Saturday, July 23, 2011

Tapas - Twenty/20 Grill and Wine Bar, Carlsbad, CA

Clockwise from upper left:  My favorite Roasted Chicken Taco with Cuban Spice Black Beans, what is left of our Grilled Japanese Peppers with Avocado, Banana Leaf Carnitas, Roast Salmon with Potato Rosti and Red Pepper Aioli

I proclaim Thursday night "almost weekend" and the perfect night to step out with friends.  Carlsbad's Twenty/20 Grill and Wine Bar serves up the ideal location with its Tapas event held on Thursday evenings and is a favorite in my community.  Patio seating (with heaters for our chilly coastal Carlsbad summers), views of the Pacific through the swaying palms and the outdoor grilling/food prep provide an excellent starting point for the "almost weekend".  Executive Chef Steven Patrick has the event running like a well oiled machine and adds a personal touch as he oversees the food prep and checks in with us throughout the evening.

Shortly after New Years my friends and I begin thinking about when our Tapas on the Patio will begin.  Just knowing that the Thursday events are on their way gets us through those last doldrums of winter as we yearn for my favorite little appetizer sized Roast Chicken Tacos with Cuban Spice Black Beans and an Avocado Picchio (like a guacamole) or Large Ocean Prawns with Marcona Almond Pesto and Feta.

Foccaccia with Cherry Tomatoes
Bringing fresh seasonal ingredients (the Toy Box Cherry Tomatoes simply burst with freshness alongside the fluffy and garlicy Parmesan Foccaccia Bruschetta, pictured at left), Twenty/20's Tapas menu provides offerings between $1 and $6.  Appetizer portions allow one to sample a variety of different items in place of a regular full sized "restaurant meal".  Frankly, I'm thrilled to have a little Salmon, a little Skirt Steak and a little Veggie Stack for my first round, and then move on to the Taco, Foccaccia and Ocean Prawn for round two.

Serving a few selected wines at $5 per glass or $20 per bottle, our party of six last week fully enjoyed the Chilean Carmenere along with our menu choices.  Nick, one of our favorite servers, often points us in the right direction with the tapas offerings as well as wine and drink selections while he makes us feel at home and welcomed to the patio.

Korean Beef BBQ with Watermelon, Cucumber and Mint.  (While I love this dish I'm secretly hoping they will bring back last year's strawberry version!)

Situated in the Carlsbad Sheraton Resort and Spa just "uphill" from Legoland, Twenty/20 does offer a full menu featuring fresh and local ingredients for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.  Tapas however is obviously my favorite, but know that reservations are recommended with the patio filling up nearly a week in advance.

With a seasonally changing menu, our favorites from last week included the above mentioned Roast Chicken Taco, the Korean Beef BBQ with Watermelon, Cucumber and Mint, as well as the Thai Chciken Vegetable Dumpling and the Tequila Lobster Bisque.  Dessert featured Mini Cupcakes of either Red Velvet or Chocolate Truffle, though my favorite sweet comes off the dessert tree, a little stand featuing 8 or so mini desserts  (making it OK to have more than one).  Out server, Nick, always does his best to please my Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee request along with the other cream and cake offerings on the dessert tree.  Usually we all say we are too full for dessert, but the little tempting sweets have a way of enticing you to try just a little.

Good friends, fabulous food and a gorgeous Carlsbad sunset... yes, this is the life.  Looking for me on Thursday night?  Try the Tapas Patio at Twenty/20.  Ask for Nick... he'll show you the way.
Twenty/20 Grill & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon
Red Velvet or Chocolate Truffle Mini Cupcakes


  1. Sounds like a wonderful evening. Tapas are just starting to take off here, and I am keen to try a new restaurant called Salt (same Chef/Owner as 12th Avenue Grill). If I am ever in your area I will definitely be making reservations at Twenty/20.

  2. What a wonderful meal! And the pictures are beautiful too... :)

  3. Spectacular photos in this one! Looks like quite an exciting 'almost weekend' night out :) Buzzed!

  4. I'm drooling over those delicious chocolate truffle cupcakes! :)

  5. All of your photos are defiantly mouthwatering..Amazing post Kim!

  6. Tapas is such a great way to share food with friends. Everybody gets to try a little bit of everything.
    there are several tapas restaurants in our area. they are a good Girls' Night Out.

  7. This is definitely on our travel list. You got such great photos.

  8. Cheers, Kim! well said. I can't wait for our next tapas night out at Twenty/20!

  9. Super mouth watering foods you've shown here...especially the chocolate cupcakes. Yummy!

  10. Hhaha, just found this picture via foodgawker. Very nice!
    We were in Carlsbad a few years ago and really liked the Red Chimney BBQ there..


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