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Cover Story September 10th, 2009

  Untitled Document


Secret Locations, above:
Above - Patio with wine and dinner, Temecula Creek Inn
Middle - Majestic Farms, Vista
Bottom - Tina Quo, 23 year old classical cellist and multi-genre electric cellist, The Edge Restaurant, Temecula

by lyle e davis

Okay, here’s the deal.

I’m gonna tell you all of my secret playgrounds, places where we enjoy going, doing things, spending our discretionary income . . . you agree not to tell a soul. Not one person, other than you, is to be privy to these great, fun-filled locations. Deal?

Okay. A bit of background.

We who live in San Diego County tend to get spoiled. There are lots of places to go and things to do, places where we can spend the aforementioned discretionary income. What we need are some fresh, new places and/or fresh, new ideas.

We have a few suggestions:

Instead of a 30-45 minute trip south to the metropolitan San Diego, try looking a wee bit north. Start at the north end of Escondido and explore the Welk Resort . . . look a bit further north and you’ll find a booming playground called Temecula.

Just this past Friday we followed our own advice and headed up to the Welk Resort where we had a superb dinner at the Canyon Grille Restaurant and then took in a rollicking good fun show, “The Andrews Brothers,” a musical comedy farce about three stagehands with the USO, stationed in the South Pacific. They eagerly anticipate the arrival of The Andrews Sisters, only to learn of a last minute cancellation. Rather than disappoint the waiting members of the military, scheduled to shove off the next day, the stage hands adopt the dress and song stylings of The Andrews Sisters. The preparations for the show and the show itself makes for a number of laugh-out-loud comedy bits as well as some outstanding singing, harmony, and choreography.

Cost? Quite reasonable. $29 to $47 for performance only, $35 to $63 to include a delicious buffet at the Canyon Grille. The Andrews Brothers plays through November 8th of this year.

Saturday, we headed a bit further north, dropped in to visit many new found friends at our favorite hide-away, The Temecula Creek Inn. We reported on this wonderful hotel and restaurant/golf complex in our August 20th issue, “The Place called Temecula!” http://thecommunitypaper.com/archive/2009/08_20/index.php.

We spent three glorious days as guests of the Temecula Creek Inn and absolutely fell in love with the place. If you’re a golfer, Temecula Creek Inn features 27-Holes of Championship Golf surrounded by over 300 acres of rustic beauty, dramatic elevation changes, sweeping mountain views and year-round sunny weather.

Temecula Creek Inn Golf Course was awarded a Four-Star rating from Golf Digest's "Places to Play," and provides golfers with a perfect combination of challenging golf and breathtaking scenery.

Temecula is a great place for ‘day-trippers,’ but it’s an even better place to get away for two or three days, or even longer.

The Temecula Creek Inn, for example, has a beautiful winery tour package, complete with limousine, a visit to three wineries, your own special bottle of wine . . .and luxurious accommodations. You can check this treat out on their ad on page 16 of this week’s paper.

After visiting with the folks at Temecula Creek Inn we headed over to our favorite restaurant, The Edge. It’s brand new, located on the north end of Old Town. On this, our second visit, we once again received fantastic food, great service, we had the opportunity of watching and listing as outstanding musical artists performed in the lounge.

“Look! Is that Lyle Davis over there? Listening to cello music?”

Yep, that was me, with Evelyn, sitting in the lounge listening to and watching a beautiful young lady perform on the cello. Tina Quo, 23 year old classical cellist and multi-genre electric cellist, amazed the audience with her talent. The lounge has live musical entertainment Thursday through Saturday evenings. On Saturdays, it’s one act after another, exploring multiple genres of music. There is, literally, something for everyone.

Says owner, Simon Curtis: “We like to keep wowing our Saturday night guests with high-end performers and unexpected talent”

The Edge Restaurant and Lounge’s Las Vegas style elegance is the first of its kind in Southwest California. Guests walk on alligator patterned leather flooring beneath Italian fabric chandeliers. Water walls in both the restaurant and lounge accent the warm colored, curtained VIP booths and sofa seating. The lounge area serves small plates and a variety of specialty drinks, as well as award winning wines.

The Edge is located at 28544 Old Town Front Street, Temecula. For reservations or information, please call (951) 506-EDGE (3343).

Just to show you how much we really love this place, Evelyn and I used to have a restaurant we called “our restaurant.” It was “The Liaison,” in San Diego. It has since closed (through no fault of ours, I hasten to add). Wanna guess where “our restaurant” is now?

Try The Edge in Temecula. That’s where we’ll be when we want fine food an drink and some quiet time. Perhaps we’ll see you there as well? (But, remember the deal! You cannot tell anyone else about any of these neat places I’m telling you about. It is our little secret. Too many people know about these places and before you know it, they’ll be having all the fun and you and I will be left out in the cold). Call 951.506.3343 or go to edgelounge.com for further information.


Austin Eversman, Eric Antman

Jumping back down into San Diego County, we have quite an impressive playground right here in Vista. It’s the Majestic Farms facility, just a few miles south of Highway 78. Here’s what’s special about this place. The owners, Eric Antman and Austin Eversman are totally dedicated to horses and horsemanship. Indeed, their business mission is “responsibility, dedication and respect,” for the horse, for the horseman. Their facility in Vista is conveniently located just off of the 78. It boasts a large outdoor riding arena, small outdoor riding arena and 50 ft bull pen. The main barn sits up on the hill, catching the afternoon ocean breeze, overlooking the main riding arena.

Majestic Farms offers a variety of services to suit all ages and levels of horse enthusiasts. They encourage learning through hands-on experience. Whether you plan on learning to ride or drive, buying a young prospect as an investment, breeding a future champion, or becoming a world class rider, they can help you achieve your goals.

Private lessons are available for riders 5 years of age and up. First time riders to advanced show riders are paired with a suitable horse. Lessons last approximately 30 minutes and are supplemented by topics including grooming, basic horse care, equine nutrition, breed information, and many more. Lessons are tailored to the rider to help them fullfill their personal equestrian goals.

Majestic Farms specializes in the training and transformation of young, inexperienced horses into successful show stars. A combination of these techniques aids in the progression of young, green horses becoming mature show horses.

Austin and Eric both boast esteemed equitation careers and lend their skills to the development of juveniles into equitation riders and competent equestrians. Majestic Farms also works with the adult amateur to improve overall riding skills and to become more competitive in the show arena. For directions and rates, call Majestic Farms at 760.732.0334.

Heading back up to Temecula to search out more undiscovered pleasure places, we uncover something that the kids will go nuts for. Keep it quiet, though. Kids learn about this and they’ll be bugging you night and day to go back again and again.

Check out a place called Pennypickle's Workshop, also known as the Temecula Children’s Museum. Pennypickle's Workshop has been awarded the 2009 Parents’ Picks Award as the San Diego area's best museum by ParentsConnect, a national Web site run by Nickelodeon, the children's television network. A regional editor for the site nominated the uniquely themed science-based facility, which was announced as the winner on Monday, August 17, 2009.

Professor Phineas T. Pennypickle’s Workshop, Temecula

The Workshop is the imaginary home of Professor Phineas T. Pennypickle, a wacky time-traveling scientist and inventor. Each room in his “home” contains hands-on inventions, gadgets, and experiments, providing a unique educational and entertainment experience in the sciences.

The Temecula Children's Museum competed for the ParentsConnect honor with the likes of the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in San Diego, which won last year's contest. About a month into the contest, the Fleet center had about 23 percent of the votes, and Pennypickle's about 1 percent, but the numbers grew quickly in Pennypickle's favor. At one point it had 80 percent of the vote. Some 7,000 votes came into the ParentsConnect site for this contest, Roses said.

Temecula's museum was said to deserve recognition because it "engages kids with secret passageways, puzzles, machines, and whimsical gizmos, and makes them feel like insiders in the world of science, encouraging them to explore their inner inventors," stated Drew Kristofik, site director of ParentsConnect. "It's an unusual and innovative idea for a museum. We wish there was something like it in every city."


Children love Professor Phineas T. Pennypickle and his Workshop

Part of the museum’s great appeal is children’s acceptance of the imaginary characters of the elusive Professor Pennypickle and his little sidekick Beaker, a field mouse who travels in the Professor’s lab coat pocket and whose thoughts mirror that of a small child.

“Children love fantasy and Pennypickle’s Workshop immerses them into an atmosphere of discovery -- but just between us adults, we are actually exposing them to science theories while they play,” laughed Pat Comerchero, president of the Friends of the Temecula Children’s Museum Comerchero continued . . “We really are about as family-friendly as you can get, since parents love the Workshop as much as their children do. This award means a lot to us because we strive hard to offer a visually rich environment with innovative programming which embraces a child’s desire for fun and exploration.”

Pennypickle's Workshop is located at 42081 Main Street, Temecula, CA 92590. More information about the facility and special events can be found at www.pennypickles.org or call the Professor’s hotline at 951-308-6376.

Naturally, some of the more prominent playgrounds in the Temecula area are the vineyards and the various wineries. Your timing is particularly good because this is harvest time!

For those who grow grapes and are in wine country, this is the time of year when everyone on the staff and, often, family members, this is the time of year when lessons are learned as to whether one planted the right variety of grape, at the right time of year, did the proper amount of pruning, irrigation and fertilization, and chose to harvest at the right time.

Wine-grape harvest in the Temecula Valley is just getting under way. Cooler-than-normal weather this summer is helping area growers in the form of a good harvest, but a surplus of certain grapes is dampening profits.

Growers have been playing guessing games as to which variety of grape to plant, how much of each variety, and then they hope they’ve guessed right on what the weather is going to do and what the consumer will prefer in wine variety. Of course, a healthy economy helps, too.

About 30 varieties of wine grapes are grown in the Temecula Valley, ranging from mainstream chardonnays to more exotic varieties. This season, many area growers bet on cabernet sauvignon ---- too much it appears, for the market to absorb. By all accounts the harvest of cabernet sauvignon grapes are superb . . . but if you have a surplus, more than the market demands, it gluts the market so you leave a lot of fruit on the vine rather than incur harvest costs.

When to pick the grapes is a critical decision, not just for flavor but also market timing. When they plant in the spring, growers hope for a long "hang time" on the vine so the flavor develops in the grapes.

The harvesting of grapes can be a 24 hour around the clock affair, with crews working at night under flourescent lights mounted on tractors. A picking crew of 15 men can pick around 14 tons of grapes in one night. Two or three nights and you’ve got a pretty sizable vineyard all harvested. Picking at night when it is cooler means the fruit is firmer and the grape's sugar concentration more stable. Next step calls for the grapes to ferment, usually in stainless steel tanks. At $24,000 each, this becomes an expensive process. One winery has at least 18 such tanks.

Hot air balloons gently float over Temecula Valley Vineyards

Constant monitoring and testing of the wines help control the final outcome by adding or withholding certain enzymes and/or acids. This current harvest will be ready to bottle and go to market in about a year.

What about the traditional wine crush, where folks stomp around in buckets and squeeze the juice out of the grapes. Usually, you’ll find only the smaller wineries do that, and that’s often for the tourists; hobbyists will also do it.

The larger wineries, however, have machines, one which will remove the grapes from the stems, another that will crush the grapes. Figure about two hours to crush a large tonnage of grapes, mechanically. Not as romantic, perhaps, but efficient.

Temecula Valley wine facts:

-- Total 2008 wine grape tonnage: 4,005

-- Wine per acre: About 160 gallons

-- Amount grape-pickers can earn per night: $75 to $225

-- Life span of wine-grape vines: 100 years

-- Peak production: From Year 5 to Year 20:

Sources: Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association

You may wish to contact the various wineries, learn their schedules and fees, what tours, if any, they offer, and then plan your visits accordingly. Here is a list of the Wineries that are members of the Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association:

Baily Vineyard & Winery
Briar Rose Winery.
Callaway Vineyard & Winery
Churon Winery
Cougar Vineyard & Winery
Doffo Vineyard & Winery
Falkner Winery
Filsinger Vineyards & Winery
Hart Winery
Keyways Vineyards & Winery
La Cereza Winery
Leonesse Cellars
Maurice Car'rie Vineyard & Winery
Miramonte Winery
Oak Mountain Winery
Palumbo Family Vineyards & Winery
Ponte Family Estate Winery
Robert Renzoni Vineyards
South Coast Winery Resort & Spa
Stuart Cellars
Thornton Winery
Villa di Calabro Winery & Olive Oil Co.
Wiens Family Cellars
Wilson Creek Winery & Vineyard

Whether it’s a Hot Air Balloon Ride, a day at the spa, a tour of the fine dining areas of Temecula . . . there’s lots to see and do.

We’ve discovered a few of them. You can do the same. We are looking forward to our next opportunity of getting away for two or three days. Chances are, we’ll head to Temecula . . . chances are also good that you’ll find us kicking back at our favorite Temecula hotel, the Temecula Creek Inn. We’ll enjoy meals at their fantastic Temet Grille . . . and will also be found, usually in the evening at “our” restaurant, The Edge, in Old Town Temecula.

But remember, all this information is strictly between you and me. Don’t tell a soul! Hear?!





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