Tag Archives: crush and brew

Old Town Temecula

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We arrived in Temecula on a late Monday afternoon and checked into our suite at South Coast Winery. It was too late to begin Wine Tasting. Most wineries close at 5pm. So we took the time to pick up a few provisions at Baron’s Market {We love this place and wish we had one near us!} and then headed down to Old Town for some dinner. We had originally planned to drive down to Escondido to visit Stone Brewery and try out some recommended Carne Asada there, but we were just too beat from the L.A. traffic to drive anywhere further. We liked feeling settled at home base.

I don’t know why I never thought of Temecula as reminding me of the Old Southwest. But, duh, we were in the Southwestern part of the U.S.

And I definitely got that vibe when we ventured into Old Town. While I doubt (m)any of the buildings date back to those days, the architecture of the quarter still retains that character.

And because all of my California vacation posts are going to be out of order, you won’t mind if I tell you about the end of our evening in Old Town first, right? As we were driving away in the night, I noticed a building on the hill, that was lit up, almost glowing, in a pink hue.

“That must be something an important!” I said. I made a detour to drive past it. It was such a grand building. We came to learn that it was the Temecula City Hall/Civic Center and the pink was lit up for October Breast Cancer Awareness month. It was absolutely beautiful. {And I don’t even like pink!} 

Here is a photo from the City of Temecula’s Facebook page:

In Old Town, there is an assortment of independently owned shops and restaurants to discover. That night, we had a hankering for some Italian. But we weren’t yielding the results that suited us on Trip Advisor and Yelp. So we found a place to park and walked Front Street. We happened upon…

Crush & Brew

Crush & Brew is bar/restaurant specializing in local wine and beer. Everything on their beverage menu hails from Southern California! This place was right up our alley. Because I didn’t know what to choose, I started with a Wine Flight. It was delivered to me in this little wine tree!

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The wines I tried:

037The bartender didn’t put them in the order that they should be tasted. {All wines should be tasted white to red, lightest bodied to fullest bodied, dry to sweet.} So I tasted them in the order I thought they might go. The favorite of the bunch for both of us was hands down the Leoness Zin. It was then that we decided that we should probably put that on our winery list for the next day.

The beer list was incredible. While I sipped my wines, Rob enjoyed a couple of brews from this list, one which included the Aftershock Jess Y James:

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Rob really enjoyed talking with our bartender about the brews. He noticed Rob’s interest and pulled out a map for us in which he started to mark up the nearby breweries! This is how we started to plan for our own Temecula Brewery Self-Tour.

While we were at it… “Could you please recommend some wineries!? We are tasting tomorrow and are too overwhelmed by all of the options.”

And so began the process for mapping out our wine route, too. 😉

We had fully intended to dine here as well, until we took a look at the food menu. Nothing was speaking to us. So I did another little Smartphone search to see if there were some other options in Old Town. I found a couple and told Rob to hang tight and enjoy his brew while I walked around the block. Palumbo’s, the Italian place, was closed on Monday nights. But Blackbird Tavern sure looked inviting! There was no menu outside the door, so when I returned to Crush & Brew, Rob and I pulled the menu up on our Smartphones.

DONE!

The only problem? We walked right in. Their door was literally openIt was a beautiful night.

“Uh. Sorry. We have a private party only tonight,” I was told as I pulled a seat up to the bar.

Boo hoo.

So we walked to the corner and stepped into…

The Edge

At The Edge, we took a seat at the rounded bar and ordered some great local beers on tap – the Wiens Type 3 IPA and Refuge Blood Orange Wit, not knowing that we would be visiting those breweries not too far down the road within two day’s time! Because it was still Happy Hour for the Monday Night Football game, we ordered a few apps to split.

As we waited for our food, an older gentleman (who I thought was the owner) saw that we had a map and promptly came over to give us advice on where to stop for wine tastings the following day. This is the man who asked:

“What kind of wines do you like?”

“We tend to like big Cabs and Zins,” Rob told him.

This question, I learned, was key. At first, while I appreciated his suggestions, I wondered if he was just giving us names of those people who were his friends and telling us to steer clear of people he didn’t like. Some of his recommendations were the same as those from the younger server at Crush & Brew. But he also told us to skip a couple that were recommended. Truth be told, he was spot on with his recommendations!

Then our Happy Hour apps arrived:

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Black n Blue Sliders, Garlic Fries and Fried Pickles

Those just aren’t any sliders there! They are two beautiful medium-rare, perfectly-seasoned mini burgers with a special melty blue cheese sauce, and topped with shoestring onions with julienned beets and carrots on the side as additional toppings. They were so good that I don’t remember much about the fries (except that I ate them), that I ate one pickle and passed on the rest and that we put in a second order for sliders!

The funny thing is, that we weren’t the only ones! Our bartender said a couple on the patio did the same thing after trying their first round.

The menu online doesn’t seem to be up-to-date because none of the items we ordered appear on the menu. But I will tell you, that Rob and I agree that these are…

The best sliders we ever had!

~

Truth be told, we did get our Italian fix at Palumbo’s on Wednesday night, post-brewery tour. However, I’d consider it more of an Italian family joint. The food was good, but nothing too refined. We were so tired and in need of nourishment that it didn’t even occur to me to take photos there. And we ordered an excellent bottle of local Sangiovese (Renzoni) for only $28. That’s a steal for a great bottle at a restaurant!

There’s one more place I want to talk about in Old Town, but you’ll have to wait until next week…

To learn where we tasted wine, click here.

To learn which breweries we visited, click here.

Is there a place near you that only serves local beer, wine or food?

If so, what do you like best about it?

Cheers~
Carrie

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