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The Coast News

14 things for foodies to love this Valentine’s Day

David Boylan

Juanita's calendar
LTP loves the free calendars at Juanita’s. Photo
David Boylan

While Valentine’s Day typically recognizes the love between people, I thought I’d put a Lick the Plate spin on it and celebrate some food and drink finds that I can honestly say I love, in a foodie kind of way of course.

Cost Plus World Market in Oceanside is one of my favorite stores anywhere. I’ve scored some serious deals on quality furniture and accessories there over the years and always end up with a cart full of food from around the world. From spices to soup mixes to jams and curries to English style beans from Heinz, I’ve got a cupboard full of good stuff that I check out every time I’m improvising in the kitchen. It should be noted that most of what they have in the store can now be purchased on their website.

I just wrote a full column on newcomer Blue Ocean Robata and Sushi in Carlsbad and have since made a few trips back to this hotspot that has all kinds of buzz surrounding it. That buzz is worthy as their combination of Robata grill, sushi bar, and full menu offers up something for everyone. Go early as it gets busy and it’s a great place to unwind after work.

I’ve mentioned the old-school El Torito on Coast Highway in Leucadia in the past also but recent went back and ordered up some of their pre-marinated adobo pork that fries up quickly and can be put in just about any bread or tortilla product for a quick, delicious meal. They are located at 948 N. Coast Highway 101.

Future love is in store for fans of Bull Taco that is opening in the old Jamroc location just north of Encinitas Boulevard on N. Coast Highway 101. My gut tells me Bull Taco is going to make the location work.

The folks who brought us the Yellow Deli and also run Morningstar Ranch are at the Leucadia Farmer’s Market every Sunday selling a boatload of their Green Drink. Count me among the addicted. This stuff has a bunch of fresh greens and an orange juice base that I use for the foundation of my morning smoothie. I add blueberries, carrots, flax, apples, bananas and some spinach from the garden and feel pretty darn good about myself after.

On the other end of the healthy spectrum is the Moscow Mule at O’Hurley’s in Leucadia. This little dive bar on Diana Street right off the 101 is seeing a whole new influx of patrons who are exploring restaurants then stopping by after for a dose of Leucadia dive culture. The Moscow mule is a potent concoction of vodka and ginger beer and it goes down way to easy. They serve it in a very charming tin cup that is always a conversation starter.

While I’m in the realm of politically incorrect I should probably mention the veal parmesan dinner at Borrelli’s on El Camino Real in Encinitas. This is the only Italian joint in the area I could find this dish at and while it’s not a regular craving, it does happen…probably more often after a night drinking Moscow Mules. The breaded cutlet baked with cheese and served with pasta and a soup or salad is a slice of old school comfort food.

Yes, I will admit I love the Surfing Madonna Blend at Revolution Roasters. The aromas and tastes surrounding this wonderful blend make me happy.

The salmon bowl at San Sai in Carlsbad Premium Outlets is my healthy go-to for lunch. Get it on brown rice with the cucumber seaweed salad for under $9.

Sending the calendars to friends and family around the country from Juanita’s is an annual tradition for me. It’s a funky representation of coastal Encinitas. Juanita’s is at 290 N. Coast Highway 101.

Basiltops Pesto is full of love and some of the best I’ve had anywhere and it’s made locally. Look for a full column on them coming soon but in the meantime you can pick some up at Seaside Market or the Leucadia Farmer’s Market.

Big love goes out to Thin mint Girl Scout cookies. I keep them in the freezer as they are best served chilled. Girl Scouts are out selling their cookies all over in February.

For the love of value, the chicken fajita combo at Kotija Jr. in Leucadia is my go-to. I’ve stretched this heaping portion of goodness into 3 meals for $6.90. Located at the corner of Leucadia

And finally, I was recently sent a book called Plants with Benefits, an uninhibited guide to the aphrodisiac herbs fruits, flowers and veggies in your garden by Helen Yoest. It’s a fun read for you and your special someone and can be purchased at

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