The Coast News Group
Taste of Wine

Local establishments team up for ‘Restaurant Week’

More than 150 San Diego County fine dining eateries banded together in a sweeping effort to stimulate the joy and benefits of “eating out.” A well thought-out plan, with San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders as spokesman, offered three-course “prix fixe” meals at more than 150 participating restaurants for $20, $30 or $40 per person.
This year’s promotion had a sense of urgency to it, as times are tough in the restaurant business. The weeklong effort, according to Restaurant Week coordinator Sarah Znerold of SZPR, offered “a great opportunity to try a new restaurant. People can really see the value when they are getting an entire three-course meal for as low as $20.”
Most of the restaurants were represented with their chefs at a kickoff luncheon and display of the dinners Jan. 7 at Tom Hams on Harbor Island.
Wine pairings were an important part of the proceedings with some restaurants displaying the selected wines. I was happy to see the Fish Market display spotlighting my top-10 favorite Clos LaChance Zinfandel with their Prix Fixe entrée.
Restaurant Week included some of my favorites in the North Coastal area including: Firefly, Savory, Vigilucci’s, Firenze and Via Italia in Encinitas, Pasquale, Kitchen 1540 and Paradise Grill in Del Mar and Blue Fire Grill in La Costa.
Small winery management now in Temecula
Finally there is a one-stop winery service company that can guide a small vineyard to success. It’s the recently opened Temecula Valley Winery Management, or TVWM, team led by executive director Patrick Bartlett. He has smoothed the way for nearly a dozen clients to start their own wineries and to make, bottle and sell their own boutique wines.
This question is right up there with the most asked when I appear at events: “Who can I go to for advice on starting my own vineyard?” The 33,000-square-foot facility on Diaz Road answers that by operating as a fully bonded winery facility and providing a secured space for winemakers to process their own grapes and produce their wines under the guidance of Bartlett and winemaker Tim Kramer. Selling their wines is streamlined under a direct-to-consumer program and a tasting room and wine bar in Old Town Temecula.
TVWM is now planning a wine club for its clients as well as a restaurant placement program, special events and promotions for its clients’ wines. For more information, contact Patrick Bartlett at (951) 699-8896 or e-mail [email protected].
Wine Bytes
—Wine Street in Carlsbad, under the new ownership of Christopher Garrett, has a Tour de France wine event from 5 to 8 p.m. Jan. 23. Wines tasted are from Loire, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Rhone Valley and Alscace. The cost is $15 per person. Call (760) 431-8455 for more information. Garrett has installed an enomatic machine with variable tasting quantities in a “serve yourself” format.
— Wine Loft in the Forum in Carlsbad is planning a Winemaker appearance with Timm Crull of the Terraces Winery from 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 23. The cost is $30 each. Call (760) 944-1412 for details.
— Leal, Cakebread and Frank Family Cabs will be spotlighted at North County Wine Company in San Marcos from 5 to 8 p.m. Jan. 23. Call (760) 744-2119 for more information. Cost is $15.
— Pinot Envy is the theme at Holiday Wine Cellar in Escondido from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 26. Blind taste five selections and see if you can pick out the $50 Pinot. The cost is $5 per person. Call (760) 745-1200 for details.
— Napa Valley’s Levendi Winemaker Allison Doran will guide you through her wines during a dinner at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse, downtown San Diego from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Jan. 27. The cost is $95 each. Call (619) 237-1155 to RSVP.
— A Tablas Creek Wine Dinner will be at 3rd Corner Wine Shop & Bistro in
Encinitas at 6 p.m. Jan. 28. Winemaker Jason Haas will be at the dinner with inside information about his award-winning Paso Robles wines. The cost is $65 per person. Call (760) 942-2104 to RSVP.