By Mel Jumper
Nestled beside the downward sloping hill of Euclid Ave at Home Ave in San Diego, lives City Farms Nursery and Nate’s Garden Grill. For me, a perfect, warm San Diego day starts here. Nate’s Garden Grill exudes an eclectic, old-timey charm. The menu features such brunch delights as vegetable frittatas, biscuits and gravy, and french toast. Each dish has a subtly delicious twist and lots of TLC.
Nate’s Garden Grill features indoor and outdoor seating.
Nate’s Garden Grill also boasts a variety of beers and live acoustic music. After eating until I’m happily stuffed and feeling a little buzz from a Le Petit Levier (grapefruit, wine, and ale), I enjoy a visit to the farm.
City Farms offers many types of fruits and vegetables for your home garden.
The plants and animals at City Farms seem very happy and healthy. There is a range of available greenery, from veggies, spices and fruit trees, to roses, palms, and local drought tolerant plants. I love my Passiflora (Passion Fruit plant), which grew over the archway of my house. There is a zen garden where you can relax and reflect on the many healthy bonsai trees. In the shop, you can visit with Farmer Bill while browsing through seeds, books, trinkets, and equipment or to give neck scratches to a soft tabby named KC. Around the farm, you may also meet a sweet Rottweiler called Roxy. There are also rabbits, goats, chickens, a feisty turkey, and a friendly old steer who occasionally likes ear rubs. Twice annually, there is a craft show which features local artists. I hope to join them at the next event.
This friendly steer is often in a pen beside the succulent garden.
From filling my eyes with the wonder of flowering apple trees to marveling at massive Stag-horn Ferns, City Farms is one of my favorite San Diego treasures. I plan to visit time and time again.
Nate’s Garden Grill 3120 Euclid Avenue, San Diego 92105
by Chris Morrison
Everyone knows that San Diego has a vibrant music scene. If you’re on the hunt to find an awesome live show in the downtown area, you’ll discover what you’re looking for anywhere from The House of Blues to The Observatory in North Park to random bars in The Gaslamp District. In the heart of San Diego, you are bound to find excellent live music performances almost any night of the week... especially on weekends. North County on the other hand, is not as well known for its live music venues, and I think that is a damn shame. There are amazing venues in North San Diego! If you’re living in the Northern part of SD, here are some of my favorite spots that I wanted to share. Please feel free to participate by commenting below at the end of this article. The readers in the LoSoCal family would love to hear about your favorite spots in the area as well.
The Echo Room at Midnight Jack, Oceanside
Photo courtesy of midnightjackbrewing.com
The Echo room is a brand new music venue located inside a brewery in the heart of Oceanside. As a collaboration between Craft Sounds and Midnight Jack Brewing, The Echo Room has been hosting a variety of local rock and hip hop artists including a recent performance by Oceansides’ own Deezy Hollow. Midnight Jack has really tasty beer and a wide selection on tap. The tasting room is excellent for events and hosts live music almost every weekend. This coming Friday they will be hosting Shoegaze Runs Deep with the Dirty Dragons and Noir Dalis. Check out this new venue- with only a three dollar cover at the door for this upcoming event, you can also enjoy this local spot if you’re on a tight budget. Even for a broke ass college student, that’s not a bad price! Be sure to stay in the loop about this spot since they’re always supporting community events. Midnight Jack will be hosting the Punk Rock Food drive in June, which is a fun event for a charitable cause.
The Pour House, Oceanside
Photo courtesy of pourhouseoceanside.com
Pour House is a great little bar in downtown Oceanside that serves a variety of food and beverages. You will instantly notice it due to the large, beautiful mural on the side of the building. I have been there several times and always enjoy the food. Even better than the food is the music! Not only do they offer a variety of different events like trivia on Mondays and open mic night every Wednesday, but they also provide live music with a variety of talented local bands from various genres every weekend. This is a fun and lively local hangout just blocks from the Oceanside beach. Don't miss this Friday the 30th when they will be having four different bands performing from 5:30 PM to Midnight! While you are there be sure to try their Dirty Chips or Short Rib Tacos. These are two of my faves. They are the bomb!
Coyote Bar & Grill, Carlsbad
Photo courtesy of coyotecarlsbad.com
I began visiting Coyote Bar years ago long before I was even 21 just for the food and music. Catering to a variety of age groups and tastes, the Coyote Bar is well known to North County locals as a chill spot to hear live music outside on their patio. It’s easy to find too, since it’s in the heart of Carlsbad Village right off the Interstate five freeway. Their outside dining area/dance floor has wonderful acoustics and you can hear the music from blocks away on the weekends.
Coyote’s tends to attract a slightly older crowd (less college kids) and it is an absolute blast. The dance floor is packed on weekends and the music is always top notch. At Coyote’s, I love how much the crowd gets into the music andc lets loose! Be sure to check this spot out if you want a more low key night than some of the other venues on this list. Coyote Bar will be having live music every night this week and with spring coming soon- it is worth a visit. This is an excellent spot for live music and outdoor dining!
Mr. Peabody’s, Encinitas
Photo courtesy of peabodysrocks.com
I first heard of Mr. Peabody’s because of their Sunday Night Jazz Jams. Led by master jazz musician Tony Ortega (who has performed with Elvis, Streisand, Sinatra, Maynard Ferguson, Lionel Hampton and more), Jazz Jams is a relaxing way to spend your Sunday evening, cocktail in hand.
On top of the awesome jazz nights they feature various local bands every weekend and have karaoke (Tuesdays) and open mic nights (Mondays). I can’t recommend this place enough, Mr. Peabody’s is one of my favorite venues in North County. I highly encourage everyone to give this place a chance and swing by if you haven’t been to this venue just yet. They make tasty mixed drinks, have an awesome selection of local beer and their menu has a variety of appetizer and entree options that don’t disappoint! I also like their three simple rules: “No Assholes, No Hookers, No Tweakers.” I’d say these are definitely rules to live by. Ha!
The Belly Up, Solana Beach
Photo courtesy of bellyup.com
No write up of live music venues in North County would be complete without talking about The Belly Up. If you haven't been, I highly recommend checking this venue out ASAP! I would venture to call this music house “the best known live music venue in North County.” The Belly Up is a very cool spot where you can catch both local bands and internationally known acts. The venue itself has good views of the stage from almost any seat in the house and the bar selections are incredible. They really take the time to offer some of the best local beers from SoCal and they have seasoned bartenders that know what they are doing. As a college student I have been to a lot of bars and The Belly Up is one of the best in North County.
This local venue is located in the middle of downtown Solana Beach, so there are lots of other bars and restaurants within easy walking distance. The music there is always good as they tend to have a higher standard for which bands they host. Unlike most of the venues featured in this article, the vibe of the Belly Up changes each night depending on who is performing. Fair warning, they are also strictly 21 and up and require tickets for each show. I promise the experience is worth the price, especially if the band is one of your favorites. Some of their cheaper tickets start around ten dollars a person, so don’t be shy. This venue draws local and international talent and the price is always right. They understand that an intimate, local venue needs to have affordable pricing so everyone and anyone can afford to see an awesome local show!
What is your favorite place to go listen to live music in North County?? Let me know! I am always looking for a strong drink and good food that I can enjoy while listening to live music!
Are you an artist in San Diego County? I would love to interview you for the monthly “featured artist” column on LoSoCal. Please contact the owner, Karen Vazquez at email@example.com to be considered.
Hi, I’m Chris Morrison. I do words good and am on a never ending quest to find the best West Coast IPA. I focus on writing about art and creativity in San Diego County. Send me suggestions for art shows, music venues, and other cool stuff! Check out my work and say hello at: morrisonmarketing.solutions
by Karen Vazquez, Owner & Senior Editor of LoSoCal
My new column “Babe on a Budget” is something that I have wanted to write for sometime now. I am not just referring to myself here. This column and the concept behind it is meant to be a funny, interesting and interactive series of blog posts that can speak to all of the “babes” (or fellas) out there in SoCal who have had to find ways to live a great lifestyle on a budget. Budget??? I know that word sounds icky lol. Yes. Budget. SoCal is expensive, peeps. It’s just a fact! I remember years ago it was not so expensive, but things have changed. For example, my parents told me that back in the day, they bought a condo in La Costa that was on the golf course, and they paid 110 thousand dollars for that place. Holy smokes. I shake my head. I also cringe a bit. They have admitted on more than one occasion that they regret selling that condo. They didn’t know. They didn’t anticipate that SoCal would ever be what it is today. I remember that condo. It was beautiful. I think it is worth over a million dollars these days. That’s just one example of change that I have experienced and witnessed in Southern California within my lifetime.
Los Angeles has pretty much always been “Los Angeles- the City of Angels” and Santa Barbara and San Diego fall just behind LA with their own explosive growth and changes over the years. North San Diego County has recently become a destination spot and that is where I live and have lived for over thirty years. Essentially, what I have noticed is that the overall SoCal region is growing so rapidly with our population skyrocketing here, and now we have a complex, melting pot of all sorts of people with different stories, backgrounds, aspirations, reasons for relocating to SoCal, etc.
That being said, it’s mind blowing to me how much SoCal has evolved into a group of people that are actively involved in the community and culture here, and yet a great deal of our local businesses and artists are struggling and failing. I am not going to elaborate too much on the topic of real estate in SoCal in my first post. That is another article within this column for another day, but that issue is also frustrating and devastating for many SoCal residents. In my first post for “Babe on a Budget” I wanted to highlight my main area of interest.
I am seriously affected, bothered and just generally “bummed out” by the ongoing hardships among SoCal small business owners and artists. I cannot tell you how many times I have visited a local brick and mortar or followed a local artisan or band to find out at a later time that they gave up their entrepreneurial or creative dreams. Why? The bottom line is this; it is usually about money. It is a simple issue of what it takes to SURVIVE in our SoCal communities and this economy. Many of these local businesses struggle to make ends meet in order to pay for overhead costs with expensive rents, California minimum wage and healthcare requirements, marketing efforts (which cost money) and the drowning list goes on and on. Furthermore, many corporations have infiltrated our neighborhood villages selling practically everything “on the cheap” with little regard for their impact on the surrounding local shops and restaurants.
As for the artists, they struggle as well. In my opinion, they struggle because many people in our modern society are more engaged with and enamored by the dramas of high profile celebrities and the “superstars” rather than taking their focus down a few notches to their local musicians, artists, and personalities right outside their door. I am not demonizing anyone here. I get it. We do the best we can and oftentimes we place our focus on what is right in front of us.
I know that we cannot avoid the corporations and celebrities of this world. I love some of these businesses and people too. They are beneficial to our modern American society in some ways. We need some of these companies and people to create balance in our culture and to provide us with inspiration and many basic necessities that are a part of our everyday lives. We have to buy toilet paper somewhere and we need to get gas at the nearest gas station. Certain products simply aren’t available on a local level. There are things we cannot control. I understand. I lose sleep sometimes over this. I am just being honest on that note. I genuinely comprehend the full spectrum from local to global enterprises within our American culture.
Here is where I want to point to a really awesome and empowering FACT. Guess what??? There are certain things we CAN control. BOOYA! With a little more awareness and conscious (instead of autopilot) consumerism, we can create balance and be more SELECTIVE about where we spend our hard earned dollars. It is that simple. I am not against capitalism. Hey. That’s kind of our thing in America, right? Ha! Damn straight. That is one reason why our country has succeeded over the years. On many levels, we live in the land of opportunity and yes, we have the liberty to pursue our dreams. Big dreams. Freaking huge dreams. Remember however, there is the cut throat, competitive twist here that we are also aware of that basically says you better be tenacious AS HELL! And oh, by the way “it is sink or swim,” so get to work like… yesterday on that business idea before someone else does it first and does it better.
I hate to say it, but it has gotten a little out of hand. Some of it is conditioning with mass media. Some of it is autopilot because it is easier. Some of it is just habit. Hey. I am also guilty and constantly have to remind myself “take that extra moment to hit up a local spot.” “Go somewhere local even if it is a few cents more. They need it.” And finally, my biggest mantra is “do it on a budget” and that has worked for me.
Ooops. Here I go again with that dirty word. Budget. Yep. Let’s be honest. It is somewhat of an art form to live in SoCal and live a fun, healthy and affordable lifestyle.
I am actually really proud of a ton of our local SoCal residents. Some of you are extremely savvy and thrifty and I love every one of you!!!! Maybe, if you fall into this category, you could reach out and share some of your personal stories and suggestions from your own arsenal of frugality- what has worked for you and what hasn’t? Like I said, this is meant to be funny, interesting AND interactive.
Many of us here in Southern California are knowledgeable and competitive in the real estate market watching trends and saving our precious pennies so we can transition from renting to buying. Others are invested in living a healthier lifestyle that focuses on organic food with a farm to table approach, farmers markets, outdoor activities, and health and wellness in general. Some people are not only savvy in these areas, but also the areas of fashion, the arts, the political climate of SoCal and more! Keep in mind, most of us are doing this ALL on a budget. That dreaded word. But, it’s a word we have needed to embrace and implement into our lives in order to THRIVE! Some of us would probably rather not talk about this, but I say “WHY NOT???”
Let’s get real here. Let’s talk about this dirty word and this topic. I want to do all that I can to support our local Southern California culture and community. Please start this journey with me and let’s learn together.
I grew up in North San Diego County and like I mentioned before, I have noticed several changes here over the years. I have noticed dramatic growth here anywhere from Santa Barbara to San Diego and all of the small towns in between.
This column will be about a wide variety of topics within the overall lifestyle category. Some of it will be fun and funny. Some of it will be a bit more serious. Some of it will be interesting and eye opening for me as I dig deeper with research, and YOU as my reader as I share. I will write about the cost of living here, basic real estate trends and changes, local charities and non-profits that I love, shops with my favorite specials, my “how to shop” tips that I use at local grocery stores or farmers markets, my favorite local happy hour spots, boutiques, thrift stores and MORE! I plan on writing this column for years to come and my goal via this project is to become an expert in many areas that relate to our local SoCal Lifestyle.
Thanks for reading! I am the owner of LoSoCal and I am very passionate about our SoCal culture and community. I consider myself an advocate for our local small business owners and artists.
Shop local. Eat local. Spend local. Be mindful and creative with your everyday lifestyle choices. Find the community here in Southern California. Build the culture.
It can be so easy friends. It just takes a little extra effort.
Some of my future posts will be MUCH shorter, but this first one needed a bit more back story. Thanks so much for your time. Please comment below if you have any feedback.
...find us on Instagram @LoSoCal @LoSoCalStyle
Owner, Lead Blogger
Hello, my name is Karen Vazquez. I have lived in Southern California for over thirty years. I realized about four years ago that it was time for me to give back to this wonderful community by supporting local SoCal businesses, performers, restaurants, spas, boutiques, fitness studios, farmers markets and more. My support shines through here by highlighting these fabulous local SoCal spots. You can also follow me on Instagram, Twitter, PInterest and LinkedIn. I will be featuring many local destinations in the area that have been my personal favorites for years and am currently recruiting guest bloggers to expand the voice of LoSoCal. I have had guest bloggers in the past, but aim to incorporate local SoCal bloggers on a regular basis as a fun, creative and collaborative way to connect with the community here. Essentially, LoSoCal is a community blog, and it is meant to be resource to locals in this area and visitors from around the world. Please like or follow LoSoCal on the social media business pages and tell your contacts about the blog. Thanks for stopping by...
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