By: Victor Bottino, Special to Taste of Temecula
Patios are pleasant places to reside, especially when you spend a majority of your time living in the picturesque Temecula Valley. I, fortunately, have had the pleasure of boasting over that fact for over twenty-one years now. Today’s patio was located in the Gem of the Valley at The Mill Restaurant in Historic Downtown Murrieta. Nestled in the northwest corner of the valley, it is a stone’s throw from Copper Canyon and the Santa Rosa Plateau. I noticed the nearby mountains were glowing alive with a vibrant green, set off by the bright blue sky, our reward for enduring all of the recent rain. It was a joy to sit comfortably and watch one billowy white cloud after the other appear over the horizon and drift away toward French Valley. Of course, afternoons are often only as pleasant as the company you keep, I believe that is one of the reasons this one was as enjoyable as it was. Our host, none other than the esteemed Mr. Schuyler himself, made us instantly feel relaxed and welcomed. He even greeted us with a bottle of wine! A 2005 Tempranillo from Masia De Yabar, coincidentally, a local varietal I have been intrigued to sample. Overall, I felt like I was sharing time with an eclectic group of professionally minded people who clearly not only enjoy the finer things in life, but more importantly, know how to recognize quality. That must have been what brought us to The Mill on this Monday afternoon in February.
Sticking to my “House Special Rule” for restaurants that I do not get the pleasure of frequenting as often as I would prefer, I ordered the Pasta of the Day. It was a well-presented portion of cheese ravioli with a sun dried tomato pesto that was delicately touched with the perfect accents of cream and garlic. It was accompanied by a crisp green salad with a tangy house dressing and a health conscious granary roll. Although next time, instead of the salad, I believe I will opt for the sliced tomato with basil pesto. It looked delicious! Another item that caught my eye was the Bruschetta; it was piled high with chunks of red ripe tomato and came on toasted crusty sourdough wedges. My new friends Lance and Sissi Hale, of Allstate Insurance and Sissi Hale Studio respectively, savored that selection. Loren Scott ordered a fan favorite, the Santa Rosa Plateau Salad; it was a mound of garden fresh vegetables adorned with gorgonzola cheese and a balsamic vinagrette that looked absolutely delectable. Finally, I overheard someone mentioning that their Turkey Sandwich was “Top Shelf” and that they especially loved the potato salad. The turkey was piled high and was of a quality that you would expect from the finer delis of Southern California. I spoke with the manager, Elise, after the meal. She informed me that this is a favorite among regular customers and I can understand why.
The Taste of Temecula Staff and Fans Meet Up at The Mill Restaurant in Historic Downtown Murrieta was a pleasurable experience. The menu was reasonably priced and the service fit the pace of the occasion. The company was excellent and the ambiance was unparalleled. Of course, it is only a small taste of all that this valley has to offer!