Food Observations

A blog for eaters

Archive for the month “January, 2016”

O’s American Kitchen

I’ve written about O’s before and their lineage of name changes so I won’t rehash all that.  They bill themselves as a unique casual dining experience, bringing the SoCal community hand crafted flavor and quality ingredients.  The standouts here are definitely the amazing breadsticks and great salads.  Here’s a Cobb salad for lunch recently that was more satisfying than any greasy burger!

  

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The Par Lounge

With cautious optimism I recently ventured into The Par Lounge interpretation of “Taco Tuesday”. I put off my usual pizza, burger, calamari, etc., and tried the tacos for the first time. I was really impressed. For $10 you get two huge chicken tacos, dressed with chipotle ranch, lettuce, pico, and cheese. The corn tortillas are large and fresh tasting. There’s an ample amount of lean, tender grilled chicken chunks. Salsa was flavorful but too mild.For a dollar more I was able to get one chicken and one fish taco! Well worth it.  

It’s obvious these were not random, haphazard tacos thrown together for the sake of being Tuesday. They were skillfully constructed and artfully presented. Seemed very much like top-shelf Chef Ben tacos to me. Will be ordering again for sure.

Kudos to the kitchen tonight as Gail’s burger was perfectly cooked and tasted great!

  

Taco Bell

Sometimes I just like to go back to basics.  In this case that means some crunchy hard shell tacos at the Bell!  So tasty, but such a frustration to eat.  If the bottom doesn’t split, then most of the meat comes sliding out the back when you take a bite.  Either way it turns into such a mess.  Am I the only one that winds up eating their tacos with a fork? šŸ˜‚

  

Salsa Mexican Food

Carne asada fries have been discussed at length in one of our local Ramona Facebook groups. I decided to try them last week. In fact, we discussed it briefly on one of Ramona Town Radioā€™s recent morning shows.  This was from Salsa Mexican Food. I had never tried fries in a taco shop dish before (including the so-called California burrito). I can see I haven’t been missing much. I honestly don’t understand the attraction. First few bites were decent, but the fries quickly became all soggy and cold which made it a chore to eat. I’d much rather have a pile of carne served over hot, fresh and crispy tortilla chips.

I can see this being really good though if you’ve drank too much! Otherwise, it just seems too heavy…

  
 

El Taco Loco Shop

Back at one of my favorite taquerias in Ramona.  This time I’m trying an order of rolled tacos!  I know it looks like a hot mess, but they were still tasty.  Even if I did have to change clothes afterwards.  Now, these aren’t the best taquitos I’ve had.  They weren’t really fatty and chubby how I like.  That honor remains with Albert’s Mexican Food down the hill.  Here’s a case where less is more!  Piling on a bunch of lettuce, pico de gallo, etc really isn’t necessary and just makes everything fall off when you pick it up.  

  

The Par Lounge

One of my favorite Cobb salads continues to be the one at Par/Oaks Grille.  I have noticed though that the portions are getting noticeably smaller, unfortunately.  Last time I ordered this it was more substantial.  They use such fresh ingredients and present it skillfully.  Love their balsamic vinaigrette too!

  
 

Boto Sushi

Boto calls this one “Shark Bait”.  I’m not gonna sugar coat it.  It looked better on the menu than it did on the plate!  It’s a huge, fatty susie roll made with spicy tuna, cream cheese, jalapeƱo, then deep fried and placed on a bed of sweet chili sauce.  What a hot mess!  Definitely makes for an interesting picture, but I won’t be getting this one again.  

  
 

Nuevo Grill & Cantina

One of my favorite “up the hill” happy hour spots is still Nuevo Girl.  Unfortunately it only lasts about an hour or so, but time your arrival just right and have access to a great appetizer menu at affordable prices.  My usuals typically include these great hand made rolled tacos filled with their lean, flavorful grilled steak and some chicken wings.  Best part is the 25oz frosty mugs for their draft beer selection!

  
   

Amici Pizza, Pasta & Subs

I think I’m on a Torpedo roll… Tonight I tried Amici Pizza, Pasta & Subs version. For only $6.95 its made on a long, crusty, fresh tasting toasted Italian roll. It’s served open-faced with a pretty conservative amount of random Italian meats. Mortadella, salami, & ham, plus thin slices of provolone cheese. There’s a decent amount of fresh lettuce, tomato and onion mix with a drizzling of just the right amount of Italian dressing. An added bonus at Amici is the giardinera which lends a flavorful warmth to the whole sammich.  Overall this torpedo did not leave me thinking this was their signature dish by any means, just like last week. Unlikely I’ll get it again, but it was a satisfying meal. Maybe next week I’ll check out the torpedo at Ramona Lisa. 

  
 

Chipotle Mexican Grill

Poor Chipotle is having a rough time right now, but I’m happy to say I’ve never been sickened by eating there.  I’m not a fan of their monstrous burritos so I tend towards the burrito bowl.  I really like their barbacoa!   I’ll just get that with salsa and cheese over rice.  Top with some green Tabasco to make a perfect lunch.  I read somewhere a tip that you can request the tortilla on the side for no extra cost if you’re so inclined.   This is always enough food for me!  Hoping Chipotle can recover from their issues because they have some pretty good food with a unique restaurant concept.  

  

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