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Lick the Plate: The best things I’ve eaten lately

June has always been one of my favorite months as I love the long days that surround the summer solstice.

In the past I would go big with some type of solstice celebration that involved bands and lots of good food but I’ve since deferred that to Michael Schmitt and his Summer Fun on the 101 that happens June 22 in Leucadia. If you have not been I highly suggest checking it out.

June is also the halfway point in the year and a time I reflect on some of the best things I’ve eaten so far, stuff I can’t get out of my mind.

Let’s start with the Seafood Curry at Fish 101. This dish is easily enough for two with a generous mix of seafood and has a mild, creamy curry sauce and your choice of white or brown rice.

Given the fact that I would be happy with anything on the menu at Fish 101, I find myself going back for this one on a regular basis for this dish.

To continue the Fish 101 love here with their beautiful Tres Leches. I don’t always have room for dessert at Fish 101, but when I see this on the menu I make sure to plan for it. This dense, yet light at the same time moist “three milks” cake is my favorite way to end a meal.

Next up is the Quail & Grits at Solterra. This is a beautiful presentation of three crispy quail on a board with siracha honey glaze with cheddar cheese grits. Honestly, I could eat about a dozen of these but it’s a fine way to start a meal at Solterra.

Quail and grits at Solterra. Photo by David Boylan

Two doors down from Solterra is Kai Ola and their Hangover Bowl. I’ve never been actually hungover for this fish stock noodle bowl but it makes me very happy regardless.

Heading up to inland Oceanside is the Chicken & Veggies plate at Carlito’s. There will be an entire column devoted to this joint soon but this dish is my weekly low carb, kind of healthy lunch.  I’ll stay in Oceanside for the Fish Burrito at Pedro’s Tacos. This place is known for their fish tacos and this is just the burrito version of those.

It had been a while since I’d been to Raul’s Shack in downtown Encinitas and I have two favorites there, the Chicken and Rice Burrito and of course the Chicken Soup. A big part of the pleasure derived from Raul’s is the old school “shack” it occupies in the heart of downtown Encinitas surrounded by so many new restaurants. Enjoy this place while you can.

A Little Moore Café is the all-day breakfast and lunch diner in Leucadia with booth, counter and sidewalk seating that serves up some traditional fare but also the occasional Asian influenced dishes.

My favorite there is an omelette with Polish sausage and a side of cottage cheese. Yes, it’s kind of random but that uniqueness is what makes it special and a favorite for mine. Plus, it’s just such a cool place.

Tres Leches at Fish 101. Photo by David Boylan

A new discovery is the Corner Bakery Café in the completely revamped Encinitas Village Square on Encinitas Boulevard. I’m a big fan of salads that are chopped and their Chopped Salad with chicken, applewood smoked bacon, avocado, bleu cheese, tomatoes, green onions with chopped iceberg and romaine lettuce with their house vinaigrette is my new favorite.

I wrote about Live Culture Café in Leucadia recently and Sandwiches at Live Culture Café and have found myself back several times for their deli inspired sandwiches on sourdough bread from chef/owner Michael Zonfrilli.

The Turkey with pepper jelly, Salami with pesto, Ham with maple mustard and Brie with fig jam are all delightful.

A new discovery at the Leucadia Farmers Market is Frieda’s Street Tacos. There is always a line, which is a good sign, and the combo plate of three hearty street tacos rice and pinto beans makes for a perfect Sunday brunch.

I’ll wrap this up with one of my favorite simple pleasures, a basic hot dog at the beach. I was strolling through Moonlight Beach recently and stopped in to the Aqua Café concession stand there.

A Nathan’s hot dog, bag of chips and a soda hit the spot perfectly. Look for a full story on Aqua Café at Moonlight Beach coming soon.

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