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The eclectic mix of calendars at Juanita’s in Encinitas. Photo by David Boylan
ColumnsLick the Plate

Lick the Plate: Looking ahead to a new decade

As we do a slow roll into a new decade, I’m bogged down with one of the worst lingering colds in recent memory.  It’s not one that can shut me down completely but it’s making powering through a workday somewhat painful. Luckily, writing Lick the Plate is a welcome reprieve from the spreadsheets and planning that consume a regular gig in marketing. Not to mention my voice is almost completely gone so radio interviews will prove difficult this week.

I have a few topics on my mind that are not so much resolutions, but improvements, based on some recent reader feedback that could make Lick the Plate a better read for The Coast News’ audience.

Before I get into those, I have two bits of very important information to share. The first is that Juanita’s in Encinitas has their 2020 calendars in stock and you can pick a couple up for free with a purchase.  These calendars are one of the great joys of my life — yes, it’s the simple pleasures, and I have a list of chefs, friends, and family that I send them to every year. It’s hit or miss what will be available on the wall when you visit but it’s always a very diverse mix. I’ve picked up calendars that have included images of stallions, bulls, warrior types, sultry women, tourist destinations, cuts of meat and pork and Mexican crops to name a few. My favorite side-by-side combo was a couple years back when there was one that included all of the popes next to another that featured the weapons of cock fighting. Yes, very random but that’s the beauty of the Juanita’s calendars.

On another equally important note, the best Mexican-style chicken soup ever and what would be the perfect remedy for this nasty cold, is not available until 10 a.m. Jan. 17. Yes, it’s the annual, well-deserved two-week vacation for the folks at La Especial Norte. I forget about this vacation every year and during the winter, when that soup is a weekly purchase I drive over, like I did last night only to be by turned away, singing the chicken soup blues. There are other very respectable local options, but La Especial Norte is my joint and well, I’m loyal like that.

Local updates aside, I received some reader feedback recently that had some solid suggestions in it. It can be very easy living in Encinitas to get sucked into the coastal bubble as it’s called and ignore the rest of the North County that The Coast News reaches. That said, I have made progress in covering Carlsbad, Oceanside, Solana Beach and Del Mar but there is a whole lot going on inland as well. If you have a suggestion for anything culinary related that you think would make for a compelling Lick the Plate column, I would welcome an email.
The reader also suggested doing more in-depth profiles on the culinary talent in the region. I’m all for that and have in the past included interview formats on a regular basis. It’s how I structure my Lick the Plate radio show and includes not just my guests’ culinary backgrounds, but their taste in music since the two go hand in hand.

I’m also going to make a solid effort on including more content that focuses on healthy eating and lifestyle.  As I mature and can’t necessarily exercise off my culinary indulgences, healthy eating has become more a part of my daily routine. Given that we live in one of the most health- conscious areas of the world, this is a natural evolution of Lick the Plate. My philosophy in the past has always been “calories in, calories out” and that worked great when I was running competitive track, surfing, lifting weights, cross-fit and regular stair workouts at Stone Steps. I had a really good run with that mix, but it’s come to a point where I have to pick and choose my playtime activities and preserve my body so I can continue some of them well into middle and old age. Diet plays a huge role in that and while I will not abandon the occasional Lick the Plate indulgences; they will not be the regular occurrence they once were. And while I’m not a fan of fad diets, there are so many people in this area that offer solid healthy living solutions, I will make it a point to feature them on occasion while continuing to allow myself a serious Lick the Plate indulgence.

Here’s to a happy and healthy decade!