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Oceanside Chamber culinary contributors, from left, Hunter Shepard, Emerald Lowe, Kristi Hawthorne and Scott Ashton. Photo courtesy Brooks Venters
ColumnsLick the Plate

Lick the Plate: Eating around Oceanside with the Chamber of Commerce

I spend the majority of my weekdays working on the northern edge of Oceanside, just off the 76, and down the street from the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce. I prefer to drive the coast home to Leucadia and it’s exciting to see the culinary scene booming.

So, I  thought whom better than to share their insights on that scene than some of the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce Team? With that, I’ll hand it over to them for this edition of the Lick the Plate takeover column.

I’ll start at the top with CEO Scott Ashton who has lived in the community for the past 20 years.

“Our restaurant scene has certainly developed into something incredible during my two-plus decades in the community,” he said. “While there are an abundance of great dining options in Oceanside, there are a few specific spots that are always on my radar. Harney Sushi is a pioneer of great dining in our downtown area. They recently changed ownership and have maintained the same great quality of food and service. Privateer Coal Fire Pizza has a terrific atmosphere, great salads and an amazing gluten-free pizza crust. They are owned and managed by a wonderful community-minded family that has had a great impact on the quality of life in South Oceanside. Oceanside Broiler is my ‘go-to’ venue for business meetings in the beautiful Oceanside Harbor. Whether you want to enjoy a salad, fish tacos or a burger, their food is consistently of the highest quality. While I enjoy their delicious food via community events and catering, I appreciate the onsite dining the most at Hunter Steakhouse. Wednesdays are my favorite days to go to Hunter, as their amazing Santa Maria BBQ is available.” OK Scott, I’m going to hit you up to join me for the LTP research dinners at Hunter and Oceanside Broiler as they have been on my radar for a while.

Hunter Shepard is a membership development representative for the chamber and is a big fan of the culinary renaissance happening in Oceanside. He walks us through his version of a perfect day of eating Oceanside. 

“I’d start the day at 101 Bagels for a perfectly prepared jalapeno cheese bagel and an iced coffee,” he said. “The family that runs this little breakfast joint is the absolute nicest. After a short walk to the beach for a surf, lunch would be served by Local Tap House. With the sun shining through the rolled-up windows and the eccentric vibes, LTH is a perfect midday stop for a tasty 60/40 burger topped with a fried egg on top. The bar’s signature cocktail offerings aren’t too shabby either. When the sun sinks low we are heading to 333 Pacific, which overlooks the long strand of pier lights. This is one of the finer dining options in the city as they are known for serving some of the best steak and seafood. A filet paired with some red wine tastings will certainly do the trick.”  Sounds like a killer day Hunter, thanks for sharing!

Emerald Lowe is the director of membership and the Oceanside Young Professional Network. Emerald was my fixer for this column takeover and my contact at the chamber. Her portion is titled “Emmy’s Oside Vegan Delights.”

“One of the many things I love about Oceanside is that we have a growing variety of vegan options,” she said. “I still find it fun to discover new ‘vegan hacks’ and  are some of my favorite finds.

“The Miller’s Table  is my go-to spot for a lunch dates with friends or those cold, rainy days when you just need to warm up. Not only is this restaurant just the perfect balance of whimsical and cozy, they also happen to have amazing dishes and artisanal drinks. My favorite order is a DIY grilled cheese with vegan mozzarella and mushrooms with coconut butternut squash soup. Ask them about modifying ‘The Melanie,’ it’s pretty tasty too. I’ve always loved the self-serve, pay only for what you pour concept at Barrel Republic before I tried their food. Rotating taps keep things fresh and always bring me back. They have amazing homemade potato chips and tomato soup. Be sure to let your server know about your dietary restrictions, they’re always very helpful. Master’s Kitchen & Cocktail is perfect for a small bite or larger plate and check out their vegan cheese board from Prager Bros or the cabbage wraps with jackfruit, mango salsa and yuzu peanut sauce. They have the perfect atmosphere for solo or group dining and have a separate room on the side to enjoy the music and art scene over drinks. They also just had a new mural commissioned, perfect for selfies.” Thanks for the reminder on The Miller’s Table Emmy, that is one of my favorite places in San Diego.

Kristi Hawthorne is the director of events and military outreach and has lived in Oceanside for 37 years so she knows her way around town.

“When visiting Oceanside Harbor, Dominic’s is a must,” she said. “Their menu has something for every taste, whether you are looking for a great pizza or entrée. The location in the Harbor is hard to beat and they offer both indoor and patio seating. Owner Dominic Trupiano is usually there and he and his staff are welcoming. If you’re a local, you’re sure to know about the Beach Break Café in South O. It is a favorite of many and once you eat there you’ll know why. Their menu has a wide appeal and food is served in generous portions, with outstanding service. I love to go there for breakfast and always include the sweet sausage patty. It’s so delicious I order it each time I’m there. Don’t forget to order their coffee cake. Owner Zell came by our table with a slice when I was having breakfast with my daughter and she absolutely loved it.

“Mimi’s is one of my go-to places when I host a networking lunch with the Oceanside Chamber. One of my favorite things to eat, and I mean favorite, is grilled cheese sandwiches and one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches I’ve ever had is at Mimi’s Café. Their five-way grilled cheese is so simple but oh so good. I’m craving one just writing about it.”

Thanks Kristi, it’s always nice to get tips from a local’s local who has been in the area for so long. Thanks to the entire team at the Oceanside Chamber and check out Emerald Lowe on Lick the Plate on 100.7 the week of Feb. 3.

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