Well, the Starving Musicians are well fed! We checked out, not one, but three eateries for our column this month, looking for something to boast about. All three met our guideline premise as establishments monetarily supporting local music. Ergo, they actually pay the musicians who perform there. What a concept! Again, our philosophy is if they support us, we can reciprocate and support them. However, as musicians not accustomed to a wallet full of spendable cash, we also look to discover those enterprises who serve up a goodly, tasty portion at a musician-friendly price. We concentrated our efforts this month in the north county beach communities, where there seems to be a hub of music activity along Highway 101.
First on our list was Ki’s, specializing in organic, locally grown, and healthy cuisine, located in Cardiff, next to the Kraken. The menu features breakfast, lunch, and dinner items, and there are quite a few vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free selections to be had. Our first impression was that the staff were confused by their own ordering procedures, but after placing and paying in advance for our order downstairs, we walked upstairs with our order number in hand and waited at a table for the fare to arrive. Now, Rick likes a nice juicy hamburger, medium rare. Ki’s burger, though, was way too overcooked (Rick said it was as dry as an old maid’s nasty). Eleven dollars is apparently the average price of a burger in this region, but it seemed far too much for that bad boy. My Salad Nicoise was not much better; the albacore was dry, and tasted a bit on the “old” side. While we applaud their commitment to environmental and community consciousness, the food we received didn’t satisfy.
Ki’s Restaurant, 2591 S. Coast Hwy 101, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA 92007 – 760.436.5544 – www.kisrestaurant.com
Our next stop was Robbies Roadhouse, which is actually two restaurants in one, serving up California cuisine on one side of the menu and Italian on the other (under the name “Vigilucci’s”) along the roadside in the more northern beach community of Encinitas. Since the weather was perfect, we chose to sit outdoors on their patio. I chose the ribeye sandwich while Jim opted for a Rueben sandwich with truffle oil and parmesan fries, and we split a bowl of mac ‘n’ cheese from the “sides” portion of the menu. The prices are pretty much what you’d expect in that area of town, but starving musicians need to find value for our buck, so, if 11 dollars is too much to lay out for a sandwich, we could recommend simply ordering the mac ‘n’ cheese for $7.50. Good and plentiful enough to get you by until dinner.
Robbie’s Roadhouse/Vigilucci’s, 530 N. Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA 92024
760.634.2365 – http://www.vigiluccis.com
Last, and only a block away up Hwy 101, the Calypso Cafe in Leucadia received our covert visit. They’ve recently expanded operations to include a continental-seafood lunch menu. Their dinner menu comprises a mixture of “world” flavors, with everything from filet mignon and rack of lamb, to a variety of salad selections and several pasta dishes. The food is consistently great, though the working “starving” musician might find the prices a bit out of reach for most of the items on the menu. However, we’re all about finding value AND quality, so we suggest that if you find yourself with a little extra folding money and want to treat yourself European-style, just drop in for their mussels and clams appetizer; it’s $13.50, delicious, and the bread they serve along side make it a reasonable meal that’s as good as anything you’ll find in Belgium (known for their tasty mollusks). For a few bucks more, try adding a glass of the house wine or a nice lager, and you’ll leave the place feeling positively Bohemian!
Calypso Cafe 576 N. Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA 92024
760.452.2773 – www.calypsocafe.net
Until next time, Bon Apetit!