My grandparents emigrated to the U.S. from Germany in the 1920s, and I speak enough German to embarrass myself—a skill that isn’t all that handy here in San Diego given the prevalence of Spanish speakers. (Although my rudimentary German has been helpful interacting with guests from Germany and Austria when volunteering at Cabrillo National Monument.) When I feel the need to reconnect with my familial heritage, I head to Tip Top Meats and European Delicatessen in Carlsbad.
Don’t let the name fool you. It’s much more than a butcher shop and deli. It’s also a grocery store, beer and wine store, and restaurant all rolled into one interesting and popular place.
In the grocery section, they stock a wide variety of dry goods, condiments, breads, cheeses, sweets, and other things. You can purchase beer from all over Germany and other European countries that you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in San Diego County. They also have many German wines. However, be prepared to experience the effects of free market supply-and-demand, as prices are a tad high. But again, where else can you buy Augustiner beer in San Diego?
The restaurant is where you can grab your bargains. The portion sizes are huge and you definitely get your money’s worth. On a previous trip, I ordered their Reuben sandwich and it was literally a sandwich and a half piled high with corned beef, with German potato salad on the side. This time I ordered a bratwurst sandwich and you can see in the photos it technically was two brats and two buns, plus the side of German potato salad (love the tang of vinegar in the potato salad), all for $8.99.
Aside from buying their Landjäger (think cured salami sticks), I haven’t purchased anything else from the butcher shop yet. Mainly because I live 45 miles from Tip Top Meats, and when I go there, it’s typically part of a full day out, and I never think to bring a cooler with me to keep whatever I would purchase cold.
If you’ve had your fill of fish tacos and are looking for something different, then check out Tip Top Meats for a taste of Germany and Europe. You may even get to hear a few conversations in Deutsch. And if you hear a few people laughing at the German-speaker, it’s probably me fumbling my way through the language. Step up and say, “Guten Tag!”
What You Need to Know
Location: 6118 Paseo Del Norte, Carlsbad, CA 92009
Hours: 6 a.m.–8 p.m. daily
Tips: Tip Top Meats is just south of Palomar Airport Road, and the Carlsbad Flower Fields and Carlsbad Premium Outlet Mall are a quarter mile or so away, so you can make a day of it while you’re in the area.
Click to see full-sized photos.
Visited: 20 February 2016