Food Observations

A blog for eaters

Archive for the month “May, 2021”

Descanso Beach Club

We visit Catalina Island annually and our must stop is always Descanso Beach Club! Often times each day for a nice early afternoon lunch. This is a private beach, open to the public. As such, adult beverages are welcome on the beach. The setting here is absolutely stunning. Situated just north of Avalon proper, it is a short walk past the Casino.
Food here is always top-shelf with a rotating menu of well thought out, beautifully presented beach fare. During our trip this week we tried “Tricia’s Nachos”. Loaded with carnitas, melted queso, cotija cheese, black beans (omitted), pico de gallo, jalapenos, sour cream and avocado puree, artfully drizzled. The quality of chips used here are excellent. What was immediately apparent was how good this nacho dish tasted after assuming room temperature. The food served on the 60 degree windy beach didn’t stay hot long. However they are making their queso very good. Tasted great cold.
Also tried the “Chicken Skewered Cobb Salad”. I always love a good Cobb salad. This one included the standard bacon, maters, avo, boiled egg, blue cheese and a delicious citrus vinaigrette. Unfortunately the greens consisted only of spinach leaves. No other type of lettuce. I didn’t really like that, especially with all the stems, etc. Kind of hard to eat and all the same leafy texture.
I highly recommend eating or visiting here at least once, even if just for a brief respite with a cold drink and glorious views. Just watch out for the hungry birds. They can be bold. There’s also a daily happy hour right now from 2-3pm. 2 tacos and margarita for $10. Great value considering their normal prices here. If you show up at 1:59 though, plan to wait.

El Torito

I’ve been to several El Torito’s throughout SoCal over the years and this one is definitely my favorite. The location right on Dana Point Harbor is the best. Inside is huge, rustic, old school tacky Mexican restaurant. Although a chain, their chips & salsa are really standout. We simply shared an order of appetizer flautas and they were delicious and flavorful. Presentation was stunning. The staff here has always been top-shelf, fun and professional. Parking here is easy and abundant.

Waterman’s Harbor

We visit Catalina Island annually and always take the boat from Dana Point. Watermans Harbor is a fantastic restaurant situated right on Dana Point Harbor with stunning views. Eating here has become a new family tradition. Food here is always top-shelf with a rotating menu of well thought out, beautifully presented seafood type dishes. Most recently I had the mussels which were outstanding. And the wedge salad is probably the best I’ve had. Definitely the most beautifully presented.

The Oaks Grille

Outstanding “Hangover” Omelette with bland, undercooked hash browns at the OG! I did not have a hangover, but I always enjoy ordering this. Made with sausage, jalapeños, pepper jack cheese, etc. Any egg dish here is always perfectly cooked. YMMV with the hash browns though.

Miguel’s Cocina

Excellent chicken asada burrito at Miguel’s in 4S Ranch!

Karl Strauss

Outstanding “Beer Sausages” at Karl Strauss in 4S Ranch! Grilled cheddar brat and a chili-chicken link plus fries, pickled onions and a spicy honey-sriracha mustard.

North Italia

I first visited North Italia a few years ago in El Segundo and immediately fell in love with this special Italian restaurant. Since then they’ve opened two locations in San Diego and I’ve been to both. Fashion Valley mall and Carmel Valley. This Carmel Valley location, just east of Del Mar is my fave. Situated in the corner of a high end shopping center, parking was abundant in the adjoining structure. The architecture of the restaurant itself was somewhat reminiscent of a Red Lobster, but attractive nonetheless.

As a starter we ordered the White Truffle Garlic Bread which was just exquisite. Adorned with a generous daub of their house made ricotta. Be careful touching that black iron dish it’s served in. Comes out smoking hot. For my main I tried the Burrata Tortelloni. I always try to get something different each time. This was an excellent dish with a rustic tomato sauce that really highlighted their use of house made pasta. 

Reservations were unfortunately misleading. Via OpenTable I reserved a “standard” table for 4pm, given the choice for dine in. We were only provided a table on the patio upon arrival unfortunately. At the time, they did not seem to be sitting anyone inside. Not ideal and not what I was expecting after driving nearly an hour to get there, but we did enjoy our visit.

Wynola Pizza & Bistro

I absolutely adore this restaurant on the side of the road in Wynola, somewhat between Santa Ysabel and Julian. There’s two distinct indoor seating areas with a very nice outdoor courtyard in the center. Order at the counter or bar, they give you a number on one of those metal stand things and find a seat. The staff and service here is excellent. Plus full bar.  

The pizzas here are excellent. Very thin crust, it is easy to eat the whole thing yourself. The Caesar salads are sometimes inconsistently made. When made good, among the best I’ve had with lots of cheese. Most recently I had their wood-fired lasagna which was very good. Served with a dinner salad that contained an excessive amount of carrots. I could sense my vision improving while driving home.

The Par Lounge

Outstanding Ortega Melt at The Par Lounge in Ramona! Parmesan crusted sourdough, turkey breast (not enough), pepper jack cheese, Ortega chile, maters and chili aioli (fancy mayonnaise). Served with my favorite side, fried tots! Truly a combustion of flavor.

Flippin’ Pizza

Excellent two slice and soft drink lunch special at Flippin’ Pizza in 4S Ranch!

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