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What We’re Craving, Sipping, and Talking About in October

North County’s new food hall, spooky desserts, and Cajun cuisine
Kimberly Motos

By Jeanette Giovanniello

What We're Loving - Understory

What We’re Loving – Understory

Kimberly Motos

New Eats on Deck

With two levels, 11 dining and drinking spots, and more to come, Del Mar Highlands’ Sky Deck is quickly making its mark as the neighborhood’s go-to dining hub. This upscale food hall, inspired by Barcelona’s El Nacional, is a meeting ground for beloved local eateries and popular newcomers from other cities.

Sitting in the center is Understory, the site’s craft cocktail bar, which offers botanical-themed drinks to sip (like the mint hibiscus Pink Dogwood) while you sit in its cool faux-forest ambience. Here, you can order food to be delivered from any of the eight surrounding restaurants, like Hakata-style tonkotsu ramen from San Francisco’s Marufuku or crispy rolls and panang beef curry from Kin Extraordinary Thai. In the mood for something more casual? Ambrogio 15 is cherished for its thin-crust prosciutto burrata and other specialty cheese slices.

To quench your thirst, Sky Deck has a lineup of drink vendors in their Brewers Deck. Go for a glass of craft beer from Rough Draft or Northern Pine, or order up a hard kombucha from Boochcraft.

Before you go, round out your meal at Le Parfait Paris. It’s the fourth location of the locally owned dessert shop and it’s at the front of the venue, with personal cakes, fruit tarts, and colorful macarons to pick from. There’s no wrong choice here!

3790 Townsgate Drive, Carmel Valley

What We're Loving - Pan Dulce

What We’re Loving – Pan Dulce

Spooky Delights

Día de Los Muertos festivities are in store at the end of this month, so it’s time to stock up on some pan de muerto, or “bread of the dead,” for the holiday. This sweet bread is baked into a shape that makes it appear to be topped with small bones, and it’s served warm, flavored with orange or anise and sprinkled with sugar. Local panaderías such as Panchita’s (Multiple locations) and Sammy’s Mexican Bakery (6181 Imperial Avenue, Encanto) start selling their loaves in mid-October. The treat is often paired with hot chocolate and tamales and eaten while decorating the altar for your late loved ones. Those who want to get festive early (or all year round) can visit Día del Café (2873 Adams Avenue, North Park). The calavera-themed café honors the Mexican tradition all year long with sugar skulls and plenty of pan dulces.

SoCal Creole

The second location of Louisiana Charlie’s is adding some flavor, and even more seafood, to Seaport Village’s dining lineup. This Mardi Gras–themed restaurant opened in 2014 in Long Beach and is known for Cajun classics like jambalaya, crawfish étouffée, and po’boy sandwiches. But stick around for their contemporary twists, too, like loaded gumbo nachos. The restaurant anticipates opening later this fall with more plant-based options for the vegan crowd.

859 West Harbor Drive, Seaport Village

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