by Steve Kang

I remember when I first walked into the Compass with my friend and fellow 4L Magazine co-founder Chris. We heard about their bacon-wrapped corn dogs and went there every day for two weeks to eat them. The Compass has come a long way since those early days. What they do now is try to make everything they can from scratch using local purveyors, the freshest seasonal ingredients, and great cooking techniques to keep everything interesting so that there is always a “wow” factor. They still have the corn dog but now the menu has much, much more. Additionally, since they have a beautiful staff, we decided this month to feature some of their favorites.

Featured Food, Drinks and Ladies

shelbyArtisan Cheese & Charcuterie Plate
Three types of seasonal cheeses, two meats, toasted bread, fresh fruit, shallot jam

Paired with Rubus
Venom Vodka, lemon juice, lavender syrup, blackberry compote

Shelby loves this dish because everything is sourced locally. The Tasty Treason and Naughty Constantinople hard dried salamis come from Meat Men Sausages, so you know they’re thick and juicy.

She pairs it with the Rubus because the blackberry compote is mixed with Syrah, giving it an old school pairing with a new school feel.

The CompassArugula Salad
Organic Carlsbad farmers market strawberries, Fromage d’ Affinois soft cheese, house candied macadamia nuts, balsamic basil vinaigrette

Paired with Pink V
Titos Vodka, egg white, house grenadine, lemon, Angostura/orange blossom bitters, water swirl

Alyssa enjoys this salad because the arugula is grown specifically for the Compass. Also, it has local strawberries four ways: dried, fresh, as a balsamic and as a housemade dressing. She loves to wash it down with a big Pink V. This light, refreshing drink enhances the strawberries in this light, flavorful salad.

The CompassCast Iron Baked Macaroni and Cheese
with house smoked pork belly

Paired with Tomahawk
Titos Vodka, housemade lavender/hop syrup, grapefruit juice, Ballast Point Sculpin IPA

Alexis devours the mac and cheese because she works out a ton and every once in a while she needs some comfort food for a reward. Out of the four great add-on choices, she chooses the house smoked pork belly because when the creamy cheese meets the salty meat, the combination creates magic in your mouth. She pairs it with the Tomahawk beer cocktail because the hoppiness of the cocktail evens out the savoriness of the dish.

The CompassPan-Roasted Halibut
Organic zucchini pancake, pickled Fresno chilies, shallots, red peppers, micro greens, lemon oil

Paired with Punta Cana Sangria
Peach-infused Shellback Rum, peach schnapps, Pinot Grigio, housemade sweet & sour, lemon-lime soda

Cayla’s favorite is the halibut because it’s cooked on one side then flipped over and cooked with garlic and herb butter by constant basting. It’s cooked just to the point of flaking apart, nicely more on the medium side. You might not be able to reel in Cayla, but if you come to The Compass you can eat this catch every time. She loves it with the Punta Cana because the Pinot Grigio classically pairs with the fish, but the craft cocktail gives you a great buzz all day long.

The Joint
If you know anything about the beginnings of 4L, you’ll know that we came up with the idea for the magazine right in this great establishment. After all, we love to have great food with great libations in a cozy place with an eclectic decor. This place has it all. Through the years, I’ve also become very good friends with Sarra, the owner/operator, and her partner Andy. They created this place for great conversations and great times, so you’ll always feel welcome.