Amaya Grand Del Mar means garden-fresh time

The Mediterranean splendor that is the Grand Del Mar has been documented in this column and publications worldwide. The decorative arts of Spain, Portugal Italy and Morocco are perfectly in harmony in this resort and this perfection is extended to the richly appointed restaurants. We have treated the Addison dining room with its 2,500-bottle wine room under the brilliant leadership of Wine Director Jesse Rodriguez, so it was with great anticipation that the invitation came to review the other, more intimate and seductive Amaya with its delightful herb and vegetable garden just steps away.
Amaya was also unveiling its new summer menu, created by Chef Camron Woods and Food/Beverage Director Ekrem Tercanoglu, which included: Grilled Swordfish, Roasted Halibut, Seared Seabass, Braised Shrort Rib and Whole Roasted Porl. On the subject of his lovely garden of herbs, Camron said, “I will use unusual flavors to mix with our marquee Mediterranean cuisine, like an Asian influence tarragon to accent the Sea Bass in Yellow Tomato Sauce. We cultivate freshness at Amaya.” As evidence, we walked into his expertly prepared garden. “Here you will find lots of basil, dill, parsley oregano, even tomatoes. It’s a feast for the senses with the emphasis on flavor.”
Jesse Rodriguez was also in a celebratory mood as he uncorked his latest wine discoveries with an Italian theme. He introduced La Cappuccina, Soave 2007, a white from Veneto; and Morrano, Chianti 2007, a red from Tuscany, to pair with the chef’s creations.
On Amaya’s terrace next to the herb garden, luscious pastries deserved the finale with such decadence as Carmelized Apricot with Vanilla Cream, Chocolate Royal Hazelnut, and Vanilla Strawberry Panna Cotta. To wash down dessert, a Banfi favorite was served, the Rosso Regale, a delicious strawberry flavored sparkling dessert wine. A perfect 24 hours would be to enjoy Amaya and taste as many of the fine wines as humanly possible; then stay over at one of the 249 rooms at this world-class resort. See more at www.TheGrandDelMar.com.
Winery of the Year
They’re dancing in the tasting room at South Coast Winery Resort and Spa in Temecula as the fashionable estate has again won the California State Fair “Golden Bear” Wine Competition. It remains at the top of the state’s “Best of the Best” for the second consecutive year.
Jim Carter, owner/vintner for South Coast declared “we are proud to share this accomplishment and the attention it has given to the entire Temecula area.” Winemakers Jon McPherson and Javier Flores have assembled some 650 winning wines since the winery started in 2003. and according to Carter “the best wines are being bottled now.” Get more information at www.wineresort.com.
Wine Bytes
— Vino 100 in San Marcos has the mighty Napa favorite Caymus Wine Tasting from 5 to 9 p.m. July 24. Fee starts at $15. Call (760) 591-9113 for details.
— Carlsbad Wine Merchants in the Island Center features small Italian Family Vineyards from 5 to 8 p.m. July 24. Audio League plays. The fee is $20. Call (760) 804-9994 for details.
— Vine to Glass in Oceanside brings in wines from Wiens in Temecula from 6 to 9 p.m. July 25. Six varietals will be poured for $15. Call (760) 757-1037 for details.
— North County Wine Company has two events coming up, including July 24 with a Pinot Noir and BBQ tasting and July 31 Nothing but Cabernet and BBQ. Call for times and price at (760) 744-2119.
— Bacchus Wine Market in San Diego’s Gaslamp District pours Grenache wines from 4 to 8:30 p.m. July 24. Seven samples from the south of France for $15. Call (619) 236-0005 for details.
— Temecula’s best wines will be unveiled in a gala Awards Ceremony and Banquet open to the public at 6 p.m. July 29 at Wiens Family Cellars. Competition wines will be served. Mix and mingle with the winemakers. To RSVP, call (951) 926-1160.
— The fifth annual “Chocolate & Vino Affair” happens at 6 p.m. July 30 at Stingaree, downtown San Diego. It benefits San Diego Big Brothers, Big Sisters. Wineries, downtown restaurants and chocolate shops all donate. Pre-sale tickets are $40 and $50 at the door. Call (619) 339-4564 or e-mail events@ypcsd.com for details.
— Bistro West in Carlsbad has A Night at the Bistro from 7 to 9 p.m. July 28. An exclusive menu plus Beringer wines will be featured for $55 per person. Contact (760) 930-8008 for more information.

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