From a modest, tropical-themed roadside hut in Oceanside, JR's Hawaiian Shave Ice carves out delicious examples of the aloha spirit. JR's colorful creations give folks as authentic a taste of Hawaii as they can get without plucking shave ice straight from the palm tree. Flavors range from traditional, such as guava, coconut, and pineapple, to just plain unexpected, including tiger's blood, fuzzy navel, and Cajun red hot. Sweetness levels can be cranked up a couple notches, too, when you order your treat with ice cream, whipped cream, and other extras.
Recently undergoing a host of upgrades—including a move to a new location—Jennie's Cafe has proven a local favorite under the tutelage of owner and self-described lifetime waitress, Jennifer Duffin. Open for breakfast and lunch, diners can take a seat inside under dangling pendant lights at the counter to catch the morning news, or head to the sunny outdoor patio. Beginning at 7 a.m., chefs send out California-style eggs benedict with avocado and bacon, omelets made with fresh-cracked eggs, and chalkboard specials that rotate throughout the week, such as chalk pancakes.
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 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.
According to Zagat, the portions of breakfast plates at Broken Yolk Cafe can be "obscene"?although one could also consider them generous. Sometimes, these sizes are even considered a challenge. In 2010, Man Vs. Food's Adam Richman paid the restaurant a visit to tackle its infamous Iron Man Special: a 12-egg omelet, topped with chili and piled onto a 15-inch pizza pan.
Opened in 1979, Broken Yolk has spent decades fine-tuning its southwestern recipes?many enigmatically named for people such as "Betty" and "Tony G". Alongside steaming breakfast burritos and griddled buttermilk pancakes, the menu features nearly 13 omelets stuffed with fresh ingredients such as beef chorizo and avocado. Shredded hash-browns are crafted from fresh potatoes, and the salsa is handmade each day. Until its official closing time at 3 p.m., Broken Yolk also serves sandwiches and half-pound Angus burgers. The local chain's 13 locations each feature their own private banquet room and secret underground passage to one of the other restaurants.
The crispy exterior and soft interior likewise distinguishes Belgium Delights' fries?hand-peeled potatoes twice-fried and served with mayo, ketchup, or the housemade garlic aioli. To create that coating as authentically as possible, the cooks behind Belgium Delights import pearl sugar directly from Belgium. The culinary team then follows a family recipe, pouring the sugar into a simple mixture complete with flour, eggs, and yeast.
Similarly, their Belgian-style waffles go a crispier route than American-style waffles by tantalizing taste buds with their caramelized sugar coating. Yielding a buttery interior and crisp exterior, they can be topped with Nutella and fresh fruit. Patrons can grab the sweet and savory treats at various farmers' markets in the San Diego area, including Oceanside Market and Hillcrest Farmers Market.