Leave it to me to order fried chicken from a food truck with the word braise in its name. I promise there was beer involved.
1495 Poinsettia Avenue #148, Vista
Toolbox Brewing was pouring a few rare beers for its 2nd anniversary celebration, so I made my way to Vista around midday. I didn't plan well, meaning I showed up to a brewery on an empty stomach. Rookie mistake.
1495 Poinsettia Avenue #152, Vista
Fortunately, a restaurant called California Braise recently opened right next door to Toolbox. Even more fortunate, this restaurant developed out of a food truck with the same name, so we beer drinkers didn't even have to go as far as the next industrial park suite to get fed. The truck parked right in front of the brewery.
Which brings me back to the chicken. There were, of course, braised food options, many of them involving that wonderful word, taco. They say fried chicken pairs well with sparkling wine, and elements of the sort of sour and funky beers in Toolbox's wheelhouse often remind me of a complex sparkling wine.
That worked out pretty well for me. The thick hunk of fried chicken breast was served with mixed greens, tomato, and avocado on a grilled bun. As I alternated between bites of the sandwich and sips of the brewery's nuanced Saison Chene Rustique D'Abricot, I couldn't help but be reminded of the movie Sideways, when Paul Giamatti's character drank his prized wine alongside a fast food meal.
However, this fried chicken sandwich didn't seem like fast food. California Braise aims for local ingredients, and both the chicken and the veggies tasted better than ingredients served in a lot of restaurants, let alone trucks.
As a fried chicken nut, I hoped the breading would have had a bit more flavor to it, which is probably just my way of saying I constantly crave salt and paprika. Truth is, it wasn't necessarily my favorite thing ever served by a food truck, but I do consider it one of the highest quality dishes I've eaten off a mobile kitchen.
And that's surprising, considering we're talking about fried chicken. It only makes me wonder how good the restaurant's braised meat dishes might be. I'll probably have to make my way back to Vista to check out the actual restaurant. Hopefully, when I do, Toolbox will pull up with a beer truck out front for my own convenience.