Exposed wooden rafters and cobblestone walls create the rustic ambiance that The Vine Cottage’s name promises, but the menu adds dimension to this theme with a contemporary take on Italian and American staples. The chefs value sustainably produced meals, so they seek out seasonal, organic, and locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. These ingredients lend vibrant flavors to the menu’s flatbread-style pizzas, hearty pasta dishes, and grilled steaks. Housemade duck leg confit and remoulade also help to create a dining experience that is homey yet refined, much like the artwork-laden refrigerator in Monet’s childhood home.
As San Diego?s oldest interactive mystery-comedy dinner theater, Mystery Cafe Dinner Theater dazzles audiences with live comedic mystery performances. Each show boasts an interactive format in which actors engage with the audience, possibly involving them in plotlines and using them in cameo appearances.
The chefs at Damn The Man Sandwiches mastermind a menu of traditional handhelds alongside nine homemade creations in an anarchy-inspired eatery. In one savory scenario, turkey cuddles up next to capicolla and salami under a blanket of provolone and pesto on a fluffy ciabatta bed (a $5.95 value) that, unlike a regular bed, is safe to jump on. Focaccia anchored with peppered turkey, capicolla, roast beef, and avocado makes taste muscles swoon (a $6.59 value), and roasted chicken, bacon, smoked cheddar, and avocado stuff a french roll (a $6.79 value) to satiate stomach rumblings. A bag of chips accompanies each order and can be used to crunchify sandwiches, while a pair of drinks clears throats for further feasting or impromptu toasts to the ice machine.
Trolley Stop Deli's choppers whip up sandwiches with Boar's Head Premium meats, toss crisp salads, and dish out breakfast fare daily. Browse the menu and select from nine specialty sandwiches ($7.25 each), such as the California, with roasted turkey and avocado, or the Cordon Bleu, featuring chicken married to a slice of ham by the power vested in melted swiss as witnessed by mayo, dijon, and a very jealous toasted sourdough. A bill of seven salads includes the roasted turkey- and swiss-infused pasta salad ($5.50), as well as the stuffed tomatoes packed with tuna, chicken, or egg salad lounging on a duvet of greens ($6.75). The Reuben Rapp and the veggie-and-cheese wrap ($7.25) hide fresh ingredients in airtight pockets. If hunger strikes at first light like an invading army or an incompetent vampire, diners can pop by Trolley Stop Deli for a three-egg bacon omelet croissant ($4.25), a bagel with cream cheese ($2.25), or the San Diegan breakfast wrap comprising chicken, cheese, salsa, jalapeños, and sour cream ($4.95).
Since the 1960s, Nonno's Italian Restaurant has remained La Mesa's hub for classic Italian dishes and gourmet pizzas. Executive Chef Gerardo Ortiz continues the eatery's tradition with artfully plated entrees, such as eggplant parmesan and smoked wild salmon coated with vermouth cream sauce. Chef Ortiz crafts his lasagnas entirely from-scratch, layering noodles with Italian sausage and beef or, for vegetarians and cockeyed sailors preparing for a bout of fisticuffs, spinach and ricotta. Gerardo likewise makes his pizza dough and sauce in-house daily, covering them with real mozzarella and a choice of nearly 20 toppings, including meatballs and asparagus. To complement Gerardo's cuisine, Nonno's stocks an extensive wine selection that diners can enjoy by the glass or bottle.
Swing into the casual eatery elegance of Trattoria Tiramisu, where the crowd is unpretentious, the wine list is extensive, and the menu properly represents Pangaea's lost boot. The multi-regional Italian flavors shine through traditional plates such as mozzarella caprese comprised of fresh mozza, sliced tomato, basil, and extra virgin olive oil ($9.50). Meatier dishes include sliced pork loin dressed in rosemary, sage, and juniper-berry Chianti sauce ($17.50), and the ocean-emptying linguine frutti di mare served up with black mussels, clams, scallops, calamari, and shrimp ($18.50). Eating your fingers is gross, but eating ladyfingers laced with espresso and marscapone cheese is traditional tiramisu ($6).