Masters Kitchen & Cocktail ~ Oceanside, California

I'm a HUGE fan of Masters and I often recommend it to my NoCo friends and family, so you can imagine how jazzed I was to be invited to the Fall Menu & Cocktails Tasting Dinner.

Let me start with the menu. We started off with Butternut Squash Risotto with burrata cheese & grated pecorino that was seriously HEAVENLY. It was cooked to perfection and warm & inviting on this crisp fall evening. We then moved on to the House-Made Potato Gnocchi made with brown sugar squash, sage mushrooms & fontina fondue. Really, this is considered a "small plate" item?!? It was a meal in delicious and the flavors blended like OMG! It was by far the best gnocchi I've had in years! As if I wasn't already feeling spoiled enough, our entrée and side arrived. As just about everyone knows, the Crispy Brussel Sprouts at Masters are ON POINT! Cooked to crispy perfection in balsamic reduction, bacon and topped with shaved pecorino cheese they are the go-to MUST ORDER item on the menu!  Now here's the kicker...Rosemary & Garlic Leg Of Lamb. <insert all the smiley heart-faced emoji's here...yeah, it's like THAT!> Let me point out that I have NEVER been a lamb fan. When I heard it was my entrée I actually grabbed an extra napkin to hide it in; no joke. But wow! It was plated so beautifully on a bed of celery root mashed potatoes with tasty chipotle carrots & lamb jus, so I dug in. I put the tiniest piece of lamb on my fork and a ton of potatoes thinking I would despise it. No way!  It was simply amazing, to die for, and the most amazing dish of the night! I will for sure order this again and again! All in all, the menu was 5 stars...perfect comfort food for a perfect rainy fall evening.

But wait! There's more! Heck yes, we were tasting Fall cocktails too. Hello...anyone that knows me knows I'm a bit of a craft cocktail snob and knows I will only drink in certain establishments. Masters has been on my list since day one. My first drink of the evening was the Painkiller. It's part of their Carribean Cocktails menu and sure, it doesn't taste, look or sound like a Fall drink...but it worked for me because nothing makes this cocktail photographer happier than a pretty (and tasty!) well made craft cocktail...regardless of the season! The Painkiller is made with white & gold rum, pressed pineapple, Coco Lopez & orange. After all that prettiness I moved on to an Army Navy. It's always been one of my fave drinks in SD and it's made perfectly at Masters with DE 1954, gin, orgeat, fresh lemon & angustora bitters. The other gals imbibed on more Autumn-y cocktails than I did, but we sipped and shared them all. From the Modern Classics part of the menu I also tried The Penicillin, the Dutch Maid & The Rye Knot. All were rich flavored and made me think of Don Draper/Mad Men moments when life seemed smooth - like the drinks they drank, if you know what I mean? A couple of the girls went all-in for some of the stronger items on the Stirred & Direct menu with the Bourbon based American Trilogy, the Improved Vieux Carrie and the Little Italy made with Rittenhouse Rye. A bit stronger than my norm, however, I can attest to how well ANY drink is prepared now and the effort (or lack of) a bartender puts into a drink. I can say WITHOUT A DOUBT that Masters Cocktail game (as well as their food) is SO GOOD that I'd go as far to say it is THE BEST in North County.

No need to take just MY word for it though...because I happen to know that come December a certain "little" magazine in San Diego will be spreading the word too ;)

Alicen R Media for Masters Kitchen & Cocktail

Some of our TASTY craft cocktails...

San Diego Spirits Fest

Broadway Pier, San Diego Embarcadero

I'm so glad I got to cover this event and see so many of my industry friends and favorite brands! Food, spirits and lots of samples...what's not to love about all that in one place?

Images COPYRIGHT ALICEN R MEDIA with the exception of use by: San Diego Spirits Festival, brands/restaurants/persons represented, Dining Out San Diego magazine & San Diego Magazine. All others must contact Alicen R Media or San Diego Spirits Fest for permission to use.