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Rose Cafe Blooms in South Oceanside

Plus how local craft beer measures up nationally, upcoming chef dinners with Drew Deckman, and more food and drink news

As a kid, I dreamt of becoming an astronaut. I dressed up like Neil Armstrong for Hero Day, I asked for a telescope for Christmas, and memorized constellations to share their mythical backstories with my friends. (Why anyone sat at my lunch table, I’ll never know.) 

Unfortunately, I never became a rocket scientist. But Katie Speck is one of those rare folks who knew what she wanted to do early on, and actually did the damn thing. 

“When I was about eight years old, I said I wanted to open what I would call ‘Rose Cafe,’” she says. “I’d make my family sit down and play Rose Cafe with me.” Her mom even kept one of the menus she drew, complete with a hand-drawn picture of a rose. 

As of March 31, that childhood dream is a reality. Rose Cafe opened its doors on Easter, a historically busy day for cafes like Specks. “Go big or go home!” she laughs. 

Speck was born and raised in Carlsbad before getting a bachelor’s degree from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. When she returned, she worked in the kitchen at Herringbone, Whisknladle, Park Commons, and Catania. After the pandemic began to release its grip on the world, Speck took stock of her career path and decided to make a change from fine dining. “Why do I keep doing this for other people?” she wondered. 

She decided to start looking around for her own spot, and found it in Oceanside. Building the business was a family affair, Speck explains. She’s the sole owner and chef, but her sister owns Veck Building Group, who handled the design and buildout, and her father was her main investor. “We all did it together,” says Speck. 

Rose Cafe’s menu will change seasonally, with as much produce sourced from local vendors as possible. Speck describes it as “sophistication meets comfort.” With hours that run from 7 a.m. through 3:30 p.m., it focuses on breakfast and lunch favorites like breakfast croissants, quiches, baguette sandwiches, grain bowls, fresh salads, and seasonal soups. 

The 1,100 -square-foot space seats around 30 guests, and those who prefer grab-and-go options can opt for pastries, smoothies, or something from the espresso coffee bar. Speck says she’s also in the process of applying for a beer and wine license, and hopes to launch a happy hour once approved. 

“I really just wanted to bring a place where people could come and really enjoy great quality food,” she says. “I want to bring my heart and soul and passion for this industry into the food and experience people have here. Service with a smile, sprinkled with love.”

Rose Cafe is now open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 1902 South Coast Highway in Oceanside. 

A table full of guests dining outside at Rancho Valencia's chef dinner hosted by Drew Deckman
Courtesy of Rancho Valencia

San Diego Restaurant News & Food Events

Double Deckman Dinners in April and May 

Chef Drew Deckman is gearing up for one hell of a busy year. On Thursday, April 25, he’ll join Rancho Valencia’s executive chef Emiliano Safa and chef Christopher Gentile at Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa for the latest Baja meets San Diego wine dinner from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Then, he and his wife Paulina join former Food & Wine editor-in-chief Dana Cowin to launch Progressive Hedonist, Cowin’s dining series that spotlights “culinary and agricultural sustainability” and will give a portion of the proceeds to nonprofits ZeroFoodprint and Foodshed. The meal kicks off at Stehly Farms Organics on Saturday, May 4 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. with an optional shuttle to the farm, and will feature several women winemakers from Baja California.

Omni La Costa’s Test Kitchen Series

Starting on Monday, April 22, Omni La Costa Resort & Spa will launch its Test Kitchen Series at its onsite restaurant VUE in partnership with DAOU Vineyards. Limited to just 10 guests, the family-style meal will take place on select Mondays with a rotating menu with accompanying wine pairings. A full list of dates and tickets are available here. With six to eight courses per meal, come hungry. 

Food dishes from San Diego restaurant Nutmeg Bakery & Cafe in Poway
Courtesy of Nutmeg Bakery & Cafe

Beth’s Bites

Nutmeg Bakery & Cafe has closed its Scripps Ranch location, citing increasing labor and rent costs. But don’t panic just yet—they’re relocating to 13771 Danielson Street, with promises of the same beloved items and quality in a brand new space. 

San Diego craft beer fared well (as it always does) on the Brewers Association’s annual report for 2024. Craft ‘Ohana, who purchased Modern Times Beer in 2022, landed at #26 on the Top 50 craft breweries by production volume, followed by Kings & Convicts (#30), Pizza Port (#47), and Coronado Brewing (#48). In sort-of San Diego beer news, Athletic Brewing, which operates in Milford, Connecticut and San Diego, hit #10 and Tilray Beer Brands, who acquired Green Flash Brewing and Alpine Beer Company in 2022, made it all the way to #6. We aren’t called the Capital of Craft for nothing. 

I’m no Plant Lady, but I do appreciate a hella good price on sandwiches. On 4/20, get a Nug sub (4’ sandwiches) at Cheba Hut in College Area for $4.20 all day. There may or may not also be free frisbees involved. Bring a bud…dy.

By Beth Demmon

Beth Demmon is an award-winning writer and podcaster whose work regularly appears in national outlets and San Diego Magazine. Her first book, The Beer Lover's Guide to Cider, is now available. Find out more on

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