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Monthly Archives: November 2011

Is that my kind of town Chicago… or in a NY minute for stuffed pizza

Lefty’s Chicago Pizzeria 4030 Goldfinch St in Mission Hills is where you may find yourself nostalgic for your home town if it happens to be Chicago.  To me, football and pizza go well together.  That is of course if it’s true Chicago style pizza.  At Lefty’s ( you can get it many ways, including thin crust, deep dish, or stuffed.  When I think ofChicago style, stuffed is it!  This one takes about an hour to bake, with 100% pure aged cheese, two layers of crisp golden crust topped with tomato sauce and the crust acts as the bowl to hold it all together.  The bad news is you should only order this one when you’ll eat it all at one sitting because it just won’t travel well.  This one is like Thanksgiving meals when you used to go to your family and your mates on the same day for two full meals.  If you aren’t up for that much, but still wax poetic for your old home town, do theChicago style hot dog or polish sausage.  They aren’t exactly a sports bar, but they carry the sports packages for their TVs and they don’t mind if you linger for two hours over your pie and beer.  They do good burgers, salads, Buffalo wings, Italian sandwiches, and ask for a good dessert because they make them, but they change with the wind.

The staff at this location is great!  They are friendly, and attentive.  If you’re into the game, they don’t mind if you sit and watch and occasionally cheer. Chicagois the house favorite here, so come to cheer on Da Bears, Da Cubs, or Da Bulls and you’ll leave a happy fanatic.  They will let you watch the Chargers especially since the Chargers were so accommodating to Da Bears this season.

They open Tuesday – Saturday from 11:00 until 10:00 p.m. and Sunday until 9:00.  Don’t come on Monday night for NFL because they take a break on Mondays.  They’re just north ofWashingtonon Goldfinch across from the Huddle.

Check this one out because it’s a lot cheaper than a trip toChicagofor authentic stuffed pizza and it’s just as good.


The Outback Steakhouse a faux Aussie kind of thing

My Outback Steakhouse at 722 Jamacha Rd. in El Cajon is the one most often traveled by Nancy and I.  We’ve always dined on the early side, kind of a Seinfeld antithesis… and so we find ourselves not in the Outback often because we don’t want to commute in ‘rush-hour’ so we skip the 4:00 p.m. start to their dining hour.   When we do capitulate and dine with the Aussies, it’s usually on the weekends due to the starting hours.  They do business: Mon. Thur. from 4:00 9:00 p.m.; Fri. 4:00 – 10:30 p.m.; Sat, 3:30 – 10:30 p.m.; and Sun. 3:00 – 9:30 p.m.


Dine with the Aussies is the funny thing… The Outback Steakhouse is an American owned and operated entity.  It began in February 1988 in Tampaby Bob Basham, Chris T. Sullivan, Trudy Cooper and Tim Gannon, and is now owned and operated in the United States by OSI Restaurant Partners.  Not Aussie at all, but I do like the Aussie idea.  Who wouldn’t like taking a ‘walkabout’ with the likes of Paul Hogan a.k.a. Crocodile Dundee.  Maybe pet a koala or two?  By virtue of that you can tell it’s not truly an Aussie operation by the fact that they’ve hung pictures of ‘koala bears’ on their walls.


The Outback Steakhouse is an American Casual dining chain doing a decent job of putting consistently, well flavored foods on the table for your pleasure.  Mostly a steakhouse, they also offer chicken dishes along with shrimp (on the barbie), and according to their new menu, not so many pastas as I remember.  They also offer ribs and pork chops along with a loin but I’ve never indulged.  The price range is $12.00 – $24.00 for their steaks… and the sides are very good as is the bread and salads.  We’ve never been unhappy with the service.  The staff is always cheerful, with good attention to detail.  Once in a while we’ve received food a little overcooked but I suppose that’s life, thank God for the big baked potatoes, which have always been good.

Perhaps I like the Outback Steakhouse because one of their pitchmen is Jemaine Clement who I find, along with his partner Bret McKenzie perhaps the best thing to use as anti-septic to life when it seems stale.  The  Flight of the Conchords is the group for what ails you.  Check out the Outback Steakhouse I do recommend it.

Janet is a rare jewel who has given us Janet’s for our pleasure

Once in a rare moment, we realize we are blessed with something grand.  And so it is with Janet’s.  ‘With Janet’s what?’ one may ask.  In Alpine, Janet’s is out of MontanaJanet’s Montana Cafe is far more than just a cafe.  Or it’s a spot ready for some football Alpine has a new Tavern and sports buffs are lucky.  Now I’ve found in Santee Janet’s does it deli style.  This entrepreneur named Janet is blessed with very good restaurant savvy.   She creates pleasant ambience, teaches staff how to provide good customer service, hires only the best and then retains their services for the long term.


At9225 Carlton Hills’ll find a tree populated strip mall with the charm of a Rockwell painting.  Janet found the charm and moved on in with Janet’s Cafe and Deli.  Nancy and I headed forSanteeand we did the breakfast sandwich.  Mine was the zesty Spicy Breakfast Sandwich, egg, sausage patty, grilled red onion, tomatoes, and pepper jack cheese on an English muffin for $7.95 while Nancy did an egg and cheese on croissant $6.95.


They do breakfast starting at 6:30 a.m., followed by lunch until 2:30 p.m., and they do seem to be a very popular spot.  Nancy and I did a brunch time breakfast and we got the last table inside with only four outside tables available and when we finished eating there were no open tables, and this was on a Wednesday.


The menu is large enough with much to choose from for your breakfast pleasure and the lunch offerings give you a choice of good burgers, wraps, or sandwiches and salads.  They also offer good looking baked goodies including lots of pies, carrot cake, brownies and muffins.  I passed only because I was full when I saw them and with Thanksgiving that next day, I wanted to save myself for the family gathering.


For your holiday enjoyment, go to Janet’s Cafe & Deli during the holidays ahead for lunch and with each lunch special (Mon – Fri) purchased you may receive a free slice of pie.


Though I’m sure Janet’s will survive without my help, I highly recommend all three of her restaurants as I’ve always received great food, service and a pleasant atmosphere.

Sycuan shares the wealth

One of the oldest casinos in San Diegois Sycuan Casino.  They’ve just invested big bucks to renew their dream of bringing in folks for fun and sharing the wealth of the Casino.  They share the wealth in many ways, both charity and just plain providing such integral parts of life such as jobs for all who ask.  They’ve also created a delightful sports bar called Game Day Sports Bar and Grill, featuring 39 big screen TVs for your viewing pleasure.  For your viewing heart attack, they’ve installed five 100-inch Holodisplay projection TVs. The bar offers 12 beers on tap as well as a full cocktail selection, and guests can select from a delicious menu of great casual food like pizzas, BBQ, and dozens of appetizer choices. Check it out ( quickly because they will be serving a great Thanksgiving meal on Thursday, the 24th.


The bar itself offers great sports artifacts of local sports venues.  There’s an original San Diego Chicken costume on display; the15-foot tall metal “Louisville Slugger” bat from the main entrance of the old Jack Murphy stadium; the original four front-rowPetcoParkowner’s seats from behind home plate… ‘Have a seat and watch the game sonny.’


Currently they are operating Monday thru Friday: Noon – Midnight
Saturday and Sunday: 10 a.m. – Midnight

A limited menu is offered on weekdays from noon – 5 p.m.
A limited breakfast menu is offered on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.- noon.
Plus they offer alcohol service from noon – midnight every day.


Bar food is on the menu making for a menu of about 4 pages long reading like an epic with all the favorites.  Wings; Onion rings;Hickorysmoked meatballs; Frickles which are the omnipresent fried pickles; pulled pork sliders… It’s a huge menu click on the link above to see it all.


I ate the MARGHERITA PIZZA Garlic butter, sliced tomatoes, fresh buffalo mozzarella, and fresh basil and it was very good.  Everything I watched passing by my nose looked scrumptious.


The service was outstanding and if you get bored with the game you do have the option of wandering into different worlds of the Casino, complete with top notch entertainment such asTowerOfPower, in on December 2.


What’s better than a sports bar with all the fixin’s and where you can actually bet on the book?  Come to Game Day Sports Bar and Grill because they’ve got it all.

50 50 more than sherbet and vanilla at Liberty Station

Slater’s 50/50® Burgers by Design,  2750 Dewey Rd ,Liberty Station, check it out.


‘Welcome to Slater’s 50/50® the newest brand in interactive dining! Here at Slater’s we have established a fun, contemporary casual environment to design your perfect gourmet burger. The menu features five choices of meats from our spicy fire beef patty, the perfectly spiced turkey, one of the best veggie patties around and of course the signature 50/50® (50% ground beef and 50% ground bacon)! Throw fresh bread, 12 cheeses, 30 toppings and 20 sauces and you are sure to get the perfect meal at Slater’s. Catering also available…’


There you have it.  New to San Diego, they’ve been doing business in Orange County for years and given the owner is a Chargers fan, it’s only natural they’ve opened here.  You’ll find them midway between The Corvette Diner and Starbucks inLiberty.


The focus is definitely bacon.  5050 refers to the meat made from half beef and half bacon ground up and pattified for you burger joy.  I suspect it’s an acquired taste and as I’ve had diabetes for a couple of years now, my diet isn’t ready for that much bacon.  Being the food critique here, I felt I should do the 5050 burger or the bacon brownie… I went with the brownie and it may be good, but I just wasn’t mentally prepared for it and am still considering the overall affect.  I suspect if you are in the we love bacon on everything cult, you’d love the brownies.  I tried the Flamin’ Hot… which hosts green chilis, pepper jack cheese, chipotle mayo on a ciabatta roll for about $10.00.


All I can say is ‘potential’.  Overall the food operation isn’t ready.  I believe they are new and with practice they may well come up to par.  As a sports bar, they’ve got most of the ingredients for success.  Tons of flat screens line the walls for your football pleasure.  They claim to offer over 100 beers. They did offer a sampling platter of 4 x 4s.  I’m talking 4 small (4 ounce) tumblers of whatever your passion.  The service was a little off.  Again, I hope the tentative service was due to the fact that they are all new and once they’ve got a full season under their pads, they will be great!  I love the location overall it’s nice.

Executive chief

Sushi if you got’em… Alpine does

Panda Machi in Alpine, CA is doing something right.  The business has been in this location for maybe 15 years, and for many of those 15 years the place has looked like a ghost town.  Now, after about 2 years with a new owner, it’s always packed with people wanting more.  The physical address is1730 Tavern Rd. just off the freeway.


I have learned to expect that whatever I order here, it’s going to be tasty.  I will admit I’ve ordered a couple of dishes that weren’t stellar but I attribute that fact more to my ignorance than to the restaurant performing at subpar standards.  I ordered the Teriyaki Chicken Rice Bowl ($4.95) and it didn’t bowl me over, but it was good.  Huge portions of chicken, vegetables, and steamed rice all individually done properly but together they just didn’t pop!


I’ve enjoyed the Orange Chicken, Kung Pao Trio, Kung Pao Chicken, Garlic Shrimp and the Moo Shu Pork all to my total satisfaction.  I’m not much of a Sushi guy, but Amanda goes with Nancy and I often and she enjoys Sushi.  She has had Spider Rolls and she thought they weren’t bad, but the price was right so she enjoyed them.  In Amanda’s view, you can find better tasting sushi elsewhere but factor in the good price and after a hard days shopping at the outlet center, you’d be happy with the sushi too.


If you go as Nancy and I often do, early enough to get the Lunch Specials (served until 3:00) you’ll find great food for under $6.00 with enough to fill me up twice so what a bargain.  Agreeably feeling a little like Seinfeld’s parents after admitting to the early dinner, I’d go to Panda Machi anytime happily for good Chinese Cuisine.


I will add the fact that Alpine hosts many things to do besides eat Chinese.  If you want to shop there’s the outlet mall at Viejas.  Of course they also offer the Casino if that’s your passion.  There is an animal sanctuary off of Japatul Rd, called Lions, Tigers, and Bears ( and historic buildings plus a microbrewery which makes a decent brew.  Overall I say pack up your daypack and head to Alpine for the day where you may want a Chinese finish just off the I-8 at Panda Machi.





My South Park has my Abbey hot and ready for action

1946 Fern St, is where you’ll find The South Park Abbey.  This place is a few blocks south of Station Tavern (Next stop… South Park at the Trolley Staion), which is where I’d just been so this left me in a very odd condition if tasting food is what I’m supposed to be doing here.  I’d heard The South Park Abbey is pretty good for the NFL and I had to stop in for a look around.  After all I had been directed to the Station Tavern for the sports bar aspect and didn’t find that to be their strong suit, so here I was at the Abbey for the sports bar experience.  It’s a winner!


What I’ve heard most about the Abbey is they have extremely good tasting wings.  As I was still nearly full up from the Station experience, I couldn’t help tasting a wing when a patron offered.  The wings are up for the challenge!  They are very tasty.  They would makeNancyhappy if she weren’t full because they are not too spicy.


The burger pasted under my nose when the server passed and deposited it on my left.  Unlike the patron on my right, I received no offers to give it a taste test.  The burger looked great!  The menu is relatively small in entrees but it’s huge in options.  You can choose 100s of permutations, with sauces, cheeses, even the onions are numerous. Side orders are generously sized with heaping servings of regular or sweet potato fries.


The beers offered is limited but like everything else in the Abbey, what they do have seems a little better tasting than most spots near by.  The bottom line is the bar is overwhelming with big TVs for your sports pleasure.


If you check out their web site ( you’ll find they keep accommodating hours for NFL games on weekends.  They do close on Tuesday’s otherwise figure they start the day at 3:00 p.m.  They also offer up live music often.  I must tip my cap for their regular charity work… offering a percentage of the take to 4 charity organizations.