4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Moto Deli enjoying its Leucadia revival

Smoked turkey and pork belly drive the return of a chef-helmed sandwich shop

Smoked turkey on squaw bread, still in its butcher paper wrapper
Smoked turkey on squaw bread, still in its butcher paper wrapper

Over the past six years, Moto Deli has woven one of our region’s most circuitous food truck stories, with nearly as many twists and turns as a Bong Joon-ho film. After first hitting the road in 2014, the motorcycle themed mobile kitchen landed a Leucadia storefront. There it became, not just a sandwich shop, but a scratch deli, which produced sandwiches made on house-cured meats and house-baked breads. To accomplish that, it became the rare deli led by an experienced executive chef, Andrew Halvorsen, whose 15 years cooking includes a stint with San Diego’s premier charcuterie producer, A.R. Valentien.

Place

Moto Deli

1076 N Coast Hwy 101 #101, Encinitas

The neighborhood liked it, and the business grew. It added dinner service in 2017, and expanded to Mira Mesa in 2018. Then, in 2019 — poof. Both locations closed, both reconfigured into different restaurant concepts by its owners. In Leucadia, it became the modern bistro, Valentina, which traded sandos for the likes of steak, salmon, and pastas. While Valentina has been well received, according to founder Mario Guerra, people kept showing up looking for Moto Deli’s cubano sandwich.

A grilled cubano, made memorable by pork belly

So, after less than a year away, Moto Deli has returned to Leucadia, about 500 yards up the coast highway from its original address. I happen to recognize the space: I tried a kombucha ice cream float here last summer, and soft-serve ice cream the summer before that. It’s tiny, barely enough room for a kitchen and counter, not even as large as its attached patio. But there, once again, was chef Halvorsen, crafting a reduced menu of sandwiches and salads, served through lunch only.

A motorcycle themed deli returns to Leucadia.

My sandwiches don’t come out fast, but mainly because there are a dozen orders ahead of me. First, I have to try the cubano that’s apparently responsible for Moto Deli’s second wind. And it’s not tough to see why. Like all traditional cubanos, it features a combination of ham and pork, grilled with cheese and dressed with mustard and pickles. What you get here is a blend of cheddar and muenster cheeses, with ham paired with pork belly, on sourdough bread. Put bacon on any sandwich and it will sell better. Load it with slices of pork belly, and customers will keep coming back for it until their cardiologists force them to stop. It’s not the huge sandwich I’d expect for 12 dollars (no side dish included), but I guess that’s what sandwiches cost anymore, when you’re this close to the beach, or in an airport.

All orders served in bags, to go, even if you eat on the patio

The more interesting sandwich is another Moto Deli signature: the turketta. Served on squaw bread, the meaty highlight of this one is house smoked turkey breast — that despite the presence of bacon. It’s got avocado, cheddar, a tangy mayo “moto spread,” and arugula. Left that that, it would be a good, California-style sandwich. But what makes it stand out is an apricot mostarda, which lends a spiced sweetness to another, small, $12 sandwich.

Patio is bigger than kitchen and counter.

Makes me wonder whether these sandwich prices impacted the first iteration of Moto Deli Leucadia. But then, even as the patio crowd begins to thin out, the line for takeout orders inside keeps growing. And as I sit on the patio, I notice more than one group of pedestrians walking past on the sidewalk, pointing the place out to each another: “Moto Deli is always good,” they say, even if they don’t stop in.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

The Nutcracker: old traditions, new names

Goodbye, California Ballet, hello, Golden State
Smoked turkey on squaw bread, still in its butcher paper wrapper
Smoked turkey on squaw bread, still in its butcher paper wrapper

Over the past six years, Moto Deli has woven one of our region’s most circuitous food truck stories, with nearly as many twists and turns as a Bong Joon-ho film. After first hitting the road in 2014, the motorcycle themed mobile kitchen landed a Leucadia storefront. There it became, not just a sandwich shop, but a scratch deli, which produced sandwiches made on house-cured meats and house-baked breads. To accomplish that, it became the rare deli led by an experienced executive chef, Andrew Halvorsen, whose 15 years cooking includes a stint with San Diego’s premier charcuterie producer, A.R. Valentien.

Place

Moto Deli

1076 N Coast Hwy 101 #101, Encinitas

The neighborhood liked it, and the business grew. It added dinner service in 2017, and expanded to Mira Mesa in 2018. Then, in 2019 — poof. Both locations closed, both reconfigured into different restaurant concepts by its owners. In Leucadia, it became the modern bistro, Valentina, which traded sandos for the likes of steak, salmon, and pastas. While Valentina has been well received, according to founder Mario Guerra, people kept showing up looking for Moto Deli’s cubano sandwich.

A grilled cubano, made memorable by pork belly

So, after less than a year away, Moto Deli has returned to Leucadia, about 500 yards up the coast highway from its original address. I happen to recognize the space: I tried a kombucha ice cream float here last summer, and soft-serve ice cream the summer before that. It’s tiny, barely enough room for a kitchen and counter, not even as large as its attached patio. But there, once again, was chef Halvorsen, crafting a reduced menu of sandwiches and salads, served through lunch only.

A motorcycle themed deli returns to Leucadia.

My sandwiches don’t come out fast, but mainly because there are a dozen orders ahead of me. First, I have to try the cubano that’s apparently responsible for Moto Deli’s second wind. And it’s not tough to see why. Like all traditional cubanos, it features a combination of ham and pork, grilled with cheese and dressed with mustard and pickles. What you get here is a blend of cheddar and muenster cheeses, with ham paired with pork belly, on sourdough bread. Put bacon on any sandwich and it will sell better. Load it with slices of pork belly, and customers will keep coming back for it until their cardiologists force them to stop. It’s not the huge sandwich I’d expect for 12 dollars (no side dish included), but I guess that’s what sandwiches cost anymore, when you’re this close to the beach, or in an airport.

All orders served in bags, to go, even if you eat on the patio

The more interesting sandwich is another Moto Deli signature: the turketta. Served on squaw bread, the meaty highlight of this one is house smoked turkey breast — that despite the presence of bacon. It’s got avocado, cheddar, a tangy mayo “moto spread,” and arugula. Left that that, it would be a good, California-style sandwich. But what makes it stand out is an apricot mostarda, which lends a spiced sweetness to another, small, $12 sandwich.

Patio is bigger than kitchen and counter.

Makes me wonder whether these sandwich prices impacted the first iteration of Moto Deli Leucadia. But then, even as the patio crowd begins to thin out, the line for takeout orders inside keeps growing. And as I sit on the patio, I notice more than one group of pedestrians walking past on the sidewalk, pointing the place out to each another: “Moto Deli is always good,” they say, even if they don’t stop in.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Stuck on Russian ship in Ensenada, in Baja for the eclipse

Mexican cusswords, refugee on Coronados islands, Baja boom towns, woman pilots bring help, Orange Co. surfer adopted by farmers, Toyota crashes 300 miles south of San Diego, writer climbs 10K peak
Next Article

Mira Mesa First Assembly of God Church: a life transformed

Keeping the world out of the church and getting the church into the world
Comments
1
This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.
Feb. 18, 2020

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close