- Encinitas, CA -
Modern Times Far West Lounge
Every now and then, Matias and I will make trips to visit my family back home in San Diego. During our last trip, we were driving around town and I was struggling to find a vegan-friendly spot that offered something other than smoothie bowls. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good smoothie bowl. For whatever reason, I was just craving something more savory. Luckily enough, I was able to find a new restaurant and brewery in Encinitas called “Modern Times Far West Lounge.” Although the restaurant had under one hundred reviews at the time on Yelp and Google - almost all of the review were extremely positive. So, away we went!
The recently opened restaurant is situated in the heart of D-Street in Encinitas, just a few blocks away from Moonlight Beach. The large, open air restaurant is surrounded by beautiful palm trees and street lamps. When walking in, you immediately get a taken back to another era. Perhaps the name of the restaurant is meant to be seen as a little bit ironic, because the interior of the restaurant is decked out in midcentury style patterns and furniture. One of my favorite pieces of wall art are the felt TV dinner trays. The dining area is large and centered around the main bar, where you place your orders for food and drinks. Guests can stay seated at the bar after ordering, or they can select a table to sit at in the general dining area. In case you were wondering, yes, this spot is incredibly hipster. All said and done however, the staff are incredibly helpful and are open to making suggestions for food and home-made beer combos. Another fun fact about the Modern Times Far West Lounge is that it is an employee-owned business.
Now, as I mentioned earlier - the food is entirely plant-based! The menu features nine unorthodox takes on traditional bar foods with some major San Diego flair. Matias and I ended up ordering the Croquettes, Bratwurst Inna Bun, and Cali Asada Burrito. The croquettes were phenomenal. The cheesy potatoes were like giant tater tots in smoky nut-based cheese sauce. The plate came with four croquettes and honestly it was the perfect amount. Any more would be too much and any less wouldn’t be enough! After the croquettes, we dove into the Cali Asada Burrito - which, as a San Diego native hit close to home. The burrito is a vegan version of the classic Carne Asada Burrito that you can find at most Mexican restaurants across San Diego. The burrito was huge and filled with grilled seitan, cashew crema, pico de gallo, and fried potatoes with a hint of spice. Seriously mouthwatering. I had a hard time finishing my half of the burrito after the croquettes, so this would definitely be a good dish to share. After the burrito, we finished with the bratwurst. Honestly, I don’t know how I was able to finish my share of this last dish. I was already pretty full from the previous items, but I made it work! The bratwurst is made of a grilled Beyond Meat plant-based bratwurst in a pretzel bun, topped with caraway kraut, beer braised onions, pickled mustard, horseradish dill sauce, and served with a Sid of homemade chips. Each of the dishes was phenomenal in its own right - and they all paired very well with the beers in the #NEWMONEY beer flight we ordered.
Honestly, I cannot say enough good things about the food, ambience, and service from this restaurant. As disappointed as I am that we don’t live nearby this amazing restaurant, I am thrilled to know that I can go back every time I visit my family in San Diego. I will certainly be back to the Far West Lounge, and I hope you all pay this lovely spot a visit. Do you know any other non-traditional vegan restaurants? Let me know in the comments section below!