Carin de Ria

IMG_3900 - Copy

Review #102

Don’t you just hate it when you are supposed to write a review on a restaurant but then you don’t do it right away for one reason or another?  And then it’s placed on the back burner for so long you start to feel guilty but you keep finding other things to do with your time instead of blogging it? And then the holidays are here, and New Years and before you know it, it’s time for the next blog, but you don’t even remember this blog so how can you do the next one??  So you go through your pictures to spark some memory of the dinner you had there nearly a month ago, but you turned 50 last May, and your memory ain’t what she used to be, so even though you know logically you were there, at this restaurant, and there are pictures to prove it, it’s completely foreign to you.  I hate when that happens too!  But really, it’s totally Hubby’s fault.

Much like there are six degrees from Kevin Bacon, anyone who knows my family knows that everything ends up being Hubby’s fault.   The boys and I blame him for things such as a bad grade in school, nothing good to watch on tv, the printer being out of paper while he’s at work, or any other thing going wrong with our day.  And honestly, we can prove that every single thing really is his fault.  So with the blog, for instance:  Hubby could have

a.) reminded me more often to write it

b.) inspired me with his wit and charm to come up with something clever

c.) bribed me with foot rubs

So clearly, this late blog is ALL his fault.  Luckily, I took a few notes that night.    Please excuse the lack of details I have to offer.

Carin de Ria is not exactly on the 101, but it’s close enough to count.  It’s located next to The Potato Shack on I St.

If the food is from The Philippines, why is it spelled “Filipino” instead of “Philippino”?  The Filipino family who makes the Filipino food are from the Philippines.  “Why?” I ask.  WHY??

Some of our regular blog partakers were too scared to try Carin de Ria.  “I don’t think I like that kind of food.” said some.  “I’m not a very advanced eater” said another.  Really??  Because Filipino food isn’t adventurous eating to me.  You can find chicken, beef, pork, rice, noodles and more.  It definitely has some ethnicity to it, but I would be surprised if most people can’t find many things on their menu to enjoy.

IMG_3901 - Copy

There is both outdoor and indoor seating at Carin de Ria, and it is tastefully decorated.  (You can silently add the phrase “from what I remember” to the end of each sentence.)


When we walked in, we were hit smack in the face with the most amazing smells!  Whatever concoctions were being prepared in the kitchen had to be delicious.  The aromas were intoxicating.

Our waitress looked very nervous at our group of 12.  This is a quaint restaurant that obviously has never dealt with a group this large before.  Tables and chairs were shuffled around and they made the small space work for us.  Not only that, but they offered to separate all of our checks for us, which is not easy to do with a group our size.  They were extremely nice and accommodating.

Right away everyone ordered lumpia.  Lumpia is a Filipino favorite and they are delicious. (FWIR)

Classic Lumpia  — 3.00
(4pc) crispy fried egg rolls with minced pork, crunchy napa cabbage,
carrots, sweet chili dipping sauce*

IMG_3902 - Copy
Classic Lumpia

Trying to stay on the healthier side, I found a soup on the menu that sounded promising:  Chicken Tinola Soup — 9.00 lemongrass, ginger, chayote, greens

I love, and I mean LOVE lemongrass.  I grow it in my garden and make broths, teas and other dishes with it.  It is heavenly.  What this soup offered in health, it lacked in flavor.  It was quite dull with little lemongrass to be found.  For $9 a bowl, I gave it a thumbs down.  (And I actually DO remember this!)

IMG_3908 - Copy
Chicken Tinola Soup

Mary ordered a different soup.  One with coconut milk.

Vegetable Coconut Stew (Ginataan) veg, gf — 12.00   carrots, zucchini, broccoli, sweet potatoes cooked in light gingery coconut  milk Now this soup was the bomb!  They took all the flavor from the other soup, mixed it with more flavors and stuck it in here.  Creamy, flavorful and delicious!

IMG_3909 - Copy
Vegetable Coconut Stew

Jules ordered the Grilled Pork Belly gf — 12.00
simply seasoned, bold traditional Filipino flavor, soy-sauce vinegar dip

I remember trying it and loving it even though I’m not really a pork person (except for bacon).  More yummy cucumbers please.


I ordered the Chicken BBQ gf — 12.00
boneless marinated chicken marinated with lemongrass, glazed with banana ketchup

I enjoyed it, but wished there was an all white meat option.  More yummy cucumbers please.


Someone ordered Spicy Chicken Adobo— 11.00
lemongrass-infused soy sauce, garlic, red chilies

I think they liked it but remember they mentioned that it was not spicy.  (FWIR)

Spicy (not spicy) Chicken Adobo

Any dish that comes with rice can and should be upgraded to the Garlic Rice.

IMG_3904 - Copy
Garlic Rice

Hubby wanted to be sure he was getting something authentically and uniquely Filipino, so as we pulled up to the restaurant he texted a friend in The Philippines and asked him what to order.  Before we were even seated, his friend replied and recommended getting the “Sisig”.  He explained that  Sisig is made from pig heads and chicken parts with onions and peppers and calamansi (a citrus fruit).  Personally, I’m trying to cut down on my “sisig” consumption these days, but that delightful description didn’t stop everyone.

BP ordered the Sizzling Salmon Sisig  — 12.00 wild-caught salmon, bell peppers, onions. It was a large plate of delicious food and HUGE kudos to Carina for using wild-caught salmon!  Wild-caught is more sustainable and much healthier than farm-raised.  After licking this giant plate clean BP said, “Mom, they don’t eat much in The Philippines.” When we got home, he ate another dinner.

IMG_3906 - Copy
Sizzling Salmon Sisig

Jennifer and Ayda shared one of the Family Feast menu’s which came with this:

Pancit Canton — 8.00
pan-tossed egg noodles with vegetables veg, gf
add chicken +2.00 or shrimp +2.50

The Family Feast for two came with so much food, they took a ton home.  This Feast is definitely the way to go.  Unless you have a BP with you.

IMG_3903 - Copy

Bottom Line:

I think the prices were for most dishes were fair, with a few things being too much.  $12 for a modest cup of Vegetable Coconut Stew was steep for something without meat or organic ingredients.  But the $12 Sizzling wild-caught Salmon Sisig was a very good price.

Is it the most amazing food we’ve ever had?  No, of course not.  But how nice to have some diversity among the countless brew spots, pizza places and taco joints already flooding Encinitas.  Once you’ve tried lumpia, you crave lumpia.  And now we have a local place to get lumpia!   Different is always good!

And on a personal note, learn to take some stress off of yourselves by throwing some of life’s mishaps to Hubby.  Whether you can’t find your keys or are mad about the weather, with some creative deductive reasoning you too can see how ALL things are Hubby’s fault.  Feel free to use him as your scapegoat whenever need be.  He can handle it.

 Prayers going out to those dealing with the potential volcano danger in the Philippines

Author: foodkibbitzer

I love to cook, especially soup, and bake challah. I ride horses, enjoy sarcastic people and am a food snob. I'm busy being mom to my two boys and I play mahj jong.

2 thoughts on “Carin de Ria”

  1. Aha! The secret to a happy marriage, revealed! I know now to blame many more mishaps on John. He really wasn’t stepping up enough. Love this – how did I miss this? Let’s go there soon. Thanks Kori.


  2. I’ve been curious about that place. The restaurant before (cant even remember what ethnicity it was) didn’t last long. thanks for the review. always enjoyable regardless of when they get out!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: