Budget Meals Out

We’ve long enjoyed a lunch for two at John Randall’s Curbside Café located next to the Avo Theater in Vista. Trouble was, we didn’t think we could fit a meal into our $10 (arbitrary) ceiling. Well, the heck with it. Good food should be celebrated.
A cross between a local hangout and an imaginative and tasty choice of repasts, Curbside is one of the best places to eat in Vista.
Owner/chef John hails from Buffalo, a fact we extracted from him more than a year ago when we first tasted his sweet potato fries. “You must be from the East Coast?” was met with a “Yup.”
With modest tables and chairs arrayed outside 307 Main St. and always packed for breakfast, the café features lunch items such as a mixed sausage sandwich, John’s original soup of the day which rival’s Dell’z, BLTAs (bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado), sirloin burgers, wraps and salads to die for.
Watching our retirement funds go down the nearest sewer, we opted to split a turkey wrap ($9.50), which came with a side of (you guessed it) sweet potato fries. We could have had soup or fruit or garden salad instead, but we know what we like.
I’ll be frank. Husband John liked it better than I did. I really am not very fond of wraps because I find them hard to eat.
The flavor was outstanding, the ingredients were fresh (John said the tomato was so fresh it flirted with him) and the sauce/mayonnaise tasted homemade.
There was a bit of bacon and grated cheese in it as well. A first-class wrap, if you like the genre.
In the past, I have loved the crab cakes ($5.95) and vegetable quesadilla ($9.50 with chicken) and his Greek salad ($9.25). Come to think of it, I’ve never had a disappointment here. John, who chases the perfect Reuben wherever he goes, loves the sandwich here ($9.50). I’m more a Cobb Salad gal and this one is outstanding, but at $9.95 it will have to wait for me until my ship comes in.
While the prices tend toward the substantial, the food is worth it. Fresh, tasty, original — we love to eat there. Specialty coffees, smoothies, beer and wine add to the place’s appeal.
The Curbside Café is open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. There are also some fine art selections by locals for sale at moderate prices. Call (760) 630-2747 for details.

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