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The Good Taste of Meritage at Callaway

  03/08/12 17:07, by , Categories: Guitar, Acoustic, Music News, BFMN Exclusive, Dan Grigor, wakitu, Review, Video , Tags: 12-string acoustic blues fusion, callaway winery, chef, dan grigor, meritage at callaway, micheal henry, mike henry, tapas, temecula, wine country, winery

by Wakitu

February 26 was a very special anniversary for Dan Grigor and me, and we decided to start the day in a very special way: clinking wine glasses over Sunday brunch at the Meritage, overlooking the vines of Callaway’s Vineyard and Winery. What an exquisite choice that turned out to be!

Click through for more about Meritage
and a live performance video!

Meritage at Callaway is an exceptional spot for fine dining in Temecula. From the moment you walk past the Callaway Vineyard and Winery fountain and reflecting pool to enter the glass-walled Meritage on the edge of the vineyard, you feel the warm, welcoming ambiance.

We were immediately seated at a window table, from which we would look across the vines and most of Temecula, a lovely view even before the vines are weighted down with their tasty treasures. The wait staff was attentive, informative, and downright friendly. In fact, when they learned it was our anniversary, we were treated to the champagne toast pictured above with the warmest of wishes from the crew; very special.

Chef Michael Henry and his team use fresh, local, sustainable ingredients to produce tapas and entrees with a Mediterranean flair and meticulous care. Whether you’re looking for a break in the midst of a day of wine tasting throughout the lovely Temecula Valley, or giving yourself a special dining experience, you will likely find something ideal in their unique menu or, like me, be tempted by one of the daily specials chalked on boards next to the wine bar. Cheese plates, tapas, entrees, even desserts: there is something for everyone’s palate and plans for the day.

On my first trip, I gave in to the tantalizing apple tart (absolutely delicious) with a tasting portion of Viognier while Dan ordered “Red Wine & Mascarpone Risotto Fritters with Crab & Anchovy Marinara” from their tapas menu with a glass of Callaway Winemaker’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. The fritters smelled as good as they tasted, and each bite was a delight.

Of course, we prefer to seek out and patronize places that promote live music and, through the chill months, Meritage brings unique, acoustic music up close and personal to enhance your dining experience. On our first visit, we were treated to pop classics on guitar and harmonica. Other Sundays you may encounter gypsy music, catch Celtic nuances, or even stumble onto the 12-string acoustic blues fusion originals of Dan Grigor, as was the case on the occasion of our second visit.

The weather was sunny and quite warm that second Sunday. I enjoyed refreshing glasses of iced Sangria along with the performance, while Dan sipped at his Cabernet. I ordered a basket of the bread - whole wheat - and was delighted with a warmed, rustic loaf of dense, wholesome-tasting bread, delivered with dipping sauces of a simple peppered hummus and seasoned oil. Again, I had problems deciding on an entree among so many unique, appealing menu options. Watching and smelling the food delivered to the other patrons, and watching their obvious pleasure in their meals, didn’t make it any easier.

Again, I gave in to the temptation of a chalked description and ordered a bacon, asparagus and provolone omelet with fries and tomato salad. Every bite was a treat! Fluffy eggs wrapped around thick, smoky bacon and fresh, tender asparagus; a generous allotment of provolone, all topped with tangy, rich cherry tomatoes and crispy fat potato fries on the side. I decided to go with a glass of iced herbal tea with my brunch and it was the perfect complement to an absolutely delicious meal.

Dan enjoys lamb and I encouraged him to try it. When Chef Mike described the way they prepare the leg of lamb (something about a rub, and duck fat and slow cooking and…) he was hooked. You’ll find it on the “sandwiches” portion of the menu as “Confit Leg of Lamb Flatbread withTatziki Sauce, Greens, Pickled Cucumber, Carrot & Onion, Pomegranate Dressing & Fries.” And he was savoring every mouthful when it arrived. We couldn’t eat the entire meal and I’ll confess right now it was just too good to leave behind! (It was also absolutely delicious later that night!) He loves the Callaway Cabernet and found it suited his lamb well.

Callaway Vineyard and Winery is in the midst of another expansion, and the Spring and Summer months always bring exciting events to the covered patio attached to Meritage and other great spaces on the grounds. Tours and Tastings are, of course, regularly scheduled and we are looking forward to more expansive live music events as the weather warms. This is definitely a venue to consider for the special events and gatherings in your life: a beautiful, sweeping location catered by the exceptional culinary delights of Meritage at Callaway; call for info. Paired with the outstanding wines from Callaway’s vines, and live music several days a week, it is an experience not to be missed!

And now, another sampler to be savored from that lovely Sunday at Meritage: an instrumental performance from the 12-string guitar of Dan Grigor. Enjoy!

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