There’s pork on the menu, but check out the tri-tip.
  • There’s pork on the menu, but check out the tri-tip.
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Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen

230 S. Santa Fe Avenue, Vista

Pork is highlighted at this new “pub & kitchen” in Vista’s Paseo Santa Fe district, but I decided to go with the tri-tip. A good decision.

The Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen

The organic garden — “farm to table” is a real thing at Flying Pig

Outdoor dining

The Flying Pig’s mascot oversees the patrons

Light fare of ham & melon includes lemon-verbena yogurt

First I ordered a light fare of ham and melon, inspired by the outdoor organic garden next to my table. The small plate is small, but so is the price at $12. The serrano ham was sliced paper-thin, with an intense flavor and a dry texture. The local melon was as good as the melons I’ve had in the Luberon in Provence, and the lemon-verbena yogurt, mache, espellete pepper, and brined melon rind were both tangy and sweet.

As a lover of tri-tip, especially the Santa Maria style, I was excited for the main course to arrive. Executive chef Mario Moser prepared the 12-oz. carved portion as tender as one could hope for, and it was cooked perfectly to medium-rare. (Actually it was a bit rare, but that’s how I eat it. Order it a little more well-done if you prefer.) The roasted tri-tip (certified Angus beef) sat atop creamy smoked mashed potatoes with medium-sized portobello mushrooms sautéed in sherry and a perfect amount of gravy (which is really Makers steak sauce).

The new restaurant didn’t even boast signage yet, but the place was jumping, especially for Vista on a Monday.

Wanting to get on the road for the 45-minute drive home, I didn’t think I had the room for dessert. On the recommendation of the friendly server, I finished with the almond financier cake ($7) a dense almond cake with finely ground almonds, served with Tahitian vanilla gelato and fresh caramel sauce. It was gone before the check arrived.

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Comments

Ken Leighton Sept. 16, 2015 @ 7:18 a.m.

This is a nice, adequate review. But I think maybe Ms. Reed because you wanted "to get on the road for the 45-minute drive home," you may have missed a few key points. First, while the city of Vista has arrived as a booming, thriving craft beer mecca, there was really nothing in Vista as far as restaurants go until the Flying Pig came. Second, this is literally a mom and pop business, flying in the face of the trend of large restaurant groups/corporations that keep getting bigger. Third, and this is huge, those mom and pop owners Roddy and Aaron Browning were so successful with their built-from-scratch Flying Pig in Oceanside, that they were able to buy a vacant former bank building in Vista to open the second Flying Pig. Fourth, they went ape repurposing building materials in both the interior and exterior to make a funky and sustainable statement. A lot of cool stories there. Fifth, there is a strip mall BBQ joint in Vista who copied the name Flying Pig when they opened about a year ago. This is uncool. But the Brownings who hate the idea of being litigious, opted to just let it go. And finally, both Pigs are hardcore in their devotion to farm-to-table. They have plenty of good stories (read: interesting) about their pursuit of farm-to-table. Those stories would have also been good to include in this article in my opinion.

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CandiceRReed Sept. 22, 2015 @ 12:28 p.m.

Thanks Ken. Just so you know, we only get about 350 words for these Feast reviews, so there wasn't room for a deep investigation of the Pig. I lived in Vista for more than 25 years before moving, so I know a bit about the town. In fact, look for my article about a growing downtown Vista in this week's Reader. (Alas, no mention of a litigious pig.) Thanks for reading!

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