Fancy Sadie & Rose bread on the Seasonal Turkey Sandwich. Flat Rock Eats & Drinks.
102 Aberdeen Drive, Cardiff by the Sea
Flat Rock's flat facade.
I would love to live in one of the North County beach towns, with their ability to catch summer swells and too many gorgeous beaches to count. Of course, I tell myself that by living closer to downtown I have better access to a much greater selection of restaurants, as I've yet to find a North County eatery truly worth making the drive for. Occasionally, though, I will head that way to catch some waves, and will try out a nearby lunch spot, since I'm in the area.
After a recent session I stopped in at Flat Rock in Cardiff. The place opened last year next to VG Donuts after The Kook's Café closed, and seems to share my interest in locally sourced ingredients. So I grabbed a spot on the patio and gave them the benefit of my surfer's hunger.
The menu had plenty going on, pitting salads against duck flautas, burgers, and pork chops. The "pastrami sando" caught my eye, as such things always do, but it's really tough to critique a place based on a sandwich, and I questioned whether the house-made sauerkraut would offer enough to go by.
But then I noticed "the seasonal turkey," offering house-roasted turkey along with herbed goat cream cheese, pear apple, spinach and provolone on cranberry orange walnut sourdough. Roasting a meat in house and serving it on a bread requiring four adjectives definitely merits a review.
Turns out the bread comes from Miramar bakery Sadie Rose, which makes a whole lot of other batards Flat Rock could have chosen from for this sandwich. That they settled on this one tells me they were out to make a better than average take on America's favorite sandwich.
Had you asked me ahead of time, I'd have said give me the sourdough but hold the walnuts, hold the cranberry, and for god's sake hold the orange. But it tasted great, especially held together by the herbed goat cheese.
Of course, without good turkey you don't have a sandwich so much as a fancy continental breakfast. Fortunately, the Flat Rock turkey came to play. A far cry from the watered down slices you get from most delis, this stuff was honest turkey breast, cut imperfectly thick and separating at the grain. It stood out as juicy and flavorful, even with the goat cheese and fruity sourdough calling attention to themselves.
The whole thing worked pretty well together, easily distinguishing itself as a sandwich you can't get just anywhere, even closer to downtown. I'd even venture to say — and I may never again utter these words if I live to be 90 — the provolone was entirely unnecessary; the sandwich would have tasted fine without it.
For once I left a North County surf session feeling sated, yet still knowing that I'd get a pretty damn good dinner in North Park or Little Italy. Makes me wonder if North County residents ever drive south for the food in the summertime, and settle for a mediocre surf just because they're in the neighborhood.