Written by: Alexandra Lotzgeselle
This is now the third one of these restaurant tasting “food-crawls” that I’ve done. I’ve tasted Downtown San Diego and Cardiff in prior years. This one was interesting because Leucadia is such a small area, so it’s relatively easy and practical to actually make it to every stop…assuming you don’t spend too much time in the beer garden as we did! If you aren’t familiar, Leucadia is an area in Encinitas that is about a mile and a half stretch of road on the 101 south of Carlsbad and north of the Encinitas sign and Moonlight Beach.
The price for this one was right! It was only $20 for the food stops, which included about 20 places, and an additional $15 for the sip stops- 12 tasters to be used either at the beer garden or at a number of stores that allowed wineries and breweries to set up in their shops for the night. The event spans 3 hours, but unfortunately we had to cut our night short because it was the first time going anywhere without our son, and we were both getting a little antsy to return to him!
Although I have spent quite a bit of time in Leucadia over my life, I was surprised to realize that I had only eaten at a couple of the restaurants participating. And after this event, I will absolutely be going back to several of the places we tried! There was every kind of food imaginable. We had vegan coconut cake from Peace Pies, pulled pork from The Lanai, and paella with a chorizo stuffed oyster from Solterra Winery and Kitchen, just to name a few. My favorite two place though were Vigilucci’s Trattoria and Moto Deli. The latter of the two, Moto Deli, has a brick and mortar that will be opening this summer, and a food truck which they used for this event. They served a couple different sandwiches to which I chose the italian grinder. I am normally really particular about sandwiches and make a lot of customizations, but theirs was perfect as is! A sandwich may not seem all that elegant or captivating, but when it’s done this good, it’s worth praising. Vigilucci’s, while much more upscale, was probably my favorite of the night. They really took advantage of the concept of the night, and had event-goers walk through the restaurant to the back patio where they do private events. They had a table design beautifully decorated with flower arrangements and candles and truly set the mood. I was running through my mind trying to think of a reason I could rent out the beautiful space, which I gather was their intent! They offered a couple appetizer options- a traditional caprese and what I chose, a surprising and delicious goat cheese wrapped in thinly sliced grilled zucchini and drizzled with olive oil. They also had an offering of their own Vigilucci wine and a very delicious duck ravioli that was quite delicious.
The beer garden that was set up was one of the highlights of the event. There were quite a few breweries there including Green Flash and Alpine, Duck Foot, Ballast Point, Culture, and a few others. Each brewery offered you a couple selections giving you the opportunity to either have a favorite you knew you liked or the option to try something different. There were several breweries I had never tried before, and left liking quite a few new beers! The beer garden also boasted some great live music and a vintage camper turned photo booth. The photo booth was my favorite part of the whole event! The ‘Camera Camper’ was a very nicely decorated Airstream-esque camper that had a large bench and a bunch of props. You could easily fit a large group and could even choose to put a filter on your prints. The woman running it said she had just recently started her business, but you could tell the Camera Camper is going to be a big hit. While right about the same price point as traditional photo booths, you can instead fit a lot more people into the pictures and it adds a new trendy touch that would be perfect for any wedding or other celebratory event.
While rain was forecasted, we got lucky and had clear sky’s the whole evening. We did spend more time at the beer garden then we had planned (which is why I have so few pictures of the event to contribute!) so unfortunately we were not able to make it to all the different restaurants, but we did really enjoy ourselves and the entire affair. If you have yet to go to one of these “Taste Of” events, either the Taste of Leucadia or another town, I highly recommend you look into attending one- for instance, the Taste of Cardiff which will be held on May 5th!