Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Best Restaurants Blog Hop Round Up!

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about my favorite restaurants in my hometown of Oceanside, CA. At the same time, bloggers all across the country--plus a few from Canada and the UK--made their own best restaurants lists. And today it all comes together in one great blog hop round up! I'm very excited to share this list--and really hope I get to try some of these terrific sounding restaurants in my future travels. If you're planning a trip soon or live in any of the areas listed, be sure to check these out!


Eastern US

Tampa, Florida - I Run for Wine
Annapolis, Maryland - Maryland Momma's Rambles
Framingham, Massachusetts - 3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires
Orleans County, New York - Living Off Love and Coffee
Charlotte, North Carolina - MommyB Knows Best
Eastern North Carolina - Rebecca Lately
Raleigh, North Carolina - The Dirty Floor Diaries
East Greenwich, Rhode Island - Mama Luvs Books
Richmond, Virginia - Close to Home

Western US

Phoenix, Arizona - Brie Brie Blooms
Aliso Viejo, California - Una Colombiana en California
Oceanside, California - Adventures of Valley Writer
San Diego, California - Toot Sweet 4 Two
Wildomar, California - Simple Sojourns
Las Vegas, Nevada - Growing Up Gabel
Las Vegas, Nevada - Home Cooking Memories
Reno, Nevada - Saving in Nevada
NE Oklahoma (Route 66) - The Creative Princess
Tulsa, Oklahoma - Masterpiece
Austin, Texas - Texas Type A Mom
Dallas, Texas - The Effortless Mom
Dallas/Denton County, Texas - Coffee & Giggles
Houston, Texas - A Day in Motherhood
Palestine, Texas - Going Crazy! Wanna Go?
Provo, Utah - Clarks Condensed
Salina/Sevier, Utah - Home Maid Simple
Salt Lake City, Utah - Summer Scraps
Bainbridge Island, Washington - Popcorn and Pearls
Seattle, Washington - Faith Filled Food for Moms

Northern US

Chicago, Illinois - East 9th Street
Lake County, Illinois - THE ROCK FATHER
Long Grove (NW Chicago Suburbs), Illinois- Make Dinner Easy
Naperville, Illinois - Making Time for Mommy
Cincinnati, Ohio/Northern Kentucky - {enjoy the view}
Detroit, Michigan - Roasted Beanz
West Michigan - Eat Local, West Michigan!
Rochester, Minnesota - The Mama Report
St. Charles, Missouri - Robyn's Online World
St. Louis, Missouri - inRandom
Omaha, Nebraska - Midwest Mammas
Seward, Nebraska - Busy-at-Home
Dayton, Ohio - Mudpies and Tiaras
Miami County, Ohio - The Home and Garden Cafe
Greenville, South Carolina - The Destiny Manifest
Milwaukee, Wisconsin - Outnumbered 3 to 1
Norwalk, Wisconsin - The Mommy Bunch

Southern US

Northwest Arkansas - Jamie's Thots
Northwest Arkansas - MamaBuzz
Atlanta, Georgia - The Jort Report
Cumming, Georgia - In the Kitchen with KP


Quispamsis/Saint John, New Brunswick - Older Mommy Still Yummy
London, Ontario - Creative Cynchronicity


Banbury, UK - Bubbablue and Me
Bristol, UK - Slummy Single Mummy
London, England - The 21st Century Housewife
Portishead, UK - Practically Perfect Mums

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Best Oceanside Restaurants -- Blog Hop!

Hubby and I enjoy eating out from time to time--usually on the weekends as a treat for getting through the work week. Lately, due to crazy work and travel schedules, we've been eating out even more than usual--hence the lack of inspired recipes to share. But when I heard about the Social Fabric Local Restaurant Blog Hop, I knew it was the perfect time for me to join in and share all the great food finds the hubby and I have discovered while living in North County San Diego the last couple of years.

We currently live in Oceanside, CA, which is part of the "tri-city" area--the 3 cities being Oceanside, Vista and Carlsbad. All are within minutes of each other and you often cross over into one without even realizing it, so while most of my recommendations are for the best Oceanside restaurants, you'll also find a few Carlsbad and Vista recommendations.

So, without further ado - on to the list!
Best for Breakfast

Beach Break Café
1802 South Coast Hwy (aka the 101), Oceanside, CA
Located right on the main coastal highway between the Carlsbad and Oceanside beaches, this is a great spot for a homey, hearty breakfast. From omelets to pancakes to waffles, this place has all the usual favorites--along with ample portions and affordable prices. The restaurant has a fun beach vibe with lots of surfing-related photos and other items decorating the walls. There's usually a wait on the weekends, but they move people quickly. Insider Tip: When they give you a choice of bread sides-- get the homemade coffee cake. It's amazing!

Curbside Café
307 Main St, Vista, CA
If your travels take you inland rather than toward the coast, the Curbside Café is another great breakfast option. Here, the choices are more varied. They have the usual ham & cheese omelets, eggs & bacon, etc., but also some more unique items like eggs benedict made with crab cakes. Insider Tip: Share a cinnamon roll on the side--they are delicious and HUGE!

Best for everyday lunch and dinner
Love Boat Sushi
125 Old Grove Road, Oceanside, CA
This is part of a local family of restaurants, with 4 locations throughout San Diego County. Though we've been to a couple of the other locations, we always come back to Oceanside as our "home base." Located in a shopping plaza anchored by a Ralph's grocery store and a Lowe's, this little restaurant is unassuming and easy to miss. But it's worth hunting for if you love sushi -- the best & freshest we've had in North County. Lunch special bento boxes are a great way to sample a bunch of different dishes. Insider Tip: Try the Playboy Sushi Roll. Cream cheese may sound like an odd addition to sushi, but trust me, it is yummy!!

Café de Thai & Sushi
4196 Oceanside Blvd, Ste B, Oceanside
Another small restaurant located just outside a shopping plaza, we discovered this local gem shortly after moving to Oceanside and have been big fans ever since. This is our go-to spot for a quick weeknight dinner. They have at least 4 kinds of curry (red, yellow, panang and masaman) and amazing pad thai. And they're more than happy to tailor dishes your preferences,  allowing you to choose a spice level from 1-10 for every dish. Insider Tip: Happy Hour specials on beer, wine & appetizers (including some sushi rolls) make this an especially good deal before 7pm.

Las Olas
2939 Carlsbad Blvd (aka the 101), Carlsbad, CA
Located in downtown Carlsbad, Las Olas is in the center of the action and just a short walk from the beach. It's always hopping and is our favorite Mexican restaurant in North County. They have great ceviche, tacos and burritos, and yummy margaritas. Whether seated on the covered patio or inside the restaurant, Las Olas has a beachy-island vibe that always makes us feel like we're on vacation. Insider Tip: When it's available, try the pineapple mojito made with home-made pineapple-infused rum.

Best Pubs

Prohibition Brewing Company
2004 E. Vista Way, Vista, CA
If you're looking for a good ol' neighborhood bar that serves good beer and classic fare, Prohibition is it. Divided into two sections, you can sit on high tops in the bar area or on picnic tables in the main dining room. The TJ sliders (burgers made with pepper jack and jalapenos) and fish tacos are some of our favorites. Insider Tip: Order the spicy fried green beans when available. They are addictively delicious!

Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen
626 S Tremont St, Oceanside, CA
Taking the Pub experience a little more upscale, the Flying Pig combines the neighborhood pub feel with inspired farm-to-table dining. Ingredients are fresh and most dishes have a mix of the familiar along with a unique twist. There are new specials every night and they are often some of the best dishes we've enjoyed. The wine & craft beer selection is also notable. Insider Tip: Order the fried pickles when available--delicious with a nice cold beer!

Best for a more upscale or romantic dinner
Vigilucci's Seafood & Steakhouse
3878 Carlsbad Blvd, Carlsbad, CA
Vigilucci's is one of the first restaurants I went to when I started visiting Carlsbad with my hubby back in 2009. I'm not a big red meat person, so I can't vouch for the steak. My favorites here are the seafood & pasta dishes--and the view at sunset:

Insider Tip: Make a reservation and request an outside table for the best views.

Located in a corporate park, Rosina’s may not have the views or exterior appeal that Vigilucci’s does, but the food is absolutely amazing and the interior is tastefully decorated to give a homey, yet upscale Italian feel. Rosina herself often serves tables here, sharing the daily specials and making recommendations based on your tastes and preferences. Hubby loves the authentic Bolognese, while I like to roam the menu and try something new every time (and I’ve never been disappointed!). Insider Tip: For your side dish, try the creamy polenta—the best I’ve ever had!

Hubby and I travel a fair amount, and I always love checking out local favorites when we're in a new town. So tell me, what's your favorite local restaurant where you live?