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EAST COUNTY EATER: FANTASTICO! NEW OWNERS ADD TO CULINARY APPEAL AT MEDITERRANEO ITALIANO BISTRO & BAR IN ALPINE

 

By the East County Eater

Mediterraneo Italiano Bistro & Bar, 1347 Tavern Road, Alpine 91901 (619)445-9902 http://mediterraneobistro.com/

March 24, 2014 (Alpine) –It’s been five years since the East County Eater first reviewed the Mediterraneo in Alpine, in a story titled “A Delightful Find in Alpine.”  Now there are new owners and a new head chef  with a menu focused on authentic Italian cuisine, raising the bar from “delightful” to “magnifico.”

DA! VILLAGE HOUSE KALINA SERVES UP AFFORDABLE RUSSIAN/UKRANIAN FEAST

 

Review by Mark Gavit

Village House Kalina

38302 Parkway Drive . La Mesa . CA . 91942 , (619)461-1100

http://www.kalinavillagehouse.com/#!

February 1, 2014 (La Mesa)--With a focus on Russian and Ukrainian dishes, The Village House Kalina does an excellent job of capturing the tastes and culture of these countries.

A HEARTFELT MESSAGE

 

Update January 3, 2014:  Five days after his heart surgery, which wound up being a quintuple bypass, we interviewed Leon in his hospital room.  Hear for yourself how energetic he's feeling - and how he's already setting the pace for walking a mile a day around the recovery ward. This interview aired on our East County Magazine Show on KNSJ Radio:  http://k007.kiwi6.com/hotlink/1x5gj5h5h7/Leon-HospitalInterviewPost-Surgery.mp3

Editor’s Note:  We send warm wishes for a speedy recovery to Leon Thompson, our “East County Eater.”  If you were at our holiday party, you'll recall Leon gleefully carving up the prime rib.  Tomorrow, Leon is undergoing triple bypass surgery, or as he calls it, “the trifecta.”   Undaunted, he asked us to post this message for our readers—including his witty review of hospital food, along with his New Year’s resolution for healthy dining—and a special request for our readers.

By Leon Thompson, a.k.a. the East County Eater

December 26, 2013 (La Mesa)--This is Leon Thompson, otherwise known as the East County Eater to readers of East County Magazine. Today I’m reporting from Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa.  My lifetime of savoring great foods, along with a family history of coronary artery disease, has finally caught up with me.  So I’ll be undergoing triple bypass surgery Friday morning—split down the middle like an oyster, with some fancy rerouting of my plumbing by the cardiac surgeon, and then I’ll be trussed up like a holiday turkey, with a few weeks to marinate before I’m back on the beat.

So by the time you hear this broadcast, hopefully I’ll have a healthy heart just in time for the New Year.

FROM BAY AREA TO COLLEGE AREA: BRIDGES BAR/GRILL/BAY SPANS THE GAP WITH CULINARY CHAMPIONS

 

 

 

 

 

Review by The East County Eater

 

December 10, 2013 (San Diego) -- The Bridges Bar/Grill/Bay at 4800 Art Way (off El Cajon Boulevard near 63rd Street) in the SDSU College area has it all.  A spacious sports bar with upscale and delicious food, specialty drinks, great local brews and excellent wines, Bridges is the perfect place for the East County Eater, who expects something special when dining out. 

Open for just over a year, Bridges is named for the seven bridges across the San Francisco Bay and delivers on the promise of Bay Area quality dining.  The restaurant is so-named because owner/CEO Salvatore hails from San Francisco and most of the seafood recipes come from that region.  Palma has a vision of an upscale and friendly sports bar with a menu reminiscent of the Bay Area. Bridges is just a few blocks from SDSU, but the atmosphere is 500 miles away to the north where great dining, seafood and sports combine for an upscale metropolitan experience.

EAST COUNTY EATER SAVORS “LA DOLCI VIDA” AT DOLCI CAFÉ ITALIANO

 

 

Review by the East County Eater

 Dolci Café Italiano,   2650 Jamacha Road,  Rancho San Diego (El Cajon) www.DolciCafeItaliano.com

 

 

 May 13, 2013 (Rancho San Diego)--Another culinary prize has turned up in East County.  Dolci Café Italiano is located next to Ralph’s in the Rancho San Diego Town and Country Shopping Center.  At once, the place felt entirely familiar and also seemed rooted in family and history.  It has the ambience of the Gaslamp District in Downtown San Diego—and for good reason.  George Georges, the owner - also owns three restaurants in The Gaslamp.  Chianti, La Fiesta and the Urban Bar & Grill.  [I need to recheck names of restaurants.]

George has been a restaurateur for 18 years.  He describes Dolci Café Italiano as “Italian-Mediterranean food served bistro café-style...Everything is cooked-to-order, everything is custom, everything is fresh, everything is gourmet…Even the lasagna.”

MASGOOF AT NAHRAIN: THE AFFORDABLE FEAST

 

 

East County Eater's Restaurant Review

Nahrain Fish & Chicken Grill (Facebook: NahrainFish&ChickenGrill)

1183 E. Main Street, #A, El Cajon, CA 92021 (619)334-3222

March 29, 2013 (El Cajon )—Masgoof—fish smoked whole in a clay oven with wood fire, Iraqi-style--at Nahrain Fish & Chicken Grill in El Cajon  is the freshest you’ll find in East County.  Choose from fish caught daily displayed in a glass case, or at times, take the opportunity to catch your own with a fishing net in a tiled pool inside this eatery, which is popular with  both Middle Eastern and Western customers.

My dining companion and I savor a whole red snapper that is tender and juicy on the inside, crispy on the outside with a paper thin skin and a delightful smoked wood flavor.  It is served with a mango sauce (amba) that is balanced, sweet and spicy, along with onions, tomatoes, lemon parsley and freshly baked tanoor bread.

EAST COUNTY EATER: O’S AMERICAN KITCHEN BLENDS BEST OF OLD AND NEW

Reinvigorated restaurant from founders of Pat & Oscars opens in Parkway Plaza

 375 Parkway Plaza, El Cajon
http://www.osamericankitchen.com/

By Ellinoa Blake

Photos by Miriam Raftery and Ellinoa Blake

 July 24, 2012 (El Cajon)--An abundance of my childhood memories are focused around food. One memory that stands out is sitting at a black and yellow booth, hot breadsticks in hand, at Pat and Oscars. This restaurant held memories of family dinners, or friendly lunches, so I was devastated when these restaurants closed. Now, with great joy I bring good news: the chain has been transformed into a delectable combination of new and old, a twist of familiarity and contemporary design, reopening as O’s American Kitchen.

EAST COUNTY EATERS: HISTORIC CHARM AND FRESH, FILLING FOOD AT EL CAJON’S DOWNTOWN CAFE

Downtown Café

182 East Main Street, El Cajon, CA 92020

www.downtowncafe-ec.com

By Ellinoa Blake

Last week, after a morning of all work and no play, my editor and I craved escape from the heat wave --and more importantly a bite to eat.

We headed into the heart of El Cajon to the aptly titled Downtown Café.  We found welcome relief from the sweltering heat as we swung open doors and stepped into the Downtown Café, a bold corner centerpiece of Main Street rich with vintage flair and historic ambience.

JANET'S MONTANA CAFE GIVES CUSTOMERS A TASTE OF THE WEST

By Sierra Great Food and Good TimesRobinson

2506 Alpine Blvd, Alpine, CA 91901

http://janetscafealpine.com/
 

June 12, 2012 (Alpine)- Janet’s Montana Cafe, a cozy little hideaway in Alpine, definitely shows the true meaning of western-style. The Old West theme was apparent the moment we walked in, greeted by large bull moose head on the wall.

BURGERS FROM DOWN UNDER: STEERS OPENS DOORS IN LAKESIDE

 9927 Maine Avenue
Lakeside, CA 92040

www.steersburgersfries.com

(619)390-9063

 By Sierra Robinson

June 12, 2012 (Lakeside)—Savoring flame-broiled, 100% Angus beef burgers at Steers, an Australian-based eatery that opened its first American restaurant in Lakeside last weekend, I predict that Steers will soon be rounding up a herd of loyal new customers.

After opening outlets in Australia and South Africa, the owners moved to La Jolla and scouted out an ideal location for their first U.S. venture. The site of the former Lakeside Steak House has been fully remodeled, serving up juicy burgers, espetadas (a shish-kabob like creation) and coming soon, steaks sizzling on the barbie. 

VIEJAS CASINO OPENS STUNNING NEW BUFFET

 

“As one of the first called to the table at Buffet at Viejas, I wish to say, ‘Thank you for a memorable feast. It was delightful.’”—Ariele Johannson
 
by Ariele Johannson
 
May 23, 2012 (Alpine)--The new Buffet at Viejas had its grand opening on Tuesday morning.  The fanfare included a tribal blessing from Kumeyaay elder Virginia Christman and traditional bird songs led by tribal member John Christman. Viejas Tribal Vice Chairman, Robert “Cita” Welch, addressed a crowd of tribal elders, leaders, local dignitaries, Chamber of Commerce representatives, public and the press during a ribbon-cutting ceremony. With the smell of sage in the air being prepared for the smudging, he called the new buffet at Viejas among the best in the San Diego area.  

EAST COUNTY EATER REVIEW: GINGHAM’S SERVES UP WHAT CARNIVORES CRAVE

 

By Miriam Raftery 
 
February 26, 2012 (La Mesa) –Judging from the crowd on a recent Wednesday night  at Gingham’s,  the restaurant has emerged as a new hot spot in La Mesa Village. Occupying the space formerly home to Gio’s, the new establishment features a remodeled interior and a dramatically different menu cooked up by celebrity chef Brian Malarkey, a finalist in Bravo TV network’s “Top Chef” competition. 

CHEERS! EL CAJON BREWING COMPANY SERVES UP MICROBREWS AND A FRESH MENU

 

By Mia Myklebust

February 12, 2012 (El Cajon)--When El Cajon Brewing Company opened in October, it joined the ranks of San Diego’s beer elite. The growing brewery culture in San Diego had a gap in East County that this local brewery and restaurant has filled with gusto.


From filling food to an array of craft beers brewed on site this El Cajon newcomer is well worth savoring.

GREAT GOURMET VALENTINE DINNERS TO SAVOR WITH YOUR SWEETHEART


February 4, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Satisfy your craving for a romantic night on the town this Valentine’s Day with a delicious dinner for two. Whether your passion is a gourmet repast at a French, Italian or American bistro or a meaty feast slow-smoked at a café on the County line, you’ll find plenty to tempt your taste buds and please your palate in East County. Scroll down for our East County Eater’s recommendations for this year’s best aphrodisiac dinners in our torrid inland region.

EAST COUNTY EATER: ZEYTOON SERVES UP ZESTY PERSIAN AND MEDITERRANEAN DELIGHTS

Zeytoon Restaurant at VineRipe Market

Persian and Mediterranean cuisine

8191 Fletcher Parlway
La Mesa, CA 91942    (next to CostCo)
(619) 462-7809        

By Megan McGlamery

Nestled in La Mesa next to the VineRipe Market is Zeytoon, a delicious Persian and Mediterranean restaurant now under new ownership. Zeytoon, which translates to olive, serves a wide variety of flavorful appetizers, salads, entrees and sandwiches, all of which are reasonably priced and generously sized. The market is also a treasure-trove of specialty foods from around the world.

Scroll down for coupons and details.

EAST COUNTY EATER: VINZ WINE BAR OFFERS ABUNDANCE TO SAVOR

 

By the East County Eater

Vinz Wine Bar
201 East Grand Ave. 

Escondido, CA         

(760) 743-8466
http://vinzwinebar.net/
 

 

 

 

September 7, 2011 (Escondido) – Situated in the heart of downtown Escondido, the Vinz Wine Bar is an ideal place to savor a quiet lunch, "happier hour", or dinner and—coming soon—night life complete with a new piano bar. The European-style eatery specializes in “small plate” offerings, such as an array of “wine bites” that are both delectable and affordable.
 

“Wine is the first thing, closest to my heart,” says owner Vinnie Griffin. “We have 40 to 50 wines by the glass.” There are also port wines, draft and bottled beers available—with cocktails to be served up next, since the establishment just got a full liquor license approved. Watch for a piano bar to open up in an adjacent space in the next 30 days.

EAST COUNTY EATER: A TASTE OF JAMAICA

 

Laylah’s Patties & Jerk

5712 El Cajon Boulevard. San Diego, CA 92115
(619) 241-2948
www.LaylahsJamaicanRestaurant.com
laylahsreggae@gmail.com

 

By Megan McGlamery (guest host for the East County Eater)

 August 23, 2011 (San Diego) -- Located in the southern region of the Caribbean lies the striking island of Jamaica. Known for everything from its sunny beaches to singer Bob Marley and a relaxed “no-problem” way of life, it’s no wonder so many people have come to love this island lifestyle.

For many of us, Jamaica may be a bit too far to visit on a regular basis. Luckily, we have an alternative. Situated on El Cajon Boulevard in the heart of Rolando near San Diego State University  is a little slice of Jamaica. Laylah’s Patties & Jerk offers a wide range of authentic Jamaican cuisine, which certainly left me feeling satisfied and eager to return.

EAST COUNTY EATERS: SWARMING TO SWAMI'S IN LA MESA

Swami’s Café
8248 La Mesa Blvd., La Mesa CA 91941
(619)668-9030

 

Reviewed by a team of East County Eaters
 

July 2, 2011 (La Mesa) –When it came time to review Swami’s Café, East County Magazine found a team of eager volunteers. The menu is too vast and diverse for any single “eater” to assess, so we sent in our ravenous reviewers to sample the fare. Each enjoyed it so much that they went back again—and again!

EAST COUNTY EATER: TERRA AMERICAN BISTRO PROVES A TASTY ADDITION TO EAST COUNTY

By Miriam Raftery (guest columnist)
Terra Bistro

7091 El Cajon Blvd., San Diego, CA 92115
www.terrasd.com

May 24, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – When Chef Jeff Rossman invited media members to a tasting at his new Terra American Bistro, I relished the opportunity. Author of the cookbook From Terra’s Table: New American Food, Fresh From Southern California’s Organic Farms, Rossman’s specialty is farm-fresh organic cuisine. He previously ran Terra Restaurant, a popular eatery in Hillcrest, before moving east just one block from La Mesa to have a larger kitchen for his catering service and be closer to local growers.

 

The dinner lived up to expectations, providing a flavorful dining experience that reflects the freshness of the ingredients as well as the chef's creative flair.

VINE COTTAGE FULL OF PROMISE

Vine Cottage

6062 Lake Murray Blvd. La Mesa, tel. 465-0138

By Kristin Hobbs Kjaero, Guest writer for the "East County Eater"

 

March 3, 2011 (La Mesa) – While we have many fine family restaurants in East County, it’s an event of great anticipation when a new restaurant opens of a little fancier variety, and so it was when a friend and I went to try the new Vine Cottage in La Mesa for lunch. We came away with a mixed feeling of, if not complete delight, at least strong promise.

KAMINSKI'S SERVES UP TASTY BBQ FARE AND MORE

 

Kaminski’s Sports Lounge Barbeque
12735 Poway Road, Poway 92064
(858)748-1106
http://kaminskisbbq.com/site/

 

By Mary Paulet, guest reviewer

 

January 15, 2011 (Poway)--If you are looking for a great barbeque restaurant sporting an interesting décor,  then Kaminski’s Sports Lounge may be exactly what you are seeking. This eclectic sports bar-themed barbeque joint features such items as a football from the Chargers’ Super Bowl appearance and a World Series jersey autographed by former Padres manager Bruce Bochy, a basketball signed by the Harlem Globetrotters, and other sports memorabilia all prominently displayed.

CHEZ NOUS—HOME TO THE SPICY CHICKEN MELT THAT LOCALS CRAVE


Chez Nous Gourmet Deli and Café
9821 Carroll Canyon Road, Suite E, San Diego

858-566-4766
 

Review By Tanya Huang

 

December 15, 2010 (Scripps Ranch)--As I pull into the familiar small parking lot, the first places I’m forced to notice are Carl’s Jr. on my right and the local salon on my left. Then, slowly but surely, my eyes are drawn to the sky blue sign, “Chez Nous.” I feel as though I’ve spotted a long lost friend in a crowd of strangers. It’s been months since I’ve been home, in Scripps Ranch, and even longer since I’ve indulged in the best sandwich in town.

JEREMY’S ON THE HILL SERVES UP FARM-FRESH FINE DINING IN JULIAN


Jeremy’s on the Hill California-style Bistro

4354 Highway 78 (between Santa Ysabel and Julian)

(760)765-1587 

www.jeremysonthehill.com

 

By the East County Eater

 

October 1, 2010 (Julian) – Not every Cordon Bleu-trained chef started his career at age ten. Nor does the typical chef run an acclaimed restaurant at age 23 or pedal past mountain lions on his way home from work. But Jeremy Manley has accomplished all of that and more, tempting patrons from all over to savor his creations at Jeremy’s on the Hill, a fine-dining establishment located between Santa Ysabel and the historic gold rush town of Julian.

DATE NIGHT IN POWAY: THAI FOOD AND HAWAIIAN ICE CREAM

 

 

By the (North) East County Eater

 

July 28, 2010 (Poway)--Did you ever wonder where to eat in Poway that doesn’t serve a happy meal? I have a few good ideas for dinner and dessert, all date-suitable. Today: Thai seafood and gourmet ice cream.

BEST OF MIDDLE EAST COUNTY: GARDEN FRESH GRILL & SMOOTHIE

 

 

GARDEN FRESH GRILL & SMOOTHIE


6165 El Cajon Blvd., Suite F, San Diego 92115
(corner of College Ave. and El Cajon Blvd.)
(619)287-2373
www.gardenfreshsd.com  

 

Review by the East County Eater
 

 

July 23, 2010 (San Diego) – If you’re looking to savor a Middle East feast without leaving San Diego County, stop by Garden Fresh Grill & Smoothie. As the name implies, owner Sammy Elasad, a Lebanese immigrant, takes pride in serving up flavorful foods home-made with the freshest possible ingredients.

REVIEW: HIMALAYAN CUISINE—FROM THE LAND OF THE GODS TO EAST COUNTY


Himalayan Cuisine

7918 El Cajon Boulevard
La Mesa, CA 91942-6710
(619) 461-2503
www.himalayancuisine1.com

 

By the East County Eater

 

June 13, 2010 (La Mesa) – You won’t have to travel to the “roof of the world” to savor spicy, flavorful foods of the Himalayan mountains region in Asia. Himalayan Cuisine in La Mesa offers a wide range of authentically-prepared dishes from the Himalayan region, which encompasses Nepal, India, and Tibet—as well as Mt. Everest and 100 other mountains over 23,000 feet. The owner of Himalayan Cuisine hails from Kathmandu in Nepal, known as the “land of the gods” for its many Buddhist and Hindu temples. Now he’s serving up traditional foods from his homeland to guests at Himalayan Cuisine in La Mesa.

CALI COMFORT: A SPORTING STOP FOR HOME-COOKED MEALS AND DOWN-HOME COMFORT

 

By Leon Thompson, The East County Eater

 

CALI-COMFORT RESTAURANT & SPORTS BAR
8910 Troy Street
Spring Valley, CA 92077
(619)337-0670
http://www.calicomfortsd.com/

 

November 10, 2009 (Spring Valley) -- If you’re looking for a place with mouth-watering, home-cooked meals in a comfortable ambience—not to mention the best barbecued ribs in town—stop by Cali Comfort Restaurant & Sports Bar in Spring Valley.

“SPINNERS” SPARKLES: A SAVORY NEW KIND OF FAST FOOD RESTAURANT

 

Spinners Fresh Mediterranean Salads & Grill
2654 Jamacha Rd., Suite 101
El Cajon, California 92019
www.ilovespinners.com
619-825-5151
Open daily 11am-9pm

 

By Leon Thompson
The East County Eater

October 15, 2009 (Rancho San Diego)—Spinners is a treat for your taste buds--Mediterranean food like you have never experienced before. You won’t see food presented like this in any fast food restaurant anywhere. Each selection is served with colorful and delicious exclamations. My plate had slow-roasted gyros, pickled turnips, olives and rose-cut radishes--along with pita wedges and a spicy jalapeño hummus.  On my first visit,  I also sampled couscous, an amber-hued bulgar wheat dish, and fresh tabouleh on the side. The only thing ‘fast food’ about “Spinners” is the price.

EAST COUNTY EATER: FABULOUS FEASTING AT TIRAMISU TRATTORIA

Tiramisu Trattoria
8273 La Mesa Blvd.
La Mesa, CA 91941
(619)698-0096
http://www.tiramisutrattoria.com/ 

 

By the East County Eater

 

September 20, 2009 (La Mesa)--This is a tough job. For instance, how do you choose the best Italian restaurant in East County among so many tasty choices? After considerable (and delectable) research, I’m pleased to reveal my current favorite: Tiramisu Trattoria in La Mesa.

 The second you walk in, you feel like an honored guest. Everyone I’ve spoken to tells the tale of how the owner personally welcomed them and came by the table to ask if everything is to their liking. Our experience confirmed the owner’s reputation for not only dishing up fine food, but also warm hospitality.

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