Friday, March 04, 2005 | New to San Diego County, in fact the first in California, is Noodles & Co., a terrific not quite fast food and takeout restaurant that uses fresh produce and cooks to order each dish. The menu revolves around noodles from many cuisines. Whether it’s the popular penne rosa, pad thai, pasta fresca, an Indonesian peanut saute, or whole grain Tuscan fettuccini, the ingredients are impeccably fresh and the food very good. For the no carb crowd, there’s a Mediterranean mixed grill of beef and chicken and shrimp curry sate, among others. The menu has symbols so you know if the dish is kid friendly, spicy or vegetarian.

And for dessert and coffee, Krispy Kreme is next door to all three places. Chula Vista, 2315 Otay Lakes, (in the Kohl’s Shopping Center, Eastlake) 619 216-4300; Encinitas, 260-C North El Camino Real (just north of Encinitas Blvd), 760-634-3010, and San Marcos, 591 Grand Ave, (off Highway 76 and San Marcos Blvd. in the Lowe’s shopping center), 760-591-9854. Open for lunch and dinner from 11a.m.

At the other end of the Gaslamp, very close to the Convention Center, is the Grande Dame of breakfast joints, Café 222 which opened in 1991 and has breakfast and lunch with a kicky, eclectic menu (and a fabulous website

Marcie Rothman loves good food – no matter where it’s cooked – at home, a hole in the wall or a white tablecloth restaurant. She believes that the freshest ingredients make the best dishes and will taste anything at least once. Known as The $5 Chef on radio, television and in her two cookbooks, Marcie travels far and near with an eye on what’s current in food. You can find her at

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