After 45 years in San Diego, Pinnacle Peak has closed.
This is mmm-yoso!!!, a blog about food. Kirk and Ed(from Yuma) are taking the day off, because they can. Cathy is writing, because she can.
Even though it was only three miles away and a regular stop (from the day we purchased our California home*), I had only posted one time about Pinnacle Peak.The Mission Gorge location in Santee has been here more than 30 years, cow on the roof, open only in the evenings...Walls and rafters lined with the cut off neckties labeled with dates and names of patrons who come in 'dressed up' for the famous steak dinners and are subject to the clanging of a triangle and giant shears in a ceremonial removal of such formalities.Steaks are cooked behind glass near the front door, the first 'open kitchen' concept I had ever seen.These photos were taken on a Tuesday in June. My brother and nephew had been on their cross country drive from Michigan, driving and stopping at the same places as he and Dad had done about 25 years earlier. Pinnacle Peak was on the list.
The usual plastic checkerboard tablecloths were not on the tables. It seemed so empty. So we asked.
This location was going to be closing that Friday...soon to be relocating in Lakeside. Perfect timing to be able to share a similar memory. Each meal now came with unlimited warm corn bread and beans (instead of the original 'buttons and bows'-white bread and beans)...and with a simple iceberg with cucumber and onion salad. There were four of us, but we ordered two of each of the same items: the 6 ounce filet mignon ($21.99) with a side of baked potato ($3.25)And two orders of the 15 ounce ounce "Cowgirl" t-bone ($21.99). We shared stories with the nephew about family visits with meals here, showed him around the now almost empty building and enjoyed ourselves. Soon enough the new location, on Maine Avenue in Lakeside, opened. The cow had moved with everything (the cut off neckties) else (and is really difficult to photograph at night). My brother was visiting a few weeks ago and, of course, he wanted dinner at Pinnacle Peak. Some cut neckties are up in the bar area and a lot of the ties are stacked around the waiting areas, still waiting to be placed everywhere. It was quite crowded and we were seated in the last open area (when we left there was a line waiting to be seated). The tables are new and it isn't as dark or 'rustic' anymore.Cornbread and beans are still unlimited (I took one very blurry photo of the bowl of beans; use your imagination). The salad is now made with a spring mix and includes a tomato slice (no onion or cucumber) along with a choice of three dressings: the House (a lemon vinaigrette), Bleu Cheese and Ranch. This time, The Mister chose the 10 ounce Prime Rib ($18.99) medium rare...The filet of tenderloin is now 7 ounces ($23.99). Large baked potato ($3.25). Naturally, I again ordered the 15 ounce Cowgirl (also medium rare).
It was crowded and I try not to take photos of people, didn't see an open cooking area, but will be back soon enough and take more photos. The menu is much larger (two pages instead of one side of the paper leftovers bag) with many choices including entree salads and many appetizers. The quality and service and taste is the same...just a bit more of a drive for us.
Pinnacle Peak 9927 Maine Avenue Lakeside, CA 92040 (619) 448-8882
(*We closed on our home (a VA reposession) on the day before Thanksgiving in the late evening. On Thanksgiving Day, we drove into Santee, keys in hand, to check out the previously unseen interior, and noticed a person dressed as a clown waving in front of this Pinnacle Peak place. He held a sign 'Churches of Santee' ... 'free Thanksgiving meal'. We checked out the house (knew we'd have to clean a lot before moving in) and when driving back to our apartment, saw the now sort of sad looking clown waving to us, had no plans for a meal anyhow and drove up, went inside. There were people milling about and five turkeys, sides and a rather large buffet line of food. All of the Pinnacle Peak furniture (picnic tables topped with plastic checkerboard tablecloths) was set up and we had the nicest meal, meeting new neighbors...and not knowing what the deal was with the cut up neckties or even that this was a restaurant. It was a great introduction to our new neighborhood.)
The Cowboy Star has been one of our favorite destinations for Happy Hour for a while. It's never been very busy when we've visited, which makes the whole deal pretty relaxing, in spite of the location.
We've enjoyed most everything we'd had in the bar, and in the restaurant.......
The Missus isn't a real big red meat eater, but She enjoys the tornedos and steaks at the Cowboy Star. They always seem to get it right for Her.
Perhaps one day I'll post on our dinners there; the sweetbreads, marrow bones, the Porterhouse!
When we finally decided to do another burger week, I looked forward to trying one of the burgers there. Since they still serve burgers during Happy Hour (it's on the lunch menu), why not? So on a recent visit, I ordered the Bison Burger ($15):
I love the flavor of buffalo and bison when it's prepared well. The meat is leaner, so it's very easy to overcook. The meat has a faint flavor that has a sweet tinge to it; not as sweet as say, horse or donkey, but just enough variance in flavor to know that, "it's not quite beef I'm eating tonight".
This looked like one beautiful burger. The roasted Anaheim Pepper tasted wonderful, but in my opinion it over-powered the bison. The wonderfully melted white cheddar went well with my burger, even though it was cooked a bit over the medium I requested.
Granted, Bison is more difficult to cook than beef, still, I was a bit underwhelmed with the burger as a whole. Even after removing the pepper.... which the Missus gladly gobbled up, the flavor was a bit too mild for me..... perhaps the grass fed beef is the way to go here.
The frites had a nice texture, crisp on the exterior, combined with a light interior. I once mentioned in a previous post, of the Missus love of salt (" the Missus has been known to body slam a Moose to get to its salt lick"). But man, on this day the fries were much too salty.
In truth, one so-so meal at The Cowboy Star won't deter us from returning since we've had some really fine meals there. But I do think it was telling that on the next evening, we also had meat, which I enjoyed even more. Stuff like this:
Hello! It's Vicky again. With another installment of another fantastic meal available up here in the beautiful SF Bay Area.. (Man I need to think of another tagline... That's getting old.)
As of the the writing of this post, I am finishing up my 2 week trip wandering around Taiwan. (Hopefully I'll be able to go through my 2000+ pictures of food and scrounge together a post in the future.) Right before I was to leave for my trip, Sam got us tickets and treated me out to the SF Taiko Festival. I in return, treated him out to Lark Creek Steak. Which is now my FAVORITE steakhouse. Ever. Even more so than Donavan's. I have to say though, Donavan's is still my favorite steakhouse in San Diego. (I have an extensive review on Yelp, so I won't go into great detail here.) But it has lost its place as my favorite steakhouse. The reason? Lark Creek serves Dry Aged Steaks. Yes. I will say it again. Dry. Aged. Steak. *puddle of drool.* Ever since purchasing the dry aged babies from Bristol Farms and grilling them up in my kitchen when I was living in La Jolla, I've become a steak addict. I question my servers at steakhouses like we're in Guantanamo Bay about their aging processes.
I was very happy to hear that Lark Creek served up a fantastic NY Strip that was dry aged in house around 30 days.
It was delicious... and nutty... and everything a hunk of meat needed to be. It was cooked to my perfect medium rare, without butter, spices, toppings, etc. It was just a piece of meat that was cooked the way it should be. (To this day, I still don't understand why Morton's and Ruth's Chris slathers their beef with butter... it may explain why the plate's like a gazillion degrees... so all that butter doesn't congeal!)
In any case, here is a pictur eof the lovely steak I had:
Ahh... Served with some nice organic mixed greens and a dollop of Cabernet butter (ON THE SIDE!)
Sam ordered a burger... Yes... A burger... Equally delicious... Probably one of the best burgers there are. It also came with a gourmet chocolate shake. Behold:
If you're in the Bay Area, come by Lark Creek and check it out... At least the dry-aged stuff is AMAZING!!
Lark Creek Steak 845 Market Street Emporium Rotunda Area San Francisco, CA 94103 415.593.4100
You can drool at their menus here: www.larkcreeksteak.com
mmm-yoso!!! is the blog about food. Kirk is feeling a bit under the weather and so Cathy will blog today about when she ate here -and took photos- not too long ago, so that all of you may have a small diversion from the charred world out there.
Hello again. This is a little different post about a meal I ate. I won't be mentioning prices nor have a photo of the menu. I took the photos of food with no flash also..and apologize for the poor quality...but hopefully you will vicariously enjoy the meal as much as we did. I will mostly just talk about the food.
Valley View Casino is located in Valley Center and has what I consider the best buffet of all the Casinos in San Diego County. I haven't blogged about it, just enjoyed it many times over. Much, much higher quality food. Fortunately, the Casino did survive the wild fires and is still open for business. About a week before the fires, The Mister and I met with a dear friend for a special birthday meal at the Black and Blue Steakhouse located within the casino. We all ordered what we wanted, and then some.
I ordered iced tea as a beverage...and-wow- the best iced tea ever. The cubes of frozen tea ensured that the flavor would never be dilute, and the sides of freshly squeezed lemon juice and simple syrup in carafes so that you could flavor the tea to your liking were such an elegant, fancy touch.
The fresh lemonade beverage (not pictured) was the best lemonade I have ever tasted. It was made with the simple syrup and fresh squeezed juice, of course.
We ordered several appetizers and side dishes as well as a couple of main course, again, adhering to the "there are no rules" rule of life...
On the left, lobster ravioli. These are quite large, although only two...that piece in the center top is just a piece of lobster... the pasta is fresh made, the lobster was sweet and juicy and the sauce was a tomato cream with basil and capers.
On the right, calamari with three sauces for dipping. The portion size was quite large and the squid was fired to perfection with a light crust. The sauce on the left had roe in it and was salty; I liked it the best. The center sauce was more of an oily pesto and not too garlic-y and the one on the right had a hot kick to it that overwhelmed the flavor of the breading, which had a light spice and was interspersed with fried capers...
Above, two crab cakes with barely any filler, lightly fried so the crust was crisp served atop several swirled salty spicy sauces and with a fresh aoili.
One person came around with a basket of fresh baked (-in the wood burning oven- which is also used to make pizza, which I will order next time) breads with a choice of sweet, savory and just plain white...and served with European unsalted butter, topped with olive oil, sea salt and fresh chervil.
The Cesar salad was very large and, of course, made with crisp Romaine lettuces and a fresh made garlic-y Cesar dressing and served with wonderful olive oiled croutons and fresh made, delicate crisped Parmesan shreds.
The lobster salad...micro greens on top, lots of lobster-fresh cooked, as in still warm-, a layer of fresh grapefruit wedges, tomato and avocado, topped with a citrus vinaigrette. Oh. My. Yes.
Side orders of steak fries and double creamed spinach. The best fried potatoes I have ever had. Perfectly crispy, potato flavors, not too hot nor too cold. This was served with a ramekin of ketchup and a teensy serving spoon. The creamed spinach was made with fresh spinach and real cream..of course.
The herb crusted halibut here on the left was cooked perfectly, was flavorful and juicy and served with broccoli rabe which was sauteed perfectly in a light lemon garlic herb sauce.
The 18 ounce rib eye steak, cooked perfectly rare/medium rare and served with horseradish, baked tomatoes and garlic and a small salad.
More side dishes included the macaroni and (blue) cheese (um...excellent...I don't know what else to say...) and the best onion rings, ever. The buttermilk based crust on the whole, sweet onion slices was seasoned perfectly with a salt and pepper.
As I said, this was a special birthday and the reason for the splurge. This dessert plate came out...mostly wonderful tasting fresh fruit surrounding a chocolate bottomed cherry mousse cake. Even the raspberry puree was fresh and wonderful tasting.(Cindy was kind enough to share)
You must understand the birthday plate was at least 12 inches across, and this platter with hot fudge, wedges of fresh baked nutty brownie atop about a pint of really really good vanilla gelato, topped with vanilla whipped cream was at least 12 inches in diameter. We all shared.
This meal was one of the best ever, food and friend-wise.
Black and Blue -The place for steak- inside Valley View Casino 16300 Nyemii Pass, Valley Center 92082 (760)291-2130
mmm-yoso is not on vacation. Kirk apparently did not eat today and Cathy did.
Hi again. I'm out in East County. Hungry. No frills. Craving for some steak. The Mister wants ribs. Sure, we have a grill. Sure, we can cook. Heck, Pinnacle Peak is right down the road. That big ole' cow on the roof. The dark wood siding...the huge parking lot in front.
The simple menu, printed on the
take home Bone Bag.
Although I fully appreciate the Trail Boss (22.99), a 30 ounce Porterhouse, mainly because I cannot decide between the flavor of the New York Strip combined with the tenderness of the Filet which are both present on either side of the bone of the Porterhouse...30 ounces is a *lot* of meat, no matter what the size of the bone ,so I usually say 'Why play games?' and get the Cowboy($18.99), a 22 ounce T-Bone (as opposed to the sissy-ish Cowgirl($14.99), a 15 ounce T-Bone. But, there is something new on the menu- the Kansas City(16.99), a 16 ounce bone-in New York Steak...labeled as New York Steak, not T-Bone...must try.
The sides that come with everything are a salad, Buttons (baked beans) and Bows (sliced of white bread and butter). Baked potato , corn on the cob, sauteed mushrooms or onions are an additional $1.99 each. Nope, not today.
NOTHING IS FANCY HERE. The plates are plastic, as are the tablecloths...the utensils, except for the steak knives, are not very high quality. If you come in wearing a necktie, it *will* be ceremoniously cut off, to the ringing of a cowbell, and then stapled to the wall or ceiling, as part of the decor.
I had my steak cooked medium rare on the open grill- it was perfect. They put a nice dry rub/seasoning on it and its just right (did not need the A-1 sauce). It is mesquite wood that is used.
The Mister ordered the full Rack-O-Ribs ($17.99). It is brought out on two plates.
...and so we ate our food.
and that 'bone in' part of the description of my steak was true...but, not really anything to write home about.
The Mister had far more bones left over than I did!
Every once in a while, maybe once or twice a year I get a major red meat craving. And for me, the best way to quench said craving is to get a nice piece of prime rib. If we're having steak, unless it's something along the lines of Fleming's or Ruth's Chris, I'd rather make it at home. But prime rib is another story. I just want one meal, so making a whole prime rib roast just doesn't make sense. So last night we headed over to a real "old school" San Diego establishment; Bully's.
Now Bully's has been at this location, just South of the 8 Freeway for over 30 years, and the bar is a favorite with "locals" for Happy Hour. From the dark red leather booths to the wood paneling, to the dim lighting(please excuse the lousy photos); Bully's screams "Old School". Even though the decor may scream staid and stuffy, the atmosphere is definitely casual. Though we thought there would be no problem getting a table without reservations at 5 pm on a Tuesday evening, we were lucky. The bar area was packed, and we snagged one of the last open tables.
Though the menu at Bully's includes everything from King Crab and Lobster to Chicken and Ribs, there's only one reason I come to Bully's. It's the prime rib.
Wanting to pay undivided attention to my red meat, we didn't order any appetizers, or sides, and just got down to business.
The Missus ordered the Bully Burger with Bacon and Avocado($9.50). And of course I ordered a prime rib. But first came our salads.
A nice old fashioned green salad with ranch dressing on the side since we had to watch our calories....yeah, right! The salad was fine, fresh and crisp, and the croutons were very crunchy. There must have been something right about the salads, we both finished ours.
The Missus's Burger:
The Missus enjoyed the thick cut bacon and avocado. The burger was formed into an oblong shape to fit the bun. The burger was under seasoned and lacked a beefy punch, but was so very moist and tender, and cooked to a perfect medium-well. The fries were mediocre and a bit soggy.
I had ordered a 22oz Prime Rib($28.95), the 32oz cut had tempted me, but I showed amazing restraint. My cut arrived on a platter, along with a light au jus and horseradish sauce.
Cooked to a perfect medium rare, this piece of bone-in prime rib was fork tender(I tested it), and nicely flavored. I didn't need any of the condiments provided, and scarfed this baby down in about 10 minutes flat. I slowed down after the Missus threatened to call National Geographic. Need I say it? Very delici-yoso!!! The Garlic Mashed potatoes were slightly chunky, and very garlicky, and also under seasoned. I get the feeling that sides are pretty much an after thought at Bully's.
The damage? Not bad $44 total. And a bone for the Boyz!
Bully's provides decent quality, reasonably priced Steaks and Seafood, though some dishes(especially the "sides") may seem a bit dated and tired. And fills that niche, above the usual Neighborhood Steakhouse(i.e. Black Angus), and below the quality and the sometimes eye-popping prices at Morton's and Ruth's Chris. It's not a bad niche to fill! Also if you've got a craving for a prime rib at 1130pm, Bully's might be the place for you!
Bully's East 2401 Camino Del Rio S San Diego, CA 92108 Mon-Fri 11am-1215am Sat-Sun 10am-1215am