Tip Top Meats
To call Tip Top Meats "a butcher shop" is to call a tricked-out Maserati "a car." "Big John" Haedrich, the Carlsbad establishment’s founder, owner and butcher, is awfully good at his game, having honed his skills in his native Germany and finessed them ever since he came to the United States in the late 1950s. But Tip Top Meats, which Big John opened in 1979, shortly after his 50th birthday, also is a full-service German restaurant, deli and market, its shelves filled with the finest German imports, including plenty of wine and beer — from Rieslings to Liebfraumilch, Weizenbock to Schwartzbier. Fresh-made German sausages, potato salad, sauerkraut, poppyseed cake, even Rote Grutze (mixed berry pudding) — it’s all there, and it’s all good. The deli has to be seen (or sampled) to be believed, and the restaurant has a full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu of hearty, authentic German culinary delights. Big John’s Breakfast is almost sinful — three eggs, home fried potatoes and all the smokehouse bacon, pork link sausage, Polish sausage, Bratwurst or ham you can eat, all for just $6.98. And for dinner, you can take your pick of German staples such as Sauerbraten, Rouladen or Holsteiner Schnitzel — full meals, for less than $9 each. You also can pick any steak from the meat counter and have it prepared however you like it for just $2.98, plus the cost of the meat. Prost!
6118 Paseo Del Norte, Carlsbad
California Surf Museum
Only in North County — a museum dedicated solely to the great sport of surfing. The California Surf Museum, which opened in 1986, is now fully settled in its spacious new digs and buzzing with new exhibits and special events. Coming up in March: "Women On Waves: A History of Women in Surfing," a decade-by-decade tribute to such celebrated women surfers as Eve Fletcher, Linda Benson, Linda Merrill and Jericho Poppler. The exhibit includes two dozen significant boards, several trophies, a handful of bathing suits and assorted contest memorabilia. This show comes on the heels of an expansive display honoring and celebrating Southern California’s 100-year tradition as a red-hot surfing spot, which includes vintage surfboards, old photos and compelling storyboards filled with rich anecdotes and fascinating trivia.
312 Pier View Way, Oceanside
On the Agenda
The San Luis Rey River Bike Trail in Oceanside is an anomaly in San Diego County: a dedicated bike path devoted to cyclers, with absolutely no interference from traffic. The trail is 7.2 miles each way and runs from the northern end of College Boulevard (where it Ts with North River Road) all the way west to the beach (it ends across the bridge from Oceanside Harbor). It’s a relatively flat trail, punctuated by series of underpasses beneath major roads and the Interstate 5 freeway. There’s plenty of parking at the eastern trailhead, just past the entrance to Mance Buchanon Park. Future plans call for the bike path to be extended eastward all the way to Escondido; already, crews have added about a mile in that direction.