Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Modern Times Beer Review (San Diego Breweries)

$5 for pints, $8 for a set of tasters.

In Point Loma.  Directly off of Rosecrans from the 5 freeway.  The proximity to the freeway makes it an easy drive.  25-30 minutes for most Encinitas residents.

Hands down the most interesting beer taproom I've been in yet.  The comic book murals were awesome.  The atmosphere felt a bit Spartan but the effort that went into all the decorating was not lost on me.

The beer was good.  The only drawback being that there were only four regulars on tap and one special release.  Considering that we live in suds county, this number is a tad low.  A brewery of this size should have eight to ten taps minimum.

But... quite a bit of care went into these beers.  Their coffee stout easily ranks in my top five.  They roast their own coffee to flavor the beer and the attention to detail shows.  The IPAs were above average.

Definitely a brewery to keep an eye on.  They're a young brewery and it shows.  But the potential is certainly there.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Firenze Trattoria Review (Encinitas Restaurants)

Expensive but delicious.  Everything here is $18+ dollars.  Expect a mild heart attack when you see the tab.  

At the corner of Encinitas Blvd and Manchester Ave.  A close 5-10 minute drive for most Encinitas residents.

I've been dining at Firenze for many years and it has consistently been one of my favorite Italian restaurants.  The food is always top-notch and the service outstanding.  You really feel like you're getting a dinning experience here.  Like the waiters serve you and actually have intelligent things to say about the menu items.

All this, however, does come with a hefty price tag.  It's not cheap.  The lasagna (which is absolutely superb) costs $24.  You do get a substantial amount of food.  It's rare that I'm ever hungry enough to take down an entire entree by my lonesome.  But still, there are other places around town that you could say have equally good food for slightly less.

To me, the price tag is worthwhile.  I walk out feeling like I got my money's worth because I had a nice experience and my stomach is full of delicious pasta.  In my book this is more worthwhile than going to a place where you practically have to beg to have your water glass refilled and then the server expects a 20% tip.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Sabor de Vida Brazilian Grill Review (Encinitas Restaurants)

$13-18 per entree with the appetizers around the $10 range.  Seems expensive at first but it's cheap for what you get.  LARGE quantities of food and really, really nice steaks (like, steak steak) and sausages for $15.  It's a deal. 

In the LA Fitness shopping center near the El Camino Real and Encinitas Blvd. intersection.  5-10 minutes away for most Encinitas residents.

This place is a hidden gem in Encinitas.  I live in constant fear of it shutting down because it's just so dang tasty and I don't understand how they can offer steaks for so cheap.  

Whatever.  Point being: it's good.  Really good.  And definitely different from your typical meat and potatoes kind of experience.  Everything has a Brazilian spin to it.  Brazilian spices on the meat, beans and rice on the side, etc...

I would say if there's one drawback it's the location.  It's kind of strange and out of the way.  The inside is nicely decorated but the bright lights don't really make for a romantic atmosphere if you're picky about that kind of thing. 

But definitely a place worth trying.  The food makes for great take out but it's also worth dining in if you're in the mood for some tasty cocktails.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

83 Degrees Review (Carlsbad Restaurants)

Expensive for what you get.  All the starters are around $10 and the food $15+ per person.  We ordered the shrimp cocktail and got five pieces of shrimp.  For $9.  The cocktails are tasty but, again, expensive.  Expect to pay $10-12 per drink.

Right off the Carlsbad Village Drive freeway exit.  Will take most Encinitas residents about 15-20 minutes  to drive there.

Expensive but not obscene.  This is the kind of place that you would be willing to spend money on if the experience was right.  But it's not.  The service is terrible which makes you begrudge every cent.

We were seated fairly fast considering it was Friday night.  But the efficiency stopped there.  After staring at our minutes for about ten minutes a waitress finally showed up to take our drink order.  Took another fifteen minutes for our drinks to arrive and they came after our appetizer showed up.  After that our food was brought out by a series of lackeys.  We had to bother someone walking by to get waters since we were never asked if we'd like another cocktail.

The food itself was good but, again, this is the type of place where you want to be two cocktails in by the time your $15 burger arrives.  No such luck.  We ate our food... sat around for awhile... the waitress finally shows up to ask if we wanted anything else and we said no.  The check immediately arrives with the waitress all smiles and tries to start some friendly smalltalk with us about the Charger game.  Nice try.

So the concept of this restaurant is good for the location.  Like it serves the type of food and drinks that would be popular in Downtown Carlsbad.  But with the slow drink service, inattentive staff and obviously shoddy management I don't see this place lasting very long.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Thai Society Review (Encinitas Restaurants)

Bordering on pricey but not terrible.  Most of the appetizers are $8-10 and the entrees are $12-15.  So for two people you're going to be out $45 plus tip.

Located in the Encinitas Ranch Town Center.  Close to the El Camino Real and Lucadia Blvd. intersection.  5-10 minutes away for most Encinitas residents.

Before you read any further I need to admit that I'm not a Thai food fanatic in general.  I don't like food so spicy that you can barely see straight by the end of your meal and I don't much care for the fact that when you order Thai food it's usually a huge plate of the same.  Like a huge bowl of curry with a ton of rice.  Tasty but I like variety.

So now that you know my lack of Thai credentials... I do like Thai Society quite a bit.  I'm not sure how it stacks up compared to some of its more hardcore brethren but I appreciate the fact that you can order soup with more than one ingredient in it and entrees with equal amounts of meat and rice.

You can request an increase in spice level here but I've yet to encounter any plate that made me weep for mercy.  So if you're looking for that particular experience, I would try a different place.

The location is convenient for the Encinitas area.  There are people that eat there for lunch and dinner on a regular basis but I've never had to wait for a table making it a reliable go-to dinner place.  It has enough atmosphere to cater to a date night but the location (in a shopping center) is not especially romantic.  Maybe for a quick date?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Crazee Burger Review (San Diego Restaurants)

Much depends on what type of meat you choose for your burger.  If you go standard beef about $7-8.  If you prefer a more exotic experience it heads to the $15 range.

This particular location is in Downtown San Diego area on 30th street.  From Encinitas it takes about 20-25 minutes to drive there.  I've heard they have another branch in Old Town.

A gourmet burger experience with the atmosphere of a Denny's.  Their claim to fame being a wide variety of meat offerings.  Yes, there are some regular ol' burgers you can get here so those that prefer a plain patty will still have options.

For those bored with the plain patty experience, Crazee Burger will definitely add some spice to your life.  From alligator to kangaroo meat, there are quite a few intriguing selections that will make you want to come back for more.  There burgers are quite tasty.  I'm also a fan of some of the unusual toppings they pair the meat like whipped cream.  Whodathunk?

Overall, definitely worth a visit.  They have an excellent selection of beers on tap and it's just a fun, funky little place.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Gregorio's Review (Carlsbad Restaurants)

$10-17 for most of the pasta dishes.  They do serve steak and seafood which runs between $25-30.

Right off of Carlsbad Village Drive in, what I consider, the thick of "Downtown Carlsbad."  About a 15-20 minute drive for most Encinitas residents.

I love Gregorio's Fettuccine Alfredo.  It's a dish I don't normally go for when dining at Italian restaurants because the flavor dosen't compensate for the arteries I'm clogging.  At Gregorio's I make an exception.  It's totally worth it.  Their other food is also quite tasty.  I've yet to order a dish here I didn't thoroughly enjoy.  It's just that when I do order other things it's... not Fettuccine Alfredo.

Laid back, comfortable and delicious, Gregorio's is definitely worth making a trip to Carlsbad.  It's located in a fun area with lots of shopping.  So it you get there early enough there are things to do before and after eating (to walk off the tub of pasta you just consumed).  A perfect date spot or fun family outing.