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Posts Tagged ‘Café Champagne’

California Restaurant Month, Temecula Wine Country Style!

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

California Restaurant Month – Splurge, Savor and Save

CA Restaurant Month

Outdoor cafes and bistros, ultra-fresh ingredients, innovative chefs—sample the best of Temecula Valley wine country’s incredible culinary scene throughout January during California Restaurant Month.  Enjoy unforgettable dining experiences at several of our winery restaurants where you’ll find incredible pre-fixe and specialty menu items all month long.

Taste the Place we call home by mentioning California Restaurant Month at any of the below winery restaurants to receive special discounts!

Meritage at Callaway Vineyard & Winery
32720 Rancho California Road
www.CallawayWinery.com

Carol’s Restaurant at Baily Winery
33440 La Serena Way
www.BailyWinery.com

Pinnacle Restaurant at Falkner Winery
40620 Calle Contento
www.FalknerWinery.com

Monte De Oro Winery
35820 Rancho California Road
www.MonteDeOro.com

Mount Palomar Winery
33820 Rancho California Road
www.MountPalomar.com

Vineyard Rose Restaurant at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa
34843 Rancho California Road
www.SouthCoastWinery.com

Thornton Winery
32575 Rancho California Road
www.ThorntonWine.com

Creekside Grill – Wilson Creek Winery
35960 Rancho California Road
www.WilsonCreekWinery.com

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Dream Big ~ John Thornton, Thornton Winery

Friday, October 31st, 2014

Check in every month where we feature a new interview with a Temecula Valley winery owner. You’ll learn where they came from before settling in Temecula, CA – and what keeps them passionate about the sometimes not-so-glamorous life of a winery owner.

The Thornton Family l-r:  Steve, Sally and John

The Thornton Family
l-r: Steve, Sally and John

Our ongoing series this month features John Thornton, of Thornton Winery, one of the valley’s “first”, which opened for business way back in 1988.  Learn why, after almost 30 years, “Mr. T”, as he’s lovingly known to us, still lives and breathes wine.

Why – or how on earth! – did you get into the wine business? And why was Temecula your chosen region?
Well, Sally and I used to travel extensively on business and everywhere we’d visit, we’d try to eat and drink local.  We loved the social aspect of food and wine together.  We thought, “Hey, we can start our own place and offer food and wine and it’ll be easy.” Boy, were we WRONG!  At the time, Ely Callaway was marketing Temecula as the perfect place to make wine and although the area had a small wine industry, we did some research and it did appear to be a “natural” fit for a wine country and poised for growth.

Running a small family winery – even one that’s been around for awhile like Thornton has – must present a unique set of challenges. What keeps you up at night? And what gets you up in the morning?
I think some of the same things that keep most business owners up at night; but for us it’s how to sell our wine, what wines to make, how to keep our customers happy, cash flow….but Steve works this part of the business, so I sleep pretty darn good!  What gets me up in the morning?  I get excited about the challenges in the business actually.  Challenges can be opportunities and we can take a challenge and turn it into something positive.

What do you MOST love about the wine industry?
What I love most about the wine industry is the people.  There are some of the nicest and most genuine people in this industry.  Another thing about this industry that is so great is sharing food and wine with friends;  it’s a wonderful thing.  You add music to that, and you’ve got the perfect combination.

Speaking of music, Champagne Jazz has been a staple in the music industry – and at Thornton – for almost 30 (!) years. Are you proud with its effect on our little wine country?
When we started Champagne Jazz, we never expected it to be what it is today.  It’s had a long life and it’s taken years and a lot of hard work to formulate.  It’s a continuous challenge to combine a food, wine and musical experience that will appeal to a broad audience.  We’re really proud that we’re bringing in some of the best jazz performers in the world.

Cafe Champagne was THE first restaurant in wine country. That must present its own unique opportunities and challenges?
Our biggest challenge was learning the food business.  It’s a tough business.  You’ve got to do a lot of research and make sure that you’ve got what people want.  You’ve got to come up with menus that appeal to customers and you’ve got to make the prices competitive in order to bring the people in.  The restaurant was originally “high-end”, but it’s now more casual.  Steve’s been teaching me that it isn’t always about what I want!  The customer is always right.  We’ve got to listen to them, try to pair the food and wine well, and make them happy.  We’ve got a lot more competition with our neighbors now, and while this is inevitable, it just keeps us planning and adapting.  We’re watching the valley get better and better and it’s exciting to watch!

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January’s “California Restaurant Month” Features Temecula Winery Restaurant Deals

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

If saving bucks while eating out is important to you in the new year, then you must take advantage of the much-anticipated California Restaurant Month specials taking place across the Golden State. Started by Visit California to promote new eateries and great dining deals throughout the month of January, many California cities and regions have annually embraced the designation and Temecula is one of the most celebrated in the state.

Are your favorite winery restaurants offering dining deals in January? Check out the list below!

For more information on Temecula Valley’s Restaurant Month, visit the official website here; or call 951-491-6085.

Learn about California Restaurant Month across the state here! California Restaurant Month is packed with great restaurants, chefs, chef interviews, and great contests with great prizes.

 

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Temecula Valley Wine Country Restaurants

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

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!

 

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Chef-of-the-Month Recipe with Thornton Winery’s Steve Pickell

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Full of flavor and perfectly paired with Thornton Winery’s 2008 Riesling, this special holiday soup recipe is compliments of Executive Chef Steve Pickell, from the  award-winning Café Champagne at Thornton Winery in Temecula, CA. It’s the perfect dish to eat on a cold winter day or to serve as a first course for your holiday meal.

Curried Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients:

1 medium Butternut squash peeled, seeds removed chopped into cubes 1 small yellow onion peeled, chopped
2 cloves fresh peeled garlic 1 quart chicken stock
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2-3 tablespoons
Red Thai Curry paste
Salt & Pepper

Method:

1. Melt butter in a large soup pan. Add onions and garlic cook 1-2 minutes.
2. Add cubed butternut squash. Cook 1-2 minutes
3. Cover with chicken stock. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer 30 – 45 minutes or until squash is soft.
4. Blend soup, strain return to pot. Season with Thai curry paste and salt and pepper as needed.

Café Champagne at Thornton Winery offers guests the perfect combination of French country elegance and gold medal-winning contemporary cuisine. With their dedicated staff’s expertise and artfully designed menu, Café Champagne has won the Gold Award for Contemporary Cuisine for eleven consecutive years from the Southern California Restaurant Writers Association. “Four Stars for Cuisine” and “Four Stars for the Wine List” were awarded by the California Restaurant Writers Association. You can’t go wrong with a  gourmet dining experience paired perfectly with Thornton wine at Café Champagne!

Take a look at the lunch and dinner menus and make your reservations today by calling 951-699-0088.

Thornton Winery is located at Thornton Winery 32575 Rancho California Rd., Temecula, CA 92589.

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