Food Observations

A blog for eaters

Petco Park 

Went to a Padres game last year and I couldn’t believe all the great foodstuffs available at ballparks these days!  Me and Lady FoodObs enjoyed these tri tip nachos and sammich. 

Carnitas Nachos

Outstanding homemade carnitas nachos!  Made with our slow cooked pork shoulder in the slow cooker.  So much you can do with this blank canvas of pork goodness.  My favorite usually being something Mexican inspired.  

Vineyard Grant James 

Recently we visited Vineyard Grant James and had an outstanding time! Upon arriving I observed so many people I thought there must have been some private party going on. No. This place is just that popular. And despite the amount of wine folks there, we were treated so nice and personably! Tony was great – also met the gracious owners.At Vineyard Grant James they are strong advocates of wine blending. One single varietal can often be offensive or too intense, but with the proper blend the wines taste both smooth and complex. There is one white (Bellatrix) and a few reds. I tried several and nothing disappointed.  

They have a huge shaded stone veranda with misters to keep things comfortable during the heat. Ample seating, tables, etc. Not the most breathtaking vistas I’ve experienced, but a nice setting nonetheless, particularly with sweeping views of their vineyard. This place is so laid back and free flowing. Not at all rigid & tight like you’re being served by the winery accountant. 

One of the highlights was meeting Kim from “Cheeses from the Cave” and sampling some of her artisan cheese made right here in Ramona!  

Vineyard Grant James is located at 25260 East Old Julian Hwy in Ramona and is open Fri-Sun 12-5.

Mamma Rosa Italian Restaurant 

Mamma Rosa Italian Restaurant for dinner recently, delivered by OrangeCrate. This place receives consistent accolades for their pizza and I can see why.So many pizza places in town, but trying to get anything delivered out to SDCE can be a challenge. OrangeCrate to the rescue. Their system estimated 105 minutes for deliveries from Mamma Rosa (that’s 1 hr 45 mins for those of you taking your shoes off). I had the order at my door in just under an hour!

Here’s a medium “Meat Combo” pizza made with pepperoni, sausage, ham, meatball & bacon. It was a really good pie, but I will say the sauce was somewhat bland and flat tasting. The toppings were abundant and liberally applied. The ham was curiously cut up into tiny cubes which contributed to everything being less than cohesive. This is the kind of pizza you eat with a fork.  

I noted in my OrangeCrate order comments to put the pepperoni on top of the cheese and as you can see they easily obliged. In my experience, Mamma Rosa is one of those places that puts the pepperoni under the cheese to minimize greasiness, but I prefer it all crispy, cooked on top. 

We also tried a “Chicken Alfredo” Pizza that was excellent.

Mamma Rosa makes great pizza, but I wouldn’t say it’s remarkably better than any of the other top-tier pizza purveyors in town.

Mamma Rosa Italian Restaurant, in business since 1979, is located at 1130 D Street in Ramona. Open for dinner Weds-Mon, plus lunch on weekends.

Daphne’s California Greek 

Outstanding mix & match plate at Daphne’s!  Here’s an excellent grilled shrimp paired with their tasty fresh-carved gyros. Served with small Greek salad, rice, warm pita and tzatziki sauce. 

On the Border

One of my favorite dishes at OTB is called Ranchiladas!  Flavorful skirt steak with ranchero sauce and jack cheese, two cheese & onion enchiladas with a red child sauce.   Just outstanding!


Ramona Denny’s for breakfast recently. They have this new “value menu” with a myriad of breakfast/lunch/dinner selections for $2/4/6/8. I had the Biscuit & Gravy Breakfast ($4), served with two eggs & hash browns.Turned out very mediocre, although a decent value for $4 I have to say. Gravy was bright white, dotted with nodules of sausage, and very institutional tasting. Fairly bland and a pretty thin consistency. Biscuit was fine. Kind of on the lighter side, almost spongy. At least it didn’t turn into a gut bomb. Scrambled eggs were poorly prepared, overcooked and rubbery in spots. Hash browns were pretty good although somewhat greasy and could have been crispier for my taste.  

I will say the food came out quickly! There was only one gal working the dining room at the time and she did an outstanding job.

Mariscos Mar de Cortez 

Enchiladas at Mariscos Mar de Cortez. Here’s the #5 combination plate, two enchiladas (your choice – beef, chicken or cheese) with rice & beans.I chose one cheese and one beef. (Beef is the chubbier one on the right).  

Cheese enchilada, not that great. Held a conservative amount of an unknown cheese with an unappealing taste. I’ve had some exceptional cheese enchiladas in the day and this one didn’t come close unfortunately. The beef enchilada on the other hand was very good. Filled with a generous amount of shredded beef mixed with a few peppers/onions. Sauce was dark and rich looking although had very little discernible flavor. The cheese enchilada did begin weeping a small pool of grease towards the end. I think I’ll go back to that outstanding Supreme Burrito next time.

Boll Weevil

Another outstanding trip to The Weev last weekend! This time I tried their Patty Melt. Made with a 1/2 lb steerburger with a ton of grilled onions and American cheese on grilled rye bread (not marbled) w/ fries ($10.79).I’m not a fan of processed cheese so I subbed out the American for Swiss cheese. This is one of the best Patty Melts I’ve had. Huge, well cooked, hot & juicy beef patty. Highly recommended.

Up the Hill Grill 

We recently ordered from My Orange Crate again and I have to say this service is a godsend! My time is of great value and to not have to drive into town for carry-out and deal with all the rigmarole, etc., is worth the modest delivery fee. When I ordered on a Friday night, the system quoted an estimate of 60 minutes. I had my food in 40 minutes!  We ordered from one of our favorite places, Up the Hill Grill. Gail got her usual “Mountain Man Burger” with onion rings (pictured below). I chose the “Chef Salad”.

According to their menu, the Chef Salad is made with turkey, ham, bacon, smoked cheddar, swiss, and a hard boiled egg on crisp greens with cucumber, cherry tomatoes, radishes & croutons (your choice of dressing).

First observation, there were no boiled eggs or croutons! Lettuce was one of these fancy, eclectic mixes that I liken to tissue paper. It was decent, but I think I would have preferred just good old iceberg and romaine! The “smoked cheddar & swiss” was more like an institutional pre-shredded Kraft Mexican cheese blend. Lastly, my dressing choice was not the best. I chose blue cheese, which did not hold up well in transit. While it was packaged in a separate, sealed container, it seemed to almost separate and become rather unappealing. I’d recommend an oil/vinegar type dressing if you choose to have this delivered. Part of the problem might have been that UTHG packaged the cold and hot food together in the same bag.

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