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Fallbrook? Anything worth eating?

  • m

I'm from the East and have been looking at houses in this area (good weather, houses not too expensive, not a lot of traffic. . . etc). I've made a number of overnight trips there, as well as renting a house for a week to get more time to explore the area. I think I've eaten in all the restaurants in downtown Fallbrook and haven't found anything special, where I'd particularly like to take a visitor, for example. I haven't explored Temecula other than on paper but that looks a little more interesting. But I don't want to have to make a 30-50 minute drive just to eat out.

Any favorites among the Chowhounds? Or is there a more focused foodie forum where I should be looking/asking?

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  1. I can't speak to food but there is a new Winery Beach House Winery they only do tastings by appointment. I plan to check them out. I just got word of them yesterday from a business partner.

    If you want recs for Oceanside i could be more helpfull

    1. Has nobody mentioned Las Brisas? They have some of the best carnitas you can find in San Diego county, if you're in to mexican food. It's not a fancy place by any means (paper plates and plastic silverware) but most everyone I've taken there has been impressed.

      1. It might be useful to know a few examples of the places you have tried, in particular the places that stood out (good or bad).

        A more focused foodie forum? This is pretty much as focused as it gets for San Diego dining discussion.

        7 Replies
        1. re: RB Hound

          Fair enough. Mostly I eat out for lunch and eat dinner home, but I'd like to have a few places where I could go out for dinner when the mood strikes me.

          I had a couple of tacos at Las Brisas which were fine for lunch, but if I'm in the mood for a relaxed dinner it wouldn't be my choice. I had a Nessy Burger because I'd read glowing reports. It was OK, not fabulous, a lot like Five Guys which we have here. But with only outdoor seating it has to be on a good day. The day I was there it was quite windy and I had to keep one hand on my burger, one hand on my plate, one hand on my napkin, and one hand on my fries.

          Had a decent chicken wrap at Greek Style Chicken, but again, good for lunch but not a place I'd "go out for dinner" to. Had a remarkably good slice of pizza at Vince's Pizza, but had to eat it sitting on a bench outside. Nice $10 sandwich at Garden Center Cafe but that's not something I'd do more than once or twice a month (I'd a cheapskate).

          For dinners, I was going to try Fresco Grill and Wine Bar but looked at the menu and decided to reserve that for a night when I felt like spending more money - haven't tried it yet. Looks like a place I'd go for a special dinner. Ended up that night at Peking Wok in the same shopping center, which was as good as any of our run-of-the-mill Chinese restaurants. I can't remember what I had, but it was competent and not very expensive. I'd eat there again. Had a decent pasta dish at Tupiano's. Heard good things about La Caseta but was disappointed with the carnitas, which was pretty dry and had no flavor from the marinade (if the meat was marinated at all). Maybe they make them different there. I've wanted to try Oink and Moo but never got around to it in my short visits.

          If and when I get there for good, I'll probably explore Vista, Temecula, and Oceanside, but I'm not accustomed to driving 20-30 minutes each way for dinner. I suppose that's part of California living.

          1. re: MikeR

            It sounds like you pretty much have hit any place I've ever seen recommended in Fallbrook.

            Escondido has a few worthwhile places, and that will be closer than Oceanside, Vista, and probably even Temecula.

            It's not necessarily typical to have to drive that far to find restaurants; Fallbrook is a bedroom community for those not tied to Camp Pendleton or avocado farming. Just out of curiosity, what made you choose it?

            1. re: MikeR

              "but I'm not accustomed to driving 20-30 minutes each way for dinner. I suppose that's part of California living."

              Not necessarily 20-30 minutes for dinner, but we do love our cars ;-)

              And carnitas are not usually marinated in anything prior to cooking, they are, after all, nothing more than pork confit. Oh some use a little OJ, and some even use a can of Coke, but other than salt and pepper, no marinade. But they should not be dry. Succulent yes, dry no.

              1. re: DiningDiva

                Maybe they do carnitas differently here (which is not Mexico so I have no idea if I've ever eaten the genuine dish), or perhaps my term "marinated" is like your "use a little OJ." I'm accustomed to a subtle citrus flavor which I assumed was from a marinade, though I looked up a couple of recipes and it seems that this isn't all that common. Anyway, these were dry and pretty tasteless, though I did like the crust on a few pieces.

                Those of you who asked "why Fallbrook?" have pretty much hit the nail on the head. I can find nice houses there for less money than in towns nearer to a wider range of restaurants. I'd rather be around Pasadena but the $250,000+ difference in home prices (as well as smaller lots = closer to the neighbors) got me looking down toward San Diego. An industry associate of mine lives and has his business there. When I mentioned to him that I was interested in the San Diego area, he offered to show me around and I kind of liked the feeling. I had previously looked in Oceanside and Vista and didn't care much for the houses I saw. And I'm interested in the area as a whole for the weather. I have no compelling reason to actually be there, and there are a lot of good reasons to live elsewhere. But just the sort of things that keep it from being a "fine dining" town are what I like about the place in general. I guess I can't have it all.

                But this is a food forum, not a real estate forum. Maybe I should open a restaurant? ;)

                No, not serious.

                1. re: MikeR

                  You won't be sorry if you do decide to move to Fallbrook. Even overcame my fear of avocado ranching and love it!

                2. re: DiningDiva

                  Hey, DD

                  I just saw a DD&D show (how much do I love the chance to use double and triple "D"s in a post), where they added milk and a bit of sugar to the carnitas pot.

                  1. re: Gypsy Jan

                    Diana Kennedy has a recipe for carnitas using milk in The Art of Mexican Cooking. I've made them and they're really good.

            2. I've always like Nessy Burger though their menu is rather short. I've also heard good things about the Rainbow Oaks restaurant though I've never been there largely because it's such a long drive from my house to Fallbrook.

              1. Fallbrook is a nice area as is most of rural North County San Diego. However, rural North County isn't know for its dining scene. Thus, if you don't like driving (for pretty much anything), North County probably isn't for you. There's a reason the real estate is more affordable.

                1 Reply
                1. re: wanker

                  My crusade for North County Chef's is actually based on this attitude about NC Food.Too far to drive and no Idea what we have to offer.

                2. Moved to Fallbrook a year ago from San Francisco so have been on the lookout for some good local restaurants.

                  Estrella's Mexican. Busy all the time because everything on the menu is delicious. No reservations but the staff remembers who is waiting. Even they are busy they never make you feel like you should hurry. Save rooom for a stop at the yogurt shop next door.

                  Fresco. Fresh made pasta at the Sunday lunch buffet which includes unlimited good champagne. Outdoor patio...in a Bonsall off the 76.

                  Also in Bonsall is Peking Wok. Don't be fooled by the outside shopping center look. Inside is a cute little bar in the corner, a piano player in the evening and house made potstickers! Also good are the chili dumplings and the lettuce chicken.

                  Back in Fallbrook is the fairly new Oink and Moo. Such good barbecue ... Hamburgers of all kinds like the Bling Bling served with Brie and mushrooms sautéed in wine. Also a small place by the library but they do take reservations.