The food in Encinitas, CA was in a word: delicious. I found a few vegan spots to eat at on the Pacific Coast highway that were really unique to the strip. The first place I went to was called the Lotus Cafe and Juice Bar.
Known for its juice and spiritual approach to food, this place was not a pure vegan restaurant, but had a lot of vegan options. Substituting cheeses for vegan cheese or tofu for scrambled eggs, those types of options. What was really neat about this place was you ordered your food at the counter, then sat down in a sit down restaurant kinda feel environment. But there was a community watering hole and silverware station. Very low key and simple. The food wasn’t too shabby either!
I had the pleasure of dining with my mother in law for lunch, and we both ordered juice (carrot for me and for her, green veggie), as well as grilled portobello sandwiches. The sandwiches were grilled perfectly and really paired well with our juice. My sandwich came with blue chips (non GMO) and their home made salsa, which was the best salsa I had on the trip. So. Good.
I grabbed some chips, salsa, guacamole and hummus for the kids to snack on at the beach, because well we just couldn’t get them to leave! They really enjoyed the food. And the hummus, oh man, it had a kick to it, but some of the best I’ve ever had.
The second place I ate at on the strip was a place called Eve. This place was a vegan restaurant and I felt like I was home in Boulder, CO when I walked through the door. It was very earthy and welcoming. Couches surrounded by bookshelves filled with books were on your left as you entered, and tables were to your right. And I’m fairly certain there was a yoga studio in the back of the place.
Anyhow, this place was known for their Buddha Bowls and salads, as well as their smoothies. Gosh, their smoothies were jam packed with fruits, veggies and grains and cost in the double digits. I did get a spinach one for the kiddos to share.
I was overwhelmed with the choices they had for bowls, so the guy behind the counter recommended their hero bowl. Reading thru all of its ingredients: kale, beets, carrots, walnuts, craisins, brussel sprouts, hemp seed, and brown rice in a tahini sauce….um I was sold!!! I got it to-go because the hubby wanted pizza, so I missed out on the beautiful plating they do. All of their food was served on wood planks or wood bowls and was so perfectly plated! You almost didn’t want to touch it it looked so pretty.
Noah finished it for me as there was a lot of Buddha in my bowl.
We did have pizza a couple of times on this trip. One afternoon, as mentioned, for lunch on the coast highway the hubby and kiddos ate at Napizza. Levi loved this place and said it was the best margarita pizza he’s had in a while.
We also ordered some pizza from a place called Oggis, recommended by the hotel we were staying in. We had 3 wiped out kiddos one night, and decided to stay in and order pizza. Classic, New York Stye pizza for my hubby.
I did not indulge in pizza, however. This place had gourmet salads that I couldn’t pass up. I ordered an arugula, quinoa and avocado salad with a lemon vinaigrette. It was really, really good. I just love the spicy, peppery flavor of arugula.
Traveling with 3 kids and a number of people who don’t eat the same why I do, played into where we ate for a lot of our meals. And I was totally fine with that! Yes, this is for all intents and purposes, a vegan blog. But, one of the things I wanted to do while at the beach, was to have an authentic fish taco! One where the fish was not shipped in to Colorado from the beach, but rather caught that day and cooked up for my taco. I ask a lot, I know. But if you’re gonna eat meat, fresh seafood is a very healthy option.
My brother in law took us to two different places that gave two different experiences for fish tacos. The first place, Pedro’s Fish Tacos, was in Ocean Side and was literally attached to a gas station. I have to admit, I was nervous and sure gave him a hard time for it! But the fish tacos were very basic and 100% what I was looking for: fish, slaw, pico and white sauce in a corn tortilla. Bam! And the flavor was pretty spot on to what I was expecting. My mother in law made me laugh with her description of the taco: “fish sticks and mayo”. She actually wasn’t that far off!! I enjoyed this version of fish taco but wanted a more exotic taco with grilled fish, not fried.
The second place we went for fish tacos made me drooooooollllll, a place called Oscar’s in Encinitas. This place had grilled fish tacos that literally made my mouth water and tummy happy.
With the same concept as Pedro’s, the tacos were loaded with fish, slaw and pico. But this taco place had bottles of sauce to choose from to put on your tacos, spicy white, salsa or chipotle. I chose the spicy white and it added an amazing favor to my taco with the right amount of kick. Oscars was definitely my fave fish taco.
My mother in law and I also ventured out one more time for lunch, this time to a salad place in an outdoor food court near my hotel in San Diego. The restaurant was called the Green Spot Salad Company and reminded me a lot of Mad Greens here in CO. We both had Asian salads and potatoes. Sooooooo good and refreshing! I really love the energy I getfrom eating salads, as well as love when someone else makes it for me.
As I was shopping on the Coast Highway, I came across a very unique coffee shop called Better Buzz Coffee. This particular shop had a line out the door in the middle of the afternoon the first time I saw it. When I finally made it back there to try it, I was sure glad that I did.
Though it’s not a vegan place to eat, they do offer organic snacks from local vendors and a few vegetarian/vegan options. Avocado toast, which is trending across the country right now, was one of their options. I didn’t have a slice, but saw others eating it and it sure looked fancy!
Have you ever heard of a coffee shop with Kombucha on tap??!!!
The last thing I want to mention about this coffee shop is their bee pollen…I heard someone order it on their chai latte. I asked the barista about it and she said they normally put bee pollen on their acai bowls, never on their drinks. So she was surprised to have someone ask for it! She offered me a sample of it and it tastes like a true super food! She could never confirm for me whether or not it was real bee pollen from flowers, but surely an organic idea for a coffee shop!
The last place I want to mention is eating at Sea Port Village in San Diego. We ate on the pier, next to the water and super big boats. We just found a small deli hidden in the circles of shops, that had sandwiches and salad. So perfect for lunch. I bought a large green salad for my kids and I to share, and I was able to get a veggie avocado sandwich. I love having options to eat at a place that’s not known for being plant based!
And last but not least…just for fun, Levi and I ordered a bottle of wine at our hotel one night, when the kids were super wiped out, and they sent up complimentary cookies to go along wth it. I felt so fancy!! To anyone traveling, especially with kiddos and need a more apartment feel to their hotel room, I recommend Homewood Suites, by Hilton. Seriously, it was the best hotel I’ve ever stayed in that wasn’t a five-star luxury suite. They offer free breakfast in the AM, and our hotel offered complimentary dinner Monday thru Thursday, along with complimentary wine and beer with your dinner. They offer really great accommodations for the money!
Until next time…