It’s arrival time for the Landings

Bill Slattery is a restaurateur who has The Landings flying high.
He’s finally arrived at a format of chef-inspired food, a wine menu with tasty surprises, and entertainment that changes nightly from Tuesday through Saturday nights.  The Landings is the only restaurant at Palomar International Airport in Carlsbad, now sporting a $200 million upgrade by the county. I was quick to note that although there were some travelers in the dining room, the vast majority were locals.
“We have lots of regulars who have discovered our 4 to 7 p.m. happy hour  specials and small production wines, beers and cocktails, then moved into small plates and full dinners,” he said. “And with the airport landing strip just outside our big bay window, there are fascinating views of aircraft, from bi-planes to corporate jets.” The Landings has kicked off “Wine Down Wednesday” from 4:30 to 7 p.m. During that time, you can try a sample of the featured wine and stay for a great glass and happy hour.  Wines will change weekly.
The house cabernet met my taste test. It was a smooth, rich, silky cab, remarkable in texture. I was surprised that it was Smoking Loon, a value budget wine.
At the Landings, you’ll find lengthy breakfast and lunch selections, including a Peanut Butter Burger that you simply have to try. It’s an Angus Beef that’s laced with creamy peanut butter, swiss cheese and bacon on a sesame bun with choice of side.  Small plates are uniquely prepared and include Coconut Shrimp, Crab Cakes and Avocado Spring Roll. An array of seafood, steak and pastas dominate the dinner menu.  With the warm weather here, you will want to enjoy the large outdoor comfortable patio while you enjoy the cuisine of the Landings. Call (760) 929-0200 or visit www.carlsbadlandings.com for more information.
Gondola wine tasting Cruises
Sean Jamieson and his gondola crew are in the middle of their 12th summer at Loews Resort Coronado Cays, offering Venetian-style cruises to guests. That’s a lot of miles sipping fine wine and tasting desserts.
“Our authentic gondolas have taken about 3,500 guests through 55,000 miles of the canals of the Cays over 12 years, at about  1.5 miles per cruise,” he enthused. “It’s the most peaceful, positive way to taste wine that you can imagine.” Wine sommelier Kurt Kirschenman shares his knowledge and experience with six intriguing international wine varietals on Wednesday nights starting at 6:30 p.m. The night of the wine tasting, we had 12 on board the large bench style cushioned-seated gondola. The Gondola Company also books private wine tasting cruises and is planning two Full Moon Cruises on Sept. 23 and Oct. 22, both starting at 6:30 p.m. Cost is $45 per person. Cruises are also available weekdays from 3 p.m. to midnight and weekends from 11 a.m. to midnight. Call (619) 429-6317 or visit www.gondolacompany.com for more information.
Wine Bytes
— Falkner Winery and their Pinnacle Restaurant in Temecula Wine Country has brought in special lunches and free jazz events both Sept. 4 and Sept. 5, Labor Day weekend. Specials will be in addition to the normal menu. Reservations by calling (951) 676-8231, ext. 1.
— Holiday Wine Cellar Escondido presents Neyers Vineyards from Napa Valley from 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 10. Cabernet and Merlot will be featured. Cost is $15. More info at (760) 745-1200.
— Staglin Family Vineyard up in Napa Valley has a music festival to benefit mental health, featuring country superstar Dwight Yoakam, on Sept. 11. Reception and wine tasting at 2 p.m., concert at 3:45 p.m. for $750 each. Eighty-plus wineries will be pouring. Other optional features available. Call (707) 963-4038 or visit www.music-festival.org for more information.
— The Grand Del Mar, Addison has Tastings on the Terrace Wednesday in September from 6 to 7 p.m., celebrating California Wine month. Enjoy premium pours of Chardonnay on Sept. 8. The cost is $20 per person. Call (858) 314-2000 for details.

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