On the Menu: Mission + Garnet Food Hall is not your father’s food court
Pacific Beach’s iconic Denny’s at the corner of Mission Boulevard and Garnet Avenue and its famous Grand Slam has been benched. This past February it was replaced by a new starting lineup of eateries called the Mission + Garnet Food Hall.
The new venue hosts some of Apex Brand Collection’s fun, healthful and gourmet pit stops designed to suit many palates, gustatory pleasures and dietary restrictions.
Want to visit?
Mission + Garnet Food Hall
Address: 4505 Mission Blvd., Pacific Beach
Hours: Open daily with hours changing with the ebb and flow of seasonality. They also vary by restaurant.
Founder Scott Slater (yes, the same guy that gave us Slater’s 50/50 Burgers, Bacon and Beer) started his fanciful food journey straight out of college, setting up camp at various Home Depot locations across the country — from Long Island to Los Angeles — selling concession foods, including Philly cheese steaks, burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs, smoothies and espressos.
Slater’s latest Pacific Beach venture grew organically from two current restaurants situated in La Jolla (Head Lettuce and Spitfire), and his entrepreneurial spirit to expand “to this desirable location in PB to create a food hall with multiple restaurants that are all complementary and non-competitive, giving people a variety of food options that lives up to the standards they would expect at this prime corner,” he said.
Here’s the A-(pex) list of the six different concepts congregating under one roof:
Rise and shine with Earlybird and its offering of fully-loaded breakfast burritos and bowls tricked out with everything from over easy yolky eggs to chicken tenders tossed in a spicy, crunchy garlic sauce; marinated carne asada and spiced shredded pork shoulder. There is also guacamole, tater tots, black beans, mozzarella cheese, chipotle crema, vegetarian soyrizo and turmeric brown rice.
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Good to know: online menu, offers pick-up and delivery in Pacific Beach.
When a waffle collides with a churro and is topped with fun, scrumptious and quirky combinations of ingredients to create an unforgettable breakfast or dessert dish you’ve arrived at Checkered Churros.
Traditional churro dough made in-house is reconfigured in a waffle iron and dressed with a choice of such eye-popping delights as ube cream sauce (Philippine purple yam), horchata with a cinnamon toast crunch, pistachio cream with crushed candied pistachios and campfire s’mores.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. (Yes, open late for those looking for a post-midnight treat.)
Good to know: online menu, offers pick-up and delivery in Pacific Beach.
Harvey Carver’s constructs legendary sandwiches made fresh in-house on Dutch crunch or brioche buns using whole protein portions, whether a slab of steak or chicken thighs (never deli meats), accompanied by healthy sides to complement the sandwich theme. These include organic Mediterranean Farro with herbed feta and kalamata olives. There is also Cowboy Caviar that lassoes a blend of roasted corn, black beans and charred jalapenos.
Each sandwich selection is named after the flavor pairs and tantalizing responses they evoke: Herbaceous and Kokumi teases the taste buds with the emblematic umami and acidic flavors of Japanese cuisine including Asian chimichurri, roasted red peppers, and caramelized onions. The Bright and Nutty perks up the palate with pine nut pesto and roasted tomato jam, while the Ambrosial and Earth smothers a marinated Portobello mushroom cap with pickled red onions, avocado, green goddess tarragon spread and truffled hot sauce for a heavenly mouthful.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Good to know: Online menu, offers catering.
Scotty Dogs “where everyone’s a weiner,” offers all beef hot dogs with a natural casing and crispy bacon bits cooked inside then ratcheted up with a slew of toppings, both classic and creative.
The Chili con Carnival blends beef chili with government cheese, spicy brown mustard, diced white onion and the house-made fennel forward knock-out kraut. The Barrio Bull Dog shakes up Southwestern flavors with guacamole, cowboy caviar, cotija, chipotle crema and spicy green sauce, while Screamin’ Seahawk mixes up jalapeno bacon cream cheese, caramelized onions and sriracha sauce. For a change-up try the Basque-style chorizo sausage.
Hours: to be determined.
Good to know: online menu, pick-up and delivery options coming soon.
Check out Spitfire - North of the Border for “authentically made inauthentic tacos and burrito bowls,” Slater said.
True to its name, the eatery uses spinning rotisserie spitfires for the protein preparations. Slater’s favorite pick, the Peri Peri Chicken captures the alluring flavors of Portugal and Mozambique with African peppers and garlic. Meat-tooths can sink their teeth into Korean BBQ Pork Belly with a dollop of kimchi, honey sesame sticks and a drizzle of sriracha aioli. There is also Carne Asada Street with grilled Angus steak, creamy guacamole and salsa roja. The Al Pastor is spit-grilled pork with a kick of roasted pineapple salsa.
While piscivores (fish lovers) can indulge in Aloha 808 packed with ahi tuna poke, crunchy garlic sauce and crispy wasabi peas. Then have a party in your mouth with a side of “totchos,” a tater tot twist on nachos piled with heaps of jalapenos, carne asada, melted queso, cilantro tajin crema and other fun toppings.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. (Yes, open late for late night dining.)
Good to know: online menu, delivery available.
Turn over a new leaf with freshly chopped, “craveable salads” at Head Lettuce. Get a good, healthy jaw work-out with a variety of head salads like the Crispy Chicken Cobb tossing buttermilk fried chicken with hard-boiled eggs, blue cheese crumbles, brown sugar bacon bits and avocado. There is also the Miso Ginger Ramen Crunch and the vegan Green Goddess, which is amped up with power greens, quinoa, beets and spiced pepitas.
Or pick a bowl including the Carne Truffle Asada, Greek Triton or the rustic Country Bowl blending farro, red quinoa, goat cheese, roasted sweet potatoes, Granny Smith apples and almond granola dressed in a white balsamic vinaigrette.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Good to know: online menu, offers catering.
For this six-some Slater locally sources steak and beef from Brawley Beef, and organic fruits and vegetables from Specialty Produce. All sauces and dressings are prepared in-house, and incorporate organic ingredients, where possible.
The group of six also shares a large outdoor, dog-friendly patio that serves up ocean breezes and a peak of the blue Pacific just a Frisbee toss from Crystal Cove. Each food concept has a different set up for ordering: at Head Lettuce you stroll inside and watch your salad being prepared, while at Scotty Dogs you order from the outside counter.
Right now, Slater said he is enjoying all the ink and screen time that Mission + Garnet Food Hall has attracted, and basically the burger boy is just “having fun with food.”
I’ll drink to that!
Recipe from Harvey Carver’s
Vegan Green Goddess Dressing
(recipe can be halved)
2 C. vegan mayo
2 T. Dijon mustard
1 T. lemon juice
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 T. tarragon, roughly chopped
1/4 C. Italian parsley, roughly chopped, packed
1/4 C. green onions, roughly chopped, packed
1/2 C. spinach, washed and packed
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
Black pepper, fresh ground, to taste
1) Place all ingredients except mayo in food processor or blender. Blend until fully combined.
2) Transfer to a large bowl, and fold in mayo gently until just incorporated.
3) Store in a Mason jar in refrigerator until ready to use.
Courtesy of Mission + Garnet