Peace Pies

REVIEW #4

peace pies

When Steve and I told our boys that the next stop down the 101 is a raw vegan restaurant, I realized we lost them at the word “raw”.  Our youngest just stared at me waiting for me to speak English.  The other one started stuttering, ” wh wh why?  Why?  WHY don’t they cook their food???”.  After explaining to them that nutrients are destroyed when food is heated, I quickly understood that tonight’s dinner would be without the kids.  Fine by us- they would have taken the peace out of our pie anyway!

I had a preconceived notion as to what this raw, organic cafe would be like, and I wasn’t far off.  I grew up with hippie parents.  We ate at Good For Your Heart in LA.  Neil Young and Bob Dylan were constants on the stereo.  And the leafy greens growing in our yard, well, they weren’t for salad.  I was ready for this place. I got this.

Peace Pies is off the beaten path from 101, so you really have to want to go there to be able to find it.  It has a cute patio and cozy inside seating as many of these darling places along the 101 have.  We were greeted by friends following this blog, and we all ordered different things to share.

They have an apothecary of unusual healthy take out food.  I’m pretty sure that no one can ever really have too much hempnola, am I right?

grocery

Our Pesto Stuffed Tomatoes came out first, and they were beautiful!  They got mixed reviews from our crew, some thinking they were too bland.  Honestly, I liked them very much. pesto tomatoesI ordered the Mystical Mushroom Quesadilla with walnut meat.  It came on a house made coconut wrap.  Again, the meal looked like it came from a 5 star restaurant.  It was quite tasty. The kale chips were the bomb! Yowza!  More please!!

 

quesidilla

I started thinking.  If they aren’t cooking their food with heat, are they really even cooking at all?  Aren’t they just assembling?  I think the chef is really just a brilliant assembler.  So is he still a chef? Do you have to cook food with heat to be a chef? Hmm. Next was the Loving Lasagna.

lasagna

By this point I was cocky.  There was no reason to be frightened, this raw stuff was actually really good! Sure, some if sounds a bit out there, with hemp based this and cashew cheese that.  But it all tasted great. That is until…..Mushroom Stroganoff.   It wasn’t fair, my guard was down.  It wasn’t a good moment. I took a huge fork full of kelp noodles and once in my mouth, there was no going back.  This was WRONG!  My mind was screaming, “RETREAT!  RETREAT!” but there was nothing I could do but chew.  And chew.  And chew those vile “noodles”.  The “Alfredo sauce” was nothing more than a milky liquid that the “noodles” were swimming in.

stroganoff

“Quick, someone pass me something good to get rid of the kelp that is poisoning my taste buds!”.  I was passed the Magical Mango Curry Wrap, and life was good again. Let’s be honest, I went straight for more of those kale chips!

mango curry wrap

Meanwhile I watched in horror when the woman at the next table over was served the Mushroom Stroganoff!  Should I warn her?  OMG, what do I do?  Do I have a moral obligation to stop this before it happens?  Sure, I was able to finish my bite, but I’m pretty positive her first bite is coming straight back up and I am in regurgitating proximity!  I ducked my head and waited for the inevitable kelp shower.  But it didn’t happen.  I carefully looked up to see what was going on, and this lady was going in for a second bite of that kelp-tastrophe!  Could she actually like it?

After eating so healthfully for dinner, I thought we deserved a little dessert and chose their cinnamon rolls.

cinnamon rolls

Considering how stunning the rest of their food looked, these tiny little things fell short visually.  They actually looked rather sad sitting in their plastic take out box.  I took a small bite and that was enough.  Under no stretch of my imagination did I envision cinnamon rolls.  They tasted like carob protein excuses.  Not what I was hoping for dessert.

Be prepared folks, for your peace will come at a price here. With all of the organic ingredients, and feelings of health you are left with, it’s probably worth the price for peace.  Upon check out, the waitress asked if everything tasted ok and I was honest.  Most was very good, some not so much.  Not only did they take the Stroganoff off the bill, a slice of Strawberry Pie was given to us on our way out, no charge.  Nice touch Peace Pie Peeps!

Bottom Line:  The food is beautiful, most of it is surprisingly delicious and the staff was attentive and nice as pie.  But look, this place isn’t for everyone.  Would I bring my conservative meat and potato eating father here?  No.  Would my yoga teaching, health nut mother like it?  Yes, she would.   If you love someone, please come in and buy them a box of kale chips.  Yah, yah, I make my own too.  But nothing like these.  Trust me here.

It is not easy making organic, vegan, gluten-free and soy-free food look and taste good.  I give high kudos to Peace Pies for doing such a great job with something so difficult. But I do like some heat with my food.  To melt the non-cashew cheese.

Peace (pie) out!

Due to extreme Mother’s Day brunching, we will postpone Mozy Cafe until next Sunday, May 21st-  628 N. Coast HWY 101 

Moto Deli

Review #3

Moto Deli retired it’s food truck and nestled into a nook at 810 N. Coast Hwy- Leucadia, serving up-scale sandwiches using high quality, local ingredients.   I didn’t know what to expect from the name”Moto”.  Was this someone’s name?  Is it a cell phone reference, Hello Motto? But after walking into this cute, beachy deli, I saw motorcycle references everywhere.  It has a nice indoor/outdoor feel with a large patio and breeze flowing through.  The Counting Crows was coming through the speakers and I immediately got the vibe to this place.  It was cool!

My husband met me there with the kids, and had ordered us a hamachi sandwich to share.  I know he got excited reading the word “hamachi” on the menu, with the vision of a beautiful piece of lightly seared sushi-style fish in between their homemade squaw bread.  But this wasn’t the case.  It was a hamachi SALAD sandwich. Much more like a tuna fish sandwich that is not something he would normally order.  It had too much mayo, and the yellowtail flavor wasn’t received.  But you can’t blame Moto for my hubby’s inability to read a menu.  He didn’t bring his glasses, and many of us can relate.  The homemade bread and chips were very good, and the sandwich was big enough to share.

Our youngest ordered an Italian sandwich with meat, cheese, bread but NOTHING ELSE ON IT.  He liked it so much, I had to wrestle him to the ground, have my husband hogtie and sit on him long enough to grab this photo.

My eldest ordered their most popular: The Turketta which had smoked turkey breast, aged cheddar, crispy bacon and arugula.  There was a hint of sweet chutney on the homemade bread, and all in all it was turkey-ific!  (Though he and I both agree that the sweet jam would be better left off.)  I was excited to try their quinoa salad, but they were already out by the time we got there, at 11:15 am. How many people are coming in to eat quinoa salad for breakfast?  Who are these early quinoa eating people?  So I settled on a side of potato salad because it looked colorful and not mayonaissey.  It had a bright, vinegar flavor and was well seasoned with fresh dill.

Can we please stop and take a minute to appreciate that I have learned not only how to insert pictures, but, as opposed to the previous weeks, now have them in the right place?  Huh?  Not bad for a novice blogger!

Bottom line:  Moto Deli is a place I would definitely come back to.  Their breakfast menu, though small, looked really good.   In the words of my 15 year old son, “This is a dope choice to bring a lunch date too”.  Word out.

Pandora’s Pizza

REVIEW #2

Tonight we visited Pandora’s Pizza located at 828 N. Coast Hwy, Leucadia.  Low and behold, my FB announcement worked because friends showed up making us a party of 11.

Walking up to the restaurant, I noticed two very cool lounge areas for large parties to sit, chill and eat pie with friends.  Of course these were already taken by the time we arrived.  The rest of the out door seating was fine, just average tables, but none of which would seat a large group comfortably.  After inspecting the situation of the two lounges, I realized one of them had only a party of three using it, and their plates were dirty and empty.  They must be ready to leave!  But to my horror, the hoarding creatures sitting there weren’t regular humans, they were….dum..dum.,.DUMMMM……TEENAGERS!  Self-centered, phone-staring, too-cool-to-be-bothered, teenagers.  I not so subtly had my friends and I hang a little too close and wait for them to notice that it was time to vacate.  I coughed, I spoke loudly “I THINK WE WILL BE GETTING THIS LOUNGE VERY SOON GUYS!” I even gave them The Evil Eye.  Just when I was about to break out in the 80’s Oingo Boingo song “Goodbye-Goodbye” (click on the link below, it’s a great song, just not when sung by me), they hauled their useless carcasses up and left.  SCORE!  The lounge was tres cool, and perfect for our party of 11!

The menu includes a variety of delicious sounding salads and specialty pizzas named after Greek Gods that are laden with unusual ingredients like pear, figs, candied pecans, goat cheese and Sriracha sauce among others.  If you buy a large, you can split it having two different Gods on the same pizza which we chose to do. We ordered half Prometheus and half Vulcan.  The salad came first filled with fresh greens, mixed berries, feta cheese with a light dressing.  It was a hit!   Now when it comes to pizza, I hold everything in comparison to the Holy Grail of pizzas which, for me, is at Buona Forchetta.  Since I am only blogging about dining on the 101 in Encinitas, and Buona Forchetta is located at 3001 Beech St. (South Park) San Diego, I can’t tell you about the amazing homemade authentic pizzas they make using recipes of their ancestors from Italy.  It wouldn’t be right to mention their pizza “Marisa” with their luscious pesto, fresh, crisp, grape tomatoes and pine nuts toasted to perfection. So good, that you have to rethink if it is even worth eating any other pizza for the rest of your life.  So I will stick to Pandora’s, which was in fact, very good.

As a bacon-loving-Jew, the Prometheus had an excellent combo of gourmet ingredients that worked well together, crispy bacon, of course, being the high-light.  The sriracha cream on top was just the right amount of spicy.  The Vulcan side of our pizza held her own to the Prometheus half with yummy things like candied pecans and an arugula salad on top.  How can pizza be bad for you with all of those leafy greens just sitting there, waiting to make you healthy?  Our friends loved the pizzas they ordered as well.

Bottom Line:  Pandora’s Pizza is a superb place to come for great salads and unique, tasty pizza. Come prepared for battle to get one of the lounges, because that is the place you want to hang.  And if you do make it down to Buona Forchetta, say hello to Sofia for me (their handmade pizza oven with clay that comes straight from the Sorrento region in Italy.  Yes, she’s named Sofia.)

Good-bye, Good-Bye by Oingo Boingo

Kotija Jr. Taco Shop

REVIEW #1

Since we don’t eat out often, I really look forward to it when we do.  I do my hair, put on a little make-up, and get excited inside all day knowing that we get to “GO OUT”.  Twas not the case for Kotija Jr, Taco Shop.  I admit it, I am a food snob. But we have committed to this project and have to do our diligence by going to every-single-place on the 101.  Even the not-so-fancy-ones, like Kotia Jr. Taco Shop.  But hey, it is what it is, and I am game!  We went early on Easter Sunday night which could explain why we got a parking spot in their teeny tiny parking area.

The sign on the wall boasts “Hands down, the best fish tacos in town!” Who can argue with such a statement?  We quickly ordered our fish tacos.  My youngest ordered a steak & egg burrito with “NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING else on it!” and we all shared some kind of red soup with shrimp.  (I’m also a “Soupie”, so that was a no-brainer for me.)  Although the gentleman taking our order was friendly enough, he seemed to come up with a total for our order out of thin air.  There was no calculating, no buttons being pressed, and quite honestly, it seemed high for what we ordered. After explaining to him that his number could not possibly be right (we could have eaten SUSHI for that!)  he came back with something much more reasonable, maybe not correct, but whatever.

Sitting on the outside patio was lovely and our food arrived quickly, but…oh no….there was something other than steak and egg in our youngest’s burrito!  Potatoes??  Ahhhh!!  But I have to say, ‘dem fish tacos were really good!  I, for one, appreciate the double corn tortilla vessel as opposed to a singular type structure.  If you are going to pack your taco full of good stuff like fish (fresh??), cabbage, and yummy, white, creamy stuff, you damn well batter supply something worthy of holding it all together, and they do!  Glad we shared food because the portions were very generous. The red fish soup was decent.  It had good flavor but the potatoes had the black spots that I always cut out. There was, however, a generous amount of shrimp in there which isn’t always the case. I appreciated that. The hot sauce buffet didn’t disappoint either.  Sure, it would be nice to have each one labeled in some way so when you take a bite of the one you thought was more mild, it doesn’t singe everything in your mouth up through your nasal cavity making you want to crawl into a fetal position and cry for your madre, but that’s just nit-picking.

Would I drive far away to come to Kotija Jr. Taco Shop?  Nah.  But if you live near-by and want some cheap, authentic Mexican grub (and who doesn’t?) this is a very decent choice.

Dining on the 101

8b3dd-img_9152So, we’ve lived in Encinitas for 16 years, less than a mile from the 101.  But when friends ask us for advice on where to grab grub in our own hood, we just stare blankly at them.  ‘Cause we don’t know.  This embarrassment has got to stop.  We have decided to make it our mission to try EVERY SINGLE eatery/coffee shop/hole-in-the-wall on the 101 starting at Leucadia Blvd (west side) and heading south through Encinitas.  We’ll turn around and head north up the east side somewhere around Swami’s.  We expect this to take VERY LONG TIME, but we’re dedicated to the project.  We will dine out every Sunday night that we can, and anyone who wants to join us is welcome.  We’re going to hit every single restaurant in order, whether we think we want to eat there or not.  We’ll give every one of them the chance they deserve, and we’ll give them the review they deserve.

Come join the fun!