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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Solace in Encinitas

Normally you wouldn't find me writing about restaurant experiences in my blog, but I am just too excited about the stuff that is happening in my backyard town of Encinitas! Not only is it on the world map for yoga and surfing, but Encinitas is fast becoming a destination spot for its funky shops and GREAT restaurants!

This past weekend my husband and I went to chef Matt Gordon's Solace & The Moonlight Lounge in the heart of downtown Encinitas. It's located at the new Pacific Station, the recently opened, mixed-use project that boasts several shops, a Whole Foods Market, a super cool condo development and underground parking (which this city is now going to need).

Even though it was a Sunday night and Solace just opened a couple of weeks ago, there was a decent crowd that continued to grow while we were there. We sat outside the Moonlight Lounge upstairs so we could have a view of downtown, the sunset, and also be privy to the action inside.
"Modern French" cocktail
Seared Albacore Chop Chop

What we ordered was to die for - the Seared Albacore Chop Chop starter followed by the Four Cheese Grilled Sandwich with Tomato and Basil. Yum. Yum! YUM! Hubby had their Hefeweisen beer, which he loved. I tried their Modern French cocktail (organic gin, organic vodka, lemonade with Lambrusco wine float. All good. The food servers and bartenders were all very friendly, accommodating, and great team players. They all helped each other out and genuinely seemed motivated to make sure we had a good experience.

I was a little disappointed that they served red wine in a small white wine glass. My husband is Italian and has taught me well, so I have to call them on that one! (Maybe they just haven't gotten their red wine glasses in yet.) The pour was also very light - hopefully that was an oversight and they don't literally measure the ounces like some places do. The last thing I will whine about is this: I know that having to deal with building codes while trying to maximize seating is a huge challenge, but the unisex single bathroom on each floor was a little unsettling. Sorry! Just being honest!

Getting back to what is awesome about Solace though - I love the portrait at the bar of Jeff Bridges (silkscreen on wood?) by local artist Jason Feather. I was told that it was Gordon's homage to the actor for his role in "The Big Lebowski". Very cool that Gordon introduces some mystery, and gets patrons involved by providing an avenue to inquire and learn a little factoid about him!

I also love that as part of a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building, Solace uses recycled bottles as light fixtures, organic ingredients, local farms, happy eggs, healthy fish, hormone- and antibiotic-free meats, and natural sodas!! I am also a big fan of chef Matt Gordon who finds the time to cruise around the restaurant, checking in with the patrons and staff to make sure everyone is happy. They just started offering lunch and will soon be adding Sunday brunch and entertainment. Can't wait!

Did I mention that I love, love, love, that it is only 2.1 miles from my house?!

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