It was just after I arrived in Encinitas, around 1997 that the Artists Colony was born and I thought from the beginning that they were a perfect representation of the artistic side of this area. The people involved were talented, cool and funky and their events were always memorable and still are. I have a one-of-a-kind baritone trumpet fountain in my backyard and several paintings on my walls that represent the area that were purchased at their events. While the development and gentrification of Encinitas is somewhat inevitable, The 101 Artists Colony is a slice of our artistic past that should be supported and preserved. I connected with board members recently to find out where they like to eat around town and here are some highlights.
Board President Danny Salzhandler is an amazing artist and had championed their cause since the beginning. Danny is a big fan of Surfdog’s Java Hut on Coast Highway 101 in Encinitas. “Java Hut has a long history in Encinitas as a comfortable and friendly coffee shop. Its colorful chalkboard menu offers tasty bagels with delicious toppings, from the Hula Monkey to the Bird of Paradise, and my favorite, the Egg and Cheddar Island. Fresh fruit smoothies, cereal for the kids, and coffee drinks are all served with a smile from the friendliest baristas in town. It has the real feel of Encinitas that lets you know you are home. Bicyclists, skateboarders, runners, locals and visitors mingle like old friends. Sidewalk tables give a great view to the action on the 101 but if you want quiet, the cozy patio in back is the place for you.” Nicely put Danny.
Danny’s wife Norma Salzhandler is the Secretary and Co-Treasurer and shares my affinity for Besta Wan in Cardiff. She is correct in her description of it as a neighborhood gem, and a very popular one at that. “I can always find something to fit my mood, whether it’s pizza and beer or scrumptious Artichoke Chicken and Rice which is my favorite. They even serve breakfast on weekends! I like the sprinkling of Southern dishes too. One more thing, Besta Wan has a small bar area that is relaxed and friendly where you don’t feel odd if you’re alone waiting for your take-out or just want to grab a bite by yourself. Also visit their Carlsbad location, it’s about 5 times bigger but still has the eclectic decoration and vibe.” Thanks for the reminder on the solo bar experience in Cardiff, I’ve done that before and it is always very comfortable. I should also mention they are dog friendly.
Board member Marsha Lindsey is an adamant supporter of Leucadia’s own Pandora Pizza and had this to say about one of her favorite local spots. “Approximately 4 years ago, our neighborhood was gifted this treasure where I regularly indulge in any of several imaginative and satisfying salads or pizzas. This asset to our community features menu items named after our local Caminos, and offers them accompanied by predominantly California-sourced beers and wines. While the food at Pandora has never disappointed, I have to add that the experience of dining here just might be outshone by the exceptional service! The mindful acquisition of genuinely kind and considerate staff at Pandora’s has nurtured a welcoming environment that makes one instantly comfortable and at home. My favorite dishes here include the Penthos salad, ripe with berries and fresh greens, the Jupiter pizza (Lemon zest is a game-changer, if you didn’t already know this!), and -for when I’m feeling especially gluttonous- their macaroni & cheese-inspired Hymettus pizza with bacon. “ I could not agree more Marsha!
Linda Bergen is a co-Treasurer and board member and reminded me with her pick of the fabulous family owned and operated Trattoria Positano in Cardiff that has been packing them in since 1997. “I am a huge fan of the homemade Northern Italian food, and the quaint atmosphere with some of Amalia's paintings surrounding the room, along with the siren that adorns the southern wall. I love the wonderful homemade pasta dishes (Capellini Positano), risottos (Risotto Tuttomare), meat/fish entrées (Bistecchine di Vitello con Funghi/Salmone Alla Checca), basket of warm rolls with their EVOO dip, and the delicious desserts (Taramisu). The owners are there on-site and along their children on occasion. On top of that I am warmly recognized upon each visit which just adds to the charm.” OK, I am so there. Would love to feature them in Lick the Plate!
Board member Kay Colvin is an old friend and ardent supporter of the art scene in Encinitas and San Diego. Her local selection is the Brazilian owned and operated Sabor de Vida on El Camino Real in Encinitas. “I’m such a regular that the host Francisco greets me with big smile and knows exactly what I’m about to order. And that go-to dish is the Picanha plate that consists of a thick top sirloin steak grilled to perfection with grilled veggies, black beans and rice. It’s one of our best kept secrets but worth sharing with readers.” Well it’s now on my radar Kay, maybe you can make an introduction?
Some upcoming Artists Colony events worth noting are the 2016 Arts Alive Banner unveiling February. 21 at the Leichtag Foundation. They will be hung on the light poles March April and May then the final auction at the Cardiff Town Center in June. Also the winter Full Moon Poetry Slam at the La Paloma happens March 10th at 5 pm. Support and follow this very worthy organization at www.101artistscolony.com or on Facebook.