3rd Corner Wine Shop and Bistro

3rd coner sign

Review #62

3rd Corner couldn’t have come at a better time for the blog.  This weekend happened to be the weekend that one of the California’s top wine connoisseurs is coming to town, and I got him to join tonight’s blog: my dad.

You know that feeling you get while being at a nice, big library?  The incredible quiet insulation from all of the books.  The feeling of peace and comfort while being surrounded by all those incredible pieces of work.  That’s how I felt at 3rd Corner.  Our table was nestled alongside the back wall of the bistro, with beautiful bottles of wine for sale all throughout the middle.  I felt engulfed in comfort while being surrounded, almost hugged, by all those wine bottles.  Very nice atmosphere indeed.

3rd corner wine

We started off with a hummus plate appetizer to share.  It was nice with delicious olives and flavorful feta cheese to accompany the tasty, homemade hummus topped with a sun dried-tomato tapenade.  We devoured it and ordered another.

3rd corner hummus

We also ordered the Fried Brussels which we have been getting at almost every restaurant that offers them.  They just never get old.  But now I can tell the great ones from the mediocre.  These tasted delicious, but didn’t make me sing show tunes.

3rd coorner brussels

Dad had fun picking out our wines.

3rd corner dad

He started us off with a Puligny-Montrachet white wine and a little history about it. “The Montrachet comes from the same grape as your Chardonnay but is grown in the Burgundy region of France.  This wine is a White Burgundy. The White Burgundy isn’t oaky or buttery like California wines.  Although top Montrachets can get up to a thousand dollars a bottle, the Puligny is a good value at around a hundred.”  I took a sip.  Bliss.  Pure bliss.  I LOVE THIS WINE!  But my server was quite stingy on the first pour, so I helped myself to one that appropriately fit the size of the glass they gave me.  Much better.

3rd corner wine 1

I do enjoy a nice glass of wine or three, but I have zero taste when it comes to good wines.  I know what I like and the bottle can cost $5 or $500, I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy both in my time.  But Dad knows his stuff.  He ordered, and we drank.  Cheers!

3rd corner cheers

As we drank our heavenly wine and nibbled on the decadent apps, my friends started to ask Dad some questions.  And with each sip, Dear-Old-Dad’s lips got a wee bit looser.  For instance, when Julie asked what I was like as a child growing up, instead of,” Kori was a wonderful child.  Cute, gregarious and spunky”, she got, “Oh, Kori was a slob.  We couldn’t take it so shipped her off to boarding school.”.

The meals arrived.  I ordered Pan-Seared-Scallops because scallops and I are lovers.  These scallops were superb. Cooked to perfection.  A beautiful sear on the outside, and a center so soft and wonderful, it melts in your mouth.  The potatoes and green beans served with them were fine, but on a lower level of these scallops.  I left those over and just enjoyed a meal of perfectly seared scallops paired with wine from heaven.  Not a bad dinner I would say.

3rd corner scallops

Hubby ordered Wild Mushroom Pasta with Scallops.  He loved it.

3rd corner scallop pasta

The next wine was another White Burgundy.  This one was a Meursault. ” It’s rich and expressive and offers a slightly more fruity experience. With some spicy notes at the finish” says Dad-The-Sommelier.  I would have described it as, “Whooo weee that’s good!”.
3rd corner wine 2

And with that second bottle came lots more personal, private information about me that my poor friends were captive to.  Such as, “I can’t believe Kori left her oldest home alone with his girlfriend tonight while we are here.  Because I’m sure the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and when she was his age, well I found her and this boy…..” “OK DAD!” I interrupted, “That’s enough about me, how is everyone’s food?”

Debbie ordered The Goat Cheese Salad with Salmon.  Everything was deliciously on-point.

3rd corner salmon salad

Dad ordered Free Range Pan-Roasted Chicken cooked “cremated”.  My Dad likes everything burnt to a toxic crisp.  The blacker the better. He was going for this:

Image result for burnt chicken

But he was served this:

3rd corner chicken

It was hardly burnt or crispy, as I’m sure the poor chef just couldn’t bare to murder this beautiful bird.  Luckily, Dad loved it as is.

Although we were all too full or too drunk for dessert, we ran into some friends having some as we were leaving.  They were demolishing the Chocolate Croissant Bread Pudding with vanilla gelato, strawberries, caramel and whip cream. I’m pretty sure it didn’t suck.

By the end of the night my friends had learned a great deal about me.  Most of it was untrue, but I just didn’t have the heart to correct him anymore. For instance I heard him tell everyone that I failed out of UC Davis vet school (No Dad, I never actually applied to vet school, remember?) But what I said was, “Well, at least all that Animal Science I studied is really being put to great use in my cooking skills at home.”(That joke flew right over his silvery head.) But he also bragged about how smart I am, how much my friends love me and how proud he is of the boys and husband I’ve raised. (It’s not like Hubby came right out of the box this way you know!) Aw shucks Dad!

Bottom Line:

3rd Corner is a beautiful place to enjoy excellent food and wine.  Dad lives in LA and says this meal would have been twice the price there.  Most LA restaurants have a double to sometimes triple the mark up on wine you buy while 3rd Corner just charges the cost of the bottle plus a modest corkage fee.  He thought this was quite reasonable.

All of the food was very good, just what you would expect at a nice restaurant like this.  The scallops were as good as any I’ve ever had.  I especially love integrating the bistro into the wine shop.  The atmosphere here encourages you to relax and drink wine. I will be dreaming of running through the hills in Burgundy, (kids are left at home on this trip), the sun warming my back.  I am surrounded by grapes, drinking Montrachet after Montrachet after Montrachet.


Next week’s blog will be at on Sunday, November 25th at 5:30 pm

Lotus Cafe and Juice Bar

https://www.lotuscafeandjuicebar.com/

Saint Tropez Bistro and Beyond

St. Trop sign

Review #60

St. Tropez has one of the best locations on all of the 101; smack in the middle of the Lumberyard.  There is plenty of parking, and lots of indoor and outdoor seating in the middle of all the hub and bub happening most weekends.  Most weekend days.  And maybe summer nights.  But not tonight, early November at 6pm.  The whole Lumberyard was a ghost town.

I’m sure it has something to do with our recent daylight savings.  Why is it that it’s only an hour later, but it feels like five?  We were having dinner at 6pm but frankly, I could have skipped the whole thing and gone right to bed.

Our party of 12 had pick of the litter seating choices.  Inside seemed nice.

St. Trop inside

They had a large table on the patio that would work.

St. Trop outside table

But we chose to sit outside in the middle of “it all” in the open area that is usually packed with people.

St. Trop outside

Who knew that St. Tropez even offered dinner at all?  It really seems more of a breakfast/lunch place, known for their multitude of sinful pastries.  This is an order-your- food-at-the-counter kind of place. So even though it’s French, it’s not fancy.  The display case had lots of yummy quiches for sale.

St. Trop quiche

The end of the weekend pastries were a bit sparse, but I’m sure they were packed earlier in the day.  Anyway, we were here for dinner, not pastries.

St. Trop pastries

We didn’t know about Happy Hour or that kids eat free on Wednesday.  I’m sure they would not let BP (our 13 year old Bottomless Pit) eat for free Wednesday.  He could make this place go under.

St. Trop chalk board

Not only does St. Tropez have a huge and extensive dinner menu, the burgers get their own menu altogether.  Seriously, I assumed this place was just for crepes and pastries but there is so much more.

St. Trop burgers

Some of the food started to come out of the kitchen.  BP’s French Burger was huge.

St. Trop burger
ST French Burger

Debbie’s Chicken Vegetable Soup was all she wanted after her 15 mile walk today.  15 miles and she just orders soup!  If it were me, I would have started with the crepes, continued with a burger and then would have helped them clear out those end of the day pastries in the display!  But Little Debbie ate soup and salad, and she loved it.

St. Trop soup

Jules, our St Tropez veteran, went with a plate of soup, salad and a Chicken and Mushroom Crepe.  The crepe was slightly crispy on the edges with a delicious mushroom cream on top.  Very good.  Very.

St. Trop crepes

The other 9 of us hungrily watched for our food to come out, but it didn’t.  And speaking of watching, we had a “friend” watching us from the patio.  At first we thought he was talking to someone on Bluetooth, but Mary slyly checked out the situation.  No Bluetooth.  He was not only facing us, he was staring directly at us.  It was extremely unsettling. He was talking to us.  Maybe not to us, but at us.  Continuously and not all that loud.  In fact, Mary found out he was giving a running commentary about us.  “Young boy takes another bite of burger while brown haired lady keeps looking towards the kitchen.  Man to the right wipes his mouth then sips his water.”

After a very long time, Mary and Geoff’s French Onion Soups came out.

St. Trop french onion

Along with Hubby’s Pasta Provencal and side salad.

St. Trop pasta

The side salad was a tad skimpy on the tomato and cucumber, but lots and lots of lettuce.

St. Trop side salad

Then no other food came for a long time.  But we had entertainment!

“Oh no, blue shirt guy drops a piece of lettuce!  But takes another bite.  Back to the boy, that burger is taking a beating.”

After everyone’s food was just about gone,  my Mediterranean Roasted Veggie Quinoa arrived. It was healthy, delicious and huge.

St. Trop veg

Just as we were all finished and getting ready to head out, we realized poor Qwen and Gavin had STILL not received their food!  We must have been here close to an hour.

Qwen ordered a Caprese Panini that finally came out and it looked divine.

St. Trop panini

Gavin ordered the same French Burger as BP.  After eating less than half, and this is a 17 year old strapping young man we are talking about, he couldn’t finish and had to take the rest to go in a box.  We glanced over at BP’s plate.  So clean, they would barely even need to wash it.  He looked at Gavin’s and shrugged.

“And they are boxing up the rest while getting the check.  Blondie goes in for a refill on water. Guy at the end is laughing.  Seems they enjoyed their meal.  Lady with camera keeps yawning.”

The plan was to head over to Jojo’s Creamery after St Tropez, but everyone was tired and full.  In fact, out of the 12 of us, only one had room for ice cream.

Bottom Line:

St. Tropez was a total surprise.  Who knew this breakfast/lunch place has a multitude of delicious dinners?  There is something for everyone and the portions are large.  The best part was I finally found a place with reasonable prices!  Not cheap, but fair.  So many restaurants we eat at are good, but the price tag is just atrocious. At St. Tropez $9.50 for a large, quality burger with cheese, bacon and fries- totally worth it.  All of our food was not only delicious, it was also appropriately priced.

But the service, oy vey!  I really can’t blame them.  We rocked their world showing up for dinner with 12 of us.  I’m sure they are not used to having more than one or two at a time for dinner.  There were very few people working (we saw only one) and I think they (he) did their (his) best.  Luckily we weren’t in a rush.  But we ate in segments, with long periods of time between meals being brought out.

We loved sitting outside in the courtyard, and it made waiting easier.  Having someone watch over us with a dead stare while commentating every single thing we were doing was a bit odd at first. But odd actually turned into handy.  For instance, I didn’t know that Hubby was almost out of water until I heard it.  Or that Geoff was using his spoon to scrape off the cheese from the side of his soup bowl.  I also didn’t realize that BP was down to his last fry until I heard it from our “friend”.  These are things I didn’t catch myself, yet were clearly important details to our dinner.  Thank you “friend”.


Jojo’s Creamery

Jojo's scoop

Review #61

This cute little ice cream shop is located behind St. Tropez and would have been the perfect end to our meal if we weren’t so full.  BP had no issues and waltzed in ready for dessert.  The place is cozy with no lines unlike Handles, up the road. https://wordpress.com/post/diningonthe101.com/1731

Jojo's story

I am a huge fan of eating organic, and I HATE GMO’s! I didn’t realize that other ice creams may include strange sounding things like “guar gum, carageenan and locust bean gum” but not here.  Thank you Jojo’s for having our backs!

Jojo's sign

The choices are slim, again, only compared to Handles, but what they do have, they do well.  I said I was too full to eat any, but I didn’t say I was too full to try any.  Trying is not eating as there are no calories in tasting, duh.  Who can say no to a little smackeral of Peanut Butter Cup?  I’m only human!Jojo's flavors

Wow.  Oh wow.  Ohhhhhhhh  wowowowowowowow!!!!  This is amazing!  So much rich, real peanut buttery flavor with hunks of chocolate.  Maybe the best I’ve ever tasted.  Is Jojo’s a one trick pony?  Did I happen to just pick their very best flavor right off the bat?  Only one way to find out!  A little sample of Nibby Chocolate please!   Just cuz of the name “Nibby”.  I like that.  And here we go again.  A-Mazing!!!  Although two free samples seemed more than reasonable for someone not ordering any, I had to try our server’s favorite: Pomegranate Pistachio Swirl.  Not something I would ever choose, but if it’s her favorite, I have to take a taste.  YEP- Just as good as the other two!  I kid you not!

Jojo's flavorsmore

As if this place isn’t already off the charts incredible, they give you a freshly baked cookie for free with every scoop ordered!  You can upgrade to a bigger cookie for a buck which I would have gladly done if I were really eating ice cream tonight and not just tasting.

Jojo's cookies

Bottom Line:

I LOVE JOJO’S CREAMERY!  Organic, home made ice cream, are you kidding me?  This may be my favorite ice cream of all time.  I will have to come back to order a real scoop, with an upgraded cookie of course.

BP’s only complaint was this: TOO SMALL.  True, the scoops are treated more like gelato than the giant ones you get at Handles.  But to me, totally worth it.  This is my kind of ice cream!


3rd corner is postponed one week to November 17th at 6:30pm

3rd Corner Wine Shop and Bistro

http://www.the3rdcorner.com/

 

Blue Ribbon Artisan Pizzeria

 

Blue Ribbon sign

Review #59

Mention Blue Ribbon Pizza to any local and they will all tell you the same thing:  GET THE BUTTERSCOTCH PUDDING.  It’s the first thing that comes to anyone’s mind who knows this place. “But how’s the pizza?” I ask. And then they always go off again on how amazing the pudding is.  I would have to see for myself.

Blue Ribbon Pizza is in a prime location in the Lumberyard right in the middle of the 101 hustle and bustle.  The small restaurant has expanded with two patios which is perfect for San Diego outdoor dining.

Blue Ribbon patio

I was also told by many people to order the popcorn appetizer.  Really?  Another place trying to do something trendy with popcorn?  When it comes to popcorn, I am a purist.  I don’t like it sweet.  I don’t like it cheesy.  Heck, I don’t even like it salted.  I like my popcorn popped with some coconut oil and nothing else.  It’s good just like that and doesn’t need all the fancy stuff that everyone likes to ruin it with.  But Milwaukee born, Packer-loving Tracy was with us tonight.  As soon as she saw the word “Wisconsin” on the menu, she was all over it!

Blue Ribbon apps

Heirloom black seed popcorn comes from black colored cobs and have smaller but sweeter tasting kernels.  I skeptically tried some and almost fell over.  What in the heck did they do to this popcorn?  It was amazing!  I scooped some out and passed it down and everyone dug in.  It was incredible.  Was it the truffle oil? Was it the more flavorful popcorn?  Nope.  It was all about the cheese!  The parmigiano reggiano cheese piled on top was out of this world!  I am now a believer.

Blue Ribbon poporn
Heirloom Wisconsin Black Seed Popcorn

They serve Coke in a bottle which I guess is a big deal for some because Tracy was giddy about this as well.

Blue Ribbon coke

The BLT salad with smoked bacon and butter lettuce was simple but delicious.

Blue Ribbon BLT
BLT Salad

The Little Gems Caesar Salad is made with garlic bread crumbs instead of croutons so you get some with every bite.  I don’t know that I prefer bread crumbs to croutons, but the dressing was tangy, flavorful and the salad worked.

Blue Ribbon Ceasar
Little Gems Caesar Salad

Mira insisted on ordering the Fried Brussels sprouts.  I typically don’t like fried food and find the grease off-putting.  But again, I was wrong!  These Brussels sprouts made me sing show tunes!  Were they greasy?  You bet!  But paired with a bite of salad to dumb down the richness a bit,  it was like a symphony of flavor that was almost more than I could stand.  “OOOOk-lahoma, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain!”  There’s no way any butterscotch pudding could be better than this. This has got to be the best thing on the menu.

Blue Ribbon Brussels
Fried Brussels Sprouts

Blue Ribbon makes their own pizza dough, their own sauce, their own pepperoni, sausage and even makes their own cheese!  “Artisan crusts” mean they are hand tossed and often misshapen.  I guess there have been some pissed off customers about this because they needed to put a disclaimer on the menu.

Blue Ribbon menu

Geoff ordered “My Father’s Pizza” with Blue Ribbon’s homemade meats.  It was very good.  I think the crust tastes better misshapen.

Blue Ribbon pizzas
My Father’s Pizza on top, Epic Pizza on bottom

The “Signature” pizza is made with lemon zest, three cheeses, red onion and fresh basil.  We were split on the verdict.  Some (mostly just Mary) felt very strongly that the lemon zest made it taste sweet (it didn’t) and she felt it was more like a dessert pizza (she’s wrong).  Luckily, I get the last word on this, and my word is “yum!” The lemon zest is quite prominent but gives the pizza a unique and bright flavor that most of us (who have good taste) loved.

Blue Ribbon sig
Signature Pizza

My eldest, who loves sharing others’ food, but not so much his own, ordered all the things I don’t like. The “Epic” includes, among other things, Canadian bacon (PASS), goat cheese (BLECH!) and jalapenos (NOPE).  He got the whole thing to himself and was a happy camper.

Blue Ribbon spicy

The winning pizza by leaps and bounds goes to “Truffle Shuffle (swapping out the goat cheese ((BLECH)) for fresh ricotta).  It’s rich. It’s decadent. It’s so freaking good that I wouldn’t need to order any stinking pudding.  Nothing could be better than this! This is better than dessert.  This pizza gets the BLUE RIBBON!

Blue Ribbon mushroom

Of course, there was no way to really leave without ordering this butterscotch pudding that I have heard more about lately than which proposition to vote on.  Plus we did eat our meat.

 

 

It’s butterscotch and really, who’s favorite is butterscotch anything?  It’s topped with salted caramel and fresh whip cream.  Of course it’s good, but is it worth the hype?

Blue Ribbon puddings

OH HELL YES IT IS!!!  I found the proof!  I typically don’t like things that are so sweet, but I bow down to this very sweet, butterscotch creation of all things good in the world of food.  Worth all the hype.  Worth every calorie.  I felt another show tune coming on…..”Seventy-six trombones led the big parade!”  If Tracy’s tongue could have reached any further, her mason jar would have been licked clean as new.  Thank you Lynne, Cathy, Michelle, the guy from Craigslist who just bought my son’s old golf clubs, Kim, Mira, Marlo, Anne, Jen, Violet, Debbie, Joyce, Dana, my mailman, and to the three people in the restaurant who heard that I was blogging here tonight for recommending this dessert.  Suggestion taken!  The only person, I’m pretty sure anywhere, who didn’t care for it was Hubby.   He is in a committed relationship with chocolate and he doesn’t cheat.

Bottom Line:

We had an excellent dinner at Blue Ribbon.  We loved sitting outside on the patio this cool evening, with plenty of heat lamps available.  Our waiter was polite, friendly and efficient.  The food we ordered was fantastic.  The beer was cold and the selection was great.  Best of all, the company was superb!  Some say Blue Ribbon is over-priced but my group disagrees.  Look, you’re not at Chuck E. Cheese eating cardboard.   This is the real deal, with quality food made in-house.  It’s pizza for adults. If you’re meal does not have you smiling with delight and singing show tunes in your head, than you ordered something different than I did.


Next week’s blog will be for dinner at 6pm

Saint Tropez Bistro and Beyond

https://sttbistro.com/menu

Followed by:

JoJo’s Creamery

http://jojoscreamery.com/

 

The Lumberyard Tavern

Lumberyard Tavern sign

Review #58

I have just come back from a short vacay to New Orleans- the culinary capital of our country.  Creamy sweet potato bisque, freshly shucked oysters, fried artichoke hearts with hollandaise, and caramelized bananas over vanilla bean ice cream.  Done.  Just DONE.  Coming back to SD for “tavern food” wasn’t really something I was dying for.  I have just experienced three days of NOLA food bliss and the powdered sugar from Cafe Du Monde has just barely left my lips.

But an American Tavern was on tonight’s agenda, and I was going to give it a fair go.  For a Sunday night the place wasn’t exactly crowded.  Some might even call it a ghost town.

Lumberyard space

In fact, it was ghoulishly empty.Lumberyard ghoul

On a night with sports, The Lumberyard Tavern would be packed.  This place is prepared, with tv’s everywhere.  I didn’t know we just missed the National League playoffs.  Lucky for this sports-hater!  We practically had the place to ourselves.

Lumberyard bar

Or maybe it was the shady clientele that scared off the regular paying customers this night.

Lumberyard decor

Our server, Craig, was very nice and aimed to please.  He told us he was the only one working the floor so if we needed anything, just holler.  I took this advice literally.

The menu didn’t have as many choices as some other sports bars we’ve been to, but that’s not a bad thing.  They offered typical burgers, sandwiches and salads, with a few surprises as well.  We placed our orders and started with the roasted Brussel Sprouts that called to all of us.

Lumberyard Brussel

They were not greasy and very delicious.  (Do squeeze the lemon over them, it makes a difference.)

Lumberyard sprouts

Soon, my eldest and his friend arrived and needed to order quickly to catch up.  But where was Craig?  “Craig!” I yelled.  Even though more people had arrived.  In fact, the tavern was actually filling up.  “Craig!!”  I tried louder.  “The menus! We need more!”  I suddenly felt like Chazz in the movie “Wedding Crashers” with his mom and the meatloaf.  Well he did say to holler if we needed something!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bMs04JK0BQ

We ordered a variety of menu items, which everyone enjoyed.  Nothing spectacular, but no complaints from anyone either.

Lumberyard burger
Tavern 2×4
Lumberyard turkey
House Roasted Turkey Sandwich with Sweet Potato Fries
Lumberyard turkey burger
In-house made Turkey Burger with a generous side salad
Lumberyard tacos
Fish Tacos without crema
Lumberyard Reuben
Reuben Sandwich
Lumberyard penne
Tavern Chicken Penne- with this much garlic, cream and cheese how could it be bad? 

I noticed a gentleman at another table trying to get Craig’s attention for his check by waiving a napkin in the air.  But Craig was now busy helping other customers at the other end of the room and didn’t notice.  “Craig!!!” I yelled really loud.  “THE GUY OVER THERE NEEDS HIS CHECK.  CRAIG!  THE CHECK!!

Lumberyard sports

Bottom Line:

All of the food at The Lumberyard Tavern was good.  Above average.  The menu wasn’t pretentious, and delivered better than I expected.  After my recent breakfast at Brennan’s in N’awlins, I just can’t do The Tavern weekend brunch though. It would just be sad.  But I will be coming back with my cheatin’ trivia buddy, Tracy, for some Wednesday night fun for sure!  When you come, order the Brussel Sprouts, they were the best thing I tried.  If you can’t find a server to help you, I told you what to do.   Just holler across the room for Craig.  If you’re a parent like me, you won’t have any trouble with this.


Join us next week, Sunday, October 28th at 6pm at

Blue Ribbon Pizza

https://www.blueribbonpizzeria.com/

 

Goodonya Organic Eatery

Review #57Good sign

After delving into the gluttony of tacos, burgers, pizza and donuts that have arisen on our 101 journey, it’s a badly needed break to have a place like Goodonya show up.  It’s hard work eating one’s way through Encinitas, and no amount of Orangetheory or spin classes can undo all the damage!

Goodonya appeared just in the nick of time too.  This is my clean-eating week right before I leave for New Orleans!  There’s no clean eating there.  It ain’t just their rice that’s dirty.  It’s the land of beignets, Bananas Foster and drive-thru daiquiris and I need to prepare both mentally and dietarally for the damage about to be done!  Starting off this week with a plate of healthy food at Goodonya was just what I needed!

When I first walked inside, I was happy to see good ole local coffee from Moto Deli on the counter.  I love when local businesses support each other, it makes me feel all warm and gooey inside.  It’s cute.  And we love Moto Deli!  My family has been back there multiple times since my review.

Good coffee

Goodonya has a delightful little store of healthy goodies you can purchase if you are out and about in downtown Encinitas and want to eat clean. “Mom, they sell the same disgusting bars you have at home” says BP.  Some people haven’t acquired a taste for bars using real ingredients and no refined sugar.

Good store

Besides catering to us high maintenance, health food crazed locals, Goodonya is a safe place to come for people with allergies, offering gluten-free, dairy-free and nut-free options.  This is the first restaurant where I had a glass straw offered in my drink, and I loved it!

Good straws

Although I didn’t try any this time, they have plenty of wicked-good sounding Kombucha on tap, and I am a Kombucha addict!

Good kombucha

We sat down and Hillary, our attentive server, said she needed to point out something at our table.  She is required from her strong moral conviction and possibly the City of Encinitas to  warn us about the hot sauce at the table.  “And it comes out FAST!” She warns.  “Hey!  I need all eyes on me.  Do you all hear me?  Repeat what I just said about this hot sauce” she demanded.  I thought she was going have us sign waivers.

Good hot sauce

We ordered some chips with salsa and guac to get us going.  I heard that the food can take a long time to get out, so this would keep the wolves at bay.

Good guac

Both guac and salsa were delicious.  I love the little sprouts on top.  Makes you feel like you’re eating healthy even though it’s chips and salsa.  Goodonya does something very helpful here without even knowing it.  The tortilla chips that accompany the guac and salsa are super flimsy.  As soon as you get a hunk of good stuff on your chip, it snaps in half.  This is great for sharing with a large crowd of people like we had.  There was no way for BP or his brother to mow through the guac quickly.  They could only take a tiny bit at a time, and even that caused the chips to snap.  Because of this, there was plenty for everyone and we even ended up with extra because the sad chips couldn’t handle the job they were born to do.

Good chips broken

Mary and Geoff ordered the Pesto Crostini appetizer.  Besides being 100% organic, the cheese is from grass-fed cows.  Doesn’t it seem silly that places need to brag about having dairy products from grass-fed cows?  Doesn’t it seem like a thing that should just be standard?  Ask me on the side about my thoughts on GMOs , commercially raised meats and FDA standards and I will be happy to rant.  But Hubby won’t let me do it here, so back to crostini.  It was yumm-a-licious!

Good bruscetta

Gavin ordered from the “Organic Breakfast All Day” part of the menu, which you gotta love.

Good breakfast

The menu shows a variety of organic bowls, so healthy that I bet eating one actually adds at least a full year on to your life.  I went for the one with Pesto Shredded Chicken.

Good menu

I love all the fresh ingredients but found the flavor a bit bland.  The bone broth in the middle is a nice touch, but I am a bone broth snob, and if the broth doesn’t gel, it doesn’t gel with me!  The beauty of bone broth is all about the collagen-gel. Still, I enjoyed it , and ya know, an extra year of life and all.

Good chicken

Many others went for the Mexi-Bowl. Our eldest reached for the evil bottle of red hot sauce.  We laughed as it poured out fast into his bowl.  Can’t say he wasn’t warned!  “I’m fine.” He bragged.  This is a kid who traveled to Thailand and ordered all dishes “hot”.  That’s a level of heat we don’t even have in America.

Good mexi

Our eldest’s girlfriend ordered a California Pizza without the cashew sauce since she’s highly allergic to nuts.  “Are you sure Hillary heard you about the nuts?” I asked her, a bit nervous since cashews are something usually on this dish. “I sure hope so” she giggled. “Because I didn’t bring my epi pen with me!  Hahaha!”

Good salad
California Pizza without cashews

But the clear winner of ordering tonight goes to Mary with her 100% grass-fed beef Hot dog Stack!  Kind of an odd thing to have on the menu at this ridiculously healthy restaurant.  Then again, if you’re going to eat a hot dog, this is the one you want.  This baby is all organic and comes with sauerkraut and homemade pickles. No one enjoyed their meal more than Mary!

Good hotdog
Hot dog Stack

BP rounded out his shrimp taco meal with a slice of organic Pumpkin Cheesecake.  I don’t care how healthy this cheesecake is, it is divine!  Super delicious with lots of pumpkin spice flavor.  Really really good!

Good cheesecake

As we were packing up our leftovers in to-go boxes, none needed for BP, I was shocked to see so much of my eldest’s meal still intact.  “You ok?” I asked him, worried. “It really was hot.” he whispered in a hoarse voice.  I have never seen him defeated before.

We said good-bye to Hillary and staff, promising to come back soon.  Sweetest ladies around!

Good ladies

Bottom Line:

Goodonya is exactly what downtown Encinitas needs.   It is really hard to make super healthy food also taste good, and they have nailed it.   This is now my go-to place to take my friends out for birthdays or place to go when I need a detox before a trip to a place like NO.

If you’re the kind of person who thinks an all organic Sprout Probiotic salad sounds good, than Goodonya is your place!  If not, please join us on our next blog to the Lumberyard Tavern where plenty of unhealthy GMO’d nachos and burgers are surely waiting!

Good crew
Some of the 101 usual suspects!

 


Join us in two weeks, on October 21st at 6:00pm  for

Lumberyard Tavern

https://lumberyard101.com/

Swami’s Cafe

Swami's signReview #56

The first time I went to Swami’s Cafe was about 18 years ago when I first moved to Encinitas.   I remember limited parking, limited outdoor seating and feeding my leftovers to the local birds. We were told Swami’s was an Encinitas icon and we had to go now that we were local “Encinidians”.  We went.  We loved it.

Coming back to Swami’s was like coming home again.  Except I barely recognized it!  Like when you come home from college for the first time to find out your room has been turned into a quilting room.  All of the horse posters you tore out of thousands of magazines and collected for years and years are gone, just gone!  Your treasures, memories and childhood dreams have been boxed up and sent to the attic so your mom’s fabrics and quilts have a place to lay.  Well, it was kind of like that.  But without the heart wrench.  The sweet consignment store that used to be next door where I would sell old baby joggers and toddler clothes is no more.  It has all been turned into indoor seating for this new, improved Swami’s!  And the small, run-down deck has doubled in size with upscale tables and chairs.  Now there is tons of well needed outdoor seating.  The run-down, graffitied counter to order from is still around, so it hasn’t lost all of it’s charm.  It’s ok, mom still loves us.

The first thing to get excited about is Swami’s extensive coffee bar.

Swami's coffee

And tea drinkers can rejoice, because you haven’t been over-looked!

Swami's tea

Although there is a real menu, there’s plenty of great options on the white board.

Swami's mennu

I remember having my first-ever Acai Bowl at Swami’s all those years ago when I first came here.   I was happy to see Debbie-the-acai-expert order one.  I know she is a die hard Java Hut Hula Monkey  Acai Bowl connoisseur but I hoped she liked this one too.  She ordered hers with a side of peanut butter, just like she gets at JH.  Swami’s is a huge portion with tons of fruit, but in Debbie’s heart, no one does it as good as Java Hut.  She literally ducked her head in shame when she walked to her car later, parked across the street from JH.  She was ridden with the guilt of a cheating lover.

Swami's acai

I wasn’t able to get a good picture of my oldest’s order of “chilaquiles”, or as I like to  call them “chicky lickys”, but they were only ok.  Plentiful in portion but on the bland  in taste. Not how I envision Chef Bobby Flay makes them.

The Green Omelet with spinach, asparagus, zucchini and feta was delicious.  Plenty of perfectly ripened avocado on top.  The salsa was tasty but very mild.  Luckily they offer bottles of much hotter sauce to kick it up some notches.  The potatoes were only ok.  (I still dream of the potatoes at The 101 Diner.  Nothing else compares.)

Swami's green

BP ordered a Black Egg Burrito.  The “black” refers to the black beans, not in fact, black eggs.  That would be weird.  My enthusiastic Bottomless Pit of a son couldn’t have been more thrilled.  “BEST breakfast burrito I’ve ever had!” he proclaimed while cleaning his plate, then mine, then his brother’s.

Swami's breakfast burrito

For a very long time, my oldest has been boasting about the elusive “Blueberry Shake” that Swami’s only serves from time to time, and isn’t on the menu.  Over and over I have heard how it’s the most amazing thing ever, if you are lucky enough to get one.  We were in luck, because Debbie was able to get one on this day.  In my opinion it was way too sweet.  But if that’s your thing, it’s a fine shake.

Swami's shake

I was hoping to feed the cute chick-a-dees my left overs before they got BP’d.  I have memories of being here long ago, all Snow White-like as these cute birds came to me, totally unafraid and grateful for my scraps.  But now these signs are everywhere.

Swami's don't feed

Bottom Line:

Swami’s Cafe in Encinitas has delicious food with huge portions.  There are lots of unique and healthy options.  But the reason to come here is definitely the LOCATION.  This is an Encinitas institution.  I have heard that they have 11 locations opened now in the San Diego area.  How can they all be as good as this one?  The 101 has the breeze and smell of the ocean from SWAMI’s beach across the street.  The Self-Realization Center is right there, emitting peace and restful vibes.

Swami's self realization

The weird and quirky “Welcome to Encinitas” sign right across the street.  These are the things that help make Swami’s Cafe so great!

Swami's weird sign

I’m sure the other 10 locations are good, but come on, they aren’t really SWAMI’s.  You need to be here, on the 101, across from SWAMI’s beach to really be here.  This is home.  Oh, and if you want to order the very secret blueberry shake, just ask for the “Blue Berry Blues”.  If you forget the name, you can find it where we did.  Right there, on their permanent menu under “Ice Cream Smoothies”.


Next week’s blog will be on Sunday, October 7th at 6:00pm

Goodonya Organic Eatery

https://goodonyaorganic.com/

Cicciotti’s

Cicc sign

Review #55

Tonight is the first night of San Diego’s Restaurant Week.  Many restaurants in the area offer a small menu at a fixed price to entice people to come and try what they have to offer.  It’s a really fun, and often less expensive, way to try some different places in your hood.  Cicciotti’s is offering a three course meal for $20/person.  We are all in!

I was told tonight that Cicciotti’s is pronounced “chich-oat-ease”, but I had to confirm this with two employees to be sure.  Last time I was there they told me it was pronounced “chich-ot-ease”.  Next time I go I will ask again.  And I will most likely be told it’s “chich-ee-otee”.  They probably have like 5 or 6 different ways to say it and they love messing with people when asked.  Which is often.

For $20 per person, you get to pick an appetizer, main course and dessert.   The portions are smaller than on their regular menu, but they are big enough and the selection is very good.

Cicc menu

Dangerously good bread was brought to our table right away, and greedy hands were geared for gobbling.

Cicc bread finger

Trying to keep things PG-rated here, I had to kick Hand #1 out from the picture, and from all future blogs. You flippa your bird, you ban from my blogga.  (That’s my Italian right there.)

Ah hem.  As I was saying.  Greedy hands were geared for gobbling.

Cicc bread

Much better.  The bread here is served with butter and not traditional olive oil and vinegar.  This is an important detail for some people.  “Pop”, my late father in law, flat out REFUSED to enter an establishment that served bread without butter.  We would have to call Italian restaurants ahead of time and ask if their table bread was served with butter or olive oil and vinegar, which was a deal breaker.  Pop would give Cicciotti’s two thumbs up.

Off to a good start with the delicious bread and butter, I also greatly enjoyed drinking my water out of a mug with a handle.  Unlike a typical water glass, the mug is not cold and wet to touch and you don’t melt the ice with your warm hand.  Now that plastic straws are outlawed in this town, enjoyable drinking vessel options are limited, and worth commenting on.Cicc water glass

The regular Ravioli with Red Sauce appetizer arrived as delicious as ever.

Cicc red ravioli

The Butternut Squash ravioli was heavy on the sage (NEVER go heavy with sage!  Or thyme.) It was not as good.

Cicc cream rav

I found the Lobster and Shrimp Bisque to be overly thick and very salty.  I am a soup snob and this one does not pass my test.  But both my kids are used to eating my very healthy, low sodium, vegetable based soups.  Never with cream and butter.  They both about blew a gasket trying this thick bowl of rich soup with real cream.  Will they ever go back to mine or are they now ruined forever?

Cicc bisque

The meatball on a bed of ricotta cheese and marinara was very good.  We finished it wanting more.

Cicc meatball

For our main course, there were enough of us to order everything offered.

Cicc steak
Filet Mignon
Cicc pasta
Mezzanelle con capesante e gambori alla Diavola

Bottomless Pit inhaled his Ossobuco like he was a caveman eating his first kill.  No delicate bites and savoring tastes here.  He Eat Meat Like Real Man.  But his exact words were, “I really like how the meat just falls off the bone right into the risotto waiting there for it.” Everyone else who ordered the Ossobuco agreed with BP that it was terrific.Cicc lamb

DIANE, who made it very clear that she would love to be mentioned in the blog, ordered the salmon, as I did. We both enjoyed it a lot.  Especially DIANE. I loved the tender yet still crisp vegetables and DIANE loved the lobster and crab sauce.  And you know who loves their mashed potatoes shaped into a flower?  DIANE!

Cicc salmon

If Tiramisu is your thing, this one looked nice.  (Can you tell it is totally NOT my thing?)

Cicc tiera

Same with the Cannoli

Cicc canoli

But how can anyone order anything other than “Souffle a cioccolato” aka Belgium Chocolate Lava Cake when offered on a menu??  Eight out of ten of us agreed.

Cicc lava

There’s no need to bother with the hardened outside.  I broke into the middle right away.  It’s all about the lava!  Give me that gooey chocolate magma middle Baby!  But to my absolute horror of horrors, nothing gooey or melty came out!  This was an over-cooked chocolate puck!   You know what they call lava after it dries up?  Granite!  I looked at everyone else’s plate and their chocolate-granite-pucks were in the exact same condition!  How come no one but me is upset and complaining here?  We need to send these back, they are a complete disaster!  My oldest looked at me and said, “Mom, breathe.  And just taste it as is.” So I took a bite.  Ok, it was good.  Great.  It was great.  But this was over cooked and a total rookie mistake, uncalled for from a restaurant of this caliber.  Just on principle I will only have one more…two more…four more bites and I’m leaving the rest over.

Bottom Line:

Cicciotti’s, no matter how you say it, is one of the few restaurants I’ve reviewed that Hubby and I have been to before.  In fact, this is our go-to Italian restaurant.  Although I can’t say that every single thing I’ve ordered has been great, most of the food is.  And there is also a killer Groupon available all the time!  The restaurant week menu allowed me to try some new things, but I will stick to my favorites next time.  The Salmon Piccata and Eggplant Parmesan are dope.  BP always gets the Cheese Ravioli or Lasagna while my other two stick with whatever seafood pasta they find.  These are our staples.  If they would have called the “Souffle a cioccolato” “Chocolate Brownie” I would give it top marks.  But don’t promise me lava and give me granite- that is unforgivable!  As is flippin’ the bird in one of my photos!


Next week’s blog will be back on the 101, on Sunday, September 30th NEW TIME 8:30am

at

Swami’s Cafe

http://swamiscafe.com/

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Pop