Local musicians perform for diners outside Homestead, in Solana Beach
Outdoor dining is set to become the norm this summer: that is, even more so than usual. In a bid to add capacity amid social distancing rules, restaurants are looking to make use of every bit of sidewalk, courtyard, and parking space, adding outdoor tables for diners concerned about indoor transmission of coronavirus. Some places are going a step further to lure guests out of their homes.
346 S Cedros Ave, Solana Beach
Case in point: Homestead, the wine bar and local source food counter in Solana Beach. Over the past several weekends, Homestead has taken over the parking lot of its small shopping center to create an asphalt piazza, with room to space out umbrella shaded tables for casual outdoor dining. The ad hoc al fresco set up has been popular enough Homestead’s expanding its hours, now offering outdoor seating form 10 am to 4 pm, Wednesday through Sunday.
Organic produce, chicken, fresh pasta, and other provisions now being sold by wine bar and restaurant counter, Homestead
What got four of us out for what turned into an afternoon revisiting the shops and galleries of South Cedros Avenue, is that, Sundays at noon, Homestead brings in local musicians to perform on a small stage overlooking the piazza. On a recent Sunday, that meant popular covers by Carlsbad female vocalist and sometime opera singer, Alex Elisabeth.
Live music has been tough to come by under covid restrictions, so the chance to enjoy a seated performance brightened our June gloom outing considerably. The availability of beer, wine, bloody marys, and coffee drinks didn’t hurt.
A bacon, lettuce, tomato, and avocado sandwich
Homestead has always offered pantry items and other provisions, but the shop’s market has been beefed up since the pandemic began, including organic chicken, eggs, and the addition of a small produce stand out front, sourced by local farms such as Be Wise Ranch, Stehly Farms, and Aschbrenner Acres.
Many of the market products are locally sourced, including bread and bagels from Poway bakery, O’Brien’s Boulangerie. That said, the bulk of the sandwich and salad counter items are made from scratch, including the pastries.
Kale and blueberry salad with goat cheese, cranberries, and slivered almonds
Regular sandwich offerings range from a pastrami reuben ($15) to a vegetarian bánh mì ($13), though veggie fans will surely gravitate to the creative salad menu, led by a blueberry kale salad dressed with maple vinaigrette and featuring slivered almonds, goat cheese, and cranberries ($13). We had good luck with daily specials, including an opah ceviche ($13), french bread pizza with bacon ($7), and BLT with avocado ($12).
A french bread pizza topped with bacon
All of it would have made fine take out under any circumstances, but the day was truly made by the opportunity to enjoy our meals together, in the fresh air, while hearing live music for the first time in three months.