January is California Restaurant Month, so we’d like to take this opportunity to preview the month-long event by highlighting the bounty of restaurants right here in Temecula Valley Wine Country. In case you needed another reason to visit beautiful Temecula Wine Country, here are eight more mouthwatering ways to get the most out of your wine country experience!
The Restaurant at Ponte: Recognized as a top 50 restaurant for outdoor dining in the US by OpenTable, the Restaurant at Ponte serves a wide selection of Farmers’ Market salads, grape-wood fired pizzas, fresh pasta dishes, natural beef, sustainable seafood and homemade desserts. Chef Vincent Logan’s seasonally-driven menu uses only what is fresh and available at that time of year. Share a bottle of Ponte wine with friends over the Butcher’s Platter- the Chef’s selection of cured meats, olives, mustards and capers, or treat yourself to the Lobster Macaroni made with three cheeses and topped with herbed breadcrumbs. Whether you decide on one of Ponte’s signature wood-fired pizzas, grilled seafood options or the Chocolate Blackout Cake, you’ll always have a delicious experience at The Restaurant at Ponte.
The Restaurant at Leoness Cellars: Chef Daragh Matheson crafts Italian and French provincial cuisine for this 3,800 square foot restaurant overlooking the vineyards at Lenoness Cellars. Hailing from Ireland, Chef Daragh is a classically trained chef who has worked in some of the world’s top restaurants, including the Michelin-named Whites on Green in Dublin. Guest favorites include the Mac ‘n Cheese with Truffle Oil, Hand-cut French Fries Topped with Crispy Bacon and Parmesan, and Rack of Lamb with Tomato and Mint Sauce. Next time you’re in the mood to be swept away on a wine and culinary experience, try The Restaurant at Leoness Cellars.
The Pinnacle at Falkner Winery: Voted 2010 Best Restaurant and Best Chef by readers of Inland Empire Magazine, The Pinnacle offers Mediterranean-style cuisine and outstanding service, in addition to Falkner wines. Appetizers include Fresh Asparagus Wrapped in Prosciutto, Ancho Spiced Shrimp and Avocado, and the Trio of Mushroom Soup. For heartier appetites, the Baked Chicken Cannelloni, topped with alfredo sauce and parmesan cheese, is the perfect choice to satisfy that craving for comfort food. For California Restaurant Month in January, Chef Gianni Ciciliot will be offering The Winemaker’s Pasta- fresh pasta tossed with jumbo shrimp and fresh herbs- for only $15.00.
Meritage Restaurant at Callaway Winery: Executive Chef Michael Henry creates diverse, seasonal menus that accentuate Callaway’s long history of fine Temecula wine. Having worked at many top fine dining establishments, including a stint at Cesar’s in Atlantic City for Celebrity Chef Robert Irvine, Chef Michael focuses on freshness and seasonality for the menu at Meritage. Share a variety of tapas (small plates) like Crispy Steak Fries with Parmesan, Parsley & Peppercorn Aioli, Ceviche “Mixto” with Ahi, Octopus, Clams, Mussels & Blue Crab and Asparagus Risotto Fritters with Gorgonzola & Roasted Garlic Cream with a group. The Kobe Beef Cheese Steak Sandwich with Caramelized Onions, Mushrooms, Provolone, Peppercorn Aioli & Fries and Spaghettini & Carlsbad Manila Clams & Mussels with an Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Garlic, Fennel & Baby Tomato Sauce are both popular entrees that can be enjoyed while looking out onto Callaway’s gorgeous vineyards. In January, for California Restaurant Month, guests will have the opportunity to order a Roasted Pork Belly or Grilled Jumbo Shrimp Kebob with taste of paired wines for just $20.
Carole’s Restaurant at Baily Vineyard and Winery: Carole’s Restaurant menu incorporates local produce, fruits and herbs, honey, olive oil, and estate grown produce. Nosh on some Mushroom Drops- Crimini mushrooms stuffed with basil and sundried tomato cream cheese- while trying to decide between the Duet of Raviolis, the Tri-Tip Skewers with Gorgonzola Butter, the BBQ Pork Loin Sandwich and the other mouthwatering offerings on Carole’s entree menu. Sit near the fireplace, enjoy live music every Saturday and Sunday and finish off your meal with a glass of Baily’s 2006 Vintage Port. What an amazing evening!
Shorty’s Bistro at Mount Palomar Winery: Shorty’s Bistro’s Mediterranean inspired appetizers, sandwiches, homemade soups, freshly made hummus, stone oven pizzas, delicious entrees and elegant desserts make it an ideal choice for wine country guests looking for variety. Meat-lovers would be thrilled with the Braciole Beef Baguette, a sandwich of seasoned roast beef, charred tomato, whole grain mustard, gouda, lettuce and onion while vegetarians can delight in The Quattro Fromaggio, a stonebaked pizza topped with mozzarella, cheddar, monterey jack, feta and parmesan cheese with fresh rosemary and extra virgin olive oil. On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, Shorty’s is opened for dinner, and the eclectic menu features a Sweet Onion & Chicken Tart, Seared Salmon with Sofrito and Tri Tip Roast with Portabella Mushroom. Mark your calendars for January’s California Restaurant Month, since Shorty’s will be offering Scallops and Shrimp Skewers Over Risotto, served with wine and cheesecake for a set price of only $30.
Vineyard Rose Restaurant at South Coast Winery and Spa: Vineyard Rose offers wine country visitors a taste of Southern California with a hint of Tuscany. Start your day off with a delicious breakfast (served Monday through Friday from 7:00-10:45am) of Rolling Hills Bananas Foster Pancakes, Country Biscuits With Sausage Gravy or a California Spa Omelette. The lunch menu has something for everyone, with items ranging from Coconut Shrimp all the way to Lamb Osso Buco. Planning a romantic dinner? The Vineyard Rose Restaurant not only offers the ambiance, but dishes like Gnocchi al Fresco and Butter Poached Scallops will help set the mood for a meal to remember.
Café Champagne at Thornton Winery prides itself on its “Contemporary Fusion Cuisine,” which has won the Gold Award for Contemporary Cuisine for eleven consecutive years from the Southern California Restaurant Writers Association. The Vineyard Tapas Plate, comprised of Tuscan Salami, Garlic Herb Shrimp, Marinated Mushrooms, Roasted Tomato, Olives, Goat Cheese Spread and Cracker Bread pairs perfectly with Thornton’s 2010 Tempranillo, while the Baby Spinach and Honey Roasted Pear Salad goes well with Thornton’s 2010 Mouvedre. Dinner entrees such as the Butter Poached Lobster Panini and the Pan Roasted Maple Glazed Salmon are two of the many reasons why Café Champagne was granted 5 stars for contemporary cuisine from the Southern California Restaurant Writers.
Creekside Grille at Wilson Creek Winery: Executive Chef Steve Stawinski brings 20 years of experience to the newest member of the Temecula Valley Wine Country restaurants. The Fall menu features a California Cheese Plate, Red Curry Pumpkin Dip in addition to an array of salads and sandwiches. When owner Mick Wilson discovered an allergy to gluten, he had Chef Steve develop a gluten free menu, which includes Flatbread with Zinfandel Soaked Dried Cherries, Creekside Garden Rosemary, Fresh Mozzarella, CA Olive Oil and Blackberry Balsamic Vinegar and a Creekside Burger served on a gluten free bun. Surrounded by the lush 30 year old Cabernet grapevines, herb garden and flower-filled baskets, the view and ambiance set the scene for an enjoyable day in the wine country.
Anyone hungry yet? Contact any one (or all) of these fine, wine country restaurants to check hours of operation, seasonal menu items and special offers. Make your reservation today!