Food Observations

A blog for eaters

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Ottavio’s Italian Restaurant

Outstanding “Rigatoni Ottavio’s” at Ottavio’s in Lakeside! Rigatoni tossed in ricotta, mozzarella, Romano cheese and baked in a creamy meat sauce. There’s nothing better than a hearty baked pasta dish full of cheese and meaty, saucy goodness. Be careful though, it always comes out as hot as the surface of the sun!

Buona Forchetta – San Marcos

I’ve had Buona Forchetta on my list to try for a while now. Finally made it in with the fam on New Year’s Day. I made reservations on OpenTable and there was no issue. Buona Forchetta started back in 2011 in South Park and has since grown into a group of about six or so fine Italian restaurants throughout San Diego County. The location in San Marcos is interesting. Situated on the ground floor of a multi-story apartment building, all in a tree-lined town square type environment. It was a really nice setting. Parking was easy in the adjacent parking structure, it’s a very short walk. Service from everyone we encountered was excellent! The staff were all so friendly and genuine. We really felt welcomed. Some of the furnishings inside seemed rather avant-garde. 

The food here is intriguing. I was impressed with their menu full of highly customizable pasta dishes, a vast array of pizzas, etc. There’s even a daily special menu with a number of creative looking entrees. We started with an appetizer called “Pizza in a Glass”. I had such high hopes for this one. I’m not gonna sugarcoat it though, it was terrible. Messy, hard to eat, not easily shareable and served stone cold. The fried dough nodules were roughly the size of a pinto bean or large polyp. This one should be a hard pass. The bread servcie was tasty, although sliced too thin and also served cold. Not impressed. Fortunately our mains were all very good. I had Bucatini Carbonara and the pasta was exquisite; cooked al dente. The carbonara was authentic, although could have used a little more moisture overall. I had a few bites of my sons lamb ragu pappardelle and it was outstanding. Very robust flavors. 

I highly recommend checking out any of their locations. Although no full bar, they do have an impressive wine and beer list. Buona Forchetta is a fun and unique place to visit that is not like many other restaurant experiences in SoCal.

Casa de Bandini

Excellent Chile Colorado at Casa de Bandini in Carlsbad! Formerly located in Old Town, San Diego, this second generation Casa de Bandini Mexican Restaurant is the essence of Mexican culture. Authentic food, great mariachi, house-made tortillas, huge margaritas all in a beautiful setting depicting Colonial Mexico.

Red Lobster

Well, this is certainly an awkward time for a food critic & blogger! As some of you know, what I post was actually eaten roughly six months ago. I’m that far behind. I don’t want anyone to be under the impression that restaurants are open in SoCal, because they’re not. With that said, I’ll start including visit dates. I’m not a big fan of “take-out” but I do plan to explore some of those options, while they last.

Bar Harbor Lobster Bake at Red Lobster in Mira Mesa, October 2019. This was definitely among the best dishes I’ve ordered at RL over the years. It’s one of their seasonal things that’s not always on the menu. Some sort of garlic linguine pasta mounded with an assortment of seafood including a split, grilled lobster tail, mussels, shrimp, scallops, etc. Excellent dish although their scallops were fairly petite.

Outback Steakhouse

One of the last decent meals I’ve had at OB. A plate of chicken wings. 😐

Phil’s BBQ

Phil’s is kicking their Happy Hour menu into high gear! I really enjoyed this order of HH Pulled Pork Fries at their Rancho Bernardo location.

Mariscos Mar de Cortez

Tasty Camarones Al Mojo de Ajo at Mariscos Mar de Cortez in Ramona!  Sautéed shrimp with garlic, butter, onions and house spices.  Served with rice & beans, pico de gallo, a blob of guacamole, and hot, supple tortillas. This dish would have been more aptly named “Cebollas Al Mojo de Ajo”. It was definitely onion forward and lacking in shrimp.
The shrimps were tasty, meaty and succulent; cooked perfectly.  Unfortunately the ratio of shrimp to onions was pretty conservative.  What I can tell you is the shrimps were of high quality.  Not some frozen, farmed institutional variety from <insert name of Asian country here>!  The buttery garlic sauce was really good and nicely balanced, not at all overbearing.
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Wynola Pizza & Bistro

Outstanding BBQ Chicken Pizza at Wynola Pizza! Delicious thin, crispy wood-fired crust. Unfortunately, the Caesar salad was not nearly as good as last time. Seems as if the parmesan cheese was an endangered species this time.

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The Par Lounge

Outstanding “Moody Bleu” at The Par Lounge in Ramona! “Bleu Moody” blue cheese, caramelized onions, spring greens, Creole honey mustard, and a roasted garlic aioli. You probably want to avoid this one if you’re prone to diverticulitis. Honestly, I’d rather have it on a nice brioche bun anyway.

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El Patron Mexican Grill

Tasty order of rolled tacos with guacamole dispensed from a caulk gun! LOL, that’s what it sounded like anyway. Happy New Year, FoodObs friends! You’re the best blog followers, that I can tell you.

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