At Mediterranean Café, chefs inject Californian flair into a dinner menu of hefty meat-based and vegetarian table-toppers inspired by Middle Eastern and southern European entrees. Munching patrons and overly involved life coaches tear mushrooms, plum tomatoes, artichoke hearts, zucchini, and onions from the roasted vegetable medley ($13.50), which is planted atop basmati rice and served with minted cucumber-yogurt sauce. Identical trimmings add pizzazz to the kifta kebab ($16), starring beef kissed with spices, onions, and parsley, and fig spread camouflages the pancetta and fig pizza's ($15) thin crust from competitive eaters in training, cradling roasted chicken breast, pancetta, gorgonzola crumbles, mozzarella, and veggies.
Founded in 1993, Witch Creek Winery has racked up a multitude of awards for its handcrafted wines, especially its 12 red varietals. Soak up the sun at the original Carlsbad location near the beach, or take in the picturesque scenery of the mountain-nestled Julian storefront while you sample five to seven wines during a tasting ($5). A courteous staff member will tell you about the grapes you're gobbling, guide you through the flavors, and remind you to floss. Then you'll be free to grab grapey goodness such as the 2006 Reserve Cabernet Franc ($30), which blends hints of cherries and rhubarb, or the 2007 Lodi Zinfandel ($32), which emits soothing aromas of pepper, cinnamon, and eternity. Or, pick up Witch Creek’s 2008 CB Viognier ($20), which wakens senses with peach and floral flavors.
At The Armenian Cafe, chefs have mastered the delicate art of adaptation. Their far-reaching menu spans the meals of an entire day, incorporating many entrees that seem American at first glance, but have actually been injected with Mediterranean flair. What appear to be crunchy chips are toasted segments of pita bread; breakfast omelets can contain gyro meat and falafel in addition to morning meat staples; and pieces of cured Armenian beef sausage dapple mozzarella and feta cheese on the soujouk pizza. Even desserts receive the fusion treatment, with layers of baklava filo dough sandwiching the creamy filling of an Armenian cheesecake.
Of course, the kitchen also produces recognizable classics of the culinary genre. The chefs closely guard the secret marinade that flavors their rack of lamb, just as they do the recipe for the garlic house dip—curious diners have only managed to discover that it does not, in fact, contain spaghetti. Shish kebabs and pita sandwiches, on the other hand, flaunt housemade tannouri pita bread and pair well with sips of Armenian coffee and sights of belly dancing on Friday and Saturday. From 2008 to 2012, this mix of the inventive with the traditional has helped the café win first-place or runner-up status from CityVoter for Best Mediterranean.
A long red awning ushers diners into Cafe Elysa's crimson interior, where the kitchen staff crafts a lineup of fresh-made breakfast fare from a menu artfully written in chalk on blackboards. House-made baguettes teem with fillings such as ham and brie or roast beef and grilled onions, and made-from-scratch pastries are preserved beneath glass. The griddle sears slices of french toast and stacks of pancakes to be slathered with syrup or locally grown fruit, rather than fruit manufactured by non-union factories. Outdoors, diners enjoy meals around the fire pits as occasional live music plays on the dog-friendly patio.
Opened in 1984, Carlsbad Danish Bakery is a full service bakery located in the village of Carlsbad in the north coastal area of San Diego county. The bakery is family owned and operated. We create genuine danish delicacies with no added preservatives, hand crafted and fresh daily.