For the foodies, the chefs and cooks among us, foraging for great food and wine in and around Fallbrook is an important endeavor.  So here’s some info to help make the process more successful.

The mini-market Pala Mesa Market (just north of 76 at the 15 Freeway) and the full grocery/deli Daniel's Market are the closest markets to the house.  Daniel’s is located on the corner of the 76 Highway and 5256 South Mission Road, Bonsall.

Major Market in Fallbrook, at Main and Fallbrook Streets, offers great quality and an excellent selection of foods, deli, what have you. Their fresh salsa is very good and they can make up party platters or even roast a turkey for you.

Fallbrook also has a Fresh and Easy Market and an Albertsons.

Due to rising rents, we lost another bakery on Main Street last year. In the meantime, Albertson’s has a full bakery section and a Starbucks. And The Espresso Lounge on Main is offering great coffee and pastries too. A bit of a drive will take you to Bon Pastry in Carlsbad or Robin’s Nest or Vallee d’Brume in Temecula. And the San Luis Rey Restaurant and Bakery by the old Mission is surprisingly good and not too far. Succulent Cafe in Oceanside offers great coffee and is a living work of art.

Myrtle Creek Botanical Garden and Nursery, on Reche Road just east of Gird Road, has just opened a charming cafe. Take the paper and enjoy coffee and a pastry or sandwich on the outdoor patio. They also have music so check their website for times and dates!

For meats for BBQing, all the markets are good. But for a southwestern BBQ, El Toro Market is a good bet. And Tip Top Meats in Carlsbad is world famous.

TripAdviser has rated some of Fallbrook’s restaurants and the Fallbrook Chamber of Commerce maintains a good listing.

A short drive away is the lovely Golf Club of California which has a good bar with a view of the greens and lake. Its hours are limited so I always call first.

It’s a really special to have a meal at The Veranda at the Grand Tradition, followed by a stroll by the lake and through their extensive gardens. Its Orchid Bar, open on Wednesdays 5-9, is excellent. Call for reservations. Afterwards, tour the extensive gardens after dark, a real treat.

Good restaurants in Fallbrook, which also offer to-go items, include Brothers' Bistro and La Caseta Mexican Restaurant and Oink and Moo for fun and amazing BBQ. In the River Village Plaza at the 76 and South Mission intersection in Bonsall, try ZCafe, Fresco Grill for Italian and Peking Wok for Chinese. Estrella’s is a local institution with two locations to the north and south of town. And Fallbrook Cafe is a classic American roadside diner, especially good for a hearty breakfast. For vegan breakfast muffins and great hummus, Fallbrook Coffee is good. Village Pizza makes a great slice and more.

Seeking sushi? Try Yama.

Jackson Square off Main Street has a new Thai restaurant, Golden Kitchen on the second floor at 119 No. Main Avenue, so we are curious to hear what you think. Cafe des Artistes is right behind the Fallbrook Art Center on Main. Also on Main, and new as of 2013, is the Fallbrook Brewing Company.  In fact, Main Street is changing so fast it’s hard to keep up.  It’s worth a stroll to see what’s happening.

San Diego is a growing craft beer area and Stone Brewing Company in Escondido is worth the trip south and has a nice beer garden.

There are very good fruit/veggie stands around town but I like the one just east of the 15 Freeway, on the south side of Highway 76. Eli’d Farm has a stand at 2929 East Mission at Capra.  And just down the street, at Gird and Reche, is Sister’s Heritage Farms.

We also have Farmers’ Markets. Check the calendar before you go but Fallbrook’s is generally held Saturday 10-2 at 102 S. Main St (Corner of Main and Alvarado). Bonsall Farmer's Market is held Sundays from 9-1 in the parking lot of the new Bonsall Elementary School and Bonsall Community Center, 31555 Old River Road, Bonsall.  There is also a new one on Sundays at Valley Fort on the western side of Fallbrook.

Watch for the terrific Fallbrook strawberries when they’re in season.  Keep your eyes open for the local goat cheeses and smoked fish.  Very good.

Bates Nut Farm in Valley Center sells all kinds of berries and nuts along with speciality condiments, jams, jellies, candies, you name it.  It’s located about a half hour south east, through the back country (lots of oak trees).  While you can find all their products in the local markets, you might want to take a drive out there just for fun or to stock up on some of the basics at very good prices.  They have a small petting zoo so it's fun for the little ones and they hold antique car shows too so check their calendar

Julian is a nice little town that is fun to drive to.  It holds events and is known for its great apple products and Dudley’s Bakery is an institution. There is lots to do out there and horseback riding is fun in Julian. I especially like this town in the fall on weekdays -- summer and weekends can get busy.

For wines, select some nice bottles at Bonsall Fine Wines.  Or go wine tasting at wineries in Temecula or visit San Diego County’s largest winery (38 acres), Fallbrook Winery. It offers a Wine Club discount and is open to visitors by appointment.  Contact the manager Ted Gorvitz, 760-728-0256 or 858-692-7712/cell, You can also find Fallbrook Winery wines at Daniel’s Market in Bonsall and Major Market in Fallbrook, among other places. 

You‘ll also want to visit the Beach House Winery to the west in the Sleeping Indian section of Fallbrook.

Michael's Flowers, on the north side of Highway 76, west of Freeway 15, offers a wonderful selection of locally grown flowers for good prices. 

In Temecula you can find a Williams Sonoma and a less-expensive Fantasy Kitchen shop which also offers cooking classes.

Temecula's Old Town Temecula has all kinds of antique stores and food shops. Check out the Temecula Olive Oil Company and Old Town Spice Merchants

On your way north to Temecula is the little town of Rainbow, just off the 15 Freeway to the east.  The Rainbow Oaks Restaurant is under new management and earning rave reviews, especially for its breakfast. Try it and tell us what you think.

Any questions, feel free to contact Teresa Platt at 760-468-2025 or

We hope you enjoy wonderful meals made with love from all Southern California has to offer!


Foraging for Food and Wine in Fallbrook