East County Eater
Update January 3, 2014: Five days after his heart surgery, which wound up being a quintuple bypass, we interviewed Leon in his hospital room. Hear for yourself how energetic he's feeling - and how he's already setting the pace for walking a mile a day around the recovery ward. This interview aired on our East County Magazine Show on KNSJ Radio: http://k007.kiwi6.com/hotlink/1x5gj5h5h7/Leon-HospitalInterviewPost-Surgery.mp3
Editor’s Note: We send warm wishes for a speedy recovery to Leon Thompson, our “East County Eater.” If you were at our holiday party, you'll recall Leon gleefully carving up the prime rib. Tomorrow, Leon is undergoing triple bypass surgery, or as he calls it, “the trifecta.” Undaunted, he asked us to post this message for our readers—including his witty review of hospital food, along with his New Year’s resolution for healthy dining—and a special request for our readers.
By Leon Thompson, a.k.a. the East County Eater
December 26, 2013 (La Mesa)--This is Leon Thompson, otherwise known as the East County Eater to readers of East County Magazine. Today I’m reporting from Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa. My lifetime of savoring great foods, along with a family history of coronary artery disease, has finally caught up with me. So I’ll be undergoing triple bypass surgery Friday morning—split down the middle like an oyster, with some fancy rerouting of my plumbing by the cardiac surgeon, and then I’ll be trussed up like a holiday turkey, with a few weeks to marinate before I’m back on the beat.
So by the time you hear this broadcast, hopefully I’ll have a healthy heart just in time for the New Year.
Review by The East County Eater
December 10, 2013 (San Diego) -- The Bridges Bar/Grill/Bay at 4800 Art Way (off El Cajon Boulevard near 63rd Street) in the SDSU College area has it all. A spacious sports bar with upscale and delicious food, specialty drinks, great local brews and excellent wines, Bridges is the perfect place for the East County Eater, who expects something special when dining out.
Open for just over a year, Bridges is named for the seven bridges across the San Francisco Bay and delivers on the promise of Bay Area quality dining. The restaurant is so-named because owner/CEO Salvatore hails from San Francisco and most of the seafood recipes come from that region. Palma has a vision of an upscale and friendly sports bar with a menu reminiscent of the Bay Area. Bridges is just a few blocks from SDSU, but the atmosphere is 500 miles away to the north where great dining, seafood and sports combine for an upscale metropolitan experience.
By the East County Eater
December 10, 2013 (Santee) -- The Santee Chamber of Commerce hosted its 26th annual Taste of Santee at Union Bank on December 5. The place was packed for this popular event, which was free for guests who brought a new toy or food item for Santee Santas.
Fifteen restaurants, breweries and wineries brought their best stuff. The food was delicious. Olive Garden brought its signature lasagna and salad with creamy Italian dressing. Pinnacle Peak came to let everyone know they are still around and intend to relocate in a year or so (following an impending land sale); they just may be the last genuine, mesquite grilled steak-house in town. The Manzanita Brewery unveiled its coffee brewed Ale. he brew had a hint of rich coffee bean flavor that made me think how natural it was to roast hops, barley and coffee beans together to make beer.
Review by the East County Eater
Dolci Café Italiano, 2650 Jamacha Road, Rancho San Diego (El Cajon) www.DolciCafeItaliano.com
May 13, 2013 (Rancho San Diego)--Another culinary prize has turned up in East County. Dolci Café Italiano is located next to Ralph’s in the Rancho San Diego Town and Country Shopping Center. At once, the place felt entirely familiar and also seemed rooted in family and history. It has the ambience of the Gaslamp District in Downtown San Diego—and for good reason. George Georges, the owner - also owns three restaurants in The Gaslamp. Chianti, La Fiesta and the Urban Bar & Grill. [I need to recheck names of restaurants.]
George has been a restaurateur for 18 years. He describes Dolci Café Italiano as “Italian-Mediterranean food served bistro café-style...Everything is cooked-to-order, everything is custom, everything is fresh, everything is gourmet…Even the lasagna.”
An East County Eater Review
By Ariele Johannson
Reinvigorated restaurant from founders of Pat & Oscars opens in Parkway Plaza
By Ellinoa Blake
Photos by Miriam Raftery and Ellinoa Blake
Zeytoon Restaurant at VineRipe Market
Persian and Mediterranean cuisine
8191 Fletcher Parlway
La Mesa, CA 91942 (next to CostCo)
By Megan McGlamery
Nestled in La Mesa next to the VineRipe Market is Zeytoon, a delicious Persian and Mediterranean restaurant now under new ownership. Zeytoon, which translates to olive, serves a wide variety of flavorful appetizers, salads, entrees and sandwiches, all of which are reasonably priced and generously sized. The market is also a treasure-trove of specialty foods from around the world.
Scroll down for coupons and details.
Laylah’s Patties & Jerk
By Megan McGlamery (guest host for the East County Eater)
August 23, 2011 (San Diego) -- Located in the southern region of the Caribbean lies the striking island of Jamaica. Known for everything from its sunny beaches to singer Bob Marley and a relaxed “no-problem” way of life, it’s no wonder so many people have come to love this island lifestyle.
For many of us, Jamaica may be a bit too far to visit on a regular basis. Luckily, we have an alternative. Situated on El Cajon Boulevard in the heart of Rolando near San Diego State University is a little slice of Jamaica. Laylah’s Patties & Jerk offers a wide range of authentic Jamaican cuisine, which certainly left me feeling satisfied and eager to return.
8248 La Mesa Blvd., La Mesa CA 91941
Reviewed by a team of East County Eaters
July 2, 2011 (La Mesa) –When it came time to review Swami’s Café, East County Magazine found a team of eager volunteers. The menu is too vast and diverse for any single “eater” to assess, so we sent in our ravenous reviewers to sample the fare. Each enjoyed it so much that they went back again—and again!
By Miriam Raftery (guest columnist)
7091 El Cajon Blvd., San Diego, CA 92115
May 24, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – When Chef Jeff Rossman invited media members to a tasting at his new Terra American Bistro, I relished the opportunity. Author of the cookbook From Terra’s Table: New American Food, Fresh From Southern California’s Organic Farms, Rossman’s specialty is farm-fresh organic cuisine. He previously ran Terra Restaurant, a popular eatery in Hillcrest, before moving east just one block from La Mesa to have a larger kitchen for his catering service and be closer to local growers.
The dinner lived up to expectations, providing a flavorful dining experience that reflects the freshness of the ingredients as well as the chef's creative flair.
Kaminski’s Sports Lounge Barbeque
12735 Poway Road, Poway 92064
By Mary Paulet, guest reviewer
January 15, 2011 (Poway)--If you are looking for a great barbeque restaurant sporting an interesting décor, then Kaminski’s Sports Lounge may be exactly what you are seeking. This eclectic sports bar-themed barbeque joint features such items as a football from the Chargers’ Super Bowl appearance and a World Series jersey autographed by former Padres manager Bruce Bochy, a basketball signed by the Harlem Globetrotters, and other sports memorabilia all prominently displayed.
Jeremy’s on the Hill California-style Bistro
4354 Highway 78 (between Santa Ysabel and Julian)
By the East County Eater
October 1, 2010 (Julian) – Not every Cordon Bleu-trained chef started his career at age ten. Nor does the typical chef run an acclaimed restaurant at age 23 or pedal past mountain lions on his way home from work. But Jeremy Manley has accomplished all of that and more, tempting patrons from all over to savor his creations at Jeremy’s on the Hill, a fine-dining establishment located between Santa Ysabel and the historic gold rush town of Julian.
By the (North) East County Eater
July 28, 2010 (Poway)--Did you ever wonder where to eat in Poway that doesn’t serve a happy meal? I have a few good ideas for dinner and dessert, all date-suitable. Today: Thai seafood and gourmet ice cream.
GARDEN FRESH GRILL & SMOOTHIE
6165 El Cajon Blvd., Suite F, San Diego 92115
(corner of College Ave. and El Cajon Blvd.)
Review by the East County Eater
July 23, 2010 (San Diego) – If you’re looking to savor a Middle East feast without leaving San Diego County, stop by Garden Fresh Grill & Smoothie. As the name implies, owner Sammy Elasad, a Lebanese immigrant, takes pride in serving up flavorful foods home-made with the freshest possible ingredients.
7918 El Cajon Boulevard
La Mesa, CA 91942-6710
By the East County Eater
June 13, 2010 (La Mesa) – You won’t have to travel to the “roof of the world” to savor spicy, flavorful foods of the Himalayan mountains region in Asia. Himalayan Cuisine in La Mesa offers a wide range of authentically-prepared dishes from the Himalayan region, which encompasses Nepal, India, and Tibet—as well as Mt. Everest and 100 other mountains over 23,000 feet. The owner of Himalayan Cuisine hails from Kathmandu in Nepal, known as the “land of the gods” for its many Buddhist and Hindu temples. Now he’s serving up traditional foods from his homeland to guests at Himalayan Cuisine in La Mesa.
By Leon Thompson, The East County Eater
CALI-COMFORT RESTAURANT & SPORTS BAR
8910 Troy Street
Spring Valley, CA 92077
November 10, 2009 (Spring Valley) -- If you’re looking for a place with mouth-watering, home-cooked meals in a comfortable ambience—not to mention the best barbecued ribs in town—stop by Cali Comfort Restaurant & Sports Bar in Spring Valley.
Spinners Fresh Mediterranean Salads & Grill
2654 Jamacha Rd., Suite 101
El Cajon, California 92019
Open daily 11am-9pm
By Leon Thompson
The East County Eater
October 15, 2009 (Rancho San Diego)—Spinners is a treat for your taste buds--Mediterranean food like you have never experienced before. You won’t see food presented like this in any fast food restaurant anywhere. Each selection is served with colorful and delicious exclamations. My plate had slow-roasted gyros, pickled turnips, olives and rose-cut radishes--along with pita wedges and a spicy jalapeño hummus. On my first visit, I also sampled couscous, an amber-hued bulgar wheat dish, and fresh tabouleh on the side. The only thing ‘fast food’ about “Spinners” is the price.
8273 La Mesa Blvd.
La Mesa, CA 91941
By the East County Eater
September 20, 2009 (La Mesa)--This is a tough job. For instance, how do you choose the best Italian restaurant in East County among so many tasty choices? After considerable (and delectable) research, I’m pleased to reveal my current favorite: Tiramisu Trattoria in La Mesa.
The second you walk in, you feel like an honored guest. Everyone I’ve spoken to tells the tale of how the owner personally welcomed them and came by the table to ask if everything is to their liking. Our experience confirmed the owner’s reputation for not only dishing up fine food, but also warm hospitality.
July 16, 2009 (San Diego's East County)--East County Magazine invites you to meet the press and join ius for an evening of food, fun and festivities. "Have a Hot Time at Hooleys with East County Magazine" will be held on Wednesday, August 12th from 6-9 p.m. at Hooleys Irish Pub and Grill in Grossmont Center, La Mesa. Reserve space now for the happening event of the summer.
What could be better than an evening of wine-tasting, fabulous food and the marvelous music of Paul Nichols--all to benefit East County Magazine? The Vine Wine Bar & Bistro in Alpine is the coziest retreat we've found yet, and they're opening up just for us on Monday, April 20 from 6 to 8 pm. Reserve now – space is limited! Early bird registration rate is $25 before Friday. Then the rate goes up to $30 – if seats are still available. Help toast our success--and help our nonprofit community publication grow! We’ve also got great prizes—and some surprises as we unmask our thus-far anonymous “East County Eater.” RSVP to email@example.com, or call (619)698-7617. For details, see http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/?q=node/845 .