Places to go, people to feat on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day

Vintana New Year’s Eve menu.

Break out the champagne glasses, Escondido, the Great Grapevine, is ringing in the New Year. While many may prefer the peace and quiet of bringing in the new at home or with close family and friends, there are options afoot for those heading out house doors.

For a low key end to 2015, check the heck out of Open Mic Night at Kettle Coffee and Tea, 119 E Grand Ave. As fate would have it, Open Mic Night is each Thursday and runs along 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 31. Each performer gets 10 minutes to do their thing. For more info, visit

Then, head over to everybody’s favorite upscale haunt for Vintana’s New Year’s Eve. Celebrate the New Year with Chef Deborah Scott’s delicious 3-course menu plus champagne toast. Indulge in some —Traditional? — Black Pepper Bacon Wrapped Filet or Bruleed Pork Porterhouse.

Revelers also can enjoy live music from 9:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. at the Lexus Lounge. Vintana’s New Year’s Eve menu is priced at $69.95 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. For reservations, call (760) 745-7777.

The going gets good to 2016 go at Stone Brewing Co., 1999 Citracado Parkway all day in lots of ways. Festivities kick off at 11 a.m., then continue through the wee hours of the morning culminating in “business as better-than-usual” until 1 a.m., with loads of festive perks to help in the celebration. Chef-selected menu available from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. All food service ends at 10 p.m.

Best of all perhaps, no tickets or cover charge is required. Stop by any time during Thursday’s ramp-up, but keep in mind reservations would be a good idea.

Special New Year’s Eve highlights include:

•36 craft beers on tap, including 11 exclusive New Year’s Eve selections

•Chef-selected New Year’s Eve menu in addition to regular menu*

•Live music by the Lee Coulter Band (6pm – 9pm)

•DJ Joe Mama (9pm – 12:30am)

•Stone’s famous Keg Countdown at midnight

Stone management asks the younger set to bring photo ID’s and plan a safe ride home if they plan on drinking. For more information, visit

Bellamy’s New Year’s Eve.

Bellamy’s New Year’s Eve menu.

It’s been a long time since First Night Escondido bit the bullet in 2010, but that doesn’t mean downtown has died. Bellamy’s Restaurant, 417 W Grand Avenue, ushers in the New Year with a classy, adult beverage, fine dining and more. Offering California Modern cuisine with French influences, this hidden gem in the Hidden Valley does farm-to-table in an upscale environment.

Coming in at $80 per person, starting at 5 p.m., an 8-course dinner starts off New Year’s eve the right way. Or one can opt for the 9-course dinner beginning at 7:15 p.m. for $120 per person. It comes with a  glass of champagne, but of course.

Live entertainment is provided by Bellamy’s staples, Britt Doehring and Jim Melone. For more information, call (760) 747-5000 or visit

Say you get past the 31st into the First, and really got some Z’s, try getting the lead out with a New Year’s Guided Hike at Daley Ranch. that’s rise and shine at 8 a.m. Friday, Jan. 1.

Join Naturalist Lee Dezan on a 3.5-mile hike, lasting about 3-to-3.5 hours. Three pond sites will be visited and the external Ranch House renovation will be viewed. Wear layered clothing and bring at least two liters of water. Treaded footwear is recommended, along with a wide brim hat. Binoculars are always handy as we usually see many birds. OK for leashed dogs. Rain never cancels. Free parking at the La Honda trailhead

Escondido’s beautiful Daley Ranch offers some of the best hiking opportunities in San Diego County. With trails for beginning, intermediate, and advanced hikers, exploring Daley Ranch on foot is family-friendly, and a great way to get some exercise and experience the natural beauty of Southern California. For more information visit

Orfila Vineyards & Winery presents Tunes on the Terrace.

Orfila Vineyards & Winery presents Tunes on the Terrace.

Also on Jan. 1, Orfila Vineyards & Winery presents Tunes on the Terrace from 4 p.m. to 6 13455 San Pasqual Road.The relaxing afternoon of live music and great food courtesy of gourmet food trucks is sure to soother any frazzled New Year’s nerves.

Of course, Orfila is known for its wine, which will be available for consumption. Call (760) 738-6500 ext. 22 or visit

Last but not spiritually least, for those with a more contemplative bent, consider Deer Park Monastery’s Holiday Retreat extending from Dec. 30 to Jan. 3. “In the great hidden mountain,” at 2499 Melru Lane, the monastery is affiliated with the Unified Buddhist Church.

As the monks put it: “When we come back to ourselves, to what is going on in the here and now, we let go of the stories we tell ourselves. Practicing this, we nourish our happiness, our hearts open, and we can come to better love and understand ourselves and our loved ones. This is a real gift to offer.

Deer Park Monastery for those seeking a mindful New Year’s

Deer Park Monastery for those seeking a mindful New Year’s

 “During this retreat, we will practice breathing, smiling, walking, eating, playing, working, sharing, and being together in mindfulness. We will bring our mind and body together, recognizing, touching, and enjoying the fruits of the present moment.”

People of all ages, experiences, and backgrounds are welcome. For parents bringing youngsters, the monks are organizing a children’s program for this retreat. If enough parents register themselves with their teenage children, a teen program will also be organized. Registration for teens and children must be accompanied by an adult registration.

P:ricing starts at $140 for guests who provide their own tents. Other dorm accommodations feature waiting lists. For more information call (760) 291-1003 or visit