The sound of live music on the streets of Leucadia is not uncommon. Sometimes it’s coming from a restaurant like Le Papagayo, a house party or the late, great Moonage Food Co. that just recently closed for good.
Actually, the band Second Harvest was performing at Moonage when I first heard their “California Soul” or “Laurel Canyon” sounds wafting up to my tiny bungalow on Saturday afternoon.
I walked down and instantly thought this band would be perfect for the outdoor “Dally on Diana” I was planning in my front yard. We managed to make that happen and besides providing the perfect soundtrack to my weekend afternoon gathering, the guys in the band were all super cool and had very interesting day jobs.
I ended up at one of their rehearsals recently, recording all four members for my radio show and inviting them to participate in one of my takeover columns. You can check out that conversation at www.lick-the-plate.com.
I’ll start by saying that all these guys are multi-instrumentalists who like to build stuff. Nathan Smith, owner of Groundswell Landscaping, was my point of contact for the band. Groundswell makes outdoor spaces more functional, enjoyable, beautiful and sustainable with a unique artistic vision. Being outside all day and a surfer, hearty eats are a priority for Nate.
“Fish 101 is a go-to,” Nate said. “I’m a fan of the Baja fish tacos paired with a Burgeon Brewing Treevana. It’s a proper way to start a weekend. It’s quick and always satisfying. For a little more comfort, I go to the Priority Public House. I like the pulled pork banh mi (sandwich) — it’s a great combination of textures along with flavors sweet, savory and spicy. They have a great beer list too.
“My wife and I have also been hitting Chiko as it’s nice to get a mix of flavors that are a little out of the ordinary. I especially like the crispy chicken spring rolls. I wouldn’t make it through the working week without quick Mexican food and for that I favor Agave. The birria tacos are my fave.”
Good stuff, Nate, although some breaking news here as Priority Public House is no more. Look for the Hamburger Hut opening there soon.
As a guitar player who is also an engineer, Chris Tully scored a dream gig with Taylor Guitars. Chris also has a side hustle as a design consultant with Tully Engineering.
“My favorite local spots are a pretty simple combination,” Chris said. “First, I’m heading down to Swami’s Café in the morning for any one of their tasty breakfast plates or smoothies. I’m either going big with their French toast breakfast or on the go with their convenient croissant breakfast sandwich and the Lina Smoothie.
“Then it’s just a hop, skip and a jump away to one of my go-to lunch and dinner spots, Lotus Café. Lotus is an epic Nepal and Indian-inspired café with mainly vegan and vegetarian options and a juice bar. My meal of choice is definitely their Poseidon’s Dream Melt, a tasty tuna melt that goes down well for lunch or dinner. At both, you are bound to see a car show’s worth of classic cars cruising by and plentiful people watching.”
Thanks for the reminder on Lotus, Chris. It’s been a while!
Chris Tully’s brother, Sean Tully, also plays both guitar and bass. Sean owns Forward Screen Printing in Vista and supplies many of the killer surf brands around town with their t-shirts and more. Sean likes to keep it local in Cardiff and Encinitas.
“My favorite place to eat in town is Besta Wan in Cardiff,” Sean said. “Delicious, down-home cooking located in an old beach cottage home turned restaurant. Wonderful assortment of art and trinkets throughout the entire place, and sweet old album covers on their menus. Pizza is top-notch, but my favorite dish is their Pasta with Ham and Peas — comes with a nice big garden salad and garlic bread. Cold beer is on tap and served in mason jars to wash it down.
“Another favorite is Betty’s Pie Whole in Encinitas. Super tasty homemade sweet and savory pies. A favorite is Grandma’s Chicken Pot Pie, with a Sweet Berry pie for dessert. All that said, most of the time the family and I are cooking at home. I specialize in Dutch Oven cooking and enjoy making meals over hot coals. I can cook a full stew with all the fixings, then bake a chocolate cake in the same pot right after the last bowl.”
Dang Sean, I need to hit you up for one of those Dutch Oven meals!
The drummer, Jon Wegener, of Wegener Surfboards, is a surfboard shaper and host of the jam session in one of the coolest old-school Encinitas workshop/garages filled with surfboards and instruments. His restaurant love is focused solely on one of my favorites also, A Little Moore Coffee shop on Coast Highway in Leucadia.
“Typically, my wife and I head there after our morning surf,” Wegener said. “The people who run the restaurant have been the same since I started eating there over a decade ago which has created familiarity and friendships. Omelets and breakfast burritos are my go-to. I add delicious crispy hash browns and ripe avocados.
“The fruit bowls are also very impressive, full of bright, crisp cuts of melon, watermelon, pineapple, etc. If I go a little later in the day, it’s a cheeseburger and fries, one of the best in town. You can eat inside or outside along the sidewalk. The people, dog, and train watching complement the coffee and dining.”
Right on Jon, love me some Little Moore!
Book Second Harvest for your event by hitting them up on Instagram @second_harvest or email me and I will put you in contact. [email protected]