I don’t know that I would go as far as to call it a restaurant row, but the stretch of Coast Highway 101 between Encinitas Boulevard and La Costa Avenue has a plethora of dining options with new additions monthly. One of the newish additions is Bread & Barley located next door to Birdseye Kitchen which has been open since May 2017 and is the second location after the original in Covina, California. Encinitas local and business owner Ray Herrara manages the day-to-day operations with chef Marco Castillo heading up the kitchen.
Amber Munnelly, who you may recognize from last week’s cocktail column, is the bar manager and slings some fabulous cocktails. You may remember the Winter Fashioned I described and from perusing the cocktail menu, there are a whole bunch of great looking drinks. How about a Tryst Lounge with mescal, cognac, lemon, grapefruit, cinnamon, ginger, basil and Serrano bitters? Or the playful Leucadia Sunrise with vodka, lemon, lavender, elderflower and cucumber? Just two examples from a very creative cocktail program that also delivers the classics and some fabulous brunch concoctions that would be a great way to start a Sunday fun day.
And what would a gastro pub be without an eclectic craft beer assortment? Given its Los Angeles roots, the roster includes some L.A. selections and a rotating variety of the “newest and coolest” draft selections. If that’s your thing, it’s best to keep up with the options on their Instagram page @breadandbarleyencinitas.
The dinner menu hits all the gastro pub standbys with a very solid selection of salads including a very popular vegan bowl with a spring mix of greens, cherry tomatoes, avocado, hummus, cashews, chives and a red wine vinaigrette. Starters include Carne Asada Fries, Sambal Cauliflower, Wagu Sliders, Portobello Fries and Crispy Loaded Chips. For those of you unfamiliar with Sambal, it’s a hot sauce or paste typically made from a mixture of chili peppers and a fish sauce or paste, garlic, sugar, lime juice and rice vinegar and is quite tasty in an application like this.
I’m drawn to the burgers at a joint like this and the Bread & Barley Burger has been my go-to. I’m a fan of simple burgers and with mustard aioli, caramelized onions, arugula and Gruyere cheese it fits that bill perfectly. The English Pub Burger has been tempting me though with its half-pound patty, bacon, frisee, horseradish aioli, curry ketchup, white cheddar, caramelized onions and tomato. A nice selection of hot sandwiches including a Lobster Grilled Cheese, Philly Cheese Steak and Flank Steak sandwich all look appealing.
It looks like the menu may change as the Flank Steak with fingerlings and Brussels sprouts is not on the website menu. Fish Tacos and Fish & Chips are also on the entrée menu.
Brunch is also happening at Bread & Barley and the Fried Chicken Burrito looked like the perfect remedy for the morning after doing the cocktail crawl up the Encinitas coast that I just wrote about. I had to sample this as I’ve not seen the words fried chicken and burrito combined and well, I was intrigued! First off, it’s a monster burrito that could easily be shared unless you want to be put on the sofa for the rest of the day. It combines house sausage gravy, cheddar cheese, country potatoes, bacon, chives, fried chicken and two eggs on top. These ingredients all work perfectly together and while I was only able to power half of it down in one sitting, it makes for a fine leftover. The whole brunch menu has a nice variety of Strawberry Banana Pecan Pancakes, Steak and Eggs, Breakfast Bowl, Avocado Toast, Huevos Rancheros, Chilaquiles, Street Tacos, Enchiladas and their version of the BLT the B.A.L.T.E. with bacon, avocado, tomato, fried egg, goat cheese, salsa verde, wheat bread and country potatoes.
If I were to do a full on Saturday or Sunday fun day brunch at Bread & Barley I’d follow it with a walk up to Beacon’s or Stone Steps and a long walk it off beach jaunt or maybe a beach nap if the tide is cooperating. Or keep it on Coast Highway and hit up any of the cool stores in either direction.
Brunch, lunch or dinner is going to be tasty and fun at Bread & Barley. They are open seven days a week, Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. to midnight, Saturday 9 a.m. to midnight and Sunday 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. It is located at 542 N. Coast Highway 101 in Leucadia. Visit www.breadandbarleyenc.com or call (760) 487-5591 for more.
Lick the Plate has interviewed over 700 chefs, restaurateurs, growers, brewers and culinary personalities over the past 10 years as a column in The Coast News and in Edible San Diego. He can be heard on KSON, FM94/9 and Sunny98.1. More at www.lick-the-plate.com