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Escondido Chow help.... ;-)

I'm heading back out for a visit in a couple of weeks and would love some recommendations in that area.

I've already got Cafe Chloe and Bertrand at Mr. A's on my SD list to try and of course a return visit to Nine Ten & Georges, but since I'll be staying in the Escondido to see friends, I'd love some great suggestions for that area ..........

Based on past postings, Cocina de Maria and the Swap Meet for mexican were on the good list. Are they still and \ or is there somewhere new that would be worth a visit (and it doesn't have to be just mexican) ?

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  1. The swap meet does have some great street food. There's a place with good sopes, and a fruit salad vendor right next to the main gate who makes some incredible fruit juices. The produce is awesome and cheap. Via Pomodoro next to the movie theater has some of the best pizza in town. The place is nice, but sadly underated by most locals, who often favor Phillipi's on Grand. Antonio's on E. Valley has the best tacos, and the panaderia on Rose behind Walgreen's (corner of Valley and Rose) has great pastries. Champions on Grand makes fresh-squeezed to order orange and grapefruit juice, and awesome cinnamon rolls. Other places to check out are Sushi Yama, Hacienda de Vega, and Centre City Cafe.

    1. Cocina and swap meet are still there. Mexican food is your best bet in Escondido. You may want to check out Tamales Ancira and Lourdes Chicken soup as well.

      1. I second the swap meet, and we like the main dishes at La Cocina de Maria, but find the beans to be terrible. They can almost ruin a meal, and we always forget to ask for no beans and more rice.
        We had an excellent meal at World's Best Pizza a couple of weeks ago. We'd been there 3 times before for Salvadorean food, but literally walked out twice after being ignored for too long. They've either improved their methods, or we were lucky, but we loved the fresh corn tamales (try the fried one, too!), and the pupusas were better than we remembered (and better than those in San Diego).
        Hacienda de Vega has decent food, but the atmosphere is the draw. It is a beautiful restaurant and would be a good choice for a thank-you dinner for your friends.
        Someone might recommend Tango, the new restaurant and wine bar, but I jogged by yesterday, it is appears to be closed for an expansion.
        We were also pleasantly surprised by a recent meal at Panya Thai Kitchen (on Valley and La Terraza). That would be my recommendation if you were in the mood for Asian but not willing to drive south.
        The tacos at Baja Foods are excellent, and the comida corrida dishes at Latino Market (on Grand) can be excellent, though the rice is dry.
        You won't go wrong with any of the restaurants on Grand (Remy's, 150 Grand, Vincent's, etc), but you won't be blown away.
        Of all these recommendations, I would say that the only thing you shouldn't miss while in town is a meal at Fiesta Oaxaquena in the swap meet. The others are good choices if you're looking for a meal nearby.

        2 Replies
        1. re: maestra

          I believe Tango is open, but they've acquired the store front next to their current location for expansion. There were customers this weekend, and they participated in San Diego Restaurant Week. I haven't had the chance to try them, but I've heard good things about them.

          1. re: beth1

            Tango just got an excellent review on the mark squires/ebob site

        2. Thanks for the suggestions! I love Cali mexican (which I definitely can't get here in boston) and swap meets and can't wait to go .

          Is there a good meat market in the area too? I'm sure one of the nights we'll end up throwing something on the gril especially if I get some great produce at the swap meet!i

          6 Replies
            1. re: Trufflebaby

              I would def. go to Northgate Gonzalez or Mi Pueblo supermercados - trust your local carnecero

              1. re: Trufflebaby

                Kennedy's Karne on Valley has great prepared carne asada, or you can buy it to grill for yourself at their meat counter. The owner is very friendly, and will help you find everything you need for a great meal. They sell locally made corn tortillas (from a tortilliria around the corner), or homemade flour tortillas.

                1. re: beth1

                  Which one is better , the corn or flour? or does it matter?

                  1. re: Trufflebaby

                    It depends on what you're eating them with. The corn ones from the tortillaria on Rose are the most flavorful corn tortillas ever. They actually have a fresh corn taste. I haven't tried their flour ones, which they offer in white or whole wheat.

                2. re: Trufflebaby

                  For going out, Tango is excellent food. The suggestion for others on this board is don't go on Friday or Saturday nights, but that was before the expansion was completed. My wife and I went on a Saturday night and it was a bit crowded.

                  For a meat market, I highly recommend T&H Meats. It's not in Escondido, but is nearby on Mission in San Marcos. They are only open to the public on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, but they have a wide variety of meats from truly USDA prime rib eye steaks to fresh housemade sausages and marinated meats of all sorts. Jacob also has wine from his nearby micro winery that I have not had the chance to taste yet, but has won some praise.

                3. I love going to Hacienda de Vega..
                  Lourdes for the chicken soup is good but I have found that most of the other Mex is average..
                  Have not been to the swap meet for the Mex but hear great things.
                  You can head to Stone Brewery which has excellent beer but the food blows!!
                  I am going to Tango this weekend..Vincents, and other darling restaurants on Grand are pretty decent.
                  Kare..love Mi Pueblo!
                  Farmer's Market on Grand on Tuesday afternoon is fun and we always stop at Patricks for a couple of pints and the fish and chips rock.
                  Valley View Casino has a great buffet...no flames ; )

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Beach Chick

                    Latest report on Valley View Casino buffet is that the wait has just gotten out of hand. I had a friend go on Sat. arrive a 3pm for the 4pm buffet and got seated around 5:00pm.

                    1. re: The Old Man

                      That's crazy...being the huge pain in the ass that I am..I don't wait for no one..especially for a buffet or a Patty Melt!

                  2. Tango is open. They acquired the space next door and are working on that but they haven't touched the original space. I hear they will have live music some nights in the new space. (I know I only comment on Tango when I post here but that's because it is the only place we go out to eat--it's within walking distance. Otherwise, we like our own cooking better.)

                    1. We have had a timeshare in Escondido so we've tried lots of places. Here are our favorites.

                      Hacienda de Vega - the food is good, the margaritas are very good (I love the house margarita with a little spice kick), and the patio setting is lovely. If you have kids, they can run around on the grass while you have a pleasant meal.

                      Filippi's Pizza - Grand Avenue in Escondido has a number of gems and this is one of them. There is usually a line out the door and for good reason.

                      Bistro 221 is quite good if you're looking for an upscale meal. Vincents is another choice in the more upscale category. We have really enjoyed romantic dates at both of these places.

                      Tango wine bar, mentioned by others, is also a good choice that we discovered for the first time during our annual trip at the end of June. We stopped there for a glass of wine after shopping at the evening farmer's market and ended up staying for dinner (so much for our intentions to cook dinnfer from all the lovely produce we had purchased at the farmer's market!)

                      1. Who knew there were so many good places in Escondido???!!!! Thanks, everyone! Chowhounders to the rescue again! Luckily I'll be out there for 10 days so I'll have time to hit a lot of these places! Am looking forward to having some truly outstanding mexican food!

                        1. I just posted about a restaurant in Escondido called Cenote Grill, I highly recommend it. I also like Stone Brewery's Food. I know some people don't but I think it is creative and well done. Their beer/cheese/garlic soup is crazy good (and crazy strong). They have a great Wednesday movie night and some fun appetizers. The French Bakery on Grand has great Fritatta's and salads but their service can sometimes leave something to be desired, as can their coffee. I get coffee at Blue Mug and take it over to the French Bakery to have with breakfast, Blue Mug has the best coffee, anywhere.

                          1. Thanks for the help eveyone! The 10 days out there went by way too fast (with a side trip to Vegas - but that's another post!)

                            I am glad I don't live out in San Diego only for the fact that I made my first visit to Ecliipse Chocolates..... and would be there everyday for the chocolate cupcake w. caramel and sea salt. which would then cause me to gain about 100lbs! We tried the S'more cupcake which was good but the Caramel chocolate one was over the top \ i've seen god good! Is is wrong to dream about a cupcake?