Debuting tomorrow at lunch is The Wooden Spoon, which brings a new food option to the East Valley corridor (805 East Valley Parkway) that connects downtown Escondido with Valley Center.
Up until now, the busy thoroughfare's food options landscape has been relatively limited, but The Wooden Spoon is hoping to spark a transition in the neighborhood with the opening of its farm-to-table, community-minded restaurant.
Chef/owner Jesse Paul lives with his wife Catherine and their family in San Marcos and had been looking for a location in North County when he stumbled upon 1960s building that previously housed a Mexican eatery but has been empty for years. With the help of friends and family, he's transformed and updated the cottage into a 50-seat restaurant with a large patio that will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday.
Paul spent the last 16 years cooking in fine dining kitchens throughout San Diego; his most recent post was at Vivace Restaurant at Carlsbad's Park Hyatt Aviara. Though he still carries tweezers in his front apron pocket, the chef says menu for The Wooden Spoon is more in line with the food he likes to eat, describing it as 'comfort food, redefined'. From his open kitchen, Paul will cook up dishes include a lamb-based shepherd's pie, house ground meatloaf and vegetarian options, all utilizing local ingredients and housemade elements, from the sausage that stuffs a pork loin served with polenta and greens to their housemade ketchup, pickles, kimchi and sauerkraut; a house charcuterie program is also on the way.
Individual plates, including the 'offal of the day' will rotate daily, with a thorough menu turnover planned for every season. Paul also intends to host monthly wine and beer dinners or guest chef collaborations that will allow him to exercise his fine dining skills.
The Wooden Spoon offers beer and wine, with 85% of the wine list focus on organic or biodynamic bottles.