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Apr 26, 2007 08:44 AM

La Especial del Norte!

I just wanted to say a huge thank you to my fellow 'Hounds for tipping me off about this awesome place in Encinitas!

I've been driving to and from downtown all week -- I'm not used to getting up at 5:30 in the morning so I've been operating on very little sleep.
Yesterday, I drove up the five, hungry and exhausted, and when I hit that awful stop that always seems to happen at Del Mar, I thought, "Screw this, let's take the coast!"

I'm so glad that I spotted La Especial del Norte on my drive up the 101 and finally got to try it out. A beer and caldo was EXACTLY what I needed after that day.

The bowl of tortilla soup was by far the best I've ever had: crunchy strips of tortilla, buttery avocado, and large pieces of jucy chicken in a great broth, perfect. I got the small bowl but that was more than a meal -- I didn't really need the relleno I ordered with it. Sadly its a little far from my work or I'd go here for lunch at least once a week!

The only down part of the meal was that the sauce on my chile relleno tasted like canned enchilada sauce -- not sure if that is the case or if it's my fault for ordering something random like that off the menu that's not a specialty.

anyway, thanks again to you guys for letting me know, I'm thrilled that I finally have amazing soup not *too* far away from me. I seem to always forget about all those restaurants on the 101 (probably because I live in Vista which is for the most part a culinary wasteland!)

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  1. I agree that you have to stick with the soup. The soups are excellent. We tried other menu items once (enchiladas, etc.), and we'll never make that mistake again.

    1. Since you live in Vista.. you should try La Perla in Escondido..their specialty is seafood and the food is great. I loooove the aqua chiles...raw shrimp in lime juice, salt, pureed jalapenos and cucumbers. It is making my mouth water just writing about it now. They have a huge selection of soups too. It is very small but always great.

      1. The soups are their claim to fame, but I've had a delicous mole chicken there.

        1. Jeters,

          Do Not dispear I been finding many hidden gems in the area. I might recommend some of the following:

          San Giorgio Lucano Restaurant
          1280 East Vista Way, Vista, CA 92084
          (760) 724-7242

          Excellent Southern Italian/American food.

          PHO Little Saigon
          1717 East Vista Way, Vista, CA 92084

          No atomsphere but tasty pho.

          El Asadero Restaurant
          1717 East Vista Way, Vista, CA 92084
          (760) 631-7411

          In the same strip mall as little Siagon with killer seafood caldo.

          Lasty check out:

          Curbside Cafe
          307 Main Street, Vista, CA 92084

          A great place for breakfast and lunch and look out for John's tortilla soup it's super good.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Luigi1963

            Curbside does look pretty good, I have yet to have a sit-down meal there but it's on my list.

            Nothing beats Pho Lucky (off of sycamore) in my mind, but I'll look for those mexican places for sure.