Food & Wine

RENOVATED AND REBRANDED, SAMMY’S IN LA MESA OFFERS CASUAL ELEGANCE AND FULL VARIETY OF FABULOUS FOODS

By Henri Migala, East County Eater

Photos by Henri Migala, Miriam Raftery and Sammy’s

November 27, 2021 (La Mesa) -- Having been reviewing restaurants in East County for nearly two years now I have been reporting that East County has become the new gastronomic center of San Diego.


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DIANE POWERS’ CASA DE PICO RESTAURANT CELEBRATES 50 YEARS IN BUSINESS

Celebrate “50 Days of Fiesta” with special menu and more now through Dec. 24  

East County News Service

November 27, 2021 (La Mesa) – Diane Powers’ Casa de Pico Mexican restaurant is celebrating 50 years of delicious and festive fun starting November 4 through December 24 in La Mesa’s Grossmont Center.  


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HO HO! HOLIDAY WINE TRAIL EVERY WEEKEND FROM THANKSGIVING TO CHRISTMAS

East County News Service

November 26, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – What could be merrier than a Holiday Wine Trail in the country featuring 17 local wineries? This year, the Ramona Holiday Wine Trail is extended for a full month, each Saturday and Sunday from Nov. 28 to Dec. 19.


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SDG&E RESTORES POWER IN SOME AREAS, OTHERS STILL IN THE DARK. MORE OUTAGES POSSIBLE, UTILITY WARNS

Update 5:15 p.m. -- Power has been restored to all customers, according to the SDG&E website.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Fran Materra, via Facebook: Thanksgiving by lanternlight in Potrero

November 26, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – An estimated 2,520 SDG&E customers remain in the dark on Black Friday due to power-shut offs amid a red flag warning for high fire danger. About half the communities originally blacked out have power restored, but these areas remain without power:  Alpine, Boulevard, the Campo reservation, Descanso, Jamul, Potrero, the Viejas Reservation, and Warner Springs.

More than 50,000 customers remain at risk of outages yet to come.  View the list of communities at risk at https://www.sdge.com/psps-dashboard. SDG&E has set up community resource centers where residents without power can go to recharge devices, pickup ice, water, snacks and more. Find the closest CRC at SDG&E’s CRC look-up tool.

East County residents posted comments and complaints on social media regarding the outages. While some railed against SDG&E for cutting power on a holiday, others pre-cooked foods early, grateful for the warnings.  Others dined out at restaurants, brought in hot meals, or headed to relatives homes’ outside the blacked-out areas. Some also voiced thanks that no homes were lost to wildfires.


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HOW TO CREATE HEALTHY EATING HABITS FOR KIDS

By Alecia Carroll

Photo: Creative Commons by ND via Bing

November 23, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) -- A balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle are the wishes of every parent for their children. The problem is that busy schedules can make making healthy diets at home challenging. Furthermore, children's fussy eating and advertisements promoting high-fat and high-sugar foods add to these challenges.

There are many things to consider when choosing what to feed your kids/preschooler. Their eating habits and preferences are always changing, making it difficult to serve a balanced and nourishing diet to them. In the beginning stages of your child's development, they will form eating habits that will follow them throughout their lives. Developing healthy eating habits in childhood is a wonderful way to prepare them for adulthood. Remember that developing healthy eating habits often takes time and patience.


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TIPS FOR COPING WITH THANKSGIVING IF THE POWER GOES OUT

By Miriam Raftery

November 22, 2021 (San Diego) – With SDG&E warning over 28,000 customers in 38 communities of possible outages Thursday through Saturday due to high fire danger, how can you salvage Thanksgiving dinner plans with your family?  Here are a few ideas:

1. Cook your turkey and side dishes on Wednesday. You can serve sliced turkey and sides cold, or cook or reheat on a covered barbecue or camp stove on your patio outdoors, but keep a water bucket handy if you cook on any open flame.

2. Plan a picnic outside with side dishes that can be served cold. How about a yam potato salad instead of baked yams?  Or a balsamic green bean salad instead of green bean casserole?  Consider ditching traditional turkey for smoked salmon or a gourmet charcuterie board instead.


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TURKEY GIVEAWAY AND VACCINATION CLINIC NOV. 20 AT JACOBS CENTER HOSTED BY ASSEMBLYWOMAN WEBER

By Miriam Raftery

November 9, 2021 (San Diego) -- This holiday season, Assemblywoman Dr. Akilah Weber is giving back to the community by hosting the 79th Assembly district’s 9th annual Drive-Through Turkey Giveaway and Walk-Up Vaccination Clinic on Saturday, November 20 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at the Joe and Vi Jacobs Center, 404 Euclid Avenue in east San Diego.


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SAVOR AUTHENTIC AFGHAN FLAVORS AT KABUL KABOB HOUSE IN EL CAJON

 

By Henri Migala, East County Eater

October 26, 2021 (El Cajon) -- East County is quickly becoming the new mecca in San Diego for sumptuous culinary adventures with an array of international cuisine, thanks to our region’s many immigrants and refugees. Adding to East County’s already rich diversity of restaurants is Kabul Kabob House in El Cajon, specializing in delicious and authentic food from Afghanistan.

Owned and operated by Ajrudin Nabizada, an Afghan immigrant, Kabul Kabob House offers probably the tastiest and most genuine Afghan food in San Diego County. The portions are generous and the prices affordable.

Nabizada came to the U.S. with his wife and two children in December 2014 on a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) after serving as a translator for US Special Forces in Afghanistan. He came to San Diego because his wife’s cousin was living here. Since arriving, his family has enjoyed the birth of their third child.


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WEST COAST SMOKE AND TAP HOUSE HAS BEST YEAR EVER WITH NEW OWNERS

By Henri Migala, East County Eater

October 26, 2021 (La Mesa) -- East County is quickly becoming the new go-to place in San Diego for the best BBQ in town. One of the most delicious is West Coast Smoke and Tap House in La Mesa, where new owners defied all odds by taking over amid the pandemic and serving up the restaurant’s most successful year ever.


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PALA CASINO SPA RESORT TO HOST “MEET, EAT, AND GREET” CULINARY CAREER FAIR NOV. 2

East County News Service

October 26, 2021 (Pala) -- Pala Casino Spa Resort will host its next “Meet, Eat, and Greet” Culinary Career Fair  on November 2 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to promote employment opportunities with the Food & Beverage team. The culinary career fair will feature a unique mixer-style atmosphere with music, food, and more.

The event will include the opportunity to get to know the Food & Beverage management team and on-the-spot interviews.

Job opportunities include:


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ONIONS FROM MEXICO LINKED TO SALMONELLA OUTBREAKS

East County News Service

October 21, 2021 (San Diego) – A salmonella outbreak in 37 states including California has been linked to fresh red, white, and yellow onions imported from Chihuahua, Mexico and distributed by ProSource Inc. The outbreak has sickened 652 people in the U.S. and resulted in 129 hospitalizations.  

These onions were sold to restaurants and grocery stores throughout the United States, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Consumers are advised not to buy or eat any fresh onions unless you know where they were grown. If there is no sticker, or if they are labeled from Chihuahua, Mexico or ProSource, throw them away or return them to the retailer. Wash any surfaces or containers that the onions touched with hot soapy water or run containers through a dishwasher. Businesses should check coolers and discard any onions of unknown origin or from the contaminated sources.


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VIDEO OF THE MONTH: FOODIE FEST DRAWS HUNGRY CROWD IN EL CAJON

October 21, 2021 (El Cajon) -- Visitors to El Cajon's first-ever Foodie Fest on October 9 had an opportunity to savor flavors from an array of restaurants and caterers, featuring cuisines from around the world.

East County Magazine intern Cristina Lombardo visited Foodie Fest and created a video to document the experience. She spoke with local restarurant owners and an event organizer of the successful event.

Among the offerings were Iraqi, Afghan, Mexican, Italian, Hawaiian foods and more.  Offerings ranged from spicy entrees to healthy smoothies to rich desserts.


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NOT ON THE MENU: HALAL, KOSHER OPTIONS LIMITED IN CALIFORNIA SCHOOL LUNCHES

By Joe Hong, CalMatters

CalMatters is a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters

Photo:  Dalal Erekat at her home in El Cajon on Oct. 14, 2021. Ariana Drehsler for CalMatters

October 19, 2021 (El Cajon) - On days she forgets to pack her lunch, 17-year-old Dalal Erekat has to resort to a few vegetarian options like carrot sticks and tater tots. Her school, Valhalla High, has never provided halal entrees permissible to eat by her Muslim faith. 


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RAMONA ART AND WINE FESTIVAL EXPANDS TO THREE-DAY EVENT NOV. 5-7

East County News Service

October 13, 2021 (Ramona) - The 9th annual Ramona Art & Wine Festival will feature nine wineries participating in the three-day progressive event on Friday to Sunday, November 5, 6 and 7, 2021.


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EL CAJON MAY OPPOSE COUNTY’S PROPOSED MICROENTERPRISE HOME KITCHEN OPERATIONS

By Miriam Raftery

October 10, 2021 (El Cajon) – On Tuesday, October 12, the El Cajon City Council will consider a city staff proposal to ask County Supervisors to opt out of the state’s Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operations (MEHKO) program. The proposal before the City Council, item 12 on the agenda, comes after Supervisors Joel Anderson and Nora Vargas introduced a MEHKO measure in September that was approved in concept by Supervisors, as ECM reported

The county measure asked staff to draft an ordinance by January 12 to legalize home kitchen operations to prepare, sell and serve up to 30 meals per day, or 60 meals per week and earn a maximum annual revenue of $50,000. Meals would be limited to foods that are consumed the same day that they are prepared.


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LEMON GROVE TO HOST DRIVE-THROUGH FOOD DRIVE OCTOBER 16

East County News Service

October 7, 2021 (Lemon Grove) – Are you hungry in Lemon Grove? No need to suffer in silence. Community members are invited to come to a drive-through food drive on October 16th at the Lemon Grove Recreation Center (3131 School Drive) starting at 9 a.m. while supplies last to get food, fruits, and veggies to help your family during these challenging times. Two hundred pairs of new children's shoes, hand sanitizers, and more will be given away during the food distribution.


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MAMA’S PIES SEEKS LOCAL CHEFS TO HELP BAKE THANKSGIVING PIES TO HELP THOSE WHO ARE CRITICALY ILL AND HUNGRY: SALE STARTS OCT. 11

 East County News Service

Photo courtesy of Mama’s Pies

 

Restaurants, caterers and bakeries asked to volunteer to bake pies for people in need; public can order pies online

 

October 7, 2021 (San Diego) -- The holiday season is quickly approaching, which means local nonprofit Mama’s Kitchen is cooking up plans for its highly anticipated 17th Annual Mama’s Pies Thanksgiving Bake Sale. Mama’s Pies is a popular fundraiser that raises critical funds for the nonprofit to provide nutrition services to San Diegans vulnerable to hunger due to HIV, cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and chronic kidney disease.


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30TH ANNUAL VINTAGE ALPINE NOV. 21 OFFERS TASTES OF UP TO 20 WINERIES

East County News Service

September 30, 2021 (Alpine) – The beautiful gardens at Summers Past Farms (15602 Olde Highway 80 in Flinn Springs) is the setting for the 30th annual Vintage Alpine: A Wine Experience in the Country. The event takes place on Sunday, November 21 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.


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SNAP, MARKET MATCH BENEFITS TO INCREASE OCTOBER 1

By Suzanne Potter, California News Service

Photo courtesy of California News Service

September 30, 2021 (Sacramento) -- Here’s good news for low-income families who depend on SNAP, the federal food-assistance program: their monthly allotment will go up by about 21%, starting in October.


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HOME CANNING: A TASTY OPTION FOR VEGANS, VEGETARIANS, AND ALL WHO SAVOR THE FLAVORS OF FRUITS AND VEGGIES YEAR-ROUND

Story and photos by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Photo left: adjusting the water bath canning pot

September 29, 2021 (San Diego's East County) - Home canning is a great way to preserve the treasured taste of summer fruits and vegetables to savor during a winter meal.  It’s also a helpful way for vegans to stock up on special homemade sauces.

Vegans may choose (or learn) to can their special sauces or organic, homegrown vegetables. It saves money and offers a chance to revisit those fruit and vegetable summer-time treasured tastes for months.


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SAN DIEGO RESTARUANT WEEK INCLUDES SEVERAL EAST COUNTY EATERIES

By Miriam Raftery

September 26, 2021 (San Diego) – The 18th annual San Diego Restaurant Week starts today and runs through October 3.  This year, the 90 participating restaurants include six in East County. La Mesa’s emergence as a dining destination is evidenced in its five options: Antica Trattoria, Farmer’s Table, Oyster & Pearl Bar, Pioneer BBQ, and Smokey & the Brisket.  Lemon Grove’s Giardino Neighborhood Cucina is also included. All have outdoor dining options.


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SUPERVISORS COOK UP RECIPE FOR SMALL HOME KITCHEN BUSINESSES

East County News Service

Image Credit: Shutterstock 

 

September 15, 2021 (San Diego) -- The County Board of Supervisors voted today to move forward with plans to legalize microenterprise home kitchen operations, or MEHKOs. MEHKOs are defined by California law as a small retail food facility, operated from a private home.


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HUNGRY/ LEMON GROVE HOSTS DRIVE-THROUGH FOOD DISTRIBUTION SEPT. 18

East County News Service

September 11, 2021 (Lemon Grove) – If you’re hungry and live in Lemon Grove, there’s no need to suffer in silence. A drive-through food distribution will be held starting at 9 a.m. as long as supplies last on Saturday, September 18 at Lemon Grove Recreation Center, 3131 School Lane.


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EL CAJON FOODIE FEST OCT. 9 OFFERS TASTES OF UP TO 40 RESTAURANTS

East County News Service

September 3, 2021 (El Cajon) -- Foodie Fest aims to reignite the City of El Cajon restaurant/food services industry while celebrating the community’s diversity, supporting a major local non-profit and increasing a presence in Downtown El Cajon. The event will be hosted on Saturday, October 9, 4:00-8:00 p.m.


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MEET THE NEW OWNER OF KEYS CREEK LAVENDER FARM AT HIGH TEA CLASS ON SEPT. 4

East County News Service

August 24, 2021 (Valley Center) – You’re invited to meet the new owner of Keys Creek Lavender Farm, Heidi Blanton and bid farewell to outgoing owner Alicia Wolff at an English High Tea class.  Dress up, don a hat and bring flat shoes to celebrate the joy of lavender at the high tea class on Saturday, September 4 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. outdoors under shady pepper trees.


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AVANTI FROZEN FOODS EXPANDS RECALL OF FROZEN COOKED SHRIMP DUE TO POSSIBLE SALMONELLA CONTAMINATION

Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

August 20, 2021 (San Diego) - Avanti Frozen Foods Pvt. Ltd, is voluntarily expanding a prior recall issued on June 25,2021 to include certain consignments of various sizes of frozen cooked, peeled, deveined, shrimp (with some packaged with cocktail sauce) sold in various unit sizes, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. The frozen shrimp products were distributed nationwide from November 2020 to May 2021.


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COUNTY PERMIT REFUNDS PROVIDE MORE PANDEMIC ASSISTANCE TO RESTAURANTS

By County News Center, County of San Diego Communications Office

East County Magazine file photo

August 13, 2021 (San Diego) - The County will begin notifying restaurants today of $4.5 million in permit fee refunds for the period of March 16, 2020 through June 15, 2021. The amount, which is the result of a recent settlement in a lawsuit brought by a local restaurant group, is in addition to $118.9 million already provided to restaurants by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors to help offset the impact of California’s stay-at-home and local public health orders.

More information on the 640 Tenth LP v. County of San Diego, et al. case and settlement can be found here.


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CHEERS TO THIS: TOAST OF THE COAST INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION WINNERS INCLUDE DEERHORN VALLEY VINEYARDS

Deerhorn Valley Vineyards wins two gold medals

Source:  Deerhorn Valley Vineyards

August 10, 2021 (Jamul) - The results are in in the professionally judged Wine Competition, May 22-23 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds for the annual Toast of the Coast Wine Competition. Deerhorn Valley Vineyards of Jamul, recently was awarded 2 gold medals as a result. The competition awarded gold and silver medals along with the Double Gold Award, which is reserved for the finest wines deemed worthy by a three-judge panel. In addition, Director’s Awards were given to the top performing wines in each varietal or blended category as merited.


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VINEYARD GRANT JAMES HOSTS “DOG DAYS OF SUMMER” PAW-TY JULY 31-AUG. 1

East County News Service

July 29, 2021 (Ramona) – Vineyard Grant James in Ramona invites you and your dog to celebrate “Dog Days of Summer” with a “paw-ty” on July 31 and August 1.


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LA MESA CHAMBER HOSTS “TASTE OF SAN DIEGO – EAST” AUGUST 30

East County News Service

July 28, 2021 (La Mesa) – The La Mesa Chamber’s 12th annual popular “foodie” event is happening on Monday, August 30. This special evening where guests can “eat their hearts out” will be between 5-8 p.m. at the newly renovated Town & Country Hotel in Mission Valley.


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