Oceanside is a nice place to stop for a meal, either when driving from Orange County to San Diego or as a destination in itself. An excellent choice to grab a dinner in Oceanside is the Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen. Close to the agricultural areas of San Diego County as well as the region's rich selection of microbreweries and wineries, the Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen emphasizes their local connections. A proponent of the Slow Food Movement, the husband and wife owner team of Roddy and Aaron, along with head chef Mario, have used the farm-to-table bounty to make delicious artisanal cuisine.
The restaurant itself is decidedly funky, with the look of a dive bar converted to a food establishment. That is part of the charm, though. It is obvious that the place has attracted a lot of people that come not only for the local craft beers but the well thought out menu of American-influenced meals and appetizers.
The appetizers provide a glimpse into what the Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen is about. The Bacon Mac n' Cheese is a good example, with the cheese sauce coving the perfectly cooked pasta and enlivened with chunks of bacon. Finished in an oven, the mac n' cheese does not need anything except the bechamel cheese sauce on it to make a dish that is perfect for sharing.
Another dish to try that serves as a perfect starter is the Tempura and Corn Meal Fried House Pickles. This is not the standard “fried pickles” so common at Southern-themed restaurants these days. Instead, a selection of fresh local vegetables such as asparagus is lightly pickled, then fried with a light tempura-corn meal coating. The freshness of the vegetables is clear from the delicate crunch in them, while the flavor of the pickling juice used shows excellent restraint. This is a must-try appetizer, delicious by itself or when dipped into the accompanying wildflower honey dijon mustard and whole grain mustard aioli.
Another dish for sharing is the charcuterie plate, a large platter of artisan meats and cheeses. The salami and delicate ham in particular are flavorful and go surprisingly well with beautiful fresh local strawberries. House made organic pickles, local cheeses, farmer's market fruit along with almonds and the excellent grilled bread round out the platter.
Fresh Certified Angus Beef and freshly ground pork are both served on pretzel bread buns. A fried local egg can be added to either burger. A choice of organic greens or house vinegar fries makes the burger dish complete.
The signature dish at the Flying Pig is their Duroc Pork Belly. The pork is meltingly tender, cooked in a craft ale and honey braising liquid. Cioppolini onions a la greque and fresh, deliciously crisp and sweet sugar snap peas accompany the pork belly. A carrot ginger puree adds extra color and tang to the dish.
Other dishes such as catfish and grits, chicken and “dumplings” and fresh house made pastas are also featured. A daily special of lamb was a prefect medium rare, the Colorado lamb tender and flavorful. The cheese grits were luscious and worked very well with the lamb.
The Flying Pig Pub and Kitchen is open for dinner seven nights a week. Anyone who is looking for exceedingly fresh ingredients and skillfully prepared versions of American comfort food will find the Flying Pig a delicious choice. A scant half hour from southern Orange County, it makes a great choice of a terminus for a drive along the coast.
Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen
626 S. Tremont Street
Oceanside, CA 92054
Phone: (760) 453-2940