Food Observations

A blog for eaters

Archive for the month “June, 2020”

Villa Capri Trattoria & Wine Bar

Excellent Spaghetti alla Carbonara at Villa Capri in Poway! One of the best carbonara’s I’ve ever put in my mouth. And I’ve had many, including my own homemade. A classic Roman dish made with pancetta, freshly cracked black pepper, parmigiano cheese and egg in a light cream sauce. Highly recommended.

Cinnabon

Cinnabon to go is a wonderful thing! That I can tell you.

On the Border

Outstanding barbacoa taco and brisket taco at OTB in Escondido!

The Par Lounge

Still the best mac & cheese in Ramona!

Meat Monsters Grill

I rarely try new dining establishments on their first day open but I could not resist with Meat Monsters Grill! The place was packed and the energy was infectious. The only thing missing was marching bands and cheerleaders! It was obvious the whole team running the place was firing on all cylinders. I arrived late morning, during the transition from breakfast to lunch. I was hoping to try the CFS but they had already run out. The country gravy, too. I ordered a Bacon Burger with fries, only $12.50. It was outstanding, that I can tell you! I noticed the menu also features Anthony Andrews’ famous Bacon Mac & Cheese. A beloved favorite of mine for years.


The burger was constructed with a liberal amount of shredded lettuce (which I love), maters, onion, mayo and lots of zesty pickles. Plus bacon of course. I really appreciated that I could taste crispy bacon and creamy mayonnaise in almost every bite. This was a very well crafted burger. The beef patty definitely lived up to the restaurant’s name! It was heavy and thick. Seemed like at least 2/3 lb. It was hot, juicy, seasoned and cooked to a perfect med-well. The mouthfeel had a really nice ground beef texture that wasn’t all overworked. The crinkle-cut fries were abundant and served screaming hot from the fryer. They were modestly seasoned; I did not feel the need to add salt. The menu here is simple and seems to be very well thought out and affordable. I cannot wait to come back and try just about everything else.


I can totally see MMG taking off as a very popular Old Town Ramona eatery. I’m already planning my next visit and know exactly what I’m going to order. I just probably need to set an alarm clock.

Filippi’s Pizza Grotto

I have eaten lasagna at many Italian restaurants across America. One of my favorites will always be Filippi’s! There’s is very cheese forward so I always recommend adding a meatball or sausage (or both) to round it all out.

Smokin J’s BBQ

One of Poway’s newest restaurants, Smokin J’s is a BBQ powerhouse! Located near Old Poway Park, their small storefront puts out some of the best Que I’ve had in SoCal. I believe they’re in the process of expanding and will have ample dine in facilities soon. Everything here is made from scratch, in-house. I’ve had their brisket a couple times and it is excellent. Quite moist and richly marbled. They also make a delicious looking pecan pie (my fave) that I can’t wait to try soon!

Pioneer BBQ

(Visited December 26, 2019) Outstanding 2 Meat Combo at Pioneer BBQ! Cheddar sausage was excellent, brisket decent, mac & cheese nothing to write home about, and tater salad that was remarkably good.

Outback Steakhouse

I’m not sure what’s going on with Outback but the service has declined dramatically at both the Poway and El Cajon, CA locations! I’ve visited both restaurants recently and in each case had to wait at least 15 minutes to be seated in a restaurant that had maybe 3 other tables sat at the time. The places were dead. At Poway there wasn’t even a host! Just stood there waiting for someone to emerge from the kitchen. Also at both locations, our first drink order didn’t even make it to the table until more than 30 minutes after our arrival.

On to the food. It seems like the only thing decent here any more are the proteins. Steaks, etc I’ve always enjoyed. I tried the new lobster mac & cheese and it was served nearly room temperature and without the crunchy, golden topping. At El Cajon I ordered the steakhouse mac & cheese and it came out stone cold! My broccoli at both locations have consistently been overcooked and tasted like some kind of funk. I don’t know how else to describe it.

I have to say, with the relatively high prices being charged for meals here, I cannot justify continuing to patronize Outback. It is just not at all worth the serious shortcomings in service and food quality I have experienced recently.

Karl Strauss

Outstanding Boneless Buffalo Wings at Karl Strauss in 4S Ranch!

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