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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Lucky Number Seven, part 1

So, June 1st was our seven year wedding anniversary. We are pretty sentimental about it, also it's always an excuse to do something fun and exciting. But it's also my sister's birthday and our friend's birthday - so we pretty much give them a bum deal in our selfishness to celebrate our anniversary.

So this year, we really needed a break. We both were tired and I'm always stressed, so nothing new. But we decided to do something more...grown up. We wanted to go up to Temecula for one night since we've never really been up there.

We looked online for some cool place to stay, and for the money, we got someplace....quiet to stay. That means golf courses and blue hair... Which was fine with us. We wouldn't have minded a sleek modern resort that was built in the past decade, but this was fine too. We were actually, just hoping for a place where many families wouldn't be packed into a pool, splashing and turning the water warm....

So we stayed at Pala Mesa Resort. We got up earlyish Sunday morning and packed the car and drove up the 15. It was hazy, but nice. I don't get out much, so driving up north, out east, even still to the beach, wherever away from my little neighborhood is always a thrill. I think that once you don't find your own city fascinating and beautiful, you should move away. That's why I wanted to move away from my hometown as soon as I was cognisant.

Anyway, we drove. We found the hotel, took the exit, drove around to see where to check in, and went back on the 15. We got to Old Town and we parked. We were pretty hungry, so we were hoping for something good to start off our teeny vacation, but it didn't seem very promising. As we drove through Old Town, one of the very first places there - I'm not sure of the name...but one of those grills - it was packed with a wait. So we figured that was the place to go. Every other place was empty, although it was fairly early. So we parked near the end of Front Street and walked back down, hoping for something good to catch our eye.

Then off the street on the corner, the Food Pimp spotted the Public House. The sign had that gastro pub look, so we went up to check it out. It was like an old house, renovated into a restaurant. That was enough to tell me I wanted to eat there. Restaurants in old houses have a soft spot in my heart - because they remind me of New Orleans and stuff.

So we went in, and the porch was fully occupied except for the bar seating by the railing, so we sat inside. It was nicely designed in a minimal Ikea- like style. I was a bit worried that a place like that might be on the pricey side. But once we got the menu I was relieved that it wasn't nearly as $$$ as I thought. And they had mimosas and bloody marys!!! Okay. That was already a plus in my book. So we got mimosas, although I regretted my decision after our server walked away. Anytime someone is making a bloody mary with more than just Zing Zang, I want to taste it....But the FP told me that he would probably finish his mimosa shortly, then he would get a bloody mary so I could taste it. What a thoughtful guy! This is one example of why we've been married for 7 years, together for going on 17 years.

So the brunch menu was very small. This is smart, in my opinion. You have a theme, you go for a short menu, representing what brunch typically is, and make each dish really tasty and beautiful. That also makes it easier on the staff's Sunday morning hangovers.

So I was starving. I wanted the french toast...but french toast isn't filling enough for me. I know, it was probably a huge portion...but it's eggy bread...So I got something very out of character for myself. Omelette. This was a very contrived, for research purposes kind of decision. I generally don't like omelettes. If you refer back to my Milton's blog, which was a year or two ago, I go into great detail about omelettes. Basically, I like scrambles. Omelettes are either too fluffy or too browned. Just not my thing. How, you might say, did I work for 2 years at a cafe making omelettes five mornings a week. Money, baby. And a good schedule. And working with good, fun people. And great stories to tell. I made more money flipping omelettes than I do running a kitchen. And I miss those nights and weekends off. Especially on beautiful days like today.

Anyway, getting back to the Public House.

So this little surprise complimentary starter came out. I'm going to guess at what it was, because I didn't take notes, and I don't want to presume that I knew exactly what everything was and where it came from. I hate when restaurant reviewers try to come off like authorities and their facts are all wrong and they never bothered to fact check. I don't get paid for this, and it's more like my personal life blog than a resource type reference, so I'm not going to go to too much trouble to make sure it's 100% accurate. At least I'm being honest. A little homemade marmalade, blackberries, temecula honey - mayhaps, some fresh local soft cheese. So the cheese looks really sweet, right? I thought it was sweet cream butter, but it was more like a yogurt. Tangy, such a balance with all the sweet and tangy stuff on the plate. It was really spectacular, and we didn't even order it!!!

So here's my omelette. It looks good. It looks like it was made with half a dozen eggs! It had spinach, mushrooms and swiss. I want to say that it was so lucious and changed my mind about omelettes. I can't lie though. It was good. For an omelette. It was too big. The outside egg was too brown, too cooked. I am no omelette expert. I know I put out some bad omelettes, I'm sure of it. But I think what I would like from an omelette is a balance of filling and egg. But it has to be slowly cooked on low, so that the middle is kind of...creamy...not raw or runny, but this side of fluffy. The outside can have a crispy crust, but not to thick so that it's chewy egg. You know what I mean. This one had a nice center, but there was too much egg on the outside, I guess. I ate most of it though. I was damn hungry.

The Food Pimp's Reuben Hash - or some name like that. Well, it wasn't called "The Food Pimp's Reuben Hash" it was reuben hash that the FP ordered.

Anyway, it was really delicious. It had corned beef chunks, wilted cabbage and a mix of local new potatoes and then this sauce that looked like hollandaise, but it turned out to be mustard! It was just a wonderfully executed work of art. Although, maybe it could have had a tad more cabbage. But that's like saying "A Starry Night" could have had more stars in the painting....

And then the FP ordered a bloody mary. It was delicious. Horseradish, lots of black pepper. You could see all the spices settling at the bottom of the glass, which is a good thing!

So we asked our server, who turned out to be one of the managers about which wineries to visit. So he found a magazine and pointed out some wineries that he and the chef/owner liked. So we wrote some down, and were on our way.

Of course when we were leaving, our tiny bladders had to be relieved, so we went to the restroom, which was out back by the patio area. This was amazing. It was like a small replica of the stone brewery beer garden! It had a small stage too, which always has us thinking about what kind of live entertainment they have. I'm not sure how perfect blue would go over in this kind of setting. Anyway, the Public House is definitely a place we will be visiting again when we are in the area! I'm not sure if I should really give it a chopsticks rating, but what the hey! I give them \/\/\/ six chopsticks. Because it's not just about the food, it's about the whole experience, which was a great way to start our little 7 year anniversary excursion!

We went across the street to the wine tasting room, where they gave us a map of all the wineries. So we headed up the street to Rancho California.

41971 Main St, Temecula - (951) 676-7305

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