The Coast News Group
Part of the team from Utopia, including Chanelle Simpson, Penny Hogan, India Carroll, Megan McMurtie, Jenn Couch Wilson, Piper Rose. Courtesy photo
CommunityLick the Plate

Lick the Plate: Licking the Plate with Utopia Style Lounge

I was first introduced to some of the women at Utopia in downtown Encinitas through an opening they were hosting for local artist friend John Finkbiner. The event was full of fun, creative, stylists artists and musicians…my kind of folks. The space doubles as an art gallery and includes a boutique called Gypsyweed so it’s always buzzing with activity. I’ve been back a few times for more fun events and wanted to know more about where these rad women eat around town so they are taking over Lick the Plate this week.

Jenn Wilson is one of the owners of Utopia Style Lounge along with her partner India Gill.  Jenn is a local having lived in Encinitas for over 38 years and operated Utopia for 12 years.  She specializes in extensions, haircuts and color.   Some of her favorites are Pacific Coast Grill, Las Olas in Cardiff By The Sea, and Vigilucci’s in Carlsbad.

“My all time favorite is (PCG) Pacific Cost Grill in Cardiff By the Sea. It is literally right on the sand and the ambience is amazing.  Sunsets for miles with the sound of the waves hitting the sand as you walk in. Pacific Style with lots of tasty fresh seafood and meats.  I love to start off at their Oyster Bar with a cocktail.  Some of my favorites are the Cardiff Reef Roll and of course Filet Mignon with a lobster tail that is to die for!  I suggest heading upstairs and sitting out on the deck.  Delicious food, drinks and a great overall vibe.” Could not agree with you more Jenn!

Chanelle Simpson is a hairstylist at Utopia Style Lounge and one of the most striking women I’ve come across anywhere. Her style is all hers and she wears it well. I should note that she did the hair for one of my good friend’s wedding and it was amazing. Here is her take on local dining.  “Hands down best Italian dinning experience is at Grigorios in the heart of downtown Carlsbad. Every dish cooked to glass of wine is heaven to your palette. I always enjoy the friendly family oriented environment. It’s simply the best way to finish off your day with a delicious meal paired with lighthearted conversations with the locals. I wouldn’t go anywhere else for quality Italian food. I recommend the gnocchi soup and mushroom truffle risotto, absolutely delightful! You must go experience this hot spot.” It’s on the list now, thanks Chanelle.

Penny Hogan is a senior stylist having been at Utopia since 2003.  Penny shares my love for local favorite St. Tropez Bistro where she gets the Sweet and Savory salad regularly. “My other favorites include Oceanside Broilers happy hour menu on the deck on the harbor, and of course LTH or Local Tap House in Oceanside and Belching Beaver in Vista. They both have a diverse menu and use produce from Palmquist Elementary where my kids go to school.” Nice picks Penny and thank you!

Megan McMurtrie is another stylist at Utopia and Leucadia favorite Le Papagayo is her go-to. “Their home made pesto and fresh baked bread is to die for, besides the yummy sangria. They have a beautiful patio to relax and sip and chat, and usually a live jazz band on the weekends. I also love Fish 101, great happy hour, friendly owners, and always great selection of your a veggie lover like me looking for a great salad, or plenty of fresh fish to choose from. Birds Eye Kitchen just popped up a little while ago, which is a great place for veggie Thai options.” You had me at Fish 101 Megan and yes, a Bird’s Eye LTP is coming soon.

Piper Rose is another one of the good energy stylists at Utopia. Met her at a Summer Fun on the 101 beer garden and had great conversation. Piper went with the one-dish angle with the acai bowl from 101 Diner in Encinitas.  “They serve up one of the most delicious acai bowls around town. Always guaranteed to be fresh, vibrant and absolutely delicious! Best of all they provide a nice boost to the immune system and leave me feeling light, energized and ready to enjoy the beautiful day.” And that’s the best way to feel Piper! I will have to revisit the acai bowl thing.

Lisa Mosberg is the owner of Gypsyweed Boutique inside of Utopia Style Lounge. Lisa was the woman who made this column happen and did all of the contributor wrangling so thank you Lisa!  Her boutique offers a wide range of products from apparel, to accessories, vintage footwear, and home goods including candles and textiles from India and Africa. Gypsyweeds Bohemian style is inspired by free spirited women, music, art, and all things vintage. When it comes to food, Lisa is a spicy fanatic. “When I need my spicy fix the only place for me is Siamese Basil. Basil beef over brown rice spice level 10. I am not a huge lover of Mexican food (is that even legal to say in California?) but I do LOVE Tony’s Jacal, I have an extra special fondness for their beef chimichanga and salsa. Poke anyone? The only place here for that is The Lanai.” OK, I’ve never seen anyone go level 10 at Siamese Basil — that’s insane. I may need to see it to believe it.

That’s it from a sampling of the team at Utopia Style Lounge and Gypsyweed Boutique. Check this place out for sure! They are located at 1038 S Coast Hwy. 101, Encinitas.  (760) 942-0015.

David Boylan is the founder of Artichoke Creative an Encinitas based integrated marketing firm. He also hosts Lick the Plate Radio that airs Monday through Friday at 7 p.m. on FM94/9, Easy 98.1, and KSON. Reach him at [email protected] or (858) 395-6905.