Food Observations

A blog for eaters

Archive for the tag “socal”

Chili’s Grill & Bar

Outstanding Crispy Buffalo Bleu Crispers at Chili’s! Also one of the best fried cheese appetizers I’ve had. Crispy cheddar bites made with Wisconsin cheese curds.


Galley at the Marina

Casual waterfront dining on south San Diego Bay in the Chula Vista marina. Galley at the Marina is a great restaurant, bar and grill ideal for a leisurely lunch, sunset dinner, or weekend breakfast. I had the classic fish & chips which were just excellent. A generous portion that included slaw. If it wasn’t an hour from home we’d go more often for sure…

Sombrero Mexican Food 

This is the “Special Burrito” at Sombrero’s, and what a marvel it is!  Your choice of beef or chicken with beans, rice and lettuce made into a huge burrito roughly the size of a small pillow.  The whole thing is then made totally amazing with a generous blanketing of their signature enchilada sauce and cheese.  I could eat this every day but would probably weigh 300 pounds…

Cheers of Ramona 

Cheers of Ramona for dinner last September! Before the change in ownership. Food was good then and it’s still good now! Stay tuned for an updated review under new ownership. This time I ordered the Cheers “BR” Burger. Apparently a favorite of sports broadcaster and former San Diego Charger, Billy Ray Smith Jr.For only $8.99 it’s made with a Cheers burger patty, BBQ sauce, jalapeños, and cheddar cheese. Reading the menu description, something seemed lacking. That’s right – bacon! I requested an add-on of bacon and that helped considerably.

These burgers are served open faced to keep the hot side hot and the cold side crisp & fresh. I put it all together for the photo so you can fully marvel in just how substantial these burgers are. Every burger creation I’ve ever ordered at Cheers has been so thoughtfully and carefully constructed. Some places I go to are just a haphazard mess. I will say though, once you actually have to pick up and eat this behemoth, expect to have to change clothes about half way through. That and take two showers when you get home.

The beef patty seemed to be a 1/2 pound; it was hot, thick, and juicy. A blanket of melted cheddar cheese enveloped a number of pickled jalapeños that lent a perfect spicy note. Bacon was abundant and a welcomed addition, although somewhat chewy/flabby, making it hard to get a good bite out of it. Produce was generous, crisp and fresh. Most impressive was the bun. It held all of this together without cracking under pressure.

Burgers are served a la carte, so Gail and I shared an order of “Frings”. Half onion rings and half fries (pictured in the comments). I’ll say, the ratio was more like 1/3 rings and 2/3 fries. Would have preferred more on the rings side. Maybe next time we’ll just get a full order of each, they are that good! Seriously, Cheers is in the top tier of rings/fries in Ramona, that I can tell you.

El Taco Loco Shop 

El Taco Loco Shop delivered by OrangeCrate. I’ll probably break this into a two part review since there’s a lot I’d like to deep dive about the food.

If you’ve ever eaten from El Taco Loco Shop (inside Ramona Market), you know it can be a somewhat awkward and cumbersome experience. From who do you talk to, to where do you order, how and when do you pay, etc. If all this stresses you out, then I’d recommend letting OrangeCrate do all the hard work for you.

Online ordering was painless and simple as always. Food arrived in less than the 60 minutes anticipated! One of the items we ordered were the flautas. Turns out they no longer sell them! Within minutes after ordering I had the MyOC dispatcher calling and texting me about picking an alternate choice. Their communications with me throughout were terrific.

Here’s an order of outstanding carne asada chips. It’s a huge amount that can easily be shared by two. This place definitely dishes up abundant portions of carne asada but I have to say the quality is not the best I’ve had in town. Not sure if they’re using an inferior quality flap meat, but there are significantly more oral extractions per capita here than any other taqueria in town. 

As I’ve observed before, the best take-out food is probably Asian, followed closely by pizza. Next is probably Mexican. It held up very well on the 15 or so minute drive out to SDCE. Maybe the OC hotbox helped. Burgers and fries type dishes tend to struggle and are probably best eaten straight from the kitchen.

La Cocina

Respectable order of rolled tacos at La Cocina!  Not the best I’ve had, but very good for Ramona.  Can’t beat the outstanding chips and salsa served with every dine in order.  

Daphne’s California Greek 

Outstanding mix & match plate at Daphne’s!  Here’s an excellent grilled shrimp paired with their tasty fresh-carved gyros. Served with small Greek salad, rice, warm pita and tzatziki sauce. 

Turtle Rock Ridge Vineyard Winery 

Quick visit to another local winery. This time Turtle Rock Ridge Vineyard Winery. TRR came to fruition after the devastation of the 2007 Witch Creek wildfire. While growing grapes had always been an idea, now the land and space was cleared in order to make it a reality. For years the owners had studied different varieties of grapes and what would thrive in the Ramona Valley.

TRR is situated along Vista Ramona Rd and is fairly easy to find. Tasting area is huge with ample, comfortable seating. All shaded during the evening hours. They are clearly setup to handle larger groups and a multitude of visitors. I will say, not the most breathtaking views compared to other wineries in the area. I did appreciate their more flexible tasting options. $6 for 3 tastes, or $12 for 6 tastes.

Gail had a glass of the “Hello Love – White Wine Blend 2013″. She might have a remark below, I don’t know. I had a glass of the “Hello Sexy Winemakers Blend 2012”. 69% cabernet/31% merlot. It was outstanding, that I can tell you! I’m not gonna sugarcoat it, I just like saying “hello sexy”.

Sombrero Mexican Food

Outstanding Chicken Chipotle Bowl at Sombrero’s!  Sometimes it’s nice to have all the Mexican goodness in one dish that you can eat with a fork and not have to worry about making a mess of things. 

Sombrero Mexican Food

I’ve been eating Mexican food in SoCal for decades and this is the first time I’ve tried a torta!  I’d say it’s the best I’ve ever had, but really, it’s the only torta I’ve ever had!  I chose one of my favorite taco shops in San Diego to try my first torta, Sombrero Mexican Food.  This place serves what they call San Diego style Mexican food and it’s been a favorite of mine for many years.  Heres their outstanding adobada in torta form.  I could eat this every day!

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