Hey Chowhounders... i just came back from a week in Carlsbad and wanted to share my experience of dining with three kids (two of which are picky eaters) all the while trying to eat like a foodie as best as possible. Our group of seven all came from the snowy, cold, land locked city of Calgary, Alberta. We definitely wanted to hit up places that were lacking in Calgary... seafood, Mexican being at the top of the list.
Fish 101 (Leucadia) - we loved absolutely everything about this place. the food was spectacular the atmosphere had that cool beach town vibe we were all looking for. Happy Hour oysters and the yellowtail fish of the day were standouts.
Pizza Port - great spot for kids and adults. The pizzas were great and the large selection of microbrews were even better. We ordered the Solana Pizza with an abundance of shrimp.
Boxd - We all loved the food truck concept of waffles as sandwiches. We had a blast hanging out on the lounge chairs on the faux grass watching life go by on Carlsbad's main street. We were absolutely gutted to learn that the young man that served us that day was killed two days later in an awful DUI hit and run. Just so tragic.
Board and Brew - the kids were tired and fussy and this place was literally across the street from where we were staying. I am glad we made time to check this place out. I has the Turkado and was super happy with my choice. I am glad the guy at the counter talked me into getting the sweet and sour sauce. Added bonus... really cheap pints of beer! Seriously $3 pints for local microbrews? In Calgary we are paying triple that. No joke.
Bull Taco - we were shopping at Surf Ride in Oceanside when I made a detour to hit up Bull Taco. I read some pretty polarizing posts on this board but I wanted to check it out for myself. I had the two daily specials (wahoo and lemon/dill/salmon). They were good, not great.
Norte - This was a place that was adjacent to our resort and was perpetually packed day after day. The service was fantastic, the patio was fun but the food was average at best.
Pollos Maria - I REALLY wanted to love this place. I caught this out of the corner of my eye while we were at Jack in the Box... I know...not my best moment but we don't have this chain in Canada. Anyways, I walked in and saw all of chicken on the grill and started salivating. Unfortunately the chicken was really dry. I loved the beans, rice and hortchata... the chicken, it was just... okay.
I wish I could remember this place but really what is the point... it was in Oceanside sandwiched between a stretch of touristy restaurants close to Joe's Crab Shack. Once again the service was great but the food was a mess.
There were a couple of places I wanted to hit but due to timing (Haggos Tacos among them) I just couldn't squeeze them in. Our kids were troopers trying new food and venturing away from the fast food usual suspects. FULL DISCLOSURE... we made a special trip to Chik-Fil-A. This is another chain that we sadly do not get up in Canada. We fell in love with this place when we were in South Carolina a couple of years ago. Best chicken sandwich ever.
All in all, we had a great time in Carlsbad. We got to expose our kids to different food and with the help from this message board I was able to hit some fantastic places to eat.