I really think it would be a little awkward to refer to myself as a foodie when visiting the classic Tip Top Meats in Carlsbad. Or in general really…I simply like to eat and write about it. The foodie movement is a good one and yes, I admit to being one in the general meaning of the word , but at Tip Top, I put on my guy who likes to eat hat and join the significant following that has that same attitude. I should say eat and shop because the meat and deli counter and store are equally compelling. They are also sporting solar panels on the roof now which is a great mix of forward thinking mixed in with the traditional goodness below.
It’s really nice to have this slice of old world deli, store and restaurant right off the 5 and Palomar Airport Road. They have a smokehouse, sausage kitchen, and produce a wide variety of meat products, including smoked bacon, chicken, turkey, pastrami, corned beef, suckling pigs, pork, quail, ducks, and geese. That’s just the meat counter and just a sampling. The store is full of German and other gourmet products and there is an extensive wine and beer section. While this may be expected in an urban setting, it’s an oasis in suburban Carlsbad.
This story could have been written based on the frequency of my visits the past few years but I decided to go back for a refresher lunch and Sunday breakfast . The ever present breakfast or lunch line is actually a good thing as there are so many options and I personally need the time to figure it out. A change of mind several times is common so go with it. Breakfast recently was highlighted by the Big John Breakfast that could be the subject of an entire column. It consists of three eggs any style, home fried potatoes, toast or French toast with your choice of any two of their delicious smokehouse bacon, pork link sausage, or polish sausage, bratwurst or ham with free sausage and meat refills so to speak. Eaters rejoice! . And remember, this is Tip Top Meats so the sausage is the real deal made in house. . I was turned on to the French toast by a guy in line who said it was an option with the Big John breakfast and the best he has had. So I followed his lead and it was what appeared to be a deep fried version that was as much like a doughnut as French toast and completely unreal. The two slice mix with the already substantial meat egg and extravaganza was perfect portioning. OK, so you get all that for $7.98, are you kidding me? We also tried the Lox-N-Bagel with tomatoes, onions, capers and cream cheese with a very generous serving of lox. It was kind of a random breakfast surf and turf with my sausage fest but it worked and not surprisingly, both provided a healthy leftover box.
I went big with lunch and ordered the Rouladen which is one of my favorite German dishes and normally a dinner thing as it’s quite substantial but I had no self-control. Rouladen is round steak stuffed with bacon, pickle, onion and mustard. It’s served with gravy, mashed potatoes or fries, red cabbage, sauerkraut, soup or salad and a dinner roll for $8.98. Everything on that plate is top notch stuff including the pickle. I’ve never had a soup that disappointed either. There are many sandwiches to choose from and I’ve had the Reuben which as an extra bonus to being a solid sandwich gives you an extra half a sandwich with your regular sandwich order. Odd, but delightfully so at $7.49. I’ve tried the pork loin cutlet sandwich also which was good but needed the mayo to moisten it up a bit. If your lunch allows it, Tip Top always has some nice German brews on tap and a wine option.
So this is the part where I would go into the virtues of the meat counter, deli, sausage aisle, wild game, baked goods and sweets. Column length is upon me so just trust me, it makes going there for a meal even more fun.
The elevator style music station playing classic rock and holiday music does not annoy as it might in other locations. It adds to the charm and may aid in the digestion of large quantities of rock solid goodness.
Check out Tip Top at www.tiptopmeats.com