Sunday, June 30, 2013

Eating My Way Thru Encinitas

Vertical succulent garden at the Bier House
Submitted by Michelle

When taking a vacation, many people plan their trips around activities and interesting things that one can do while in a certain locale.  Not me.  I like to plan my trips around food.  While some may think I have a food obsession, I prefer to view myself as a foodie.  I like to try new things and experience flavors and tastes that I can't cook for myself or get in my own neighborhood restaurants.  Since we have been coming to Encinitas for many years now we have our favorites, but some new places have popped up that deserve a Front Row Friends endorsement.  

The first is Honey's.  One of my Weight Watcher friends in the desert recommended this breakfast and lunch establishment to me. 
It is close to where we stay, so David and I were able to walk over one morning for breakfast.  He had the blueberry pancakes and I had the coconut french toast (pictured below.)  It was to die for!  The coconut is part of the batter and ends up getting caramelized when it is cooked.  While I'm not sure of the Weight Watcher's Plus Points Value of the coconut french toast,  I am sure that it was delicious.  And as luck would have it, Debra (my friend from WW who recommended Honey's to me) came in while I was there!  
Blue Ribbon Artisan Pizzeria is a tried and true favorite of ours.  We went there on our last day at the beach which was coincidentally my birthday.  
We tried the Summer Pizza, which usually isn't on the menu.  It consisted of tomato sauce, mozzarella, locally grown organic vegetables and basil puree.  I loved it, especially the ultra thin slices of eggplant that were baked into the cheesy goodness of the pizza.
We also got our favorite pizza which is called Staff's Favorite.  It has tomato sauce, sausage, heavy cream, parmigiano reggiano and basil.   The heavy cream is just a drizzle at the end before the basil is put on.  It is fantastic!
 Since it was my birthday I had a glass of Prosseco to celebrate,  
and David split the Butterscotch Pudding with me for dessert.  This is the only dessert that they serve at Blue Ribbon and it has an amazing combination of flavors.  The bottom portion is butterscotch pudding, then there is a layer of caramel sauce and it is topped with sea salt and whipped cream.  Click here for the recipe.
The owner's of Blue Ribbon recently started a new venture called the Craftsman.  On a whim, David and I gave it a try, mostly because I looked at the menu online and Southern Fried Chicken with all the fixins' was the special of the day.
The Craftsman is only open for dinner and we arrived at 5pm as the doors were being unlocked. I tried a Southside, one of the signature cocktails, and David tried a cask beer on the recommendation of our server.  I learned that a cask beer is brewed locally from traditional ingredients and matured in the cask from which it is served. It is fresh and unfiltered which gives it a unique flavor.  The Craftsman has a different cask beer each week.  

I had the fried chicken, of course!  The sides consisted of warm potato salad, pickled watermelon, blackeyed peas, collard greens, and corn bread.  It was out of this world!  I was so absorbed in my chicken that I forgot to photograph David's scallop dinner.  (You can see a tiny portion of it in the top left corner of the photo.)
For dessert I planned to order the Blue Ribbon Butterscotch Pudding, which The Craftsman serves, but our server talked me into the chef's special:  house-made churros with dark chocolate dipping sauce. Let's just say our server got the Christmas tip that night!  

David had his favorite, warm bread pudding with butter pecan ice cream. I love how it is served in a cast iron Staub dish.
The Craftsman also has live music every night, which was an added plus.  We enjoyed ourselves so much we decided to go again when the special of the night was locally caught fish and chips.  
Two Happy Diners

Having learned how amazing the food is from our first experience at the Craftsman, we decided to try a few appetizers on our second trip.   
PBF:  Pretzel Bread Fondue
Fried Brussel Sprouts.  It was so good I almost didn't get a picture of it.  
David and I both ordered the fish and chips and though the photo didn't come out well, it was tasty!  

Now that I am home, I can get back to Weight Watchers. Yesterday I went to the farmer's market and got lots of fruits and vegetables to combat the pounds I'm sure I put on during my foodie vacation.  
It's a good thing we only visit Encinitas.  I could be in real trouble if we lived there.

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