I hate to be the one to break the facade, but every so often... once in a blue moon, really.... San Diego has a bit of precipitation fall from the sky. Other, less fortunate parts of the country will know this phenomenon as "rain."
Also, on occasion... extremely infrequent occasions, the temperature dips below 50°. If I remember correctly from my east coast childhood, this is something known as "cold."
When, in the rarest of rarities, these two catastrophes combine during the months of December or January, it can often resemble something called "winter." And everyone knows that on winter nights, there is no better place to be than inside a cozy tavern with warm food and good wine.
Which is precisely how we ended up at Lumberyard Tavern in Encinitas this past Tuesday, on a dark and stormy night.
Lumberyard Tavern is right on the 101, located in a shopping center known as The Lumberyard. And it's built a reputation for a couple of things. For starters, it has an impressive whiskey collection with around 40 whiskeys and scotches behind the bar. You can even join their 101 Whiskey Club to keep track of the ones you taste.
It's also home to a food challenge, the 4x4: Four 1/2 lb. patties, four slices of cheese, four pieces of bacon, lettuce, tomato, red onions & pickles, topped with a fried egg, on a pretzel roll, surrounded by 1 lb. of fries. No substitutions, modifications, utensils or napkins and your plate must be cleaned in 30 minutes. That'll get your name on a plaque in the restaurant, among other prizes.
But mostly, Lumberyard Tavern strives to create a relaxed, comfy atmosphere that I can really appreciate. So when I was invited to a complimentary meal there, I decided to save it for a night like Tuesday, when I just wanted to hunker down with good food and good company.
We ordered apps and some drinks to start. I got the Salty Dog Martini, with vodka and pink grapefruit and some breaded zucchini sticks. Ryan got a Sculpin IPA and an order of their teriyaki chicken wings.
When we ordered we thought the apps were a bit pricy, but when they arrived we could see why: they were huge! Both of us could have easily made meals out of our appetizer dishes, so be aware... these are definitely for sharing.
I should reiterate that while they were each large enough to make a meal out of, they were also tasty enough. Confident that these were a sign of the goodness that was to come, we studied the menu to select our dinner options.
In the end, I went with the Beer Braised Short Ribs, garlic mashed potatoes and green beans because honestly? Nothing could have sounded better on such a blustery night. And I was right... they were amazing. I cleaned my plate of all but a few green beans.
Ryan ordered the Tavern Chicken Penne with spinach, basil, creamy garlic sauce and parmesan cheese. His was a little on the dry side, but when we took the leftovers to go we found that a lot of the sauce had been hiding at the bottom. When we had it the next day for lunch, it was delicious mixed into the sauce.
We spent a few hours there escaping the cold, sipping on our drinks, and enjoying all the good vibes Lumberyard had to offer. I'm glad we learned about this little tavern - it's a great place to spend a boozy brunch or a fun night with friends and family. And next time we're in Encinitas, we'll definitely pop in for some of that whiskey.
Encinitas, CA 92024
Phone: (760) 479-1657