A travel journal
to Carlsbad by travelprone
Quote: My home city for the past 14 years just gets better and better -three excellent new museums and some outstanding "good value" eateries that nourish both body and soul. Music,gems, good food and drink, children's laughter-all create a sparkling place.
Restaurant | "Vigilucci’s Cucina"
We tried it; we liked it, even though we still think the tables are too close to each other in this place. Thank heavens, it is quieter here and though the menu differs somewhat from the Encinitas spot, it still features the most authentic and tasty Italian food to be had hereabouts and it is reasonably priced. The spaghetti carbonara is moist and the bacon in it is crisp; at $9.95, it’s an excellent entrée. The menu is limited to about five different pasta, chicken, veal, and seafood dishes-all of which are well prepared and just a little bit different from the usual run-of-the-mill Italian restaurant.
Their veal selections attract me, particularly Medaglioni ai Carciofi, which has artichoke hearts, diced tomato and basil, all in a wine sauce. I also enjoy their saltimboca alla Romagna for they never overcook the veal. My husband usually elects to have pasta here because their sauces are especially excellent and he is proud of his sauces, but always searching for new ones. He likes their Linguini con Calamari and their Linguini alla Genovese, which has homemade pesto and pine nuts over flat noodles done just right.
The décor here is pleasant with both outside, covered sidewalk tables and two separate dining areas inside. Of course, the waiters are Italian and know their food. From the gleaming mahoghany and black granite bar, you can order a variety of drinks, and there’s a select wine list of Italian and Californian reds and whites to choose from. For dessert, a small list of tasty treats includes my favorite, tiramisu, at $5.75, and my husband’s, crème brulee, at $5.25.
Currently, Vigilucci is constructing a new restaurant at 3878 Carlsbad Boulevard right near the Tamarack Avenue portion of the Seawall; this restaurant will be a Seafood and Steakhouse and will have a 180 degree view of the ocean on its western side. Probably another winner is in the offing for this entrepreneur who seems to know what constitutes a superior dining experience that’s not exorbitantly priced. They’re open for lunch, 11:30 –4 Mondays through Fridays and dinner these days from 4 till 10. On Saturdays, they’re open from 11:30 to 10:30 and on Sundays from 1 till 9:30. For kids, you can get half-orders of pasta, so you can dine here without babysitter cost.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 4, 2002
Vigilucci’s Cucina Italiana
2943 State Street
Carlsbad, California 92008
Attraction | "G.I.A. Museum"
Lovely is the operative word for this exhibit as well as the good fortune to have such a prestigious affiliate with global connections base its future-oriented activities here. There’s a world here of beautiful color, of gemstones embedded in boxes and bottles, carvings, wearable jewelry and especially intaglios and cameos. Some of the Faberge jeweled flowers in rock crystal water glasses that he created for wealthy Russians are on display here: their masterful art impresses. Indeed, it overwhelms the viewer, as do some of the contemporary pieces that have used modern technology to produce unexpected effects, notably in the internally carved work of Susan Allen.
There’s bejeweled fantasy art by Bernd Munstiner, which doesn’t overshadow other works by Tom McPhee and Michael M. Dyber, the latter of whose work intrigued me with its beauty and simplicity. And works by Nicolai Medvedev and Michael Christie demonstrate that objects (scent bottles, boxes) that are used for something can be art, too.
Visitors can usually find space available free in their parking lot. This institute has become a welcome "prestige" addition to Carlsbad , and its museum with regularly changing exhibits has added another dimension to the range of learning experiences one can find here
Gemological Institute of America Museum
5345 Armada Drive
Attraction | "The Museum of Making Music"
MOMA, as it’s usually referred to, is presenting "Drum Roll, Please…a hands-on history of the drum," through the end of August. Throughout the year, they offer special tours, host special performances by guest artists and have workshops, all to fulfill their dual mission as a museum of the history of music-making and musical instruments since the twentieth century began, and as a teaching center developing appreciation for musical instruments.
This is another headquarters, that of the National Association of Music Merchants, which is why you’ll see NAMM on the front of the building ; don’t be confused by this sign, just look for the Museum of Making Music sign on the side driveway leading to the back parking lot(see photos). They have more than 450 vintage musical instruments on display and samples of "Top 40" tunes from the last 100 years or so. They’re open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 to 5; during Artsplash they’ll be open free see my "Carlsbad's 50th" journal.
Organized into five displays, each of which represents a twenty year period between 1890 and 1990, this museum has over 450 instruments, some of which are very rare like the 1912 Hohner Harmonette Harmonica is. Aiming to detail the history of making, marketing, distributing and performing music in America during the century the museum deals with, the association hopes that experiencing its museum will inspire future music makers. That purpose is realized at its interactive stage where instruments (piano, guitar) are available to play and make one’s own music. It was no surprise when I learned that the current President of NAMM is the President of Steinway, the name synonymous with pianos.
So, if you’d like to see the 1967 Fender Stratocaster Jimi Hendrix used, or you’re a Beatles’ fan and would like to learn more about the particular instruments they experimented with , or just love music (me), you’ll love this museum. For more details, check out their excellent web site, www.museumofmakingmusic.org.
Museum of Making Music
5790 Armada Drive
Carlsbad, California 92008
Attraction | "Tip Top Meats"
But it’s not only a restaurant: we patronize the meat counter when we want a really good filet mignon, or boneless leg of lamb, pricey, but superior quality. If we feel a longing for spaetzle, grape leaves, or a Belgian cookie, we go to their gourmet section that is crammed with a variety of imported foods (lots of German, of course) in packaged or canned form. However, their imported cheese case is most intercontinental and always astounds me with its variety.
Their produce is just O.K., but no problem, as next door, adjacent to Tip Top’s entrance, is a produce market that sells locally grown fruits and vegetables of very good, albeit sometimes pricey, produce. This triple threat restaurant, meat and European grocery spot is open daily from 6am to 8pm,and breakfast is served till noon to accommodate retirees who can sleep in late and eat dinner early before their favorite TV shows; this place fits to a T the needs of retired seniors and travelers with kids. Maybe that’s because Mr. Haedrych, the owner, is an octogenarian who swears he’ll never retire! "Early to bed, early to rise," seems to be the San Diego area’s secret rule-that’s how we get to enjoy hours of sun & secluded beaches.
Tip Top Meats & European Delicatessen
6118 Paseo Del Norte
Carlsbad, California 92009
Attraction | "O' Ireland"
When my itchy foot begins to bother me, I travel to this store to immerse myself in browsing for biscuits that remind me of London and the good food I’ve had there that contradicted the out-dated myth about British blandness. I like scones even though I’ve never been to Scotland, and, of course, I can buy them here. This is an eccentric extravagance for me because the prices for the food and drink I like that are only sold in such a specialty shop, are, indeed, higher than I would pay if I were in London. A small bottle of the lemon I love costs over $2.00!
The staff here is native of Britain, with accents to match, and they can give you any information you might need about their merchandise. Unfortunately, I can’t be in London every year, so a visit here is the next best thing. Their telephone # is (760) 434-9130, useful to check their hours and days as they vary from summer to low season. You can't miss seeing this shop, a few doors north of the intersection of State with Grand, for it proudly displays both the Union Jack & Old Glory. It's diagonally across from the Coaster Station and deliberately located where it can catch the tourist's eyes. Now renamed, formerly Bit o" Britain, still appeals to me for I'm of English AND Irish ancestry!
Bit O’ Britain
2860 State Street
Attraction | "The Alley"
There’s nothing spectacular about this bar; it’s just a reasonably clean, conveniently located place, open daily from 6am to 2pm, where you can relax, have a quiet drink, or socialize with locals or other visitors. Since it’s close to a number of popular restaurants, like Fish House Vera Cruz or Vigilucci’s, it’s ideal as a meeting place for singles or couples for a quiet before-dinner drink, or for an after-dinner one. And, at night,if you want to dance,you can trip the light fantastic in a place that won't be overcrowded.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 4, 2002
421 Grand Avenue
Carlsbad, California 92008
Attraction | "Coyote Bar & Grill"
On Friday and Saturday, when they’re open from 11 to 11, local bands play loudly and parking in the mall lot becomes non-existent. Luckily, you can find other lots less full nearby –check the lot at the Coaster station. The rest of the week, from Sunday to Thursday, they’re open from 11 to 10, and parking is easier to find in their lot. If your child likes fish tacos or roasted chicken, the Coyote terrace is a decent place to have lunch after visiting the Children’s Discovery Museum in this mall. Lunch hour attracts mainly workers from nearby businesses and tourists shopping in the mall. THEN, it’s quiet and not crowded.
Coyote Bar & Grill
300 Carlsbad Village Drive
Carlsbad, California 92008