We all have that geographically desirable shopping center, the one that is within the closest proximity to where we live that if we are lucky has some great dining and shopping options.
I had this thought recently when I was driving into the Moonlight Marketplace on Encinitas Boulevard just west of I-5. The plethora of options in this recently renovated center got me thinking that if I had to, I could take care of all my weekly dining in and out needs from these options.
I’ll start with the anchor store and one that I’ve written about in the past, Lazy Acres. As beautifully merchandised grocery stores go, Lazy Acres is up there with the best. It’s actually quite a dangerous place for foodies to go into for a couple of items as more often than not, you are going to walk out with much more than that.
I love everything about this place, especially the extensive meat and fish department, meals to go, juice bar, fun non-food retail section and so much more. It is definitely a solid anchor to the Moonlight Marketplace.
Working my way around the marketplace next up is Jersey Mike’s, home of my new favorite subs in the area, and not just because they are the closest. I go with the “Original Italian” with provolone, ham, prosciuttini, cappacuolo, salami and pepperoni and served “Mike’s Way” with a vinaigrette dressing and their special seasoning.
Make it a meal with chips, soda and some Tastykake treats for dessert and it’s the perfect take-home meal to go watch some football. I have to say there is not a bad sub on the menu and they do have some breakfast options as well.
Mr. Peabody’s is next up and one of my favorite live music restaurant combo venues in North County. I recently caught a band there and was reminded how much I enjoy their menu. It’s elevated bar food with an emphasis on Prime Rib, steaks, burgers, fish and chips and who else in the area has Chicken Fried Steak?
They have a full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu along with outdoor seating and a great live music venue including live jazz every Sunday night. I love this place and have put it on my list to revisit for breakfast and some Sunday morning football.
Moving along around to the west side of the marketplace is a place called Everbowl. And honestly, based on just that on the sign with nothing else, I had no idea what it was. I assumed it was some type of savory healthy joint and stopped in for lunch but soon discovered otherwise.
It’s more of a build-your-own bowl full of “superfoods” as they put it like Matcha, Cocoa Love, Acai, Pitaya, Blue Majic (that’s how they spell it) and Chia Pudding. I’m going to have to circle back on this one as I did not feel like it was the lunch I was seeking at the time.
Next up is Serranos Mexican Food and that was an unexpected delight. Their fish taco was, dare I say, right up there with Juanita’s. I devoured three of them with no problem. I also tried the Chicken Soup which was also quite good and good to know as a backup option for when La Especial Norte goes on their annual vacation. It seemed as though the Al Pastor was what they were touting so I’ll be back to give that a try.
In my moments of fast food weakness, Wendy’s in the Moonlight Marketplace is the nearest temptation and such easy access. I’ve always been a sucker for their burgers, chicken sandwiches and chili and they have a nice mix of salad options as well.
I’ve said this many times before and am a big proponent of healthy eating most of the time, but there has to be room for indulging or “going bad” as I’ve been known to put it. So yes, I go bad at Wendy’s when the fast-food craving strikes and I’m OK with that.
There are some non-food options in Moonlight Marketplace including a decent drive-thru car wash, Jolly Clean Giant Laundromat, Scuba West, a chiropractor, Cutee Nails and a classic old-school barbershop called American Deluxe. There is an empty storefront where the Little Caesar’s used to be and a dentist’s office as well.
If it’s not your geographically desirable shopping center, Moonlight Marketplace is worth the trip for Lazy Acres itself and maybe check out some of the other options when you make a visit.
Find it at 102-154 Encinitas Blvd., Encinitas, 92024.