For the most recent review (09/08/15) of Flying Pig Pub and Kitchen in Vista, CA click here: https://critdicks.com/2015/09/08/flying-pig-pub-kitchen-vista-ca/

As I had expected, there were absolutely no disappointments this evening being invited for the second day of this soft opening. I had just been astonishingly notified of being published that day and bought 20 copies of the release; when earlier that week, I was emailed an invitation to The Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen’s debut soft opening dinner. Coincidently they both happened on the same day. The food at this event was complimentary as they would break pretty close to even with the drinks as my wife and I each had two. But the remarkable food, ambiance and service made this day even more special for the wife and I as Roddy, the owner, high fives me upon breaking the news to him.  He had recognized me and possibly knew of my arrival, but showed up, now cleaned up a bit after working so hard on this opening, well into the final bites of our entrées. He looked very tired as I am used to seeing him having always been; working and perfecting so diligently at the Oceanside, CA location for the last three years. pig0 I had finally met Roddy’s wife Aaron. I witnessed her polishing wine glasses with staff . . . scratch that . . . team members as she had obviously shown them the right way of doing things at this very eclectic, energetic and engaging dining establishment. For you folks that have visited their Oceanside location, as most of us had been that were here these last two eve’s. The furniture matches, the cloth napkins matched in a couple of themed colors; but the service ware, fixtures and art are very much reminiscent of the Flying Pig brand. Roddy and Aaron had put together a wonderfully open . . . and I mean very open, busy street side upscale dining facility that features the vault door of the previous bank that occupied the building for years before. Even the ceilings have been handled by vaulting and painting. That vault itself had been converted to a duel refrigerator and wine cellar and the door relocated (affixed) to the front entrance of The Flying Pig. pig3There appears to be plenty of parking however I saw this sign at the far end, so be careful until Roddy takes care of that confusion. pig4The exterior of the building is a bit rough yet, but coming along on track for their Grand Opening Monday 10 August 2015. Their hours appear to fixed at the same 4:30 until . . . There are retractable roll-up bay windows surrounding the bar area that has 1/2 seating inside if they were closed, and the other exposed to the elements. With the windows open, you modestly hear the traffic inside the restaurant but can also enjoy the large amount of surrounding patio outside with a service area of the bar that could be used for private events. Being there for the arrival of Roddy, as he moved a patio umbrella to shade the diners inside. Possibly that was an overlooked shade issue coming from that direction in the late evening. Looks like Roddy is on it. The sun/shade issue made a very difficult time taking pictures of the beautifully-plated and abundant food as was presented. pig6My wife began to question the story of Chef Mario. We were told by the well-trained staff about the brief history of Roddy, Aaron and Chef Mario’s coming together. We became interested in just where he learned to cook and where he has worked, because these are masterful pieces of culinary work that has long fascinated my education. What I’m saying is I would witness these creations by only a small handful of students while I attended Culinary school; some of which I could never keep up with culinarily. I would like to have an opportunity to talk with Chef Mario someday and see his new kitchen and those secretive vault doors, aka the walk-ins. What a smart and practical application and use of a dead space otherwise. Chef Mario and team served us very moderately priced Crab Stuffed Squash Blossoms, the evening’s distinct standout plate. pig11The crab was very obvious and noticeable through the politely deep fried shell of batter. The plate was very light partly due to the garnishing of very thin slices of Jalapeno, Watermelon Radish and wedges of tender Mango.  A wonderfully executed plate. The appetizer I chose were the Heirloom Tomatoes. The complexity of flavors of the HUGE, GIANT two slices of Heirloom Tomatoes with fresh hand made-in-the-kitchen Burrata that I ordered for my starter. By the way. they are entrée salads and appetizers. pig2Their menu calls them light fare, but at the lighter prices, I would have thought them to be light on size . . . clearly not! I even told Aaron I felt as if the prices could possibly be elevated just slightly. I had since realized that we had spent $100 (if we would have been charged for the plates) for a dinner that included two-entrée salads and two entrées, with two drinks each. Then Roddy had topped it off with a piece of Pecan Pie that was a nice treat at the end. Including tip at 20 percent, I valued the evening as perfect for two target-market patrons. I would have spent $120 including tip that night. I think that’s well priced now that I think about the demographics. But all of the plates are quite large portions like the very thick cut Pork Chop that was cooked perfectly medium; signature of the Pork Chop from the Oceanside location. This location’s Chop was treated to garlic and mild mystery green olives with an unknown or otherwise unrecognizable origin. Like the Pork Chop at the Oceanside location, this particular plate here had a creamy Polenta that melded the flavors of the plate as if they were one. We really had a hard time finishing all of the food as the last bites if the very tender and moist Pork Chop finally were cleared.pig10 Finally our last plate was a very tender, cooked perfectly to medium-rare, Roasted Tri-Tip atop very creamery mashed potatoe with medium-sized sautéed Portobello Mushrooms. With just the right amount of sauce for the plate from the steak and the sautéing of the mushrooms. A wonderful plate. The wife and I had questioned about a Branzino (European Sea Bass) dish for two offered on the menu that indicated a Chimichurri marinade. And, if you know our background, would fully understand why, we wanted to taste Chef Mario’s Chimichurri. It was almost natural for us to be saving a piece of that Tri-Tip for an opportunity to taste it dipped in Chimi. pig17Anna, our server, was very nice and very friendly explained that she had only eaten at the Oceanside location and had tried many of the meals there, but had not tried the Chimichurri. She had explained that the staff at the Vista location had tried most of the dishes but simply ran out of time before the opening. She then gladly went back to the kitchen to see if she could find some for our sampling pleasure only to return empty-handed as the Chimichurri was only used as a marinade for the fish plate, and so we are to be unlucky tonight.pig13 Upon our departure we wished all of the staff well and especially to Roddy (get some rest dude) and his wife Aaron (probably the real strength) well in the years to come; telling them both we would definitely be back because of the very fair value (price and plate sizes) for that level of culinary treat and warm experience at their new facility. For some reason my wife argued that $20 tip. She thought it should have equated to $50 at least since we didn’t pay for the plates. I argued that by telling her it was $100 worth of food and drink and the tip was correct. I mean Anna our server was great; however, certainly not worth the $50. I guess I’m Richard again. Another controversial issue was the fact there was not yet any noticeable audio system. The wife said it’s better without. I, on the other hand, will win that bet. And finally, one last questionable argument were the plates of clear glass in the women’s restroom on the wall. My wife argued that if she had some lipstick, she would have left a message like “CritDicks”. I, argued, “what do the guys use?” As the men’s room also had those plates of clear glass. SHARPIE!!! This will definitely be one of our all-time favorites, just as the Oceanside location has long been on that list. Good luck and dreams. I’m definitely gonna give this one to Roddy and Aaron! flying pigflying pigflying pigflying pigflying pig A full five Flying Pigs Dicks

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