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WHERE TO Dine al fresco in Vista? Please Let Me Know

By   /  July 30, 2017  /  2 Comments


Why don’t we have more outdoor eating venues in Vista? I mean “real” outdoor venues. We have lived here close to 40 years, and I must still head for the coast or further inland to eat in the scenic open air.

My husband and I lived for a few months in the Valle de Guadalupe before it became Mexico’s Napa. While there, we frequented El Vivero (The Nursery) restaurant in the tiny hamlet of San Antonio de las Minas, about 15 mns east of Ensenada. The area has become extremely gentrified, and the restaurant has changed names. But oh, what surroundings: a former nursery shaded by huge oak trees, with tables and plants scattered about. Heavenly.

I am always puzzled as to why, in Vista, where we BOAST OF THE BEST CLIMATE IN THE UNITED STATES (70 degrees year round, as measured in the K-Mart (now Burlington) parking lot.) That fact was one of the major attractions listed in the city brochure when we bought our house in 1979.

Why does the city not bring this more to the fore?

We now have a plethora of breweries, with four or five now lining Main Street. But I don’t drink beer. As for restaurants, The Flying Pig has what passes for a terrace facing the street, and it’s the only space at the restaurant where you can hear yourself speak. The Yellow Deli has a charming terrace, along with the most uncomfortable home made wrought iron chairs under the sun (I am forced to sit on them when my husband craves a bowl of their lentil soup.) The Sunrise Café has a “terrace” the size of a handkerchief. It seems the soon-to-open Wildwood (formerly La Paloma) will have a terrace overlooking the trees in the eponymous Wildwood Park.

Why can’t a plant nursery and a restaurant join forces and open what would surely become a favorite destination for everyone?

Yes, I have heard about the “outstanding in the field” events, alfresco dinners that can cost up to $100 dollars apiece.(I wrote The California Farm cookbook, a true “farm-to-table” book, long before these events became fashionable.)

Until I locate the ideal outdoor venue in Vista, I have to head for The Garden Center Café in Fallbrook, itself a former nursery, to sip a tall glass of iced tea in the shade of its plant-filled gazebo.

Kitty Morse, a 38-year resident of Vista, features her city in her books and in her talks. Her writing career started with the Vista Farmer’s Market when it was located in the library parking lot. The market inspired The California Farm Cookbook (amazon.com) , and her latest, Edible Flowers: a Kitchen Companion (www.chefspress.com). She is available for presentations and talks.

Kitty Morse, author   www.kittymorse.com


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  • Published: 12 months ago on July 30, 2017
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  • Last Modified: July 30, 2017 @ 1:35 am
  • Filed Under: Local

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  1. Ann Thomas says:

    The Belching Beaver has a large outdoor area with plenty of seating. They serve wine and other mixed drinks and the food is delicious.
    Prohibition Co. has an outdoor seating area that is frequented by families and is quite nice in the evenings. Great food for a good price.
    And, Hacienda de Vega, although in Carlsbad along the Vista border, has nice outside lighted seating as well.

  2. Kitty Morse says:

    Thanks for the feedback. I would still like to see a “real” garden-style eatery in the town with the best climate in the US!

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