Food Observations

A blog for eaters

Archive for the month “August, 2020”

La Cocina

Outstanding enchiladas combination plate at La Cocina in Ramona! I see they have graduated from styrofoam plates to heavy duty paper plates. That makes me happy.

Ramona Noodle House

Finally got in to try Ramona Noodle House! It is a very small, clean and intimate restaurant. The layout seemed odd, although it’s appointed nicely with modern, slightly abstract decor. I ordered the ‘Pho Beef Noodles’. If you’ve never had pho before, it is a very interactive dish with lots of slurping and splashing. Not at all something you can eat gracefully. The pho here is made with thin rice noodles, beef slices, beef balls and onions in a beef broth soup. Served with a side of jalapeño, lime slice, bean sprouts and basil for only $9.

The pho came out in a huge bowl, roughly the size of a small lampshade, and piping hot. It held a generous amount of rice noodles. The broth lacked any sort of depth or complexity that I’m used to. The beef slices were not very tender and seemed to clump up on themselves. Now, I am no authority on Oriental beef balls, but the texture and mouthfeel seemed like they were overly mechanically processed and somewhat artificial tasting. I don’t know how else to describe it. The beef balls had no flavor whatsoever. The accoutrement plate on the side was underwhelming. The jalapeños and lime looked and felt as if they were sliced about 8 hours prior to my arrival. Could have been the day before, I don’t know. Overall, not among the best bowls of pho I’ve had, but it did hit the spot on a cold winter night in Ramona!

The service here was noticeably top-shelf! I felt welcomed and taken care of the whole time by the professional staff. Water was kept filled (no beer & wine); they were fast, friendly and efficient. If noodle houses are your thing and you’re up the hill, this place is worth checking out. I might order something different next time.


Outstanding hot biscuit & chicken at CFA in Del Sur, CA!

The Par Lounge

Monday night rib special at The Par Lounge was a fantastic value at only $10! The ribs themselves were quite unremarkable, although the rub was tasty. I definitely did not appreciate chunks of pineapple in my coleslaw.

Mi Ranchito Taco Shop

Outstanding order of rolled tacos recently from Mi Ranchito! Topped with a very tasty creamy guacamole Americano and a liberal amount of shredded cheese. All of it sitting on a bed of fresh looking shredded iceberg lettuce. Mi Ranchito rolled tacos are made with ground beef vice shredded beef. Although some may scoff, I actually prefer ground beef in my rolled tacos. Good clean bites every time. At some places the shredded beef is rolled too tightly and I’m always pulling out long slugs of meat with each bite, leaving an unfortunate hollow tortilla tube.

Cincinnati Chili

After spending that two weeks in Ohio recently I was inspired to make homemade Cincinnati Chili again! Such an excellent comfort food dish. I really should make it more often.

Mariscos Mar de Cortez

Outstanding tamale and enchilada combination plate at Mariscos Mar de Cortez in Ramona! This places specializes in seafood, but their traditional Mexican dishes are executed very well.

Olive Garden

The new “Four-Meat Italian Mac & Cheese” at Olive Garden is a dish that could have been, and should have been much better. It’s part of their new Oven Baked Pastas. Probably one of their least impressive “specials” I have tried to date. First of all, it did not come off anywhere near a traditional mac & cheese. Their Alfredo cheese sauce/bechamel was just a scant amount that never tied anything together in a homogeneous fashion. The dish is advertised as being topped with a hearty meat sauce of braised beef, Italian sausage, bacon and pan-seared beef. It was pretty much just a small amount of substance daubed in the center of the dish. I am using the term “substance” quite literally here. I wouldn’t say that any of these four meats clearly manifest themselves in any sort of discernible way. Lastly, this is hardly a “baked” dish. Unless they had baked it an hour earlier that is. I was expecting something hot, bubbly and steamy that I had to blow on for at least the first half. If you’ve ever ordered any baked pasta dish at an old-school red sauce Italian restaurant, you know what I’m talking about. After only a few bites in everything was pretty much room temperature.

Nuevo Grill & Cantina

Happy Hour is my favorite time to visit Nuevo Girl! These little HH quesadilla things are outstanding. Pro tip: request an add of their delicious carne asada. Makes the perfect meal that’s not overly heavy.

Meat Monsters Grill

Excellent Country Fried Steak breakfast at MMG in Ramona! Perfectly cooked sunny side eggs. The CFS was clearly house made and not off the Sysco truck. The gravy was among the finest I’ve had. Thick, rich, flavorful and plenty of sausage. For taters I usually prefer hash browns, but these were tasty. Some onions and peppers would have been nice. The breakfast dishes here are executed flawlessly and are super affordable.

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