On the way back from Utah we stopped in Las Vegas for lunch! One of my favorite restaurants there is Bootlegger Bistro. A phenomenal Italian restaurant steeped in rich history and tradition. I enjoyed an excellent lunch portion of lasagna, accompanied by an exquisite bread service.
Excellent Shrimp Capellini at The Par Lounge in Ramona! This is one of their more exquisite dinner dishes and one of four composed pasta dishes on the menu. The shrimps (4) are always plump, succulent and perfectly cooked. The pasta is usually fairly close to al dente, although not quite. It’s hard to nail angel hair just right. The delicate garlic white sauce with lemon, capers and tomato is delicious. Comes with bread! Highly recommended.
I was incredibly excited to finally dine at Rachel’s Urban Eatery recently (February 12, 2021)! I thought I would give them a few weeks before going in but couldn’t resist after seeing a steady stream of her food photos on social media over the last couple months. Spent almost two hours there and had a memorable experience. I was immediately struck by the seating configuration. The two outer banks of tables are now each facing inward. Sort of like an arena where you can gaze upon all the diners seated at the tables in the center. If you’ve ever been to Ramona Noodle House, you know what I’m talking about. I’m not a fan of this setup, preferring the more traditional banquettes that previously occupied this space. The menu here is quite large and expansive. I tried ordering their fish & chips, but it is unfortunately only available during lunch hours, 11am-5pm. Instead I opted for one of my stalwart faves, the Cobb Salad. The Cobb here is exquisitely constructed and beautifully presented. It was the perfect balance of fresh romaine lettuce, cherry maters (thoughtfully sliced in half), thick and tasty applewood smoked bacon, hard boiled egg (with no unfortunate discoloration), blue cheese crumbles, avocado and housemade blue cheese dressing. I did have to request extra dressing as the salad was served quite conservatively dressed. I’ve had Cobb’s all over town and this one was very good! Only $11; add chicken or prawns for just $4 more. Great salad that ate like a meal, which it was. Also had the Lobster Mac & Cheese as an appetizer, $14. Mac & cheese is my favorite vegetable and I consider myself a connoiseur so I had to try it. I’m not gonna sugarcoat it. The mac here was a fairly pedestrian recipe, consisting of a bland cheese sauce mixed with rotini pasta. Fairly loose in consistency. Could have been off the kids menu at Applebee’s. No appearance that it had even been baked, nor any sort of crumb or cheese topping. I did like the thinly sliced green onion garnish. The 5-6 chunks of lobster nestled within were sizable. Much larger than a polyp. Every chunk though had the same uniform milky opaque appearance. It definitely seemed like a seafood-type substance; fresh lobster it was not. This place has only been open one week so I tempered my expectations of the service. It was Friday night and they were packed! I’ve never seen so many people in this building. I recall dining here back in the day feeling like I was in a funeral parlor. The buzz last night was so lively and infectious. I felt really good for them and their future potential. I will say, there was an obvious latency with every aspect of the service, including drinks, food, etc. Every staff member we encountered though was so nice, genuine and enthusiastic. I am confident that the seemingly inexperienced staff will mature into their roles. I highly recommend checking out Rachel’s Urban Eatery, a remarkable new restaurant in Ramona. I believe they’re open for breakfast on the weekends so I’m definitely looking forward to trying that next.
Barona Casino’s Italian Cucina continues its downward spiral in food quality. The chicken parmigiana seems more institutional now, and the pasta even more overcooked. Not what it used to be. The food coming out sealed in plastic wrap only adds to my dismay. For some reason they ask if you’re “celebrating a special occasion” when making a reservation. I’m like, no, just hungry.
I’ve been to many Filippi’s throughout SoCal! This one in Scripps Ranch seemed really nice, spacious and well run. Big beautiful (full) bar area, too! My plan was to order the hidden gem here, their prime rib. Atypical for Filippi’s, this is one of the few locations that offer it. Prime rib was outstanding! I got the “Filippi cut”, medium rare and it was huge. More than enough for two to share. It was so thick, I got quite a work out just cutting through it. Served with baked tater or pasta (I requested lasagna), plus sides of au jus, creamy and prepared horseradish. If you’re a prime rib fan, this is the place to go. Incredibly tender and succulent.
We celebrated last New Years Eve at one of my favorite Italian restaurants in San Diego, The Godfather! Excellent Linguine ai Frutti di Mare. Such a beautiful and delicious display of seafood goodness.
Grapes is such a charming restaurant in the rugged mountainside community of Jerome, AZ! I think they’re currently closed for remodeling, but I would highly recommend checking them out if you ever visit this quaint town. I had an excellent spaghetti with meat sauce and Italian sausage.
Excellent order of half & half spaghetti and lasagna at Filippi’s in Santee! It was accompanied by a huge, tender and flavorful meatball and one of the best dinner salads you’ll find anywhere. Filippi’s is a San Diego institution, in business since 1950. They’ve grown into a small chain of old-school red sauce Italian restaurants dotted throughout SoCal.