At Least it Tastes Like Fall

October 1, 2014 No comments » [ssba]

Fall officially came on September 21st.  And yet, the forecast for this Saturday, October 4th is over 100 degrees in Temecula.  What the?  While the mall taunts us with riding boots, sweaters and scarves and our friends out east are already experiencing changing leaves, we SoCal folks are wondering if this everlasting-eternal-nonstop  summer will ever end.  We know, we know, we’ve no right to complain (who else can get a tan in October?).  But, dang, Mother Nature, can you give us a just a small hint the season has changed?

Out east: You’re not from around here, are you?  Photo credit

Meanwhile back at home: “Fall?  What’s that?”  Photo credit

Well, it may not feel like fall, but at the very least, it can taste like fall.

We recently debuted our Autumn Menu at The Restaurant at Ponte.  As a seasonal restaurant, Executive Chef Salvatore Giuliano (Chef Sal) and his team utilize what is fresh and delicious at the moment.  The weather may be saying “watermelon” but the land is saying “butternut squash.”  Guess what?  Squash wins.  Tomatoes, corn and berries have given way to pomegranates, apples and parsnips, and the reviews couldn’t be better!  Not to worry, we are still cooling guests down on our outdoor patio with misters and our famous ice-cold Sangria (and the chilled soups of the day are incredible).

Still, we are curious: does the weather affect what you eat?  Would you order our seafood stew on a 100+ degree Saturday or will you skip right over to the salad section of the menu?  We’re biased, of course, because we’ve had the opportunity to taste all of the new menu items and they’re really fantastic, hot or not. And here’s a tip: ask for something spicy.  No joke, eating spicy food on a hot day actually helps cool you down.  It’s a fact: spicy foods make you sweat.  Sweat cools you down.  Of course, if you’re on a first date, you might want to reconsider.

Clockwise from top left: Chef Sal explains the new Fall Menu to his staff; the Harvest Salad is served in an herbed bread bowl and features an array of roasted squashes and root vegetables, broccolini, Italian greens and a pomegranate vinaigrette; Bacon-Wrapped Meatball Sandwich served on farmhouse bread with onion strings and garlic mashed potatoes; an selection of new salads and appetizers.

New Fall entrees: Clockwise from top left: Cioppino (seafood stew) in a chile-tomato broth; Rack of Lamb in a saffron cashew sauce with roasted cheddar cauliflower; Beef Braciole with Italian sausage, dried currants, and served over herbed risotto; Flat Iron Steak in an au poive sauce, served with asparagus and potatoes.

–Erica Martinez

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