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where to eat  
Untitled Document

You Had Me at Merlot Ė Sunday Afternoon at Cowboy Bistro in Temecula

By Terri Lyn Jones

This is the first in a series of restaurant reviews in Temecula where Erle Stanley Gardner penned his Perry Mason mysteries on his ranch many years ago.† And itís the town where Ronald Reagan praised its volunteer spirit.† Soon it will be known for inexpensive authentic one-of-a-kind meals, particularly in the Old Town district.

Last Sunday, I visited Cowboy Bistro at 28500 Old Town Front Street across from bike rider hangout Mad Madelineís Grill.†† On this 100 degree plus day, two large fans cooled patrons off.† There was no A/C and I didnít miss it because the fans kept everyone comfortable.

Itís a cozy little corner with a wine bar selling Long Shadow Ranch wine (I guess cowboys donít drink just whiskey).† Its low ceiling reminded me of the basements of my Midwestern upbringing, so it was like visiting a friend.†

In one corner, a gorgeous painting of Johnny Cash graced the wall with band equipment.† Guitars and cowboy hats decorated the other walls.† A gift shop called Cowgirl Palace sold cowprint bags and quirky signs like, ďYou had me at Merlot.Ē

The wine bar was quiet and relaxing, unlike the crowded wineries on Rancho California road.†† There was no shouting to carry on conversations since they played music at a respectable volume.† That day they showed a DVD of Bob Marley and the Wailers, always good background music in my book.†

When it came to order, my goal was to keep my bill under ten dollars.† I ordered ice water and chose the Bounty Hunter with salad for $6.95.† One cook prepared all the meals and he delivered them all to the patrons.† My salad was made of spinach, feta cheese, almonds, cranberries and a creamy raspberry vinaigrette dressing.† The Bounty Hunter was four slices of flatbread with organic tomatoes, melted mozzarella cheese and fresh basil.† Even though Iím not a vegetarian, I was delighted.

According to my server, Cowboy Bistro is barely a year old.† If they keep up the great atmosphere and service, they will enjoy great success in years to come.† Cowboy Bistro is at 28500 Old Town Front Street in Temecula.† 951-699-1600.

 
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