Casa de Bandini rolls out delightful new seasonal menu


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Jul 26, 2023

Casa de Bandini rolls out delightful new seasonal menu

I’ve always been a huge fan of Casa de Bandini — the margarita menu is as fun and delicious as I’ve had anywhere, and the food has always been spot-on. The strolling mariachis also add an air of

I’ve always been a huge fan of Casa de Bandini — the margarita menu is as fun and delicious as I’ve had anywhere, and the food has always been spot-on.

The strolling mariachis also add an air of authenticity, and the whole atmosphere always seems to put me in a good mood, especially the outdoor seating. The restaurant recently invited The Coast News team to preview some of their new seasonal menu items.

In addition to catching up with my colleagues, I was impressed by everything on the new seasonal menu.

My top pick was the ceviche that arrived in a very sizable portion and was fresh and delicious, with fresh mango as a nice added touch. But honestly, I would second everything mentioned by The Coast News team.

I’ll start with Samantha Nelson, community news editor and reporter covering Oceanside and Escondido, who had this to say about our lunch: “I expected the spicy salmon tacos to be my favorite dish on the seasonal menu, but I was swept away by the Nopalitos con Puerco – featuring tender pork sauteed with small strips of nopales cactus with a deliciously spiced salsa.

“A close second was the Ultimate Green Burrito, a true testament to its name – once again beautifully tender pork sauteed with onions, serrano’s, sweet peppers and salsa verde neatly wrapped in a flour tortilla. Despite the generously large portions, I could barely stop myself from finishing every bite during lunch, and what little I saved was quickly devoured later that night.”

Sue Otto is the advertising manager and longtime friend at The Coast News who has joined me on several Lick the Plate dinners and is quite the foodie. This was her take on the experience:

“I thoroughly enjoyed the Ultimate Green Burrito. It was huge, and I had lunch for several days with leftovers! The tender, seasoned pork was perfectly balanced with tangy salsa verde. It was delicious and filling and, topped with more salsa and complemented with a dollop of sour cream. I also love the fresh salsa from Casa de Bandini — they make it fresh daily, seasoned and spiced perfectly. I slathered on extra salsa to the burrito and took a side dish home for later. The service we received was impeccable as well.”

Jordan Ingram, managing editor at The Coast News, had a few of his favorites, starting with the Green Burrito:

“I am a sucker for a good burrito, especially wrapped in homemade flour tortillas. And I love chile verde on anything. Casa de Bandini’s Ultimate Green Burrito checked all of those boxes and had just about everything I wanted in a burrito — tender, well-seasoned pork smothered in tangy green sauce and topped with a dollop of sour cream.

“I also really enjoyed the Nopalitos con Puerco, a dish with pork and nopalitos (stems of the prickly pear cactus) smothered in a deep-red New Mexico chile sauce reminiscent (in my mind, anyway) of Chile Colorado. All in all, the seasonal menu was fresh, bright and tasty. And I expected nothing less from one of my favorite Mexican restaurants in North County.”

The Casa de Bandini team is so gracious, and they make you feel so welcome, almost like you are at someone’s home. Being a regular of the restaurant, this assignment was a perfect end to my hectic week, and I enjoyed my coworkers as we rarely get to go out for lunch together (we are always on deadline).

I go way back with Chris Kydd, associate publisher of The Coast News, it must be over 15 years now we’ve been working together. Over the years, Chris has connected me with some solid Lick the Plate recommendations, so I’ve grown to trust his culinary sensibilities.

His observations were detailed and spot on: “I was blown away by the flavors and textures on Casa de Bandini’s seasonal special menu. The refreshing Mango Ceviche with Pescado set the tone for a wonderful meal. Thick chunks of fresh mango and avocado blended perfectly with the tender marinated fish, cilantro, and onions. I’m stealing this recipe.

“The Spicy Chile Campana was my favorite of the five dishes we tried, and that’s what I’ll be ordering on my next visit. The chile flavor and cheese melted over the shrimp made my taste buds dance and sing joyfully. The first-class, home-style beans and rice on the side made for a comforting refuge from the heat delivered by the Diablo sauce over the chicken. This dish was large enough to share and belongs on the main menu for less than $20.

“While the Salmon Tacos and Green Burrito were also noteworthy, the other star of the meal was the Nopalitos con Puerco. This dish changed my opinion about eating cactus. The texture was delightful after simmering in New Mexico chile sauce and using this particular chile variety was a stroke of genius.

“Nopal is removed from my do-not-eat list now… yum. The next time I have guests in town or a special occasion, I’m headed to Casa De Bandini, where it feels and tastes like old Mexico. I think I’ll order one of their giant Cadillac Margaritas they’re known for… the best I’ve found in North County.”

And there you have it, firsthand testimony from part of the team that makes up the heart and soul of the best weekly community newspaper in San Diego. I’d say it warrants visiting Casa de Bandini to experience all these fantastic new menu items and more.

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