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Best of North County

Peruvian food, stand-up paddle­boarding, secret entrances and 101 more places to explore



Get your gastro cravings satisfied north of the 56.

Cool Butcher Shop: Tip Top Meats
Need a suckling pig? A whole quarter of beef? Open since 1967, this family-run butcher shop is the real deal, with the finest meats, poultries and sausage. They buy the USDA Prime and choice meat hanging — not in a box. Three generations run the butchery, European market and restaurant, with founder “Big John” ­Haedrich still leading the charge. ­tiptopmeats.com.

Meat Ecstasy: Seaside Market, Cardiff
Roasted prime rib piled high, gooey smoked Cheddar, barbecued onions and a horseradish-mayo schmear on herbed foccacia. Need we say more? ­seasidemarket.com.

Under-the-Radar Chef:
Ryan Studebaker, Prepkitchen, Del Mar

Studebaker learned a few culinary tricks from his days at Crescent Heights and has flourished under Whisknladle exec chef Ryan Johnston’s tutelage. We love the specials, like the lamb shank with mushroom risotto and quail salad with arugula, pomegranate and Israeli couscous. Not to mention Prep’s serious stack of meats on its charcuterie cutting board, the tasty Niman Ranch flatiron and the salted caramel brownie sweet finish. ­prepkitchen.com.

Cravable Ceviche: Café Secret, Del Mar
Lightly marinated in lime, garlic, onion and aji peppers, these fresh nuggets of sea bass mingle with Peruvian corn, canchita (toasted corn) and sweet potatoes. Superb with a chilled Cusqueña beer, as befits the passionate Peruvian food from the Basagoitia family in this charming Del Mar cottage. cafesecret.com.

Best Tweetable Freshness Alert: Kaito Sushi
The daily tweets are as simple as this: “Today — aoyagi saba toro maguro kanpachi tai kaki aji kohada tako ankimo anago tako uni — thanks ks.” The sushi — fresh fresh fresh fresh fresh fresh. ­sushikaito.com.

Chips & Salsa: Fidel’s, Solana Beach
Freshly baked chips and epic salsa. If you like it hot, ask for diablo, the spicier, oaky salsa. ­fidelslittlemexico.com.

Diamond from the Rough: Truffle Risotto at Addison
For good reason, French gastrome Brillat-Savarin declared truffles to be the “diamond of the kitchen.” Executive chef William Bradley takes the earthy fruit of these underground ’shrooms to new heights with his sigh-of-pleasure-inspiring truffle risotto. Look for white-truffle risotto October through December; black, December through February at Bradley’s ever-impressive Addison. addisondelmar.com.

Fabulous Fried Sides: The Counter in C’Bad
Yes, there are a gazillion combinations so you can orchestrate your ultimate burger, but the fried little rascals — the pickles and sweet-potato fries — are hard to resist. The fries come with horseradish mayo, but honey is simpatico as well. Then get adventurous and work the sauce list. The sweet apricot sauce, feisty chipotle aioli and even the tzatziki titillate the tastebuds and make fry and pickle dipping all the more exciting. ­thecounterburger.com.

Heaven in a Mason Jar: Butterscotch Pudding at Blue Ribbon Artisan Pizzeria
Chef Wade Hageman is a wizard on several levels. He’s achieved the perfect thin pizza crust, his crudo with grapefruit and avo inspires joy, and then there’s the dessert: homemade butterscotch pudding with caramel sauce, sea salt and homemade whipped cream. Ridiculous. ­blueribbonpizzeria.com.

Movable Feast: Live-from-the-Tank Sea Urchins at Zenbu, Cardiff
The laid-back vibe belies the serious sushi, freshly caught by Rimel’s eco-friendly squad of private fishermen, Ocean Giant. The sea urchin, nestled in its shell, is so fresh it quivers, tasting like the dessert of the sea. rimelsrestaurants.com.

Pretend You Are in Hawaii: Happy Hour at Jake’s Del Mar
Is it the sun dipping into the sea? Ocean breeze? Aloha shirts? Photo-snapping tourists? Buzzing ambience? Line out the door? Why the heck is everyone so happy? Must be the $4 mai tais and $4 fish tacos on Wednesday night and the pervasive sense that the islands aren’t so far away. ­jakesdelmar.com.

Gourmet Doggie Biscuits: Claire’s on Cedros
While we applaud Claire’s for its Leed-certified cottage setting, the parade of bikes out front, herb garden and farm-fresh dishes, this quaint local fave is also uber-friendly to pooches. Pups are invited to laze on the patio and nibble on gourmet doggie treats — made from natural ingredients like chicken and turkey, olive oil, eggs, corn meal and flour. clairesoncedros.com.

Serious Steakhouse You’re Forgetting to Frequent: West in Carlsbad
Chef Eugenio Martignago, a recent James Beard House culinary guest, deftly helms this solid steakhouse, known for its excellent wet-aged USDA Prime filet and specialties like the rarely found bone-in 16-ounce Prime filet. Picked-daily fresh veggies arrive from his nearby 1-acre farm. His trio of tartare triumphs: spiced ahi poke, Mexican ceviche and salmon with tobiko caviar. ­weststeakandseafood.com

Cha-Ching Chowdowns: Valley View
Casino restaurants often give you extra bang for the dining buck, figuring you’ll use those saved dollars in their gaming areas. Valley View Casino & Hotel’s Black & Blue Steakhouse isn’t the only dining option that has foodies swarming to Valley Center; the nightly all-you-can-eat lobster buffet has seafood lovers swooning — and coming back time and again. valleyviewcasino.com.

Grilled Artichoke Pop-Up Stand: Annel & Drew’s Kitchen, Leucadia
This culinary couple shows up each Saturday on Highway 101 just north of Encinitas Boulevard from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to create a cozy patio eatery in front of the flower shop, where they serve up delectable treats like to-die-for grilled artichokes. First softened in boiling water infused with lemon and garlic, the ’chokes are halved, drizzled with balsamic marinade, tossed on the fire and caramelized. Served with sublime lime chili aioli for your dipping pleasure. anneldrewskitchen.com.

Rob Machado: 7 Favorite Spots in Cardiff

 Iconic Zen surfing ambassador Machado Grew up in Cardiff by the Sea. When he’s not traveling the globe charging waves, he’s hanging in his hometown.

  • Favorite Pastime When Not Surfing “Eating.”
  • Go-to Restaurant “Rimel’s, for their surfer burrito. It just makes sense.” ­rimelsrestaurants.com.
  • Breakfast Favorite “Mozy Café, for the breakfast burrito.” ­mozycafe.net.
  • Bakery “V.G.’s — it’s all about the maple bar.” ­vgbakery.com.
  • Bar Hangout “Zenbu: good atmosphere, great people — and a bike ride from my house.” rimelsrestaurants.com.
  • Beach “Cardiff Reef. It’s directly in front of my house, and sometimes when I get home the sun will just be in the water and I can run down the hill, paddle out and ride five waves before dark.”
  • Surf Shop “Hansen’s. It’s been there my entire life, and my dad built half of it. Don Hansen is my neighbor, and I like to support the locals.” hansensurf.com.
  • Local Surf Photogs “Rob Gilly has been around taking shots of me since I was a little kid. And now there’s a younger guy who came on the scene who I like, Todd Glaser.”


Location, Location, Location

These places are all about the setting — the rest is just a bonus.

 Movie-Star Kiss Setting: Scripps Bluff Preserve, Del Mar
Above Dog Beach perches a quaint little park that overlooks the racetrack and proffers ocean views all the way to La Jolla. A romantic spot indeed, especially with a tangerine sunset and the hot-air balloons hovering above like colorful ornaments.

Yin & Yang Experience: Flavor, Del Mar
Enter the pulsing scene bathed in blue light from the bar and enjoy a tequila and jalapeño sipper, then cross over the bridge into the subdued sophisticated restaurant side and savor chef Jason Maitland’s beef carpaccio, tender Dover sole and dreamy ahi, accompanied by Jerome Astolfi’s ­stellar wine selections. ­flavordelmar.com.

Hang Ten: Aaron Chang Ocean Art Gallery, Solana Beach
Want to get “in the curl” without getting wet? Visit this Cedros Avenue gallery, co-owned by devoted surfers, photographer Aaron Chang and painter Wade Koniakowsky. Chang’s stunning photos are a paean to the forces of nature. His images of illuminated arcing waves in settings across the globe stir the soul and the globetrotter within. Internationally-acclaimed Koniakowsky captures evocative Polynesian dreamscapes and point breaks in oils. aaronchangoceanart.com

Best of North County Readers’ Picks

We asked you for your favorites in our online poll of classic North County spots.

Best Burger
Angelo’s Burgers
Runner-up: Encinitas Alehouse

Best Happy Hour
Coyote Bar & Grill
Runner-up: Casa de Bandini

Best Beer on Tap
Pizza Port
Runner-up: Encinitas Alehouse

Best Breakfast
Runner-up: Al’s Café

Best Surf Shop
Surf Ride
Runner-up: Offshore Surf Shop

Best Sunset Spot
Vigilucci’s Seafood & Steakhouse
Runner-up: L’Auberge Del Mar

Rainy-Day Refuge: Oceanside Surf Museum
This funky exhibition space has a summer show honoring its 25th anniversary and the history of Cali surfing, along with “Transitions: Skateboarding from 1965 to 1975.” Not to mention Bethany Hamilton’s board with the giant shark bite. surfmuseum.org.

Neighborhood Where You’re Not Invited: Saint Malo, Oceanside
Who knew that a hidden beach community has been tucked into the southern edge of Oceanside for the past 80 years? This exclusive enclave looks like the walled port city of Brittany, with French Normandy architecture abounding. It’s home to a tight-lipped population of multigeneration second-home owners. During the Golden Era, it was a playground for L.A.’s elite, like the Chandler, Sepulveda and Doheny families; luminaries like Groucho Marx and Prince Phillip also visited. So pull out your Rolodex and figure out whose Pasadena parents might have a house there to get inside the gate.

Anti-Scene Scene After the Races: Tony’s Jacal, Solana Beach
The bloodline runs deep: The Gonzales family has owned, managed and staffed this Solana Beach institution since 1946. You’ll find true south-of-the-border hospitality here. One never tires of the expansive menu, on which turkey takes the spotlight for its greater flavor and texture in many of the delectable Mexican dishes. tonysjacal.com.

Retro Dive Bar: Uncle Duke’s Beach Bar, Leucadia
If you are over the fluff and froth, try this dive bar where the drinks are stiff, music pours from a jukebox, and a pool table actually exists. ­uncledukesbar.com.

Right Spot to Learn to Sea Sweep: Carlsbad Lagoon with 2 Stand Up Guys
Sure, those dudes make SUP look easy at Cardiff Beach, but if you are a neophyte stand-up paddler, get thee to the Carlsbad Lagoon, where the smooth water is way more forgiving, and you’ll get your stroke on. After a few paddle sessions there, brilliant instructors Matt or Ryan will take you out into the ocean, where it’s a whole other ballgame. ­2standupguys.com.

Reesey Shaw:
4 Artful Inspirations

This cutting-edge art curator is the founding director of Lux Art Institute.

Inspiration for Kids: Lux Art Institute
“I won’t hesitate to suggest that Lux’s programming for children, such as Summer Art Camp and Kids-in-Residence, is the best in Southern California, if not the state. Our staff and artists-in-residence bring tremendous talent and invention to the project planning.” luxartinstitute.com.

Local Gallery with National Quality: William D. Cannon Art Gallery
“Their programming is diverse, and it’s an open, easily accessible space. A worthy community resource.” 760-602-2021, ­carlsbadca.gov.

Innovative Encinitas Artist Pair:
Kim MacConnel and Jean Lowe

“Kim has a long and significant history as a leader in the Pattern & Decoration movement in the 1970s. As for Jean, I’m a big fan of her incisive commentary on culture through the use of papier mâché and bold paintings. Under her alias ‘Hulga of San Diego,’ she makes dangly, over-the-top ornate jewelry, and it’s just another way she is full of surprises.”

Art That Takes Your Breath Away: Queen Califia’s Magical Circle by Niki de Saint Phalle
“This sculpture garden in Escondido is a wonderful, magical jewel to discover for folks of all ages and backgrounds. A great place to bask in the idea of ‘A thing of beauty is a joy forever.’ Worth the time, the trip, and it’s a peak experience you won’t forget. This mythical figure and her island inspired California’s name.” queencalifia.org.


by Heather Feemster

Home, Encinitas
Amazing modern and vintage clothing at a great price. It’s run by brothers Adrian, Nick and Dave Ross, paying homage to their uncle Richard, who opened the first Home in NYC in 1970. (They also have a new store in North Park.) ­amomentinyourlife.com.

Gerhard, Del Mar
Owner David Fifield has an incredible eye for luxury goods and high-end design and showcases the best in fashion, including Lanvin, The Row, Viktor & Rolf and Derek Lam. Plus, the shoes are to die for. ­gerharddelmar.com.

Pink Lagoon, Solana Beach
Gorgeous pieces fill the floor of this contemporary women’s boutique, specializing in lifestyle, around the corner from the Belly Up. Prices range from $34 to $800, so there’s something for everyone — including personal shopping with owner Jenny Livits (by appointment only). pinklagoon.com.

Mog & Rue, Encinitas
Kelli, Shawnie and owner Kristen Di Zinno run this store with finesse, combining a unique collection of fabulous boho chic and trend-forward clothing. They also offer fashion sketching classes and a fantastic selection of hats for the Del Mar races. ­mogandrue.com.

Fairen Del, Del Mar
Visit this savvy boutique with eye-catching originals like Sophie & Chloe Rapture earrings, leather messenger bags, colorful pointy-toed cowgirl rainboots and upscale travel pieces. Even the gift wrapping rocks. fairendel.com.

Tre Clothing, Del Mar
Owner Sheree Vihon Bergthold and her team will style you for any occasion. From Hale Bob and Bianca Nero to up-and-coming designers like Goldhawk, Fifteen Twenty and Una Luna, Tre triumphs as a go-to-source for sophisticated fashion. 858-755-7227.


Landscaped Beauty: Aviara at the Park Hyatt
The only Arnold Palmer course in San Diego owns the bragging rights of being one of the best resort courses in the country. Undulating greens, elevation changes and wondrous manicure landscapes with serious water play and menacing bunkers make for an enter­taining challenge. ­parkaviara.hyatt.com.

Swing Therapy: The Grand Del Mar
Get your swing analyzed like the PGA top dogs with the Titleist Performance Institute screening process and a game-changing lesson from the personable director of golf, Shawn Cox, who has a keen eye for discovering your core “issue” and fixing it. ­thegranddelmar.com.

19th Hole: Maderas Golf Club Grille, Poway
After an exhilarating 18 holes, retire to the Grille for Bloody Marys, cold craft beers or single-malt scotch, then enjoy chef Earl Schryver’s unfussy SoCal cuisine, such as mahi fish tacos, house-smoked salmon salad and Kobe sliders. ­maderasgolf.com.


Secret Hassle-Free Access to Legoland: Sheraton Carlsbad
Book a room here so you can enter through the secret gate — which means no parking fees, long lines or hassles when arriving at Legoland. Afterward, relax, swim, spa and Jacuzzi, then dine at Twenty/20, where the menu hits the right balance of gourmet goodies and family-friendly fare. Order the Korean barbecue with watermelon. The whole experience makes dealing with the crowds that much less painful. ­sheratoncarlsbad.com.

Low-Tech Afternoon: Antique Gas and Steam Museum, Vista
Ditch the iPads for a day and head to this 55-acre property, home to tractor festivals, weaving demos, a blacksmith and myriad antique machines. The kids will also love the miniature train collection and home-baked desserts from the 19th-century farmhouse. ­agsem.com.

Small Spectacles: Tidepools at Tidewater, Solana Beach
Sea slugs, crabs, anemones, starfish, mussels and hermit crabs inhabit this natural aquarium. Low tides provide hours of entertainment — but remember to be gentle and never remove these denizens from their natural habitat.

Ocean Adventure: Mingle with Dolphins and (If You’re Lucky)
Blue Whales: Xplore Offshore

Arbiter of adventure, Captain Russell Moore deftly helms a tricked-out Navy SEAL rigid inflatable boat that operates like a 3-ton Jet Ski and holds up to 12. The Coast Guard – certified playtoy is absolutely family friendly, can bank turns like no other and is more fun than an amusement park ride. Search for aquatic acrobats (a pod of 10,000 dolphins provided a recent show), dive, snorkel, and then take a hot shower on board. xploreoffshore.com.


We’ve all heard the buzz. Now we’re ready for these new North County spots to open, already.

Raw Bar & Lounge: Solace and the Moonlight Lounge, Encinitas
Calling chef Matt Gordon to Encinitas. We want to chill upstairs in the ocean breeze, sip your handcrafted cocktails or barrel wine by the glass, and nibble on bivalves. We can envision the ceviches, tartares and oysters on ice. Add live music, and bring on the summer party. eatatsolace.com.

Cuttlefish, Octopus and Pork Cheeks, Oh My: Kitchen 1540 Makeover
Less than two years since its launch, and already chef Paul McCabe has a new plan: A little color pop and flash interior redo from Andre Kikoski. And a fresh approach to dining from McCabe that he’s keeping under wraps. Let’s just say standards like steak, salmon and chicken will be replaced by unique catches from private small fishermen and upscale purveyors. Toss in his culinary smarts, housegrown herbs from his new hydroponic garden, savvy general manager Brian LaFontaine, an updated wine list, and there’s a recipe for success. kitchen1540.com.

New Party Palace: Burlap, Del Mar Heights
Finally, some Brian Malarkey energy up north. We are eager to see what bold designer Thomas Schoos and the ever-creative Malarkley do with the 8,000-square-foot space and an Asian cowboy theme. We’ve missed the sparkle and wit of general manager Mr. Puffer in these parts, since he exited L’Auberge for Searsucker. And we can’t wait to try the creative cuisine and new potent quaff­ables. 12995 El Camino Real, No. 21.

Best Breweries & Craft Beer Pubs

Take a pilgrimage to the outer reaches of North County and hit the craft beer trail:

1. Mother Earth ­(motherearthbrewco.com)
2. Iron Fist ­(ironfistbrewing.com)
3. Green Flash (greenflashbrew.com)

San Marcos
4. Churchill’s Pub & Grille (churchillspub.us)
5. The Lost Abbey ­(lostabbey.com)

6. Stone (stonebrew.com)

Rancho Bernardo
7. Urge (urgegastropub.com)


Millionaire Meet-Up: Dolce Pane e Vino, Rancho Santa Fe
What’s not to love about a place where affable owner Dr. Anthony F. Smith (yes, the biz author and leadership consultant) calls himself the Czar of Mirth and Merriment? Chef Chris O’Donnell has a gift for wood-fired pane rustico and Naples-style flatbread, and the wine list is finessed to impress. Mingle with well-coiffed sports icons and pint-size jockeys, along with the Land Rover and high-digit Merc crowd. And yes, the cougs in far-too-short minis — but you just never know who you might bump into. dolcepaneevino.com.

Alfresco Sipping: Wine Steals, Cardiff
The seaside grotto with its arching stone, barrels and wooden bar may briefly conjure up romantic images of a Tuscan wine cave, but SoCal culture quickly prevails with the bevy of sun-kissed beauties, young professionals and action sports crew from Cardiff. This bustling bar scene is also an oenophile’s haven, with 40 rotating by-the-glass wines, $5 tastings on Wednesday and more than 250 bottle selections. winestealssd.com.

Champagne View: Enoteca del Fornaio Outdoor Bar and Patio at Del Mar Plaza
Drop the shopping bags, turn off the crackberry, and take a deep breath. With a glass of bubbly in hand, gaze out at the big blue from this posh aerie, and take a moment to be thankful for the beauty of Del Mar. 858-755-8639.

Urban Wine Club with Killer Grapes: Carruth Cellars, Solana Beach
The latest artisans to descend upon the Design District flourish in the craft of winemaking. In honoring Dionysus, Adam Carruth and his partner-in-wine, Annie Miliken, have added spark to the Cedros Avenue evening scene with their wine tastings, release parties and exclusive barrel tasting for Carruth Cellars Wine Club members. And while they crush right on Cedros, the grapes hail from Sonoma, Paso and Napa, so the wine rocks. ­carruthcellars.com.

Turkish-Style Wake-Up Call: Bird House Grill, Encinitas
No, it’s not a specific bean but rather a preparation technique in which the coffee is a ground turbo powder boiled with water in a long-handled cezve pot, sweetened to taste with sugar and served in a delicate Turkish cup. Savor it after a meal with a nice piece of baklava at this modest real-deal family eatery. birdhousegrill.com.

Ye Olde Scotch Wall: Paradise Grille, Del Mar
More than 40 impressive single malts beckon from this illuminated shrine to Scotch whiskey. Sip, savor, and get educated over customized “Flights of Paradise.” Bartender Teddy Wickersham and owner Conor Adair have also created the ultimate Scotch bible, so you can take a tour from the Orkneys to Speyside. And for those stuck in the land of vodka and gin, take to heart Humphrey Bogart’s final words: “I should never have switched from Scotch to martinis.” ­paradisegrille.com.

Monster Margs Surrounded by Authentic Folk Art: Casa de Bandini Bar, Carlsbad
While you sip Hornitos Reposado from your gargantuan birdbath glass, take in owner Diane Powers’ impressive collection of Mexican and South American artwork. From Oaxacan weavings and handmade lanterns and chandeliers to gold-leaf Peruvian mirrors and Santos carvings, there is eye candy in abundance. ­casadebandini.com.



Outdoor Exercise: Stairs at Tidewater Beach, Solana Beach
For those allergic to crowded, sweaty gyms, workout-gear fashion shows and pick-up lines between sets, the cliff-side stairs at Tidewater Beach are a great au natural alternative for cardio and calf sculpting. Nothing like a little mental cleanse in the ocean breeze with crashing waves as your soundtrack.

$7 Water Workout: Swim Masters Class, Boys & Girls Club of San Dieguito
Joe Benjamin leads this killer 75-minute class, which marries lap swimming, endurance and stroke technique. And our favorite new challenge: trying not to sink with a 6-pound medicine ball overhead. Well worth the $7. 858-755-9371, ­positiveplacesd.org.

Snowboarder’s Workout: Ezia 360 Lifestyle, Carlsbad
This cutting-edge training program has just moved to its new 6,000-square-foot performance playground, where pro athletes flock to keep their mojo going. Activate your potential at this one-stop shop for elite coaching, training, nutrition and rehabilitation. The new corporate program focuses on wellness and fitness to heighten productivity. Bring it on. eziahp.com.

Road Race: Swami’s Saturday Ride, Encinitas
The famed Swami’s Saturday bike ride covers 38 miles, from the Elfin Forest to Escondido, then through Rancho Santa Fe to the Lumberyard. While it’s open to all, keep in mind that Mr. Armstrong has pedaled with Group A, if you catch our drift. Group B leaves earlier, but if you prove your chops or carry hardware (medals) you can pedal hard and fast with the A’s. Other weekly rides available for different levels. swamis.org.


Ass-Kicking Boot Camp: Frog’s Saturday Morning Beach Workout, Solana Beach/Del Mar
This serious heart-thumping circuit-training session in nature unfolds as a 3- to 4-mile run broken up by exercises. But forget sets of 20. It’s “Drop and give me 100.” Expect to do upwards of 400 crunches, 100 pushups, endless arm dips and more. You’ll sweat and pant over the 90 minutes, but dolphin sightings and peeling waves make for good distractions. frogsfit.com.

Sweat Session: Haute Yoga, Solana Beach & Carlsbad
Owner Dino Flacco set the bar high in the realm of hot yoga with his eco-friendly, state-of-the art, temperature-controlled systems that heat, dehumidfy and refresh the studios like no other. Yoga devotees dressed in de rigueur Lululemon pack the classes. Go early; sessions sell out. ­hauteyoga.com.

Ambrosia Health Bomb: Ki’s Peach Smoothies, Cardiff
This beachside café has a strong environmental and community-conscious ethos, committed to delivering healthy fare to its local fans. There’s no added sugar to the smoothies, the fresh juice is organic — and of course, there’s wheat grass. kisrestaurant.com.

Pinnacle of Pampering: Day at Rancho Valencia
At this lavish spa, book a single treatment (like the Spring Quench Shea Butter Massage) and you get access to the fitness studio all day long. Lounge by the adult pool tucked into this garden of Eden, and nibble on chef Eric Bauer’s cranberry-dotted quinoa, homemade tomato basil soup and mini grillers. A fresh blood-orange margarita caps off a day rich with perfect moments. ranchovalencia.com.

Beauty Bash: Quattra Via Aveda Salon & Spa
Grab your girlfriends for a makeover party at this striking, spanking new salon and spa. Indulge in eyebrows by Elena and then hit the Blow Dry Bar for fabulous hair from owner Brittany Adamson. You and the gals can drink some wine and get all gussied up before a big night out. 760-697-1460, ­quattravia.com.


Treatment: Bamboo Spice Massage at Ocean Pearl Spa, Carlsbad
After being drizzled with orange peel – spiced oil, your body’s tight muscles are massaged and rolled out with a heated bamboo stick. The bamboo’s contour allows the therapist to work magic during this relaxing massage. Ask for therapist Auriel: She has the touch. ­oceanpearlspa.com.

Locale: San Diego Botanical Garden, Encinitas
This oasis of spectacular greenery from around the world hosts the largest collection of bamboo in North America, including species from Nepal, Sumatra, China, Sri Lanka, Mexico and Tibet. Make the trip with your spawn to explore the magical labyrinth of bamboo, rain forest setting and interactive Hamilton Children’s Garden. 760/ 436-3036, sdbgarden.org.

Movie: Stoked and Broke
Encinitas filmmaker Cyrus Sutton’s indie action sports comedy centers around two penniless surfers who make rickshaws out of bamboo and go on a Zen surfari staycation from Encinitas to Pacific Beach, living off the land, their street smarts and the kindness of strangers and friends. Ha-larious. korduroy.tv/store.

Sugar Jones: 5 Finds in Oceanside

The blowing-up blogger (SugarJones.TV) and social media queen tweets about her hometown in 140 characters or less.

Namaste Before Dawn: The Yoga Body
“People think I’m crazy, waking up so early for yoga. The truth is, breathing deeply as the sun rises is the one thing that keeps me sane.” ­theyogabodyoceanside.com.

Killer Martini Menu: Café 333
“Sexy, swanky and stunning. Sip a Sour Kiss, turn things around with an Inside Out Cosmo, or enjoy some clarity with a Detoxitini. Cheers!” 333pacific.com.

Deep-Fried Mac & Cheese: Farmers’ Market
“It’s a street fair every Thursday night! Live music, fresh fruits & veggies, and tasty noms like our family favorite, fried mac and cheese.”

Work Off the Deep-Fried Mac & Cheese: Riding the Strand
“A sweet South O day includes riding the Strand on your cruiser with the ocean breeze on your skin, watching the waves, California dreamin’.”

Mondo Coffee Cake: Beach Break Café
“This local fave is part diner, part museum. The walls pay homage to the history of surfing. But the best part is coffee cake with breakfast.” 760-439-6355, ­beachbreakcafe, menutoeat.com.

Tony Hawk: 9 Places to Play

North County’s most famous skateboarder talks to us about life off the clock. And by “talk,” we mean one-word answers via e-mail. But hey, we’ll take what we can get from the Carlsbad tycoon who is busy running an empire, raising four kids and tweeting like mad for charity.

  • Family Hangout: South Carlsbad State Beach
  • Best Skate Park: Encinitas YMCA, 760-942-9622, ecke.ymca.org
  • Ultimate Skate Shop: Witt’s Carlsbad Pipelines
  • Chow with the Fam: Pizza Port, 760-720-7007, pizzaport.com
  • Grownup Grind: Short ribs at Market
  • Restaurant + Bar, Del Mar, marketdelmar.com
  • Fave Charity/Foundation: “Mine! (See ­tonyhawkfoundation.org.) I also appreciate the work of Habitat for Humanity in San Diego.”
  • Best Nature Adventure in C’bad: Hosp Grove Park
  • Beyond Skateboarding: “Playing with my kids and surfing (or both!).”
  • Saturday Afternoon: “Enjoying San Diego weather with my kids in the backyard (swimming and skating).”

 Jesse Rodriguez: 5 Best Bottles Under $50

As the wine director at Addison, Rodriguez is a walking encyclopedia of all things oenological. This advanced sommelier pours some of the finest from the 36,328-bottle cellar he oversees. Here are his recommendations for five fabulous wines less than S50:

  • Scarpetta Spumante Rosé, Friuli, Italy, 2009, $45
  • Domäne Wachau Riesling, Dürnstein, Austria, 2007, $35
  • C&C Chardonnay, California, 2009, $45
  • CVNE Tempranillo Crianza Rioja DOCa, Spain, 2006, $40
  • Viñas Melodía, Mendoza, Argentina, 2006, $40

Where to Buy: La Costa Wine Company in Carlsbad, lacostawineco.com; Meritage in Del Mar, meritagewinemarket.com; Wine Connection, thewineconnection.com.

Trey Foshee: 6 Greatest Restaurants That Aren’t His

Known for his superlative, seasonally driven cuisine at George’s at the Cove, Foshee reigns as one of San Diego’s finest chefs.
When he’s not cooking, he’s hanging in Encinitas with his family or prone paddling off Cardiff.

Go-to Pizza: East Coast in Cardiff
“Their crust-to-topping ratio is correct; it’s well done for standard pie. When I order takeout with my family we get a margherita, but when I stop in for a slice, I usually go for the specials like the buffalo chicken.” eastcoastpizzaonline.com.

Vegetarian: Lotus Café in Encinitas
“I like to go there with my daughters, since they love the veggie burgers. It’s nice to sit outside on the deck in the sunshine and have a healthy lunch. It feels like Encinitas, that’s for sure.” ­lotuscafeandjuicebar.com.

Peruvian: Q’ero in Encinitas
“I always order the flatiron steak; it’s got this perfect sweet-spicy thing going on.” ­qerorestaurant.com.

First-Date Spot: Yu Me Ya Sake House in Leucadia
“It’s intimate and casual with surprisingly good food. For a date night, the sake house shows you have some style and know something about the underground food scene. The Nakai family are cool owners, and the staff knows their sake. Get a reservation, since the word is out.” 760-633-4288.

Omakase: Kaito Sushi in Encinitas
“Belly up to the sushi bar and let Kazuo Morita decide what you are eating.” ­sushikaito.com.

Hole in the Wall: Bety’s Tacos in Encinitas
“It’s clean, the people are nice, and the food is very good. Try the pambasos: spicy Mexican sandwiches like the tinga de pollo (marinated chicken in chipotle sauce). It’s a gut bomb and great hangover food — have it with a few beers, and take a nap!” ­betystraditionalmexicanfood.com.

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