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Feb 26, 2008 07:20 PM

san diego...OCEANSIDE!

Staying in a place with a kitchen, so I want to go out to eat AND cook local stuff. First: Where to eat good things?. Second: Where to purchase fresh, local ingredients? I really want to cook, but would also like to take in the local culture. I have looked on past threads, but most are old. Thank you!

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  1. Drive down to Encinitas and try Yumeya. Every dish there is amazing. Especially the shishitou peppers, fried tofu in smoked bonito broth, asparagus kushi-age and "mama's homemade veggie soup".

    14 Replies
    1. re: jessicah

      Oh it's true Yumeya is awesome

      jennyfur - in Oceanside - for breakfast - The Beach Break Cafe

      For seafood (fresh fish) - in Carlsbad - Fish House Vera Cruz (you can dine in and they have a fish counter there as well)

      There is an organic grocery store in Oceanside called Cream of the Crop. It is on the 101 at the south end of Oceanside.

      I live in Encinitas, which is about 20 minutes south of Oceanside. There are a lot of great food options here in Encinitas.

      This may be of interest to you if you do come on down this way.

      1. re: Enorah

        Yumeya sounds very interesting. I will check out Fish House Vera Cruz...and thank you for the Cream of the Crop rec. Terrific start!

        1. re: jennyfur

          Second Fish House Vera Cruz. Also, Anita's is an Oceanside institution -- open over 30 years, it is probably one of the best Mexican restaurants in California.

            1. re: Enorah

              It was called Hill Street when I was growing up -- the first one is what is now 309 S Coast Hwy although they opened up an additional one at 2251 S. El Camino Real. I'd go to the original...

            2. re: Carrie 218

              Anita's is barely okay. Obviously the comment is from someone who has never been to Tony's Jacal in Eden Gardens (Solana Beach). Opened in '46, the ultimate in San Diego County. MUCH better that Anita's (not even close). Fidel's next door to Tony's is for newcomers and those who don't know good Mexican when they eat it. In O'side, Johnny Manana's is a grubby place where they usually burn the meat and the smell permeates the place. I ate there several times and vowed NEVER AGAIN!

              1. re: Carrie 218

                "Anita's is an Oceanside institution -- open over 30 years, it is probably one of the best Mexican restaurants in California."

                I'm going back in time to make this comment--but the above is truly a shocking statement!

          1. re: jessicah

            It's difficult not to be absolutely charmed by Yumeya. Just a couple of words to make sure you end up having the best time.

            * They do not take reservations, hence...

            * ...make sure you go there early, as it is a very cozy place and fills up very quickly. For us locals it's just a matter of coming back another time, but for a visitor it'll be a shame to miss the opportunity just because you arrived too late to be seated.

            * It's a very unique restaurant - don't let the outside give you pause. It's located in a somewhat "funky" area where one normally wouldn't expect to find a thriving restaurant, let alone a local gem

            * Think of it as a combination roadhouse/izakaya (Japanese pub)/
            Nouveau Japonais/family-run restaurant/locals eatery (many of their customers get there on foot!)

            * If you would like to have their shabu shabu, you would need to request this at least a day in advance

            * They have one of the most extensive sake selections I've seen in any restaurant, all available by the glass - be prepared to explore - they will help you with your selections through free tastings - the servings are generous

            * It would be a shame to eat and run - one can easily spend an entire evening there, so plan accordingly - eating at the bar is a good place if you want to meet the locals

            * It is 100% family run - a husband and wife team in the front, a sister helping on the weekends, and mom & dad in the kitchen

            * The father used to run an udon shop in Japan - he still makes their udon by hand, a rare treat for many - so consider ordering udon; the noodles are also used in their sukiyaki

            * Izakaya dining is built around ippin-ryori, small plates meant to be combined into a larger meal - use this as an opportunity to explore the menu

            * They are one of the best hosts around - be prepared for a memorable experience you won't soon forget, and chances are you'll be looking forward to your next visit

            * Enjoy the traditional Japanese plateware - there are many considerations when choosing plateware for the Japanese table, much of it specialized for a particular food item - it makes for a lot more work on their part in both plating and dishwashing, not to mention breakage, but it's part of what they do

            1246 N Coast Highway 101, Encinitas, CA 92024

            1. re: cgfan

              Haha. One night I got there there around 5:40 and the whole place was already packed. I wasn't about to drive back down to San Diego so I waited an hour.

              I heard the waitress was trained in the Japanese tea ceremony? Does she perform it at Yumeya?

              1. re: jessicah

                We tried last week Friday at 5:40 as well, jammed packed. So if it's Friday or Saturday get there at 5:30!
                Yuka-san has done the Matcha tea for us, but if it's really busy she will not have time to do it.


                1. re: jessicah

                  Yes, the waitress/owner/hostess trained in Kyoto in the second oldest school of chado, (literally the way of tea), the classical tea ceremony. However one would be hard pressed to really call it a tea ceremony, nor would she - it's decidedly impromptu. Note that this is not a criticism at all. To do a proper tea ceremony would involve so much more, and would not be possible without a dedicated space in addition to customers that are themselves trained and knowledgeable in the crafts, arts, seasons, and history of Japan...

                  However she is a passionate follower of the traditional Japanese arts, and has collected some of the acoutrements involved in the ceremony.


                  1. re: cgfan

                    Wow! 'Sounds magical...I simply cannot wait to dine there.

                    1. re: jennyfur

                      Went to Rockin' Baja Lobster. Great mahi mahi fish-n-chips! New item on the menu, and only $10.95! The special dealio is buckets. We got a bucket with slipper lobster, shrimp, snow crab and king crab. Simply roasted in spices and butter. Had rice and beans and tortillas with it...did not really get to those...and Ceasar salad bar...nice touch. Music on the patio was WAY too loud, but we had enough food to take home for shrimp and grits the next AM.

                      1. re: jennyfur

                        Cream Of The Crop has nice chicken...whole , organic chcken roasted in lemon pepper..and great couscous to go. Also, a nice selection of cheeses,

              2. The original comment has been removed
                1. jennyfur: I just realized that you also asked about fresh, local ingredients. As in most communities we have our share of farmer's markets, but they tend to be on the small side compared to, say, the Bay Area markets. However one would be remiss if one did not mention our local gem, Chino Farms. They're the famous producer of vegetables that has famously supplied Chez Panisse and Spago's for their beautifully grown veg. Despite their nationwide fame, they have a very modest stand in Rancho Santa Fe (just east of Del Mar). Their hours are Tues-Sat 10-3:30, and Sunday 10-1, closed Mondays.

                  Legend has it that only Spago's and Chez Panisse get's their veg flown-in daily from Chino Farms; everyone else, local star chefs included, must line up at their produce stand along with everyone else.


                  Chino Farm
                  6123 Calzada Del Bosque, Rancho Santa Fe, CA

                  1. Try the Hill Street Cafe. Horrible service so don't be in a hurry, but the food, prices, and coffee are great.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Paul Weller

                      Went to Cream Of The Crop...great couscous and roasted chicken. Very pretty veggies and fruit...very expen$ive veggies and friut. 'Had a nice date smoothie.

                    2. As far as local ingredients - have you checked out the local farmer's markets? As you specified Oceanside, I assume you live here or at least in North County, so the local market schedule is: Tuesday: Escondido, Wed - Carlsbad, Thurs - Oceanside, Sat - Vista (the better of the two), Carlsbad, Sunday - Encinitas. You can check here for other areas of the county:

                      For stores that carry local ingredients, Cream of the Crop is great for some things, but pricey as you noted, Boney's has quite a bit to offer as well for much less. Also, if you eat fish, I think I heard the Fish Joint (right next to and owned by the same people as Hill Street Cafe - and yes, I vociferously second the horrible service comment) sells fish to take home as well as to eat there.

                      For a fun evening with great food, the Sunset Market is Thursday nights, downtown north of the Regal Theater complex. They have a lot of food as well as live music. I love the Eqyptian, Greek and gourmet tamales. I've heard the fried chicken is to die for.

                      Favorite local restaurants include: Anitas (on Coast Highway), Johnny Mananas for healthy and fast Mexican, Azafran (Cuban) Hill Street Cafe (if you can ignore slow, surly service, the food is worth it), Ocean Thai, Fiesta Mexican Restaurant and Longboarder. In Carlsbad I like Jay's Gourmet, Pizza Port and Cessy's (fast Mexican with tons of flavor).

                      Welcome to the neighborhood!