East County Eater
Part III in a series
By the East County Eaters
Week 3: Bleu Boheme (Kensington) and Cali Comfort (Spring Valley)
September 26, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)— For week three in our quest to bring you the most delightful and different happy hours across our inland region, we indulged in French cuisine and burgundy at Bleu Boheme, owned by a prominent San Diego retauranteur in Kensington. We also found fabulous half-price barbecue tri-tip and wings so hot they’re named for a local firefighters’ crew at Cali Comfort in Spring Valley, a sports bar and restaurant that has found the winning combination for hospitality.
Part II in a series
By the East County Eaters
Week 2: Alpine Beer Company Pub (Alpine) and Vine Cottage (La Mesa)
September 11, 2014 (San Diego's East County)--Last week, we opened our Best Happy Hours in East County series by focusing on some premier locations for cocktails. This week, our eager team of eaters and drinkers hit the road once again, this time bringing you reviews of a local brewery’s pub that’s one of the most popular watering holes in the backcountry, along with a European-style bistro with a wonderful wine bar and some of the best happy hour food deals in town.
Part 1 in a series
By the very happy East County Eaters at East County Magazine
Week 1: Terra American Bistro (San Diego/La Mesa area) and Viejas Resort & Casino (Alpine)
September 4, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)—Our intrepid team of East County Eaters have been on the road in search of the best Happy Hours across our inland region. (It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it!) Each week, we’ll be featuring two locales offering diverse experiences. Whether your tastes run to sushi bars or cowboy bars, wine bistros or craft brew pubs, urban eateries or mountain taverns, you’ll find plenty to whet your appetite!
To kick off our series, we start by featuring two of our favorites: Terra American Bistro, a bistro and bar that prides itself on farm-to-table fresh cuisine--right down to the fresh-squeeze passionfruits in our cocktails and the refreshingly tasty and affordable appetizers, plus we tried our luck at Viejas Casino and Resort -- a four-star vacation destination hotel with some great specials sure to make you happy. Cheers!
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.”
Review by Mark Gavit
Village House Kalina
38302 Parkway Drive . La Mesa . CA . 91942 , (619)461-1100
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
An East County Eater Review
By Ariele Johannson
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.
Reinvigorated restaurant from founders of Pat & Oscars opens in Parkway Plaza
By Ellinoa Blake
Photos by Miriam Raftery and Ellinoa Blake
182 East Main Street, El Cajon, CA 92020
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.
By Sierra Robinson
2506 Alpine Blvd, Alpine, CA 91901
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 a large bull moose head on the wall.
9927 Maine Avenue
Lakeside, CA 92040
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.
By Mia Myklebust
From filling food to an array of craft beers brewed on site this El Cajon newcomer is well worth savoring.
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.
Zeytoon Restaurant at VineRipe Market
Persian and Mediterranean cuisine
8191 Fletcher Parlway
La Mesa, CA 91942 (next to CostCo)
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.
By the East County Eater
Vinz Wine Bar
201 East Grand Ave.
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.
Laylah’s Patties & Jerk
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.
8248 La Mesa Blvd., La Mesa CA 91941
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!
By Miriam Raftery (guest columnist)
7091 El Cajon Blvd., San Diego, CA 92115
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.
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 Sports Lounge Barbeque
12735 Poway Road, Poway 92064
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 Gourmet Deli and Café
9821 Carroll Canyon Road, Suite E, San Diego
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 California-style Bistro
4354 Highway 78 (between Santa Ysabel and Julian)
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.
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.
GARDEN FRESH GRILL & SMOOTHIE
6165 El Cajon Blvd., Suite F, San Diego 92115
(corner of College Ave. and El Cajon Blvd.)
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.
7918 El Cajon Boulevard
La Mesa, CA 91942-6710
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.