_2425Calamari Adriatico

Jen and Greg shared the Burrata Bellina. They use “Fresh virgin mozzarella”.  Just curious as to what you call non-virgin mozzerella.  Ho-cheese?

It came crusted with pistachio nuts and had a balsamic glaze, over fancy pear spheres and arugula.  OH MY GOD!!!  Soooooo good!!  Amazing.  I only had one bite, but I heard angels singing.  The pear spheres are actual halos.

IMG_2426Burrata Bellina

Lynne and I ordered Chianti which is really just adult Kool-Aid. It was delicious and went perfectly with our meal.  The only reason I ordered a second glass was to stay committed to this year’s mini-rez of drinking more.


Tracy ordered a pasta dish that came with eggplant, zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes and ho-cheese.  It was very good.  The tangy sun-dried tomatoes really made it.


The succulent scallop and spinach dish etched in my mind no longer exists. (WHAT??  How dare they change their menu after 15+ years!) So instead, we shared a dish called Pollo 101, which is a chicken breast stuffed with different cheeses and topped in a mushroom sauce.  They kindly split it for us without asking.  Regular treatment here, or VIP?  The veggies were crisp and flavorful and the chicken with mushrooms was divine.  We loved it.  It paired smashingly with the Chianti.

IMG_2427Pollo 101

Jen & Greg finished their meal with Crème brûlée.  I didn’t try it, but judging from what they left over, I don’t think it sucked.


Bottom Line:  If you haven’t been here, or if it’s been a while (like, 15 years), come in for some great local, authentic Italian cuisine.  Start with the Burrata Bellina and a bottle of Chianti.  Follow that up with Pollo 101, or try one of their home made pastas and let me know how they are.  I bet they’re awesome.  If you’re on a date, sit outside on the front patio for a little extra romance.

Although I passed out business cards, took exaggerated photos all over the restaurant, even left my camera in plain view on the table during our meal, no unrequested tastes from the chef, free scoop of ice cream, or extra glass of Chianti made it our way this time.  Ok, I realize I may not have reached Ruth Reichl status yet.  No biggie.  I don’t knock off any points for Trulli’s service.  They truly did a fine job.


Ruth Reichl- writer & food goddess

Next week’s blog will be on Sunday, February 11th at 9:00 am at

The Potato Shack

120 West “I” Street

(Yes, I know “I” St. isn’t technically on Hwy 101, but it’s very close and MAN-HOLE COVER SIZED PANCAKES, ok?!)






Beachside Bar & Grill

Beachside outdoor sign

Review #33

I hate watching sports.  Not only do I hate watching sports, the sound of sports on TV alone drives me loony.  I despise it.  I’m sure a psychotherapist could analyze the daylights out of me and say it’s because of the limited time I got with my (divorced) father as a child.  My time with him was always shared with endless football games on TV when I was desperately trying to get him to take me somewhere.  “Just five more minutes” he would say.  “Look at the clock, it’s almost over” he would lie.  It never was.  This built-up frustration from my youth has turned me into an intolerant, football-hating, take-your-home-team-paraphernalia-and-shove-it-where-the-sun-don’t-shine, type of woman.

With that in mind, I present to you:  The Beachside Bar & Grill. It is a true sports bar.   I may not be the best man for this job.  We are talking TV’s everywhere you look, sports blaring from every corner, patrons cheering and whooping like imbeciles.

They offer Happy Hour M-F and advertise some big fight you can watch here in November.  Whatever. The place is large and like I said, TV’s everywhere, perfect for the sports enthusiast, not so much for this sports hater.

Beachside sports

They have a fun shuffleboard game though.

Beachside games

Luckily, they have a huge outside patio, perfect for our large party, and totally soundproof from all sports!  Since most people come to a sports bar for the game, the crowd was inside and we got the whole patio to ourselves.  But it was cold! There were heat lamps everywhere but we were told that most didn’t work.  It was a graveyard for old, broken, unwanted and unloved heat lamps who had no where else to go.

Beachside graveyard

Some nice workers got a few of them going for us.  Now if they could just figure out how to light this massive fire pit, we would be in business! One young man came out with a lighter, no joke, a LIGHTER and with a very scared face, got up close to it and tried to start it.  Oh, it started all right!  The fire went “WHOOSH!!” and the poor guy screamed and leapt backwards.  I thought he burnt his freaking face off, but he was fine, just a wee scared.  And he won’t need to shave for a few days.

Beachside pit

Now we had fire, and an atmosphere where we could hear each other. Only one negative that I must comment on.  CHOICE OF OUTSIDE MUSIC.  It was BAD.  Let’s just say that a pop-covered, mixed dance version of “Constantinople” came on.  Why, why, why would anyone remix this classic song into pop dance music?!

Time for beer and food!  Did I mention that one of my New Year’s mini-rez’s is to drink more?  So far, so good.  I am feeling great about accomplishing this goal! Beachside Bar & Grill has an extensive beer and mixed drinks menu. I ordered a Blue Moon on tap with fresh lemon. D-lish!

The appetizers arrived promptly.

Beachside skinsPotato Skins without the bacon

Beachside cevicheSeafood Ceviche

Beachside BruscettaBruschetta

The only appetizer I tried was the bruschetta.  I know it said there is a pesto in there, I can even see it, but the only thing I tasted was garlic.  Raw, in your face, potent, stinking rose! Everyone agreed that the appetizers were good, but nothing special.  But I must say that the firelight made everything look so nice!  Can food look romantic?  Because it did!  I glanced over at Hubby and thought, DAMN my man looks good tonight! Firelight makes everything beautiful!

For dinner, Kellen ordered the Hawaiian pizza.  He loved it.  I took a bite, minus the pineapple because if you ask me, pineapple is a fruit only meant to be served cold, and I thought…meh.  But it sure looked lovely in this light!

Beachside pizzaHawaiian Pizza

Hubby ordered chicken tacos.  They were on the small side and tasted….meh.

Beachside tacosChicken Tacos

Tracy ordered the BBQ Tri-Tip with sweet potato fries and liked it a lot.  I took a bite…meh.

Beachside sirloinBBQ Tri-Tip with sweet potato fries

Debbie’s House Salad with Grilled Mahi Mahi was a nice healthy choice to have on a bar menu.

Beachside mahi mahiHouse Salad with Grilled Mahi Mahi

Beachside nuggetsChicken Nuggets and fries

Pam liked her Caprese Panini a lot.

Beachside capreseCaprese Panini

I ordered a Turkey Pastrami Panini with a side of grilled veggies.  It wasn’t bad.  The bread was toasty but the meat inside was cold and, again, I couldn’t taste the pesto.  All in all it was…meh.

BeachsidepastramiTurkey Pastrami Panini

Bottom Line:

The Beachside Bar & Grill is a great place to watch sports, drink beer and eat affordable bar food.  They have a fantastic patio (I hear they rent it out) and a wonderful fire pit that makes everyone look their best.  The food didn’t disappoint, as it was pretty much just as I expected it to be.  They offer decent bar food that adds to your experience, but isn’t the main reason you come here.  Our waitress and singed fire boy took great care of our large group, and get A+’s.

Unfortunately the garlic from the bruschetta won over the sexiness from the firelight and it is Sofa-City Sweetheart for Hubby. That whole thing about “garlic is fine as long as you both eat it” is a bunch of hooey.  No one is coming near me tonight. Not Hubby, not any vampires, not even my dogs.


Beachside fire

The next blog will be this Saturday at 5:00 pm ( not Sunday because of some or other game going on). Space is limited so please let us know if you are joining us, and we hope you will!

Trattoria i Trulli

Image result for trulli encinitas

Urbn Coal Fired Pizza

Urbn signReview #32

Time.  No one wants to waste it.  We want what we want, and we want it immediately. Take vowels for instance.  Who needs to waste time using them all?  In today’s day of rush, rush, rush, texting with emojis instead of words, vowls r becmming a thng of the pst.  Yu rlly dn’t nd vry mny of thm to undertnd wht the mning is nyway.  So don’t give Urbn a hard time for dropping the “a”.  They are not only efficient, but totally on-trend.

Encinitas holds one of five Urbn San Diego locations.  This location is quaint and set up nicely to hold small or large groups.


As we walked in we watched one of the pizza chefs piping something white and yummy  onto one of the pizzas.

Urbn piping

I asked our waiter what style of pizza Urbn is know for.  His answer was, “Connecticut Style.”  Of course I have heard of Chicago style, New York Style, even styles from different regions of Italy.  But Connecticut style?  Huh?  So I whipped out my smart phone for immediate clarification, and low and behold, here is what I found:  Besides apple cider and PEZ candy, Connecticut is, in fact, known for their New Haven style clam pie.  I was about to order this when a voice whispered in my ear “order the Mashed Potato Pizza”.  I whipped around to see who said it, but they were gone.  Although the clam pizza did sound good, I have never heard of a Mashed Potato Pizza before. I took the stranger’s advice and ordered one.

Jennifer, who has been here before, told me we were sharing the cucumber salad.  Having taken her advice back at East Village on those apple wontons (WANT!), she has totally earned my trust.  The true name of this salad is the “Caprezanella”. It is loaded with fresh cucumber, tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, croutons and basil.  It was superb!

Urbn salad

Others from our group ordered the Urbn salad.  One with chicken and one without.

Urbn saladsUrbn salad with chicken (generous amount!) and Urbn salad straight up

The first pizza for our group arrived.  It was a Margherita pizza, half with basil.  Besides being HUGE, remember, this is a SMALL size, it looked pretty but average.  Pretty average.

Urbn marhagritaMargherita pizza.  B-O-R-I-N-G

Then the Mashed Potato Pizza arrived. Did I forget to mention that it comes with bacon? And not just small pieces of bacon minced to oblivion.  Generous, large chunks of bacon that you can sink your teeth into. I took one bite of this pizza and knew I hit gold.  There is no sauce here and none needed.  The glorious flavor of the rich mashed potatoes comes right through.  Paired with cheese, bacon and a wonderful chewy crust, this pizza is outright divine.  I passed some pieces to the unfortunate ones who ordered the simple margherita pizza and watched their faces explode in delight.

Urbn mashedMashed Potato Pizza.  Yes.  YES.  YES!!!!

Hubby and Debbi shared a Fresh Pesto Chicken pizza that came a bit late.  Although it was very cheesy and very good, I found it didn’t need the extra drizzle of olive oil on top, and was lacking for more pesto.  I am quite sure that if I had tried this pizza before the mashed potato one, I wouldn’t be so picky.  Let’s face it, nothing was going to come close after trying those pieces of potatoey pizza perfection.

Urbn chick pestoFresh Pesto Chicken pizza

Our nice waiter came by to check on us.  I asked how they get the mashed potatoes so perfectly onto the pizza without making it too heavy.  And was that mashed potatoes I saw the man gently piping on the pizza as we walked in?

“Oh no, what you saw was him piping ricotta cheese onto the Polpetta Con Provolone pizza.  For your pizza, he just grabs handfuls of mashed potato and throws it onto the pizza in between the fresh mozzarella.” Sorry I asked.

Now what is this business about coal fired pizza?  There are plenty of wood fired pizza places, is this just a gimmick?  Our waiter graciously gave me a tour of the oven.  And there was the coal!  The real deal.  No wussy wood, but serious, bad-ass coal!  Garcia’s job is to keep feeding the oven coal to keep the internal temperature between 800-900 degrees.  Holy hot oven! But that is the beauty of using coal.  You can get the oven ridiculously hot which produces crisp, tender pizza crusts.  The pizzas take only 2-3 minutes to cook, again, making this place exactly relevant for today’s inpatient consumers.

Urbn GarciaHere is Garcia working the coal

Bottom Line:

Urbn Pizza is another gem on the 101. In a town that already has restaurants called “Urban Pie”, “Urban Plates”and “Urbane Cafe”, one needs to stand out.  So doing a vowel-drop seems logical and practical.

Their unique coal fire oven makes a perfect crust in only minutes.  If you want something better than just good, order the Mashed Potato Pizza.  It’s one of the best pizzas I have ever had.  The acoustics aren’t great, so if it’s a romantic evening you want, not so much here.  Share the pizzas, they are huge, and add some tasty salads, cold beer, and good friends.

Urbn group1Hppy NW YR!  Frm some Die Hrd 101 Dners!   

There won’t be a blog next week, but join us on Sunday, January 21st at

Beachside Bar & Grill at 6:15 pm