Food Observations

A blog for eaters

Archive for the tag “italian food”

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.

Players Sports Bar

One of the best tasting and most affordable happy hour pizzas in SoCal! This time I ordered it with jalapeños and man was it stacked! There was no amount of Tucks Pads that could have prepared me for this!


The Spicy Italian is probably the only thing I can tolerate at Subway anymore. Much has been said about the length of their bread. Honestly I couldn’t care less if my bread is 12″, 10″, or 9″! As long as I get 12″ worth of meat, cheese and mayonnaise!

Encinitas Ale House

Happy Pi Day! Let’s have a delicious pie at Encinitas Ale House! Definitely one of my faves in SoCal.

Detroit Pizza

Another homemade masterpiece, this time Detroit Pizza! This is a style of pizza developed back in the day in Detroit, MI. It is a rectangular pizza that has a thick, crisp crust and toppings to the edge. A ton a cubed cheese is what makes this pie. Special pan available from Amazon; Lady FoodObs perfected the dough recipe; the rest is history. Our new favorite homemade pizza. Recipe was inspired by Jeff Mauro on the Food Network.

Barona Resort & Casino 

Descending the big, beautiful escalator down to the lower level of Barona Resort & Casino yields an array of outstanding dining options. First thing you see is the grand, yet elegant entrance to Italian Cucina. This is an amazing sit-down Italian restaurant, open for dinner Thursday – Monday. Just a short 8 minute drive down Wildcat Canyon Road, south of Ramona, you think you’ve gone “down the hill”, but not really. The restaurant and service are very much top shelf, but the prices are pretty mid-range (in the teens) for most dishes. The overall atmosphere was outstanding! Not at all depressing like some run down Italian restaurants I’ve been to around SoCal.

The food is excellent! Huge portions too. All tables are served a complimentary dish of some olive appetizer thing, bread, etc. with bottles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Be careful not to fill up on the bread service. Easy to do.

All composed entrees are served with choice of house or caesar salad, or soup at no extra cost. My caesar salad was fresh and tasty, but very few croutons.

I ordered the “Beef or Sausage Meatballs” ($13.50) and it was really good. House Made Beef or Pork Meatballs, Tomato Sauce, Choice of Pasta. The pasta seemed mostly al dente which I appreciated. I managed to finish the whole thing, but was somewhat abdominally distended afterwards. I would have been fine with half the amount. Really, my only issue was the lack of sauce. Definitely could have used more. Next time I’ll request extra on the side. 

This place serves just about anything from carbonara to smoked beef short ribs, even pizzas and calzones. A must-visit for any fan of good Italian food!

Ramona Lisa Pizza 

It’s time to branch out and try something other than pizza at Ra-Mona Lisa. On Sunday afternoon we stopped in for some dine-in hot sandwiches. I ordered a 6” ham/turkey/roast beef for only $4.99. It’s made with the aforementioned, plus lettuce, tomato, onion, provolone cheese, mustard, mayo, oil, vinegar, salt & pepper. Their assortment of “deli sandwiches” can be served hot or cold. Hot part turned out to be the bread. It was toasted, etc. Meat and all was still pretty cold. In fact I don’t think it even came out with cheese. If there was cheese is was not discernible. I noted that it did seem like a fairly conservative amount of meat, but overall a good value for $4.99. Lettuce and tomato were particularly fresh and crispy. Adequately dressed with the mayo, etc. A tasty sandwich that was all-around pretty average.

Ramona Lisa Pizza 

Now that Country Wine & Spirits is the new owner/operator of Ra-Mona Lisa I had to check it out. That and my middle name is “pizza”. I’m pleased to report that I got a very good pie tonight! Here’s a medium (14”) for only $10.99. Additional toppings are $1.25 which brought this sausage/pepperoni masterpiece to about $13.50.  Cheese and toppings were abundant! Very liberally applied. Happy that I did not have to request “extra cheese” as in previous visits. I will say the crust was somewhat bland/flat tasting. They claim to be using new/different/better ingredients and it is apparent. Same menu from original Ra-Mona Lisa still in effect, however they plan to make some tweaks in the future, so stay tuned.  

My phone-in pick up order was quoted 20 minutes and it wound up taking about 35 minutes. That’s ok though, I was not in a rush and enjoyed the company while waiting.

So happy to have a really good pizza option close to home in SDCE, as the OG version has let me down in recent visits.

Pizza Nova

One of my favorite restaurants in the Point Loma and Harbor Drive areas is Pizza Nova.  They have been serving up some of San Diego’s best wood-fired pizzas, pastas and salads since they opened their first location in 1990.  Pizza Nova has four locations now throughout SoCal.  

Here’s the outstanding “Italian Meat” pizza, made with pepperoni, sopressata salami, applewood smoked bacon and Italian sausage.  This is a hearty, protein rich pie and is always one of my usuals.  Also shown below is the Baked Macaroni & Cheese Au Gratin.  Tillamook cheddar and gruyere cheeses enveloping an excellent cavatappi pasta.  I just love the mouth feel of this type of pasta.  Kind of like a corkscrew.  It’s all topped with panko crumbs and Parmesan, then baked in a wood-burning oven.  I highly recommend adding bacon.  Such a remarkable dish!

Pizza Studio

Another amazing custom pie from Pizza Studio!  One of these days I’m gonna eat the whole thing.  

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