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Eating FRESH at Stone World Bistro and Gardens

Quarterly FRESH Dinner features local, organic and sustainable food

Executive Chef Alex Carballo

Executive Chef Alex Carballo

Photo by Hannah Martine
  • Executive Chef Alex Carballo
  • Panzanella salad with Heirloom tomatoes and winged beans
  • Seafood trio of abalone, mussel and oyster
  • Summer salad of heirloom melons, lemon cucumbers and yellow watermelon
  • Pastry Chef Andrew Higgins and his team plating a Peach Melba dessert
  • Peach Melba dessert
  • Stone co-founders Steve Wagner and Greg Koch with Chef Carballo
  • Stone co-founder Greg Koch
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Stone World Bistro and Gardens in Escondido is a whole world unto itself. The facility is large, has picnic grounds and offers both private and public areas to relax from your day and enjoy a beer or glass of wine. You can enjoy waterfalls, smell the herbs grown along the pathways, warm yourself by a stone fire pit, and share a private conversation in sunken seating area or in an Adirondack chair. Walking the gardens brings a peace and calmness after a day out in the hectic world. The dining areas can become indoor or outdoor with the simple moving of large, glass garage-style doors. Filled with rustic woods and dramatic stones, the décor is calming. The overall feeling is very earthy with all of the elements: stone, wood, fire, water and greenery.

Quarterly, Stone Brewing Co. hosts a chef’s dinner called FRESH! featuring foods that are in season and local. Here Executive Chef Alex Carballo gets to shine. Starting very early in the morning this July 26, Chef Alex began double-checking the menu, verifying what foods different farms were able to harvest or supply, and then he was off on a purchasing spree. Fortunately his first stop wasn’t too far away because Stone Brewing Co. has its own farm, Stone Farm, which grows vegetables for the restaurant’s daily use.

The FRESH! menu was filled with vibrant colors and delicious tastes.

First came the Panzanella Salad, a salad of Heirloom tomatoes, winged beans (an Asian delicacy, very light and delicious) and fresh baked croutons all tossed in a lovely Avocado Oil.

Next was the Amuse-bouche, a bite-sized appetizer that served as an excitement of the taste buds both to prepare the guest for the meal and to offer a glimpse into the chef's approach to cooking. The night's amuse-bouche was a zucchini fritter with herbed crème fraiche and a caramelized sweet onion shooter.

Following was a Crepinette; this evening's was a charcuterie of duck, rolled into sausage form, and drizzled with a smoked Porter beer reduction sauce.

The salad was a fun and unique summer salad served family style. The flavors were an explosion in our mouths. It consisted of heirloom melons, lemon cucumbers, yellow watermelon, opal basil, torpedo red onions and olive oil. Yellow, green, sweet, savory, with a bit of crunch in the bread that accompanied the salad. It truly satisfied all taste buds.

Next came the seafood trio: lemongrass-poached abalone with citrus caviar, steamed and chilled mussels with chili crème fraiche, and an oyster shooter. The entrée was a delicious pan roasted white sea bass with corn succotash. This dish was very creative and filled with unique flavors, reminding one of Chef Alex’s Mexican and Spanish heritage.

Pastry Chef Andrew Higgins and his team delighted us with a Peach Melba dessert station. White peaches with raspberry sauce and light vanilla cream--yum!

Each course could be paired with beer or wine, but that wasn’t included in the dinner. However, a special 15th anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA was served directly from the fermenter to all guests. This dark, thick and rich beer will be bottled and available for purchase at Stone Brewing Co.’s 15th Anniversary celebration on August 19 and 20.

Greg Koch and Steve Wagner, co-founders of Stone World Bistro and Gardens founded their restaurant on the philosophy of the international Slow Food movement which promotes getting “back to the table” and celebrates artisanal, natural and old-world approaches to food. This dinner was proof of that commitment. The Bistro’s regular menu is also proof of it; they celebrate their love of all things culinary by featuring both international dishes and local cuisine. Their culinary philosophy also has “sworn off all things mediocre, no matter how popular.” This includes industrial beers, orange-colored cheese and anything high fructose corn syrup.

Visit on a Friday afternoon between 12:30 and 6 p.m., and in the parking lot you will find the Stone Farms Farmers Market. You can purchase the freshest, organic vegetables that are in season and harvested that day.

For current happenings go to Stone World Bistro and Gardens online. There is always something fun happening. In addition to its retail location in South Park, watch for Stone Brewing Co. to expand to Liberty Station and build a hotel in Escondido.

Details »
  • City: Escondido
  • Phone: 760-294-7866
  • Organization: Stone Brewing Co.
  • Venue: Stone Bistro and Gardens
  • Name: Stone Bistro and Gardens
  • Address: 1999 Citracado Parkway