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Ecke YMCA spin instructors, from left, Steve Nichols, Patty Barry, Rachelle Lash and Robin Missailidis Photo courtesy YMCA of San Diego County
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Lick the Plate: Ecke YMCA spin instructors share food, music picks

As a lifelong athlete who has started to taper back on my full-on, charge it mentality and listen to my body, discovering spin at the Ecke YMCA has been a revelation. Spin class, combined with surfing, weights, running stairs and the occasional 5K is the perfect low-impact addition to my mix and I love it!

Besides all that, the cardio nature of the workout is a great balance to my Lick the Plate adventures. Currently the class is held outside in the beautiful courtyard of the Ecke YMCA and I love that. The instructors play a great mix of music and keep the energy high. I was so stoked on this exercise discovery that I thought it would be fun to find out where these fitness gurus eat around town and some of the songs they love to include in their spin sets.

I’ll start with Steve Nichols, who helped me pull this together and is my Monday evening spin guy who always has a great playlist.

“After a tough spin class, my go-to place is Chick’s Natural, a great chicken restaurant on El Camino Real in Encinitas. They roast their chicken for hours over an open fire, sealing in the juices. I get the chicken bowl — tender, white meat chicken, served on rice with heaps of fresh broccoli and carrots, topped off with a tasty sesame ginger sauce. Sometimes I change it up with their “comfort bowl,” substituting mashed potatoes.

For a full-on dining experience, my favorite local spot is Ki’s, on Coast Highway in Cardiff. The owners, Barry Holcomb and his wife Lorraine, are longtime Y members and Barry is a spin regular. Everything on Ki’s menu is terrific, but I usually get the filet mignon — a petite, 6-ounce cut served with garlic mashed potatoes and vegetables. Mix in one of Ki’s creative cocktails, and you’re in for a great meal.

Some spin music favorites include “Whirring” from The Joy Formidable, “Fitzcarraldo” by The Frames, “Jigsaw Falling into Place” by Radiohead, “Aberdeen” from Cage the Elephant and “Red Eyes” by The War on Drugs.” Folks, if you have not heard of these songs or bands, check them out. Steve is a great source for music that moves you.

Rachelle Lash is my Wednesday instructor and also does the music right.

“On a day off, I enjoy taking a spin on my beach cruiser into Carlsbad Village, where I stop for breakfast at Baba Coffee on State Street. This urban-chill coffee house has been serving the community for 5-plus years. Lattes, cortados, teas, French press, hot or cold, with cream, oat, coconut, almond, or whole milk, Baba serves them with a smile. To complement my latte, I love their gluten-free avocado toast or breakfast sandwich with bacon or sometimes even a warm almond croissant. Cozy up with one of their teal-colored blankets while reading The Coast News.

Another favorite spin is a block south on State Street to Shorehouse Kitchen, where the beachy vibe with shiplap walls serves up brunch items such as sweet Caramelized Tahitian Vanilla Bean French Toast or savory Tarragon Chicken Salad. I indulge in the Pear Pancetta Flatbread accompanied on occasion with a Black Cherry Kombucha cocktail.

Some of my music to spin to favorites include “Tom Sawyer” by Rush, “Yellow” from Coldplay, “Desire” by U2, “American Girl” by the late Tom Petty, and “Better Than Ever” from Flight Facilities.” Thanks for the Carlsbad tips, Rachelle!

I’ve yet to take a class with Patty Barry but will soon as I increase my spinning!

“After a morning of teaching and training, I look forward to a healthy lunch that will not negate all my hard work, at Lotus Cafe in the Lumberyard. Lotus is known for its fresh, nutritious food and full juice bar. My favorite is the Avocado Heaven sandwich on 8-grain bread with a soulful salad and GMO blue corn chips with salsa on the side. A Moonlight Mango smoothie or herbal iced tea tops it all off! Thanks to manager Eric and staff for great service!

With breakfast on my mind, it’s all about Pipes Cafe in Cardiff-by-the-Sea. They’re recognized for their breakfasts, served all day — however lunch is great, too, with their sandwiches, burgers and amazing fries. Favorites are the Little Breakfast, egg sandwich with Pipes potatoes, and their famous egg burritos! The coffee bar, overseen by the very efficient manager Dana, offers smoothies and bowls as well as several coffee specials including a Milky Way mocha!

Some of my favorite tunes to spin to include “The Bongo Song” by Safri Duo, “Already Gone” by The Eagles, “Bomboleo” from Gipsy Kings, “Thunder and Lightning” by Chi Coltrane and “Move On Up” from Curtis Mayfield.” I would have to agree with that Curtis Mayfield song, nice picks!

I’ve seen Robin Missailidis around the Y for years but have yet to spin with her leading the pack. Based on her music picks I will be there soon!

“Since COVID hit and we haven’t been able to travel freely, we’ve been working hard at finding the joy of food by supporting local restaurants. After traveling to Italy, we became spoiled. We rediscovered an old local favorite and we keep going back week after week. Rosanna’s Pasta Shop in Encinitas serves the best, most authentic lasagna in town as take out. You can get veggie or meat lasagna or eggplant parmigiana, and all are scrumptious. Their antipasto salad is delicious as well. They have homemade pasta and sauce for sale if you want to make it at home.

Speaking of Italy, when we traveled there, we visited a castle in Tuscany. It turns out the owner of the castle is from Encinitas and his sister has a terrific, charming, authentic restaurant in Santa Luz called Rosina’s Italian Restaurant. You can’t go wrong here. Prices are great and the food is delicious.

Music that pumps me up for spinning includes “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars, “Feel It Still” by Portugal. The Man, “Push it” from Salt-n-Pepa, “Groove Is in The Heart” by Deee-Lite, and “September” from Earth, Wind & Fire.” I am 100% with you on Rosanna’s, Robin!

 Check out the Magdalena Ecke YMCA at 200 Saxony Road, Encinitas. 760-942-9622 or