On the Road with Taste of Temecula’s Traz to Lompoc
When I came home around noon last Friday I knew I had hit that proverbial wall. My wife knew it too. I said, “We have those vouchers for The Embassy Suites in Lompoc, but we would have to leave early Sunday to get home in time for a staff meeting Sunday afternoon.” When she said “Let’s go,” that was all the encouragement I needed. I threw a few t-shirts, jeans and a sweatshirt into a backpack, and settled our 5 month old, Gavin, in the back seat of the Jetta, we were off.
The drive was pretty mellow and unadventurous, except for pulling off the freeway in Pacoima to get gas and to feed the baby. It was a busy gas station that featured an outdoor taco stand. It was packed with locals so I had to indulge in 3-4 tacos asada con todo. They were delicious and I had the breath to prove it.
We arrived at the Embassy Suites in Lompoc and checked in to our King Suite that suited our needs perfectly. Although the hotel was not brand new, it had all the amenities we needed and we were grateful for an extremely comfortable bed. Carrie was out in no time and I opted for sedation via the Home Improvement Chanel.
Wines in Solvang
We started our morning with Carrie, Gavin and I rendezvousing downstairs, where they had an omelet bar that far exceeded our expectations. We then, headed to Solvang to do some shopping, snacking, wine tasting of course and a little pampering for the Mrs.
When we arrived in town the baby was hungry, so I decided to explore a bit. I found Presidio Vineyard and Winery’s tasting room just opening up and Chris hospitably showed me their wines.
I tried the Pinot Gris, Viognier, the Chardonnay, a Syrah Rosé, and what I was really waiting for the Pinot Noir. Chris served me an ’06 and an ’07 that were unique from each other, and both very good.
I tried a few wines at Mandolina and really enjoyed their ’04 Toccata. By this time it was time for a Danish lunch at The Red Viking. The buffet looked tempting but I went on the light side and had the sausage with mash and red cabbage with a Firestone DBA to wash it down.
Carrie had been hinting for a pedicure, so we found a nice place that had an opening and off she went. I decided to do a little picture taking with Gavin. The Santa Ynez Valley is beautiful and some of the farms and estates are really a site to see. The miniature show horses were a big attraction for passerby’s.
I picked up Carrie from her pedicure and I should say that her toes were stunning.
We finally made our way to the winery I had my sites on all along, Foxen. I tried everything they had at both their new facility and at the Shack. There wasn’t anything on the menu I didn’t care for, but I fell in love with their Volpino, a Sangiovese/Merlot blend. It’s a very nice wine on it’s own or with a meal. We made one last stop before dinner at Kohler where even though the pourers were less than cordial, I really liked the Sangiovese. I chalked it up to them having an off day and bought it anyway.
Bradley Ogden’s Root 246
Then came the highlight of the weekend. While at Foxen a couple of guest and one of the girls behind the bar turned me onto one of the finest dining experiences that I have had, outside of the Temecula area, in a long time. In Solvang is Root 246, a restaurant by Bradley Ogden, a place I will not soon forget. What elegance and panache at the edge of this sleepy Danish town. They had a beautiful display of local and imported wines, and white high back sofas that gave you a semi private dinning experience. The menu left me happily dazed and confused. I started with the Kumamoto oysters with fresh wasabi & ponzu and a chilled Chopin Vodka. As a second course, Chef suggested a Maytag blue cheese soufflé, roasted quince & seckel pear salad with wild arugula and a glass of 2007 Three Saints, Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara County. At this point I poised and ready for the next dish; a sea scallop atop short ribs that disappeared off my plate far too quickly. I wish I could say I saved room for desert but with a 20 minute drive ahead and a full belly I graciously thanked our server and bid him adieu.
A perfect night sleep followed our day in the Santa Ynez Valley. We awoke to a beautiful sunrise. Again we had a nice breakfast downstairs, packed our bags and headed home, enjoying the miles of breathtaking coastline and a renewed spirit.