Author Archive for john.calhoun.&.letty.linhart

Getting to know the food, at least, at Vista’s La Paloma

We almost thought we were interviewing a member of the witness protection program. To begin with, La Paloma Owner Steve didn’t want  us to use his last name.  Then, he wouldn’t identify his cook by name. (“People would wonder if a dish was changed by a specific cook,” he insisted.) He said his background included being […]

ChineX satisfies even the pickiest customer

No, it’s not a paper plate, although it almost shares its name with one. ChineX is a new restaurant at 1580 South Melrose Drive, Vista. Founded by an optimistic China-born American named John, it is tasty, reasonable, and will (usually) deliver if your order is $25 or more. (He can’t if he’s really busy). John had two Chinese restaurants […]

Have a lucky Thai lunch at Ricedle

We used to love the food at Thai Garden in Oceanside, but we didn’t keep track of the original owner and original manager, Paisan. Imagine our glee when Paisan appeared at the door at Ricedle Thai Cuisine, an unimposing storefront in the Albertsons shopping center across from Rancho Buena Vista High. Like all sensible businesses, they […]

Ai Sushi turns out to be quite a find — once you find it

You know, it’s time to differentiate the two of us a little. John is the geographer and the shmoozer and the gustatory expert, and Letty hides in the back room and writes these things. (Actually, she does have an educated palate.) That’s why this week we’re reviewing a restaurant only a geographer could find. It’s […]

Wander down Allen’s Alley for delicious diner food

You know, it’s the real McCoy when it absolutely screams “diner.” A moderate investigation shows that it’s the longest continuously open restaurant in Vista; that the current owner Charlie Harb is recuperating from a serious health problem and his mom and dad, Alicia and Fred Harb, have reclaimed the business after manning it for 24 […]

Pleasant surprises await at Vista’s El Asadero

Just between us, El Asadero used to be a dump. We were surprised to find a new décor, a new owner, and the best flan in Vista when we visited recently. Owner/chef Reuben Razo, one of three brothers who lay claim to the former title, has become a U.S. citizen after emigrating from Guadalajara some […]

Italian mood, food delights at Via Sicilia

It must be the way the planet whirled last year: Three exceptional restaurants opened in Vista in 2008. We’ve reviewed The Jumping Bean and Royal Pho. Now it’s time for the third winner, Via Sicilia Ristorante Italiano, on 631 S. Melrose in Vista. Co-owner and hostess Judith Lo Vecchio described the year as “very difficult” […]

Vietnamese restaurant offers royally good cuisine

Here’s another one of those heartwarming success stories. Tony, a Vietnamese boat person, escaped Saigon and was sponsored here from a Malaysian island refugee camp by his American uncle. He worked hard, learned the business and became an engineer with an Oceanside turbine company where he has worked for more than 20 years. With his […]

Funky local café serves up many delicious Mexican dishes

Here’s a gem that we stumbled on by mistake: The Jumping Bean Café, tucked away at 786 Shadowridge Drive in Vista. Owner-chef Brian Cloud has been in business just a year, with anniversary specials on drinks and Mexican (and fusion) meals served in what has got to be the most colorfully tricked-out eatery in town. […]

Updated Sunrise Café in Vista lives up to the hype

We waited a long time to review Bobby and Lori Jones’ Sunrise Café on Santa Fe Avenue. We heard an expansion was in the works and we wanted to write it up. The restaurant has always been among the most noteworthy in town, but with its new booths and breakfast bar it will be even […]