Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Night of Food and Song

First off, thanks so much for the kind comments and tweets about Friday's post. I am so grateful to be part of this healthy living community. I think Molly's comment said it best:

It's so true! Everyone is kind, approachable, and encouraging. I'm lucky to be part of the gang!

Last night, Terry and I met up with some of his coworkers and their significant others for a Spanish-themed food and wine pairing at Europa Village, a really lovely winery in Temecula Valley. We had never been to Temecula for wine tasting before, but we will most certainly be going back! We arrived around 6 pm, and the drive out was shorter than our usual trips to Santa Ynez Valley, even with traffic, so we're excited to have an even closer option for a little getaway.

Europa Village hosted the evening, which began on the patio with Manchego-and-date skewers. So simple, but the combination tasted incredible. Sweet and salty, the perfect pair.

We moved into a cave-like room for the three-course dinner. Only about 25 folks attended the event, so the setting felt very intimate and personal. They even had three singers perform! One female singer (a UCLA grad!) chose three Broadway tunes: "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" from Evita and "I Feel Pretty" from West Side Story. Two male singers performed a Capella songs I didn't recognize, including "Lady of Spain" and "More." The singing between courses provided a really nice touch and was quite a unique experience.

The first course was a skewered jumbo shrimp with chorizo sausage, onion, garlic, and bell pepper. It was served on a bed of arugula with olive oil and heirloom tomatoes from a local garden.

The main course included pork loin, which had been brined for six days and smoked. It was served with a garbanzo bean and garlic puree and a tomato-onion-garlic-paprika paste. Oh, and I can't forget the applewood smoked bacon! It was heavenly. I scraped my plate clean!

For dessert, we enjoyed almond cake topped with fresh cream and served with a blue-cheese-and-almond-stuffed fig and macerated black cherries. I never would have thought to combine blue cheese, fig, and almond in a dessert, but the flavors came together perfectly.

Chef Dean Thomas, the executive chef for the evening, also runs the Europa Village Inn with his wife, and he told us that his breakfast over there is even better than the dinner we enjoyed so much. Guess what I want to do?

Between each course, the sommelier, a native Italian spoke about the wine pairings and gave some more information about the winery. It seems like a fun place; they have community events that mimic those in Spain and those that have taken place for hundreds of years.

The night was a blast, and it was great to catch up with Terry's coworkers. I haven't laughed so hard in awhile, and it was fun to try something new. I already can't wait to head back to Temecula and check out the rest of the area.

Today, Terry and I really took it easy to prepare for the week ahead. We didn't set our alarms but still woke up fairly early, enjoyed church together, ran a few errands (including a stop at the farmers market), and cleaned house a bit before watching the fourth Harry Potter movie. I'm hoping to get myself off the couch soon and hit the gym for a boot camp workout, and we have a new Sunday recipe tonight! If it's yummy, I'll share it tomorrow. If not, you'll get a fun story about our kitchen disaster.


  1. julie, you make me smile so much!

    also, that dinner looks absolutely amazing. you make a girl want to switch coasts - your california life always makes me super jealous!

  2. Sounds like a fun, and relaxing weekend! Can't wait for the new recipe :)