Lightning – the Vintana driveway protector.

Part Deux of Deux on a very important evening in which I didn’t get to see BB King, and I didn’t get my 5-star (or 5-cone) dinner.

So to conclude the story about our thunder and lightning extravaganza show in Valley Center, CA. We decided to leave the broke-ass casino with no power to figure it out on their own. The bartender was drained and so looked the cash account for the casino, as many others were also leaving at the same time. Power had been off now for about an hour. The casino floor has been without ventilation and the bars have been closed and had reverted to serving room temperature water.

We headed from Harrah’s Rincon Casino without seeing our Sunday evening concert with The Tedeschi-Trucks Band and BB King due to the intense thunder and lightning storm that had passed through, thus cancelling a “rain-or-shine” outdoor event. Just “that” (rain or shine) alone says we should get our money back . . . and we didn’t spend any. Well it rained and there was no show this evening. So what . . . You, the promoter, carry on with the show during the storm and you cook-off a couple of folks . . . whatever, . . . only the strong survive, right? So we head out . . .

Traveling with dinner in mind, we head west on San Diego County Highway S-6, up the hill from the casino to check another casino for electricity. “Nope, that one looks cooked also”, I said to my passengers. I was the designated driver and was already tired, hungry and pissed I didn’t get to see my show, and the bartender wouldn’t give me back my credit card until . . . “a f t e r  I  t a l k  w i t h  m y  s u p e r v i s o r”, she said. Really? I even told her I would just leave my card and pick it up in a couple of weeks when I return for the next show. She asked that I wait, and luckily the supervisor showed up moments later, releasing me and my credit card to my own cognisance. Why thank you, I’m glad I can go now leave. Yes, I’m a Dick!

The other casino atop the hill also looked gloomy (the outside lights and signs were not on); thank god because there’s nothing at that casino but wife beaters, dirty cowboy boots and pregnant ugly teenagers . . . oh, I’m sorry . . . that’s somebody’s wife . . . and she’s not even pregnant. That casino has so many penny machines you might as well cash in your nickles you have left over from the strip club the night before, they might come in handy. Ok now, passing up Valley View Casino we begin our decent into Escondido, frantically on the phone making various reservations at any 4 or 5-star dining establishment around. Wait a moment, that pretty much leaves only Stone Brewery World Bistro and Gardens and the new place Vintana, atop the Lexus dealership along the 15 freeway in Escondido. Since we’ve eaten full course meals at Stone, we opted to try Vintana this time.

Now I’ve visited Vintana before; but never during a lightning storm and seeing it through the huge glass windows that overlook the Target parking lot, Dicks Sporting Goods and a driveway attendant siting on a cheap work bench style round bar stool all while keeping close eye on three white cones that carefully divided up the entrance into a right turn lane and a left turn lane. Actually, I still have not witnessed lightning from inside those windows, but we did spend the remainder of our evening silently making fun of the poor kid down there keeping watch on the three white cones. HEY!, I think one of them moved! I guess this kid even got busted by his supervisor, because his chair magically disappeared while we were eating or something. Immediately, we charge him with dereliction of duty . . . he got his chair stolen!

Well I wish I could give Vintana a full ride, but I was a bit let down in a couple of facets. While the remaining guests at our table thought the world of the venue, I became critical . . . and a dick; all, pretty much at the same time. I messed with the server (Darren, I think his name might have been) he was very good. He even took some of the demented awkward innuendos and abusive stares. He even helped us poke fun at the cone guardian. I can’t give the food a full five thumbs up because there were a couple of things that, in my opinion, should have never left the kitchen, or maybe some of them . . . should have.

Items ordered and their quality/comments (menu attached).


1) Oysters on the half shell – Ok, good vinaigrette; but one of mine was dirty or had a broken shell remnant.

2) Calamari – Good, Very good . . . however not the best. That claim goes to Blue Water Seafood Market & Grill.

3) Panzanella Salad w/Heirloom Tomatoes – Very delicious and abundant.

4) I had the Filet Trio – cooked perfectly, but I thought the presentation was very sloppy. I wasn’t sure which sauce went with which steak.

5) Sun Fish (substitute for Sea Bass) – Very good, Very good flavor and portion.

6) Ancho Sesame BBQ Hamachi – Excellent, presentation and very good portion.

7) Grilled Brochette of tenderloin and shrimp – Again excellent flavors, presentation and portion.

8) Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus – Ok, It was cooked perfectly, just the color just wasn’t very bright. I’ve seen brighter colors from an all-you-can-eat Chinese Buffet.

9) Pomegranate-Molasses Brussels Sprouts – Overcooked and their concept of carmelization ended up burning about 75 % of the exterior of the sprouts. Tasty, but burnt.

10) Dessert was Chef Deborah Scott’s surprise – some kind of killer vanilla ice cream and chocolate molten brownie melted in an onion soup bowl. However this was topped with a white and dark chocolate confusing mess of artwork or not artwork. Good, but I wouldn’t have served that silly looking thing; cause it looked silly . . .

The service came out swiftly with all items ordered, on the table on time . . . except the salad. Informing the food runner, a salad was promptly brought out . . . and shortly there after one of the Assistant GM’s came out to check on us and informed us of the oversight and the “no charge” on the salad. I’m very glad they have the integrity to identify their mistake and promptly correct and ensure a good dining experience. I would have performed it no other way.

So overall we had a good night. We really enjoyed ourselves and, for the most part, had a good meal with great service. We enjoyed watching the cone man guard his cones, but not his chair and the atmosphere of great company in a fine restaurant.

I’m going to give this place only 4 cones. I would have possibly given it another 1/2 cone, but some Quality Assurance issues leaving the kitchen. 4 cones instead of three because the poor guy down there lost his chair, so we’ll replace it with a cone. Anyway, he did a better job watching the cones, than the chair.

Tonight 4 cones!!!!



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