Archive for the ‘Restaurant reviews’ Category

North San Diego’s Best Coffee Houses

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

Many people use big chains to grab their favorite brew each day, but I have always been a fan of small, local coffee houses – and it makes me feel good too to support local businesses. Here in North San Diego we are lucky to have some fantastic places to grab your tea or coffee, sit and do some work, have a business meeting or visit with a friend or spouse. Here are my favorites from Carlsbad to La Jolla:

LCCRLa Costa Coffee Roasting: This place has been a staple in the Aviara community of Southwest Carlsbad for as long as I can remember (at least over 20 years). The coffees and teas are great, they feature daily specials, and there are a variety of pastries. They sell coffee in bulk, which is roasted on the premises, and whole leaf teas as well (no boxed tea bags here!). On Friday nights there is live music, and once a month they host open mic nights. The outdoor seating area is wonderful, with comfortable sofas and big umbrellas. 6965 El Camino Real, Ste 208 Carlsbad, CA 92009 (off El Camino between Aviara Pkwy and Dove Lane). 760-438-8160.

Vinaka Cafe, Carlsbad Village: This quaint coffee house serves wonderful coffee and tea drinks, and sits in the heart of the IMG_4939Village. There are many local regulars and the food is fresh and delicious and not overpriced. There is a very relaxed feel here and you will always be welcomed. 300 Carlsbad Village Dr, Ste 211, Carlsbad, CA 92008. 760-720-7890.


oBetter Buzz, Encinitas: The newest coffee house in the ‘hood of downtown Encinitas is creating a buzz. The atmosphere is wonderful, with high ceilings and a funky, hip vibe. Coffee and tea drinks are tasty, and they also offer yummy smoothies and a selection of eats, including the famed avocado toast and fresh acai bowls. Located in the heart of downtown Encinitas, this is a new favorite hang out, whether relaxing or on the way to and from shopping, dining or a trip to Whole Foods. 578 S Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA 92024. 760-487-5562.


Pannikin, Encinitas: Pannikin is a landmark on Coast Highway in Encinitas, and the big yellow Victorian house has been a thfavorite among locals and visitors since 1968. The atmosphere and coffee/tea drinks are fantastic (serving whole leaf teas, with loose tea for sale), and the food can’t be beat. Enjoy a full breakfast and lunch menu, from healthy breakfasts to scrumptious sandwiches and soups, and a delicious selection of baked goods. If you’ve never visited you are missing out on a iconic Encinitas spot that is great for people watching. Sit inside or out. 510 N. Highway 101, Encinitas CA 92024. 760-436-5824.



Swell Cafe, Del Mar: Located in the redesigned Flower Hill Promenade, this former Pannikin is a great place to relax, meet or work/study. The coffee and food is good, and the outdoor seating is plentiful – plus it a great shopping center and there is a Whole Foods downstairs. 2670 Via De La Valle, Del Mar, CA 92014.


The Living Room, La Jolla Village: I love stopping in here when I am in the Village, and have been visiting for many years. It is a comfy and eclectic coffee house with a vibe that truly lives up to its name, complete with antique furniture and a velvet cushioned love seat. Sit in the back and enjoy ocean peeks. Great coffee drinks and smoothies, delicious desserts and and a full lunch and breakfast menu. A great place to stop when out walking the beach, shopping the Village or after visiting the seals/sea lions at the Children’s Pool. 1010 Prospect St, La Jolla, CA 92037.


Next time you are in the mood for coffee or tea, support local small businesses and try one of our local coffee houses – you’ll be happy you did. If you have a North County favorite coffee/tea spot that I did not mention, or make a new discovery, please comment with name and location…I love trying new places!



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Fabulous Encinitas Restaurant Unlike Any Other

Friday, September 17th, 2010

I had the pleasure of dining this week at The Greenery in Leucadia (Encinitas), and I have to say that if you want to sample a lunch that I guarantee will be one of, if not THE, healthiest, freshest and best tasting you have ever eaten, you need to plan a visit.

The Greenery is an all natural, organic, raw, vegan restaurant. Now, before you roll your eyes and move to find another blog to read, give me a moment to explain. Most people think of those who adhere to a raw diet sitting down to a plate full of carrot slices, some nuts and some raw leafy greens…boring and definitely not something you would get your family to eat, right? But if you truly understand the raw diet and actually taste what can be created with a little bit of know-how, you will be AMAZED.

Melissa and Chris Carrier, the owners of this restaurant, make all dishes fresh daily, with organic produce. For lunch everything is pre-packaged and you choose your items from the refrigerator. I tried the “burger,” which consists of a sprouted buckwheat bun topped with a veggie walnut patty, sun dried tomato ketchup, mac/pine nut “cheese,” mustard, carmelized onions, lettuce and tomato. It was so tasty I ate the whole thing, plus the fresh greens salad made with kale and a delicious creamy dressing. My husband had the pizza, his favorite, which is made on a butternut squash crust, with fresh marinara, sun dried tomatoes, and mac-pine nut “cheese” topped with kalamata olives, leeks and red bell peppers.

Some other offerings may include Vegetable Curry, Pad Thai, Spaghetti and Meatballs, and a Cream Cheese Sandwich. Aside from the incredible flavor of these dishes, you will likely notice you feel better after eating this “live” food. It is so beneficial for your body and provides natural energy.

One last thing, although we were full we wanted to try one of the homemade desserts. Skeptical as to whether a raw vegan dessert could actually satisfy a sweet tooth, we were pleasantly surprised by the scrumptious Banana Cream Pie. It had an almond-date “crust, with almonds and dates inside, loads of fresh bananas, and a creamy topping made from fresh coconut. I have to tell you that my sweet tooth was satisfied, and to think that it was actually good for me! There is no refined sugar, preservatives, chemicals, frying, cooking, fats, dairy or processed foods used in any of the dishes. But you will never miss them one iota…trust me!

Menu items may change daily, but there are a few staples that are usually available. Dessert items vary daily as well. Prices are reasonable, with a typical item costing between $8 and $12. I recommend going with a friend and sharing a few items so you can sample all the different flavors. Dinner is served from a menu and made to order.

The Greenery is located at 133 Daphne Street, in Encinitas, on the corner of Daphne and Highway 101 directly behind Mozy Cafe (the entrance is on Daphne). The restaurant is open Monday through Saturday, 11:30-3:00 for lunch and 5:30-8:30 for dinner. Be warned that weekends are crowded, so plan accordingly. The number is 760-479-0996. To learn more you can visit their website at Bon appetite!

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Great Breakfasts in Carlsbad

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

I love going out to breakfast, and here in Carlsbad we are lucky to have some great places to choose from. Here are a few of my favorites, so if you have not tried them you have something to look forward to.

The Naked Cafe: This is one of my all-time favorite breakfast spots. Located in downtown Carlsbad (with alternate locations in Solana Beach and Encinitas), Naked Cafe offers healthy breakfasts and lunches that are also delicious. There are plenty of egg dishes (my favorite is the Plate of Prosperity, which consists of egg whites with spinach, feta cheese and veggie sausage, red quinoa, zucchini, tomatoes, salsa and a fresh spinach wrap), and absolutely incredible pancakes. Everything tastes fresh and is good for you too. They have lattes, tea lattes, cappucinos and fresh juices.

If you prefer lunch there is an array of scrumptious salads, sandwiches, wraps and more. It is a little on the pricey side but well worth it, and is on 10 News’ A-list. The Carlsbad location is at 300 Carlsbad Village Drive, Suite 107a, on the corner of Carlsbad Village Drive and Carlsbad Blvd in the Village Faire shopping center. To see the complete menu go to 760-720-7866.

The Broken Yolk Cafe: A popular breakfast place, the Broken Yolk has great food, large portions and decent prices. Select from a vast array of traditional American breakfasts such as omelettes and egg dishes, pancakes and more. The fruit is always fresh, as is the coffee (but no lattes or cappucinos). Most items are large enough to share if you don’ t have an enormous appetite. There is usually a line so plan to wait a bit for a seat.

Broken Yolk has been in San Diego since 1979 but just opened in Carlsbad a few years ago. Other locations include Pacific Beach, Eastlake, the Gaslamp district downtown and the newest location in San Marcos. Broken Yolk has won the “best breakfast” award multiple times. The Carlsbad location is in La Costa at the corner of El Camino Real and La Costa, at 7670 El Camino Real. Broken Yolk is definitely kid-friendly. To see the complete menu go to 760-943-8182.

The Armenian Cafe: This is another place I highly recommend if you have not been, and the location is not so shabby either. Located in the Village of Carlsbad with an expansive patio for outdoor dining with an ocean view, the Armenian Cafe offers delicious breakfasts with a mediterranean flair. Choose from omelettes and scrambles unlike anything you’re used to: from lobster to seafood to gyros, Armenian and Lebanese sausages and falafel. The portions are large and there is a kid’s menu but only for lunch or dinner.

The lunch and dinner entrees are also fabulous and very fresh, so no matter what meal you enjoy there you won’t be disappointed–and if you go for dinner on the weekends you will get to enjoy belly dancing! The restaurant has also been the recipient of numerous “Best Breakfast” awards. The Armenian Cafe is located at 3126 Carlsbad Blvd., just a few blocks south of Carlsbad Village Drive. Visit the website at 760-720-2233.

Now that I have made myself hungry I can’t wait until tomorrow! Enjoy and let me know what you think.

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Fountain of Youth in Encinitas

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

I have always lived by the adage that if you discover something amazing you should share it with others. That is why I have to tell you about the Fountain of Youth Juice in Encinitas. Yes, I said “juice,” and no, this is not your chain smoothie store where sugary frozen concoctions are mixed up (although they DO have delectable healthy smoothies and delicious sandwiches). You don’t have to be a health nut like me to fall in love with this place.

Owners Abdul and Tania took over this juice store from previous owners just two and a half years ago, and they have a cultish following that brings dedicated customers to them from as far as El Cajon, Mexico and Orange County. Once you visit them you will understand why.dreamstime_6915001

Ironically, one week after acquiring the business Abdul was diagnosed with Lymphoma. He opted to go through chemotherapy, which as most people know depletes nutrients from the body and causes many people to feel ill. Abdul combined daily fresh juice treatments with his chemotherapy‚he never felt sick or tired and he is now cancer-free. This is because the nutrients in the fresh vegetable mixtures he drank restored those in his body that the chemo dissolves.

Tania was diagnosed a while ago with adult onset diabetes and had to endure two insulin injections a day. Along with exercise and making better food choices, she began juice therapy‚she drinks 64 ounces a day of their green juice (a mixture of various vegetables like spinach, celery, parsley, and cilantro). She has cured her diabetes and no longer requires insulin shots or any medication.

Fountain of Youth juice provides many different types of juice therapy, helping those with cancers, candida and irritable bowel syndrome, for example.

stockvault_8084_20070703One of the most popular choices is the three day body cleanse. It consists of drinking 64 ounces of fresh juice for three days (a different juice each day, which you pick up beforehand). You simply drink 8 ounces every hour, with 8 ounces or more of water in between, and eat a healthy dinner (protein and vegetables)‚no sugars or starches. I personally have tried this and I can’t tell you how great you feel. You DON’T feel hungry because you are putting nutrients into your body, not starving yourself, so you actually have a great deal of energy. You cleanse your organs (liver, colon, intestines, bladder), lose a few pounds and just feel better. You can do this every few months if you like, or whenever you want a great cleanse. Abdul does it once a month.

If you are feeling sluggish or feel a cold coming on you can try a ginger shot. It is a concoction of fresh ginger, carrot, other veggies and fresh cinnamon. When you drink it your whole body warms up instantly and you will feel better…it is one of my favorites.

If you find yourself in Encinitas and want to stop by you will find that Abdul and Tania are a wealth of information on the role different vegetables, fruits, spices and supplements play in our bodies and their benefits to different organs. They are located at 168 N. El Camino Real, in the Baja Fresh/Daphne’s (old Albertson’s) shopping center, in the back. The number is 760.943.6862. Let me know what you think…Salute!

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