Posted on July 9, 2019
This season, the après racetrack crowd is posting up in Solana Beach at Alce 101, the high-designed Southwestern-tinged hotspot with serious tequila and Instagram cred. Not every restaurant can lay claim to an ambassador with 860k (and counting) followers. But The Skinny Confidential lifestyle blog founder Lauryn Evarts Bosstick is no mere poster girl.
Hard work runs in all the Evarts’ veins, and it’s on display at every turn at Alce 101. Years in the making, the indoor-outdoor restaurant is breezy, nuanced, and a fresh departure from the trend of concrete floors and rolled-up garage doors.
“It’s California coastal casual elegance with a touch of Southwestern chic,” says the family matriarch, designer Julie Evarts (founder of Burlap & Crystal), who worked in partnership with son Myles Evarts on the project.
Pops Brad Evarts is the seasoned restaurateur at the helm, who first captivated the S.D. culinary scene with Cilantros and Epazote, the apex of Del Mar Plaza’s success in the ’90s.
Located across from the Solana Beach train station, Alce 101 creates a sense of discovery and intimacy with a floorplan that rebels the single-room concept. A front patio with bar stools is for soaking up the street bustle; a side veranda with butterfly chairs is for nuzzling añejo and lime pudding; a private dining room features striking Mexican art and a glittering case for prized tequila. In the dining room, hand-painted walls, custom geometric tiles, and grass cloth soften the shiny exhibition kitchen.
The source of all the inspiration, including the restaurant’s name (Spanish for moose) can be found high up in the bar. The taxidermy moose is named lovingly for Roy Rogers, as it came from the late actor’s estate and was first spotted by a six-year-old Brad on a trip to the Roy Rogers Museum in Palmdale. “I remember seeing this beautiful moose, and being in absolute awe of this glorious creature,” he recalls. Fast forward to 2015, when he and Julie were antiquing in Palm Desert and saw the same moose. “The shop owner showed us the certificate of authenticity, and that was my moose!”
Fans of Epazote’s famed margarita will rejoice, while tequila purists have a top-shelf selection of blancos, reposados, and mezcal from Jalisco’s Guadalajara region. (There are organic, kosher varieties too.)
The Southwest-by-the-sea menu features an organic Cauliflower Tostada with goat cheese, roasted garlic and leek ash aioli, saffron chili fennel, and blistered cherry tomato. There’s hearty fare too, like Red Mole Pork Shank with green chili and grilled ramps spiked with local sweet corn.
The Skinny Confidential will be hosting a few meet-ups this summer. Meantime, don’t miss the whimsical selfie shot with moose antlers painted behind the giant door. 858.704.4465, alce101.com Gillian Flynn
Photography by Vincent Knakal