During the course of the past seven years my day job has moved from downtown Encinitas to suburban Carlsbad and now an industrial section of Oceanside that sits between the 76 and Mission Avenue just east of the 5. It’s full of light industrial businesses, surfboard shapers, auto body and glass shops, printers, motorcycle chopper and Tesla repair shops to name a few. I should note that the chopper and Tesla repair shops are in the same building, which makes for one of the more interesting business scenarios I’ve encountered with the loud choppers roaring down the street testing repairs compared to the silent Tesla’s doing the same.
The airport across the 76 is a buzz of activity with planes and helicopters taking flight and what seems to be an endless stream of skydivers floating down from the sky. It’s a world away from Encinitas and it has an energy all its own with zero pretensions and a whole bunch of characters.
I’ve discovered some restaurants and breweries in the area that make for some solid lunch and dinner options and are easily walking distance from our office/warehouse.
Pedro’s is the first one I pass every morning and is known for its fish tacos and burritos, which are right up there with Juanita’s as far as I’m concerned. It’s on the corner of Benet Road and the 76 in the same center as the gas station. It can take a few minutes to get your order but everything I’ve had there has been solid.
My favorite discovery in this slice of industrial Oceanside is El Mundo De Mariscos, which translates into “The Seafood World.” Their Ceviche Tostada for $6.49 comes with a generous portion of fish or shrimp ceviche, a heaping helping of avocado, cucumber, a tostada shell, and the best chips and salsa I’ve had lately. For $6.49, are you kidding me? It’s the healthiest value at that price point I’ve seen in a while. OK, minus the chips and salsa but I spread them over two meals as they give that added crunch. And yes, seafood rules here with shrimp, octopus, snapper, catfish, tilapia, oysters and seafood soup among the extensive menu.
Tacos, burritos and a plethora of Mexican entrée’s are also available along with beer, wine and margaritas. From what I’ve heard this place really gets hopping on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights with dancing, karaoke and colorful attire. My next move is to hit it up after work for dinner and stick around for the festivities.
In the same center is a bar with one of the best names ever called “One More That’s It.” It’s a solid dive bar with a great cast of characters, ample outdoor smoking area, and yes, a kitchen that cranks out some very decent burgers. It’s not for everyone and last time I stopped in it was cash only but really, how can you not have a drink at a place with a name like that?
Z Market is right across the street and is a bustling Mexican market, convenience store and deli/restaurant in one. It offers an extensive menu with an emphasis on Mexican food and an ever-changing list of specials. The portions are huge and while you are there you can stock up on Mexican staples for your pantry, tamales if you time it right and ice cream by the scoop.
Up Mission about a block from Z Market is Carlito’s Chicken – Peruvian Style Rotisserie. And yes, chicken is what you want to order at Carlito’s. It’s a bustling joint that always has a line and that is a good sign as you know the chicken is not sitting around long. The sampling I’ve done has been moist, flavorful and with a nice crisp skin.
These industrial areas are magnets for breweries and this slice of Oceanside does not disappoint there. Legacy Brewing Company, Oceanside Brewing and Moonglade Brews are all in this area and would be a great place to drink up an appetite before hitting up a seafood feast at El Mundo De Mariscos or chicken chowdown at Carlito’s. They are all super casual with picnic tables and often food trucks serving those munchies up on premise.
Yes, there are many other light industrial sections of Oceanside, but if you find yourself in this area you might want to hit up one of these out-of-the-way gems.
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