Just 1 1/2 hours from the metropolis of LA there’s a wonderful up and coming town full of food and wine delights called Temecula. The name Temecula comes from the Luiseno Indian word of “temet” meaning sun and “ngna” meaning place of. It has a Mediterranean climate, warm summer days and mild winters and this makes it perfect for growing citrus, and recently, wine and olives. It has a colorful history with fights between Mexicans, and various Indian tribes and was very wild west with its economy mostly centered around agriculture and ranches. It sits on I15 between Los Angeles and San Diego and if you’re visiting Southern California it’s a fun weekend destination or a stop off on the way to the coast.
There are various wineries to visit with restaurants where you can sit back, enjoy good food, often listen to music and sip wine overlooking the vineyards. As you drive around the area you will be treated to rows of grapefruit and oranges. It has numerous inns, spas, a historic downtown and children’s museums.
We stopped on our way to San Diego and ate at Baily Vineyard a well established, family run place with great food and good service. I had a wonderful ravioli dish with a tomato and wine sauce and my husband had a delicious salmon plate.
On the way back we had lunch at South Coast resort and spa, in fact it is California’s winery of the year. Nice setting but it felt a little too big and impersonal to us.
So forget the crowds of Napa and try Temecula next time you’re in California.
Rebecca Subbiah is a registered dietician in the US and UK, a social media maven and also runs the healthy recipe blog Chow and Chatter since 2008. Get to know her better on Twitter and Facebook. Vote for her, she’s up for a Shorty Award in food this year.