Food & Wine
By Miriam Raftery
March 5, 2014 (Santee) – With its mesquite-grilled steaks and walls lined with neckties snipped from good-spirited patrons, Pinnacle Peak has long been a favorite dining spot in East County. Many of our readers savored prime rib from Pinnacle Peak at our holiday party and next up, will be enjoying a special New Orleans-style feast at our Mardi Gras party March 12. (View your invitation here.)
Owner Toni Toni Petroro wants customers to know, "We're still here!" A story in a Santee online news site indicated the city wants to lease the land where the restuarant now sits for condominum development. But the restaurant isn't closing after 30 years of serving the community. Instead, they'll be relocating to the heart of cowboy country in East County's Lakeside. Soon, Pinnacle Peak will be moving into the former Lakeside Steakhouse location on Maine Street in downtown Lakeside. But there’s still time to stop by the original location for old times sakes!
By Ariele Johannson
March 6, 2014 (Crest)--Mimi Kirk has written her second book on raw food cuisine entitled Live Raw Around the World, and it abounds with multicultural recipes from France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Greece, India and Thailand. Mimi Kirk, a local author from Ramona, presents techniques and information on how to create surprisingly delicious raw food recipes at home. Her presentation included a live demonstration, creating almond milk in her food processor and using a spiral slicer to make “pasta” out of vegetables. After her demonstration, Mimi served the small gathering a sampling of stuffed mushrooms; vegetable pasta with tomatoes, olives, and cashews that resemble parmesan cheese for the topping; and small delectable cookies adorned with small carob chocolate chips.
February 22, 2014 (Santee)—Gearing up to launch its brand nationally, the former Manzanita Brewing Company and Manzanita Distilling Company has announced a name change to reflect the twisted Manzanita tree that grows wild throughout California.
Jeff Trevaskis owner and founder stated, “We wanted to unify our logos and focus on our tree. People always ask us what Manzanita stands for or if we make cider, due to the alternate meaning of Manzanita in Spanish, “little apple”. By clearly focusing on the uniquely beautiful and twisted Manzanita tree we are making it clear what our logo represents. Manzanita will always focus on making great balanced beer, but adding the Twisted just helps to define our image.”
February 10, 2014 (Ramona) – Ramona vintners invite you to visit Ramona's Wine Country for Valentine's Day Weekend (Friday - Sunday), and enjoy Ramona's East End Winery Loop, a scenic drive connecting three local wineries, Ramona Ranch, Vineyard Grant James, and Turtle Rock Ridge. Each winery will be providing a special pairing in honor of Valentine's Day all weekend.
February 10, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--The worst drought in California history is hitting farmers hard—and soon, consumers may be paying higher prices as a result.
February 7, 2014 (Lemon Grove) – Lemon Grove Historical Society invites you to the organization’s annual Valentine Tea on Sunday, February 9 at 2 p.m. This classic, four-course English high tea will be held in the historic H. Lee House at 3205 Olive in Lemon Grove.
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.
Review by Julian Rudd-Falls
La Mesa Bistro and Bakery, 8697 La Mesa Blvd, La Mesa http://www.lamesabistro.com/
January 25, 2014 (La Mesa) -- La Mesa Bistro and Bakery has a diverse menu of tasty foods. Serving breakfast and lunch, this Bistro and Bakery is perfect for anyone look for a good dine-in.
Upon entering La Mesa Bistro and Bakery, I noticed it has an extremely long list of specials near the entrance. I grabbed a menu from next to the register, and stepped into line. Although I had two or three people ahead of me, I wasn’t truly sure I would be able to browse their very large menu in time to choose a food I’d like to eat! Depending on what mood you’re in, their menu offers dishes from burgers and waffles to healthful fruit smoothies.
By Sharon Penny
County Contends Amendments Will Clarify Existing Ordinance; Wineries See Restrictions with Major Impacts
January 23, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--The County of San Diego held a Tiered Winery Ordinance Workshop on January 17 in an effort to discuss and solicit feedback from the public on its draft zoning ordinance amendments that will affect local wineries.
More than 100 people were in attendance, many representing a variety of boutique wineries in San Diego County.
There was a unanimous sentiment from local vintners that the proposed amendments would place burdensome restrictions on local wineries, leading to the destruction of the county’s burgeoning small business operations.
January 9, 2014 (Crest) --Local author & Chef Mimi Kirk, will show you how to make several easy, delicious and healthy raw food recipes at a special event at the Crest Library, 104 Juanita Lane in El Cajon, on Tuesday January 14 from 6-7 p.m..
Kirk has been voted sexiest vegetarian over 50 in a national contest. She's now 75 and attributes a raw foods diet to her high energy level and health. Samples will be offered and books will be available for purchase and signing.
By Lydia Wisz
A group of forward thinking “movers and shakers” in the clinical world together on November 9 to discuss how food profoundly matters. The Nutrition in Healthcare Leadership Team (NHLT) is a subcommittee of the San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative, a program facilitated by Community Health Improvement Partners. This public health program is supported through partnerships with, Health Care Without Harm and San Francisco Bay Area Physicians for Social Responsibility.
All of these groups have coalesced to strengthen San Diego’s healthcare systems to promote healthful and sustainable food practices. This training inspires us to take a serious look at how our western diet is linked to our western disease epidemic.
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.
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.
December 19, 2013 (San Diego)--This Thursday December 19th, from 2 to 4
p.m., the Neighborhood Market Association will be donating 200 turkeys to
families in need this holiday season.
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.
By the East County Eater
December 10, 2013 (Santee) -- The Santee Chamber of Commerce hosted its 26th annual Taste of Santee at Union Bank on December 5. The place was packed for this popular event, which was free for guests who brought a new toy or food item for Santee Santas.
Fifteen restaurants, breweries and wineries brought their best stuff. The food was delicious. Olive Garden brought its signature lasagna and salad with creamy Italian dressing. Pinnacle Peak came to let everyone know they are still around and intend to relocate in a year or so (following an impending land sale); they just may be the last genuine, mesquite grilled steak-house in town. The Manzanita Brewery unveiled its coffee brewed Ale. he brew had a hint of rich coffee bean flavor that made me think how natural it was to roast hops, barley and coffee beans together to make beer.
November 28, 2013 (La Mesa)--EDCO would like to remind residents that kitchen fat, oil and grease (FOG) that’s left over from daily cooking, or after deep frying a Thanksgiving turkey, can be recycled. For interested residents, EDCO has a free, safe and more environmentally friendly option for disposing of household FOG.
Residents are asked to simply collect used discarded FOG in a leak-proof container and drop it off free of charge at one of EDCO’s conveniently located Buyback Centers. The FOG will then ultimately be processed, filtered and converted into bio-diesel by a third party processor to power vehicles.
By Miriam Raftery
Don’t want to cook? Bon appétit! Several restaurants in East County and San Diego’s inland region are offering Thanksgiving feasts for dining in or take-out. Feast your eyes on this year’s offerings from Andiamo, Bleu Boheme, Cali Comfort, and Pine Hills Lodge. Know of a feast we missed? Please post in the comments section below.
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Public Interest News Service
November 18, 2013 (Los Angeles) – Country-of-Origin-Labeling, or COOL, requires labels on meat sold in the U.S. to clearly state where that meat comes from.
And it isn’t sitting well with some foreign countries, along with groups in the U.S. that are working to get the rule quashed.
Joe Maxwell is a livestock farmer and the vice president of outreach and engagement for the Humane Society of the United States. His organization has helped form a coalition to try to keep the law in place.
As a livestock farmer, Maxwell says this should be a major concern for consumers and farmers alike, as some countries do not have health and safety rules for raising animals, and meat processing standards are lower.
November 14, 2013 (San Diego) – “We’ll take all of the stress out of your Thanksgiving Dinner this year,” Bistro 60/San Diego Dessert’s website promises. The restaurant, located at 5987 El Cajon Boulevard in the SDSU College area is taking orders for Thanksgiving dinners with all the trimmings for $165 – or less than $15 per person. Orders must be placed and payment received by November 19.
The menu includes oven roasted turkey (serves 10-12, additional turkeys available for $50), all of the following side dishes: cranberry relish, homemade stuffing, corn bread, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and glazed carrots. Dessert includes choice of pumpkin, pecan or apple pie. Extra pies available for $15.
September 30, 2013 (Ramona) – The H.E.A.R.T. Mural Project of Ramona, along with their sponsors, will present the First Annual Ramona Art and Wine Festival, to be held at the Amy Strong Castle at Mount Woodson. The festival will be held on November 2, 2013 from noon to 6 pm. Art, wine and food enthusiasts may purchase passports to the event by visiting www.RamonaArtandWineFest.net. General admission passports are $60, and a V.I.P. Passport is being offered for $110 that will include an exclusive “Winemakers’ Dinner” in the spring of 2014 (date TBD).
October 21, 2013 (San Diego) – Diabetes affects nearly 26 million Americans, and an additional 79 million are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Eating a diet low in sodium, refined carbohydrates, and added sugars is an important step in the prevention of diabetes. The ADA recommends limiting processed foods and satisfying your sweet tooth with low calorie sweeteners.
September 14, 2013 (Mt. Helix ) – If you own a winery or vineyard, or want to learn more about becoming a wine maker or growing grapes, you’re invited to the second annual Mt. Helix Wine Growers “Meet and Greet” on Sunday, October 20 from 2 to 5 pm.
“This is a casual event to give fellow vine growers and wine making enthusiast an opportunity to meet one another and share experiences. Also, several experts will be there to speak with anyone who has questions regarding growing grapes or maintaining a vineyard,” said Stephanie Young, founder of the organization. “All are welcome to attend regardless if they currently have a vineyard or are interested in planting a few vines in the future.”
By Miriam Raftery
October 6, 2013 (Descanso) –The aroma of burning wood filled the air as ranchers pulled their iron brands out of a flaming pit at the Buckel Ranch in Descanso. Old-timers said it was the only time ever that ranchers from all of East County’s historic ranches gathered in one place. The occasion? Tammy Cooker, owner of the Descanso Junction Restaurant, invited these seasoned cowhands to burn their brands into tabletops for her popular eatery now undergoing a remodel.
Cooker has earned the community’s loyalty, having opened her restaurant just before the Cedar Fire, then keeping it open to serve up firefighters, displaced residents and stranded motorists. Located in a century-old building, her restaurant closes down tomorrow and will hold a grand reopening celebration October 10-12. The revamped interior will celebrate our region’s historic roots.
September 29, 2013 (Warner Springs) – Wine lovers are invited to savor wines from five wineries of the “North Mountain Wine Trail” area on Saturday, November 9 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will be held at all five wineries and will pair wines with a full menu of gourmet foods. Live music will also be provided at each site.
Participating wineries are La Serenissima, Orrin, Shadow Mountain, Hawk Watch, and Sierra Roble. The wineries are all within two miles of each other.
Tickets cost $45 and must be purchased in advance. Last year’s event sold out early. To purchase tickets online, visit http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/480324.
September 12, 2013 (Barrett Junction) The Highway 94 Club will showcase local wines at a special tasting event Thursday September 19 at the Barrett Junction Café, 1020 Barrett Lake Road in Dulzura. Everyone (at least 21 years old) is invited. Come and meet the vintners, learn a little about grape growing and wine making and taste some excellent wines. The event starts at 6:30 p.m. and will be held on the back patio of the café. Dinner is $9 per person and the wine tasting is complimentary with each purchased dinner.
Winemaking is taking hold in East County. Local wine grape growers and wine makers are starting small, boutique wineries on their properties. These vineyards are beginning to produce some very high quality wines. Over the past few years, several of these wines have won Gold, Silver and Bronze awards at the San Diego County Fair’s yearly Amateur Wine Competition.
August 29, 2013 (La Mesa) – People of the Earth, a guitar/keyboard duo, will perform live on Saturday, August 31 from 7 to 10 p.m. at the San Pasqual Winery tasting room at 9364 La Mesa Blvd. (map)
The duo will play popular favorites from the 80's through today, in addition to entertaining original music. There is no cover charge; guests may purchase wine by the glass; cheese, crackers and dessert are available for sale.
By Miriam Raftery
August 22, 2013 (Santee) –Founded in Santa Ysabel half a century ago, Dudley’s Bakery has gained fame across the region for its tempting array of freshly baked bread varieties such as Julian apple nut and jalapeno cheese breads. Long a secret of travelers through East County’s backcountry, Dudley’s later gained fame after winning the U-T San Diego’s “Reader’s Choice” poll as best bakery in the county three years in a row.
Now, fans of Dudley’s breads, fruit bars, pies and more won’t have to drive to the mountains. Dudley’s has announced plans to open up Dudley’s Bakery and Deli in the Santee Town Center in Santee this September.
August 17, 2013 (Ramona) -- Rancho Ranch Vineyard and Winery invites you to visit San Diego's backcountry this weekend and experience why Ramona Valley wines are fast becoming the talk of the wine industry. The winery, located at 23578 Highway 78, will host wine tastings and catered appetizers on its tasting terrace this Saturday and Sunday from noon to sunset.
In addition, guests can enjoy wine barrel art, shop for silver jewelry, enjoy massages, and treats for your dogs. Service includes three white and four red wines to choose from.
August 15, 2013 (Poway) — The Poway Chamber of Commerce will host a fall event, A Taste of Country. The event will take place on September 21, 2013 from 6PM-10PM at the PVRA Grounds (Poway Rodeo Grounds), 14336 Tierra Bonita Road, Poway, CA. The event is open to the public and is an all age event.
The event will feature live music by Kanan Road Band, www.kananroadband.com. KSON will also be in attendance to provide music. There will be wine and beer tastings, raffle prizes, and food trucks.