Those of us who live in Los Angeles are fortunate to have so many choices in just about everything; and in this case, I’m talking about the access to wineries north and south of us. As much as I love the Napa and Sonoma Valleys, it’s hard to plan a trip up there on a moment’s notice; what kills it for me is the 6+ hour drive from L.A.
I enjoy going up to the Santa Ynez Valley up in Santa Barbara County, a 1.5 hour drive up the 101 Freeway and visiting the wineries there, among some of my favorites are Zaca Mesa, Roblar, and Fess Parker. This particular weekend, I found myself in Temecula, about an hour northeast of San Diego or about 100 miles from my home in Los Angeles. It was a girl’s day out with dear friends from high school: Anita, Rosalee, Jackie, and Arlene. We were meeting up at friend Rosalee’s house for a day of BFF bonding. Lucky girl lives in Murietta, a few minutes shy of Temecula and direct access to some of the best wineries in Southern California…and it’s restaurants.
It was an absolutely gorgeous day to be out and about. We decided on a late start and most of us arrived in Murietta about noon. We decided we would have lunch at one of the wineries, do a little wine tasting and then back to Rosalee’s for dinner.
Wilson Creek Winery was the destination of choice for lunch. We all piled into Rosalee’s car and made the short trip out. We were pretty hungry by then, seeing that it was around 2pm and I was looking forward to my first review of a Temecula-based restaurant. Creekside Grill is Wilson Creek’s star restaurant and they were working a very hungry and very busy lunch crowd. There was a short wait so we took the opportunity to look about the beautiful grounds. Wine tasting was in full swing in the Tasting Room and many wine enthusiasts were out and about enjoying an absolutely gorgeous day.
We went into The Barrel Room where visitors to Wilson Creek can reserve the room for private parties and events. It was a nice way to cool off for a bit as the temperature outside was in the high 80’s.
We were finally seated after a short wait. Creekside Grille has outdoor, shaded seating which is perfect for enjoying the beauty of Wilson Creek’s surroundings with misters doing its job in keeping its customers cool and comfortable. The Creekside boasts a simple menu, offering appetizers, salads, sandwiches and summer specials…AND of course, a nice wine list. Rosalee opted to try their Almond Champagne while I went for their Viognier and Anita their White Zinfindel. Perfect choices as far as we were concerned!
We were looking forward to finally being served our entrees and we weren’t disappointed. Rosalee and Jackie decided to split an order of the Chicken Caprese Panini, prepared with a tender breast of chicken, Honeycutt Farms ham, fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil, and herb aioli served on sourdough bread. They opted for a side of fries with their panini. Arlene ordered the same thing but with a side of bowtie pasta salad.
Anita and I opted for the fresh sea bass wrapped in thinly sliced potatoes, pan fried until crisp and golden and served over a fresh lentil salad with herbs. Absolutely delicious, light and paired perfectly with our white wine selections.
After enjoying a delicious lunch, we wanted to try one of their dessert offerings. Anita had spied a brownie dessert that had caught her eye. Upon reading the description of the dessert, I was skeptical. Bleu Cheese Brownie Sundae, a chocolate brownie topped with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, sweet red wine reduction, and a dark cherry compote. The Princess Gourmet likes a lot of things, but alas, bleu cheese anything is not one of them. I asked the server about its preparation and she explained that there are bleu cheese crumbles throughout the brownie but it is subtle in flavor. Knowing that I am adverse to bleu cheese, it might be more than subtle to my palate and Anita agreed so we selected something else–Pot de Creme, vanilla custard topped with rosemary and sea salt infused caramel. Not your average dessert but unique enough with flavors that were palatable.
Wow! Was I pleasantly surprised. The rosemary and sea salt paired with the caramel totally works! What a savory yet silky smooth creation. Absolutely delicious. It went well with the remaining Viognier I had in my wine glass. AND, the restaurant went ahead and served us the Bleu Cheese Brownie Sundae to try gratis. Generous on their part and now I had to try it. I did note the small crumbles of bleu cheese and avoided those patches within the brownie. The server was correct. It was subtle and it was good. I would have preferred the brownie without the bleu cheese but at least I had a chance to try it. I could see this paired nicely with a pinot noir.
Lunch was absolutely amazing and I’d love to come back for dinner. The restaurant is open from 11:0oam to 5:00pm daily and they are currently featuring a new summer menu. They also serve Sunday Brunch from 11:00am to 2:00pm.
WILSON CREEK WINERY/CREEKSIDE GRILL
35960 Rancho California Road
Temecula, CA 92591
Phone: 951.699.WINE (9463)