San Diego – My favorite food event, San Diego Restaurant Week, returns September 15 – 20. Over 190 restaurants around the county will be offering three-course dinners for $20, $30 and $40 per person. Additionally, two-course lunch menus priced at $10, $15 and $20 will be offered by over 80 restaurants. During last January’s event, I visited a couple of Cohn Restaurant Group ( participants. Escondido’s newest hot spot, Vintana, was my choice for lunch ($20). Located in the penthouse floor of a Lexus dealership, it has a sophisticated feel and features perfectly prepared and presented modern California cuisine. Its first rate service adds up to another winner for Chef Deborah Scott. Dinner at 100 Wines ($30), featuring “bistro comfort” Mediterranean fusion food, was a treat. Located in Hillcrest, there’s an uptown vibe and busy happy hour. As the name indicates, there is an extensive wine list. If you can, sit in the outdoor patio and don’t miss the cinnamon roll baked to order. A kick-off event for San Diego Restaurant Week will take place at the Port Pavilion on Thursday, September 12th. from 5 PM – 9 PM. Over forty participants will be offering samples of house specialties paired with locally produced beverages. Tickets are $60 and part of the proceeds go to the Jacobs and Cushman San Diego Food Bank and Mama’s Kitchen. Go to for the list of participants, prices and sample menus.

Reno – The spectacular Great Reno Balloon Race ( takes place September 6 – 8. Now in its 32nd. year, it is the world’s largest free hot air ballooning event, attracting nearly 100 balloons and 150,000 spectators. September 11 – 15, brings the 50th. annual National Championship Air Races to town. Named one of the ten best air shows in the world by USA Today, it is also the oldest. Besides the six plane classes, there’s a display of military aircraft. Go to for details. Rounding out the month’s excitement in the “Biggest Little City in the World” is the Street Vibrations Fall Rally September 25 – 29 ( It’s a celebration of music, metal and motorcycles, featuring outdoor entertainment, parades, stunt shows and bike cruises. With all that action, you’ll need a place to stay for a few days. My suggestion: the family-owned Eldorado Hotel Casino which Casino Player Magazine recently named as having the best rooms and suites in the city. There are nine restaurants which will all be enhanced by the addition of executive assistant chef, Robert Hesse, who starred in Seasons 5 and 6 in Fox TV’s “Hell’s Kitchen” with Gordon Ramsay. Additionally, “Grease” is in their showroom through Nov 10. For reservations and specials, call 1-888-614-1750 or logon to One more thing: don’t miss Food Truck Fridays in Downtown Reno.

Safe travels and enjoy the journey…

Howard Hian

Thanks to the various websites for information and photos.



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Howard Hian

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