April 24 2015 04:55 PM

Escondido hangout has a killer grilled cheese

Plan 9 Alehouse
Photo by Jenny Montgomery

Even though I'm not the hop-happiest of food writers (sacrilege, I know), it's hard to resist an eatery with a passion for craft beer that also turns out tasty grub with more thought than just "this soaks up suds." Plan 9 Alehouse has a great balance of food and brews that'll please lager lovers as well as those who just want root beer.

My new favorite street corner (you have one, right?) might just be Grand and Kalmia right along the main drag in Escondido. Plan 9 Alehouse (155 E. Grand Ave) is worth a visit in its own right, but the fact that it's around the corner from a gelato shop and next door to a used bookstore makes it my kind of hangout. 

I'll leave the beer discussion to the beer writers, although I did dig the house-made root beer (but I wouldn't have argued with a bit more carbonation). 

Our society apparently lives in mortal fear that we haven't covered enough things in sriracha. I suppose there are worse bandwagons for us to collectively jump on, so to that end, I happily plowed through a plate of Bourbon sriracha duck wings. The duck was darker and greasier than your typical plate of chicken, but that just meant a meatier wing to bite into. You can opt for "sissy-medium" sauce or "stupid-hot," but either way, you'll get a spicy and sweet plate of messy goodness.

Find your way to the bacon jam grilled cheese. They don't skimp on the house made bacon jam (the bacon trend is exhausting, but this use never gets old), swiped between sourdough bread and gooey cheddar cheese. Slices of tart and sweet green apple lend crunch, but my favorite part of this sandwich is the totally delightful, absolutely unnecessary, gluten-free-mocking extra slice of bread sandwiched in between the outer two slices of bread. 

The Steak & Caesar is a really well done deconstruction of a steak salad. Crunchy spears of romaine are grilled to a nice, warm char, then drizzled with a creamy IPA-based Caesar dressing. Chunks of a salty, aged cheddar echo traditional parmesan, and the steak itself has a tangerine-and-maple glaze that brings an unexpected sweetness that blends well with the other flavors. 

If bacon is the trend that will never die, poutine is the food trend that might make you die. Thank you, Canada, for your gravy-covered French fries, garnished with cheese. Plan 9's frites come with gravy made from a Ballast Point Porter, and if you're feeling peckish, you can add either house-cured bacon or sausage and apples for just a few bucks more.

Plan 9 Alehouse has a straightforward industrial feel, with a fun and welcoming vibe. Goofy black-and-white B-movies like Mothra or the namesake Plan 9 From Outer Space run on a loop on a big screen above the dining room. 

Bring your Godzilla appetite and make Plan 9 your favorite corner hangout.

Write to jennym@sdcitybeat.com and editor@sdcitybeat.com. Follow Jenny on Twitter @jennymontyinsd.


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