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Vintana Wine + Dine (Escondido) patio "small plates"

Have been in 3 times over the last few weeks. The patio is a great outdoor option for those that live in the area. The wine list runs about 300% markup but some deals can be found. Food is typical Cohen 20% food cost. If it comes from the fryer it can be ok, otherwise stick with the flavored nuts. Really, we go for a drink and the view.

Jul 20, 2012
JKCDN in San Diego

San Diego - Great weather, but where is the outside dining?

My fellow Hounders, I submit to you that in this metropolis of nearly 3 million souls, not one restaurant exists (with the exception of stone world brewery) that include the following:

• Outdoor seating in excess of 2000sqft or 25 tables
• Garden, Ocean or Mountain View
• Accessible, close proximity, free parking
• Passable or better food at market rate prices

It is with great sadness that I pass judgment on this travesty and return to my half consumed glass of Pliny

PS -
I am going to open a bakery/wood roasted steak restaurant in Santa Ysabel with outdoor picnic tables overlooking the pasture and a rotating list of wines under $40 a bottle, maybe some live music on the weekends….ahhhh to dream :)

May 03, 2012
JKCDN in San Diego

San Diego - Great weather, but where is the outside dining?

I am constantly searching for a restaurant to enjoy the sun and weather we pay for here in America’s Finest City. I have dreams of a large SUNNY grassy area that may have a view or some sort of garden, something that includes the color green and is outside… A place where parking is free/easy and the vibe is relaxed and not touristy…Time and time again, I find a small collection of wobbly tables facing the parking lot, golf course (lol) or tucked in the back facing a brick wall.

Stone World Bistro, Bernardo Winery, Hacienda de Vega and a few others in La Jolla (damn that parking) are fine but am I missing something…? Is that all the green space restaurants we have in a city of over three million people?

Where are the outdoor patios, gardens or seating areas in San Diego?

May 01, 2012
JKCDN in San Diego

Do I want to move to San Diego?

Oh boy; this thread made me smile. In my experience, San Diego in no way comes close to the culinary atmosphere of the San Francisco Bay area.

The restaurants in San Diego are, for the most part, forgettable. Would anyone on this board really compare Arrivederci to A16? Spices Thai to the Slanted Door? How about Michael Minna to Georges "California" Modern? I respect this board for being one of the only places that I see lively, accurate conversations about food, wine and service but I want to bang my head against the wall when I see fellow chowhounders making this comparison.

To compare San Diego to San Francisco in terms of restaurants is absurd, it's not a lucid conversation. I have lived for nearly 10 years in both locations and the reality is that San Diego is a restaurant backwater.

Someone earlier said it best, we have great local ingredients and some of the worlds best beer. Just be prepared to spend some money on cooking classes and good glassware.

Sorry for the rant, I just get a little bunched up over this topic :)

PS - an earlier post stated the vast selection of outdoor dining in San Diego. I have not found many outdoor restaurant (non hotel/resort) options that have more than a few tables facing the parking lot or inner courtyard. Why do we lack great outdoor (view) options? Land to expensive?

Oct 11, 2011
JKCDN in San Diego

Harris Ranch - Great Fresh Steak

Just got back from a week in central California and wanted to make sure that people know about the fresh (raw) steak that is available at Harris Ranch. I selected a filet and porterhouse which were cryovaced and placed in a heavy paper bag with ice packs. This extra step was unexpected and greatly appreciated, the meat held at a safe temperature until we arrived in Fresno 2 hours later. If you are driving along the 5 and want a source for locally raised/processed (but not pastured or grass-fed) beef, this is a great option.

They have a kick-ass trailer directly in front of the restaurant with red oak smoking some whole rib-eyes. The cook mentioned to me that give a light smoke to the meat and then bring them up to serving temperature for service. They looked good!


Apr 21, 2011
JKCDN in California

Help! Looking for "Ranch Style" steakhouse anywhere from Oxnard to Modesto for Birthday...

I ended up booking a night at the V6Ranch and had dinner at the Grill. The drive out to the ranch and the surrounding foothills provided the perfect rural atmosphere. Our room was designed (and partially built) with antique tools. The staff were very friendly and we had a great time. I would not in a million years found this place without the help of this board. We did enjoy a few beers and a game of pool in the restaurant however, the restaurant was recently sold back the owners of the ranch and the food cannot be recommended. Overall a great birthday in a beautiful setting, if the restaurant can find it's feet, it will become a great destination.


Apr 21, 2011
JKCDN in California

Help! Looking for "Ranch Style" steakhouse anywhere from Oxnard to Modesto for Birthday...

Tough call between Parkfield and Loading Chute..... I really appreciate the suggestions and will report back once I have finished the trip next week.

Thanks again hounders.


Loading Chute
115 N Valencia Blvd, Woodlake, CA 93286

Apr 04, 2011
JKCDN in California

Help! Looking for "Ranch Style" steakhouse anywhere from Oxnard to Modesto for Birthday...

I appreciate the suggestion paprkutr, but I have had lunch at Jocko's and it's a great place but with no outdoor seating or view.

Apr 03, 2011
JKCDN in California

Help! Looking for "Ranch Style" steakhouse anywhere from Oxnard to Modesto for Birthday...

I am dying to celebrate my birthday at a steakhouse with outdoor seating in a rural setting. A place where cold beer is more popular than cabernet sauvignon. Anything with a view of the countryside would be perfect. I am traveling from LA to Fresno and can/will detour from the 5 to hwy 99 or the 101. Just really looking for a good rustic steak outdoors with a rural view.

(HITCHING POST is my standby but it has no outdoor seating and I am trying to find something new :)

Please help chowhounders!


Apr 03, 2011
JKCDN in California

Whole goat or pig or lamb in San Diego area

I just slaughtered a pig with Curtis at Womach Ranch. You can email him or meet him in person at the Farmer's Market in Hillcrest. He has plenty of goats right now.

Feb 25, 2011
JKCDN in San Diego

Craving Butterscotch Ice Cream - where to find it near/around Talmadge

Boy, for some reason I woke up today and could not get the copper orange color and unique flavor of butterscotch ice cream out of my head. Does anyone know if that flavor even exists anymore with the major premium producers in a grocery store? Any local stores that carry it? I mean real butterscotch, no dulce or caramel cone varieties........

Feb 21, 2011
JKCDN in San Diego

Where to find/eat Mangalitsa in or around Salzburg?

Heath -

Thanks for the information; I have emailed the Wiesners and if all else fails will book a reservation for the restaurant Zum Weissen. I am a food professional looking to learn more about seam butchery and the Mangalitsa pig, very excited to see the product first hand!

Dec 20, 2010
JKCDN in Europe

Where to find/eat Mangalitsa in or around Salzburg?

Hoping to try this heritage breed on my upcoming trip. I will be in Vienna for a day (nache market maybe?) But would love to buy some and cook for friends or at least order off the menu. Any help with local Austrian sources would be great. Will report back if I get a chance to try it.

Dec 19, 2010
JKCDN in Europe

Buying High-End Chocolate in San Diego

Whole foods in hillcrest stocks the frans sea salt caramels but I prefer Dallmann confections as the caramel is darker. Both are available in the display case :)

Dec 19, 2010
JKCDN in San Diego

Wine Bar, Lounge, Club for "Adults" in Barcelona?

I am not sure what to think :)

Jul 04, 2010
JKCDN in Spain/Portugal

Wine Bar, Lounge, Club for "Adults" in Barcelona?

Traveling to Barcelona next month and while the Port area seems chalk full of "I am beautiful, please charge me $175 for a bottle of vodka" type clubs. I am wondering if any chowhounds have found something a little more suited to enjoying a bottle of wine with a girlfriend on a couch with some cool ambiance and music.

Underground, dark lighting, funky electro music (live music is also great - jazz or DJ), comfortable seating (couches or benches), a wine list or fresh cocktails, maybe a cover but definitely no tight pants and spray tans.

Thanks in advance, will report on my dinner at Inopia and Priorat tasting at Irreductibles when I get back.


Jun 20, 2010
JKCDN in Spain/Portugal

Restaurant R&D – Chowhound's List of Manhattan’s Most Compelling Restaurants

Thanks very much for all of the specific feedback hounds; I think you have saved me 6-8 hours and at least a couple of hundred dollars :)

Aug 15, 2008
JKCDN in Manhattan

Restaurant R&D – Chowhound's List of Manhattan’s Most Compelling Restaurants

A longtime fan of this site and a 15 year restaurant professional is finally getting to Manhattan. I am opening a restaurant and lounge this fall in San Diego with 200 wines by the glass and a seasonal/organic menu.

After many hours of research I have compiled the following list (in no particular order) of restaurants to visit during my upcoming 5 day trip 8/19 – 8/24. I am hoping to have your comments on which restaurants to REMOVE (different than most requests that I see on this board ) as I have 5 days and want to only hit those restaurants that are compelling for their exceptional physical design or a culinary style that is utterly unique.

Whenever possible I want to hit the most expensive restaurants at lunch time and the insanely popular restaurants at dinner opening (Babbo and Casa Mono etc.). I can schedule up to 4 restaurants a day based on my schedule and budget (plan on 1 item per stop) but restaurants that are prix fixe are automatically disqualified (Per Se is on the list because I have to see that space); as are sushi restaurants or other primarily ethnic restaurants.

My list of compelling lounges to visit can use some editing as well so any feedback is greatly appreciated!


2.Bar Blanc
3.L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon
4.Gramercy Tavern
6.La Pizza Fresca Ristorante (Una is closed)
7.Bar Boulud
8.DB Bistro Moderne
9.Momofuku Ssam Bar
12.Upstairs at Bouley
14.Casa Mono
16.The Spotted Pig
17.Jean Georges
19.Blue Ribbon Brasserie 97 Sullivan St -
23.Per Se
25.Eleven Madison Park

1.Pegu Club
2.Employees Only
3.Please Don't Tell
4.Death and Co.
5.Angel's share
6.Little branch
7.Flatiron Lounge
9.East Side Company
10.Stanton Social
11.Bar 89
12.merc bar
14.Fun - Under the Manhattan bridge.
15.Remote Lounge -
16.Idlewild - Shaped like an airplane.
17.Milk & Honey - "Private Bar".
18.Burp Palace - Bartenders are Monks. Serves hundreds of beers.
19.Chibi's - Sake bar.
20.Chez Es Saada - Moroccan
21.ñ - Small tapas bar.

Aug 12, 2008
JKCDN in Manhattan