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When I hear from several people that a restaurant is good, it’s time to give it a shot. That’s what brought me to the San Marcos’ Restaurant Row parking lot, driving around in search of the elusive Sublime Ale House. By the way, it’s in the back, facing north. My daughter and I went for lunch, since I already knew that it was more than just a bar. Though I had difficulty convincing her of that!

It has a modern, rustic feel with metal and wood features throughout the restaurant. Despite the small lunch crowd, mostly families, the acoustics noticeably amplified the sound. After reading through the menu, which takes me longer with a new restaurant, we ordered some fries with truffle oil and Parmesan as a starter. ($7) They came with our choice of two aioli; we selected lemon basil and roasted garlic. Though tasty, I didn’t really notice any truffle flavor on the fries. The aiolis were a delicious addition.

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In addition to the 48 beers on tap, the menu has sections proffering burgers, pizzas, salads, sandwiches, and six types of grilled cheese. What stood out from the other offerings were the number of macaroni and cheese dishes. I suggested to the server that other than beer, the mac‘n cheese must be what they’re known for. She agreed, but informed me that their burgers are also popular because the beef is ground fresh at the restaurant every day and the buns are baked in-house.

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Since I don’t have mac‘n cheese every day, I went all out and chose the one called Ecstasy. The base is a Gorgonzola béchamel and includes bacon, mushrooms, red bell peppers, garlic, and thyme. Knowing that it was going to be a rich dish, I ordered the smallest size ($8) and a side Caesar salad ($2). My daughter opted for a bowl of meatballs with fresh bread ($9) off of their “Small Plates” section. Still reading the menu, I noticed a number of items with locally sourced ingredients. And beer had found its way into a number of menu items including a salad dressing, a soup, and mussels.

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The bowl of meatballs was quite large, as were the meatballs! They were served with a tomato sauce and three slices of baguette. Aside from pulling out the bread right away because she didn’t want it to get soggy, the dish went over well with my pre-teen. I was really happy with the al dente noodles and the flavor of my mac‘n cheese. However, it was VERY rich! Though I ordered the smallest of the three serving sizes, it was still too much for me. I think next time, I’ll just order the Beet or Avocado Citrus Salad and spilt a mac‘n cheese with the kid.

Sublime Ale House 1020 West San Marcos Boulevard San Marcos, CA 92078 Phone: (760) 510-9220 http://www.sublimealehouse.com/

Sublime Pizza 10550 Craftsman Way, Suite 186 San Diego, CA 92127 www.SublimePizza.com>

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