Food Observations

A blog for eaters

Archive for the tag “review”

Olive Garden

Tasty chicken parmigiana at the OG in Santee, CA!


The Par Lounge

I have been enjoying pizza at The Par Lounge/Oaks Grille for many years and this is probably the most stunning pizza I’ve had in Ramona! The OG is sporting a new pizza oven so I had to check things out, and I was not disappointed. Back in the day there were sometimes inconsistencies with top doneness, etc. The first thing I noticed last night was how well balanced the cheese and toppings are with the crust layer. It is not at all a layer of dough with an afterthought of extras but a perfectly homogenous blend of comfort food goodness. The cheese and toppings extend nearly to the edge and the bottom & top perfectly cooked without being overdone.

For pizza now they have two ovens, each with thick stone bottoms weighing about 300 lbs. The ovens use a variable heat system whereby you can adjust the heat alternately below the stone and above in the cooking chamber. This allows the chef to really fine tune the overall doneness of a pizza. I can tell you mine came out very evenly cooked. The ovens run at 500-550 degrees and have a large capacity. Cooking 5 or so pizzas at a time is no problem and they’re done in about 6 minutes. Last night was super busy at Par and our pizzas came out faster than I was expecting!

Shown here is the outstanding Blanco pizza. Made with a delicious garlic white sauce, fresh arugula, prosciutto, mozzarella and daubs of ricotta. The oral contrast of a slightly salty prosciutto with a somewhat sweet ricotta is just excellent. Further below is the Doppio pizza made with pepperoni, soppressata salami, Italian sausage, and peppadew peppers. This pie is stacked with a blend of savory pork along with peppadew that lends a subtle heat without being “in your face” hot. I highly recommend them both. Their pizza menu features a thoughtful selection of about 9 different original top-shelf pies. Small personal sizes average only around $8-9 each.

The Par Lounge

My new favorite appetizer at The Par Lounge has to be their Crispy Green Beans! Made with an onion batter and served with a super tasty chipotle buttermilk dressing. Simply outstanding!

San Diego Sunshine

My favorite distillery in SoCal is now “mashing” up some outstanding rye whiskey! I was privileged enough to pick up a bottle of batch #001 at San Diego Sunshine recently. The rye grain is known for imparting a more spicy or fruity flavor to the whiskey. I definitely prefer this over a traditional bourbon which is noticeably sweeter. Only $30 for a 750 ml bottle.

Still one of Ramona’s best kept secrets among our plethora of wineries, two microbreweries, cidery, and my neighbors bathtub. Open Thursday – Sunday, 2pm – 9pm, located at 432 Maple Street. If you’ve never been, totally worth a visit. Love the newly remodeled tasting room.

Nuevo Grill & Cantina

Outstanding chicken tortilla soup with such a stunning presentation at Nuevo Grill in Ramona, CA.

The Boat Sushi & Thai Cuisine

I’m back at this trippy Asian eatery in El Segundo! First time ordering Pad Thai that I have NOT been asked how spicy on their scale of 1-5 or 1-10. Turns out nothing seems to come out spicy here. Had to request their side chile accoutrement thing and do it myself. It was still a very tasty Pad Thai with chicken.

Ottavio’s Italian Restaurant

Outstanding Lasagna Bolognese and seafood chowder at Ottavio’s in Lakeside!

Los Amigos

#2 combination plate at Los Amigos in Ramona. Includes enchilada and chile relleno, $10 & change. I requested a beef enchilada and it was decent. I’ll get straight to it though, the chile relleno was terrible.

The egg batter was so thick and doughy it looked like some deep fried state fair monstrosity. A properly battered chile should actually resemble the shape of the chile, not a body pillow. After cutting into a few bites I finally got to the chile. Couldn’t even taste it under the heavy batter blanket. Traditionally a relleno is filled with a queso panela or oaxaca that has a soft creamy texture. When heated it will soften but not lose it’s shape. Here they used the standard taco shop yellow & white shredded blend that didn’t really taste like anything but grease. No ranchero sauce on top either. Just served dry with melted yellow/white blend on top.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of things I like at this taco shop like their barbacoa, salsa bar, carne asada burritos with lettuce, etc. Their chile relleno though was definitely a miss for me tonight.

Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen

Outstanding Cajun surf & turf box thing at Popeye’s in Mira Mesa! So glad they’re not in Ramona otherwise I’d probably weigh 300 pounds. Seriously, one of the best fast food places around.

333 Pacific

Excellent clam chowder and my favorite kicked up mac & cheese at 333 Pacific in Oceanside. Also the most stunning martinis in SoCal.

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