Over the past week, Wing and I found ourselves in East County — the cities in the eastern part of San Diego County. We went there a few times for varying reasons. I happen to be very familiar with East County so, when it was time to eat, Wing let me choose the restaurants. I picked out some that I like and wanted him to try, and now I’m sharing our East County dining experiences with you.

Downtown Cafe, El Cajon (pronounced el kah-hone; meaning the drawer due to the city being surrounded by mountains)

Our first night, we ate at a restaurant in El Cajon called the Downtown Cafe, located in the newly renovated and now quaint and semi-historical downtown area. The Downtown Cafe had a nice variety of food on their menu and their alcoholic beverage selection was huge, including beers from local breweries. But Wing and I ordered burgers and soft drinks. He ordered a bleu cheese burger and I ordered the Santa Fe. We were impressed with the amount of bleu cheese and guacamole that we received. Wing said that we will definitely be back to try their other menu items.

Downtown Cafe

Casa de Pico, La Mesa

The next time we found ourselves in East County, we decided to go for Mexican. I knew of a great place called Casa de Pico, a local favorite ever since it was located in Old Town. Wing tried the cranberry mango chicken off of the seasonal menu and I ordered the chile poblano fresco off the vegetarian menu. Both were very good. The flavors in the cranberry mango chipotle chicken blended together perfectly and were subtle, not overpowering the taste of the chicken. The chile I ordered was packed with seasoned vegetables, topped with a creamy and delicious jalapeno sauce. We couldn’t resist ordering dessert, so we ordered the fried ice cream — a battered and fried ice cream scoop that rested on top of a bunuelo. Yum!

Casa de Pico

Anny’s Fine Burgers, Santee

The final trip to East County led us (and Mars) to Anny’s Fine Burgers. Its original store was in Santee, but it became so popular and crowded that it expanded and opened a second store in the Kearny Mesa area of San Diego. I’ve only been to the Santee location so my pictures are from there. Anny’s has a large variety of unique burger options. Since its opening, it has expanded to serving hot dogs and chicken wings. The burgers are huge so Wing and I split one. We ordered the hickory BBQ burger and some garlic Parmesan chicken wings. The burger didn’t disappoint. I was a little disappointed with the wings when they first put them on our table. I don’t really like the powdered Parmesan cheese which was sprinkled on them, but I ate one anyway. I ended up loving it despite the powdered cheese.