Food & Wine

PEARSON BROTHERS WINERY RETURNS TO EAST COUNTY – WITH A TASTING ROOM IN A WILDLIFE SANCTUARY

By Miriam Raftery

September 3, 2019 (El Cajon) -- What could be more heavenly than wine made from wildflower honey, orange zest, cane sugar and vanilla?  How about this news: the creators of honey-wines known as “Saccharo” have moved their Pearson Brothers Winery back to its roots, returning to East County.

They now have a new tasting patio in a wildlife sanctuary open as of Sept. 21, as well as a wine club, and recipes for cocktails featuring their sustainably-produced Saccharo honey wines in several new varieties.


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EAST COUNTY DINING CLUB INVITES YOU TO OUR MIDEAST FEAST SEPT. 26 (RSVP BY SEPT. 17)

 

This event has been cancelled due to not enough RSVPs to meet the restaurant's minimum.  Refunds will be issued to those who purchased tickets. 

September 9, 2019 (El Cajon) -- Our next East County Dining Club event is a Mideast feast at Happy Times Mediterranean Restaurant (2441 Jamacha Rd., El Cajon in the Rancho San Diego area) on Thursday, September 26 at 6:30 p.m.

Come savor the flavors of Iraq with authentic foods and a special musical performance by Fouad Sawa and the Peace Band performing on authentic Middle Eastern instruments. Meet the media and make new friends, plus we'll have opportunities win win prizes.

This restaurant requires us to RSVP no later than Sept. 17 - no exceptions  Early reservations are strongly recommended!


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AMERICAN BEEF PACKERS, INC. RECALLS RAW BEEF PRODUCTS DEEMED UNFIT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION

East County News Service

September 6, 2019 (Chino, Calif.) -- American Beef Packers, Inc., a Chino, Calif. establishment, is recalling approximately 24,428 pounds of raw beef products that are deemed unfit for human consumption, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Aug. 31.


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CAMEL DAIRY ADDS FALL EVENTS INCLUDING CAMEL MILK CHOCOLATE TASTING

By Miriam Raftery

 

September 6, 2019 (Ramona) – The Oasis Camel Dairy in Ramona is opening its farm store on Sept. 7, 8, 14, 15, 28 and 29 as well as Oct. 5, 6, 12, 13, 20, 26 and 27. Besides shopping for products such as camel milk bath bombs and lotions, you can now relax with country views while sampling 11 varieties of camel milk chocolate by Al Nassma including dark, milk, orange, sweet-spice, date and white chocolate varieties, along with non-alcoholic beverages and snacks.


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DISCOVER THE VEGAN LIFESTYLE OCT. 4 AT GROSSMONT CENTER’S FIRST FRIDAY NIGHT MARKET

East County News Service

 

Photo: Vegan burger, courtesy of Grossmont Center

 

September 6, 2019 (La Mesa) – You’re invited to taste how delicious a vegan lifestyle can be at the First Friday Night Market at Grossmont Center on Friday, October 4 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sponsored by Vegan San Diego, this free event gathers the most exceptional vegan vendors all in one spot so that you can savor and sip delectable plant-based food and beverages.


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“HOLY SMOKE BBQ” SEPT. 1 TO BENEFIT RURAL PARISH IN DESCANSO

East County News Service

August 23, 2019 (Descanso) -- Sunday, Sept. 1 will mark the 82nd Our Lady of Light Catholic Parish Deep Pit BBQ and community event from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The pit will be ignited, 1,500 pounds of local beef will be seasoned and prepared to be cooked in a special Deep Pit in the hills of Descanso.  This year’s theme:  “Holy Smoke!”


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WINING AND DINING UNDER THE STARS AT THE JAMUL WINETASTING FESTIVAL

By Miriam Raftery

 

August 9, 2019 (Jamul) -- Over 200 guests turned out at the Jamul Winetasting Festival July 27th at D&S Farms in Jamul, home to Granite Lion Cellars Winery.  A golf cart ferried guests to the festivities in a shady oak grove complete with waterfall, twinkle lights and a stage area carved into a rocky mountainside—all to benefit the St. Pius X Catholic Church building fund.


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TASTE OF ITALY WINE DINNER AT GIARDINO AUGUST 15

East County News Service

August 8, 2019 (Lemon Grove) – Take your tastebuds on a culinary journey through Italy with five fine fantastic wines paired with five original courses (not on the menu) at Giardino Neighborhood Cucina in Lemon Grove on August 15 at 6 p.m.


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SEVEN HEALTHY HACKS FOR HOMEMADE SCHOOL LUNCHES

By Tom ChristensenCounty of San Diego Communications Office

Image credit:  Shutterstock

August 6, 2019 (San Diego) - You’re rushing off to work in the morning and still have to find time to make a doctor’s appointment, sign permission slips for a field trip and drop the children off at school.

Oh, and find time to pack the kids’ lunches?


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FIND YOUR INNER LUMBERJACK: SOCAL AXE THROWING AT HH BAR & GRILL IN LAKESIDE

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

August 5, 2019 (Lakeside) - Don’t use the axe to shave, cut your double axe burger in half, or to divvy up a piece of cherry cobbler or deep-fried Portuguese donut at Lakeside’s newest bar and restaurant---SoCal Axe Throwing at HH Bar & Grill (9927 Maine Ave, Lakeside). 

 

Use the axe for target practice, fun, as a form of exercise, or to compete in an axe throwing tournament. Lakeside’s newest bar and restaurant comes with the opportunity to throw axes, eat, drink, and compete against your family or friends in a friendly game of axe throwing.


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'WE'RE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO SURVIVE': WHY CALIFORNIANS COULD BEAR THE BRUNT OF TRUMP FOOD STAMP CUTS

By Jackie Botts, CALmatters

CALmatters is an independent public interest journalism venture covering California state politics and government.

Photo:  Antoinette Martinez does her weekly grocery shopping at FoodMaxx, and worries that new proposed Trump administration cuts to food stamp eligibility will make it harder for her to stretch her food budget. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

August 1, 2019 (San Diego) - When Antoinette Martinez rolls her cart through the produce section of the FoodMaxx in Watsonville, her 5-year-old son Caden often asks for strawberries and blueberries. 

Sometimes Martinez bends, but usually she sticks to the produce on sale: Roma tomatoes for 69 cents a pound, cucumbers at three-for-99 cents. And banana bunches are relatively cheap.


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HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: KRISTA POWERS, MT. HELIX PARK FOUNDATION

By Miriam Raftery

Photos: HeART of Mt. Helix

Listen to our interview, originally aired on KNSJ radio, by clicking the audio link.

August 1, 2019 (Mt. Helix) – Krista Powers with the Mt. Helix Park Foundation shared some fascinating history of Mt. Helix and the evolution of the foundation in an interview on our East County Magazine Radio Show. 

She also talked about the upcoming heart of Mt. Helix food, wine and art festival coming up on August 10th.  The benefit event features live music and dancing, art demonstrations, a high-value raffle and auction, food tastings from local restaurants, wineries, breweries, distilleries and more – all at the mountaintop amphitheater with 360 degree views. This year, the Old Town trolley will shuttle people to the event.

“They come up the mountain and right away, guests walk into a live art experience,” Powers says. Up to Sunset Peak, you can do tastings and enjoy music, after which there will be a live auction with vacation stays and more, cooking demonstration, and even a new VIP seating area with lounge chairs and continued tastings. After sunset, the Good Mojo band will provide dancing under the stars. 

The event helps fund habitat restoration in the park and a wealth of other events held there, including a Halloween Harvest Festival, yoga, astronomy nights, classes, concerts, and a holiday event that this year will including the annual caroling party as well as an event similar to the Christmas markets of Europe.

Audio: 

Interview with Krista Powers-Mt. Helix Park Foundation

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A SUMMER’S EVE TEA AT THE LAVENDER FARM

By Miriam Raftery

 

July 31, 2019 (Valley Center) – My daughter and I savored a soothing summer’s eve at Keys Creek Lavender Farm in Valley Center, partaking of an outdoor high tea on a shaded patio--an idyllic way to relax and indulge in some scrumptious treats.

After rambling down winding country roads, we arrived to be greeted with a hand-washing station complete with a lavender sugar scrub that left our hands not only clean, but soft and smooth.  I recommend arriving early to take a stroll past lavender fields, albeit past the peak spring bloom season.  


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CAMPO GRAPE PICKING AND STOMPING PARTY SEPT. 7

By Miriam Raftery

July 31, 2019 (Campo) – Campo Creek Vineyards (29556 Highway 94 in Campo) will host a grape picking and stomping party complete with barbecue on September 7 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The event admission ($20 for ages 6 and up) includes barbecue trip tip and chicken provided by Heftyboy BBQ and one beverage.


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FARMER’S MARKET DECISION REACHED BY LA MESA CITY COUNCIL AS TENSIONS RISE

Council votes 3-2 to keep market downtown, but have Beevers Farmers Market run the event instead of merchants’ group

 

By Allan Acevedo

 

July 27, 2019 (La Mesa) – As foreshadowed at the previous La Mesa City Council meeting, the banner agenda item at this week’s meeting was the fate of the much-beloved farmer’s market. Its location, time, and management were up for debate because the current agreement ends July 30th.

 

The discussion on the Community Choice Aggregation Technical Feasibility Study was tabled for the next meeting because of the anticipated length of the farmer’s market discussion. The study will cover the feasibility for La Mesa to produce and sell clean electricity from renewable resources to residents, potentially in conjunction with other local cities.



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JAMUL WINE FESTIVAL BRINGS CHEERS THIS SATURDAY SUMMER'S EVE

By Miriam Raftery

July 26, 2019 (Jamul) – Beside a babbling brook under shady oak trees at D&S Farms, home to Granite Lion Cellars, the 2019 Jamul's Premier Wine Festival  is set to be the best yet this Saturday, July 27 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. In addition to speakers ranging from sommeliers to winemakers, guests can savor tastings from 10 area wineries plus beer and hard cider. Dining tastes will including offerings from the award-winning Crafted Greens restaurant, Valentine’s Bar and Grill, and chefs Desmond Fonesco and Joe Coppola serving up everything from linguini to luscious desserts.

“People love the ambience—the coolness of the place in a relaxed atmosphere, the sound, the music, the talks in the Grotto,” says Gary Gorton, marketing director at St. Pius X Church.  All funds benefit the 50-year-old church’s building fund to add solar and fund classrooms to support youth programs and a retreat for young people coming up at the University of San Diego in August.

New this year, two golf carts with drivers donated by Imperial Beach Golf Club will ferry guests from the parking lot to the party under the oaks, illuminated by twinkling lights. A DJ from Brandon Watts Entertainment will provide music for guests to enjoy or dance beneath the stars.


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GROSSMONT CENTER FARMER’S MARKET LAUNCHES AS NONPROFIT: MALL REDUCES RATES FOR FARMERS AND DONATES 100% TO LA MESA PARKS

By Miriam Raftery

July 24, 2019 (La Mesa)—Samples of sweet tangerines, Moroccan olives, duck pate and doughnut peaches—along with free shopping bags—were among the treats welcoming shoppers at Grossmont Center’s inaugural farmer’s market today. Other tempting items included culinary herbs and teas, plump dates, lamb and duck sausages, hummus and tzatziki dips, marinades, sauces and more.

I picked up some microgreens, juicy citrus and ripe avocados, then spoke with market organizer Trevor Moore, also the public relations director for the regional shopping mall.

“We’ve decided to run our market as a nonprofit and donate 100% of proceeds to the La Mesa Parks and Recreation Foundation,” he says, adding that Grossmont’s owners, the Cushman family, want to help farmers and give back to their community. “We were charging farmers 8% of sales. We’ve cut that in half, to 4%.” That’s far below rates at other local markets, where charges range as high as 15%. 


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LA MESA CHAMBER WITHDRAWS FARMERS MARKET PROPOSAL, ENDORSES GROSSMONT CENTER’S —BUT STAFF PUSHES TO KEEP MARKET DOWNTOWN

 

Updated July 23, 2019 with comments from Grossmont Center

By Miriam Raftery

July 22, 2019 (La Mesa) – At tomorrow night’s 6 p.m. meeting, the La Mesa City Council is expected to decide on the future of the city’s farmer’s market, following a rift in the community over the market’s location and who should run the popular event.

The city received four proposals, but one applicant, the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce, has withdrawn its bid and endorsed a proposal submitted by Grossmont Center. “The Chamber is all about serving our members and our community and that is why we took this path,” Chamber President and CEO Mary England told ECM in an email tonight.


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STEEPED IN CHARM AT COBBLESTONE COTTAGE TEA SHOPPE

By Miriam Raftery

July 16, 2019 (Alpine) – Cobblestone Cottage Tea Shoppe in Alpine, California serves up a delightful high tea steeped in English tradition, as well as lighter options for afternoon tea or cream tea.  


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WINE TASTING JULY 27 TO BENEFIT ST. PIUS X CATHOLIC PARISH IN JAMUL



 

East County News Service

May 16, 2019 (Jamul) - D&S Farms, home to Granite Lion Cellars (2801 Jamul Highlands Rd., Jamul) will host a wine tasting that also features live entertainment, food, and craft beer on Saturday, July 27 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.  The event will benefit St. Pius X Catholic Church’s parish improvement fund, earmarked for heating and air conditioning repairs.


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FREE FOOD AT CHICK-FIL-A THIS WEEK TO APP USERS

East County News Service

July 8, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – The 14 Chick-fil-A restaurants in San Diego County are offering a free entrée to guests who create or log-in to their Chick-fil-A One app on either Monday, July 8, or Tuesday, July 9.  After connecting to the app, guests will receive a free entrée from Wednesday, July 10 through Wednesday, July 31, not including Sundays when Chick-fil-A is closed.


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JOIN US JULY 9 FOR A MIDSUMMER NIGHT FEAST AT ROMEO & JULIETA WINE CAFE!



Our next East County Dining Club adventure is a wonderful discovery!  Please join us for a midsummer night's feast on Tuesday,  July 9th at 6 p.m.  at Romeo & Julieta’s Wine Café. The event benefits East County Magazine and our East County Wildfire & Emergency Alerts.

Romeo & Julieta's is a treasure tucked into the Talmadge neighborhood just off Fairmont Ave.  about 10 minutes west of La Mesa. Their specialty is Polish and other Eastern European foods such as delicious pierogis, Kasha chicken, Kielbasa sausages and home-made schnitzel. They also have a wide range of other foods including delightful artisan cheese platters, salads, seafood, steaks, sandwiches, burgers, small plates to share and a wonderful selection of wines plus craft beers on tap—and more!

Feast your eyes on the menu:  www.RomeoandJulietaWineCafe.com

This is a small, cozy venue. RSVP  to reserve space -we have just a few spaces left: 619-698-7617 or editor@eastcountymagazine.org. (Note: If you need a wheelchair or disabled access table, be sure to let us know)

Prizes:  Hornblower Cruises whalewatching passes,  Gift certificates to Romeo & Julietas Wine Cafe and to Giardino's Italian Cucino, Red wine donated by Romeo & Julieta's, wrought iron wine rack,  Pearson Brothers Saccharo honey wine, Pete's Coffee, Shakespeare book from Maxwell House of Books ,jewelry, woven summer purse, Pike's Place coffee, car sun shades, cookbook, and more.

Dramatic reading:  In honor of San Diego's 250th birthday, actor Victor Crosswaite-Contreras will bring to life his ancestor, the infamous bandito Joaquin Murrieta, for your entertainment.

Full details:


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BEST HAPPY HOURS IN EAST COUNTY: GIARDINO NEIGHBORHOOD CUCINO HAS AWESOME AND AFFORDABLE APPETIZERS, MIMOSAS AND MORE

By Miriam Raftery

June 29, 2019 (Lemon Grove) – If you’re hungry and looking for flavorful foods at affordable prices, an array of tasty drinks and extended happy hours, look no further than Giardino Neighborhood Cucina.  Appetizers are just $5 and drinks range from $3 to $5. Also awesome – their happy hours start at 2 p.m. and run to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays in the bar, lounge and new patio area.

 

 

 


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FARMER'S MARKET SPROUTS UP IN CAMPO: FIRST AND LAST SATURDAY EACH MONTH

 

East County News Service

June 28, 2019 (Campo) – Golden Acorn Casino announces launch of an "Open Aire Market" that will be held the first and last Saturdays of each month from 3:30 to 7 p.m. starting this Saturday, June 29.

The market, held in the grand entry of the casino, will feature fresh produce, eggs from pasture-raised hens, dried and canned goods and other locally grown goods as well as a variety of vendors plus live music.


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GROCERY WORKERS VOTE TO STRIKE, BUT WALKOUT NOT YET SET

By Miriam Raftery

June 26, 2019 (San Diego) – Members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union have voted to authorize a potential strike against Ralphs, Albertsons and Vons grocery stores across Southern California, including San Diego County. 


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GROSSMONT CENTER TO HOST FARMER’S MARKET ON WEDNESDAYS STARTING JULY 24, AS LA MESA WEIGHS NEW PROPOSALS FOR FARMER’S MARKET

By Miriam Raftery

 

June 24, 2019 (La Mesa) – Grossmont Center shopping mall today announced that it will host a weekly farmer’s starting July 24th. From 2 to 6 p.m. every Wednesday, visitors can enjoy fresh produce straight from the farm and support local San Diego farmers. 


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FEEDING SAN DIEGO TO FEED CHILDREN FACING HUNGER THIS SUMMER AT 26 SITES ACROSS SAN DIEGO COUNTY

Summer lunch sites are free to children struggling with hunger

Source:  Feeding San Diego

June 19, 2019 (San Diego) - This summer, Feeding San Diego will host 26 distribution sites for the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), a critical part of its summer hunger-relief programs. This program provides critical support throughout the summer months to ensure children are getting the nutrition they need to grow and thrive.


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GROCERY WORKERS TO VOTE ON POTENTIAL STRIKE AGAINST THREE MAJOR SOCAL CHAINS

By Ken Stone

Reprinted with permission from Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  UFCW Local 135 is one of the biggest labor unions in San Diego County. Photo by Ken Stone

June 12, 2019 (San Diego) - Members of seven Southern California food workers locals, including San Diego’s, will vote June 24 on whether to authorize a strike against three major grocery chains, it was announced Monday via social media.


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VINTAGES TO SAVOR AT SAN DIEGO WINE FESTIVAL



By Miriam Raftery

June 9, 2019 (Escondido) – The historic Sikes Adobe farmstead site on San Diego River Park land in Escondido provided a colorful garden setting for this year’s San Diego Wine Festival, where guests sipped, savored and chatted with local winemakers from across our region.


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IF YOU’VE EATEN FROZEN BERRIES SOLD AT SUPERMARKETS, YOU MAY NEED A HEPATITIS A VACCINE

By Miriam Raftery

June 9, 2019 (Washington D.C.) — The FDA is warning consumers about hepatitis A virus (HAV) contamination of frozen packages of blackberries and triple berry medley products. The “private selection” products made by Kroger were sold in Kroger, Ralph’s, Food 4 Less, Dillons, Fred Meyer and other grocery chains across the U.S.

The contamination was found as part of an ongoing berry sampling.  The recalled products have a long shelf life with best-by dates through June and July of 2020:


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