February 3, 2014 by daniele holmberg
Upon entering Vine Wine Country Cuisine in San Clemente, I felt like I was in the Napa area. I seriously felt the wine region feel when I entered. Whether it was the cozy décor or the cheese, charcuterie and fruit boards set up or the charm of the hooks on the wall for your coats upon entering, there was a very warm and cozy feel!
Prior to the tasting I was invited to sample a variety of different items on the menu. I had the opportunity to try 2 cocktails and an array of cheeses, meats, nuts and fruit with fresh baked breads and crackers in the bar area
where light bites, appetizers and entrée items are also available for purchase. The first drink we sampled was called the “Love Potion #9” which had a blend of vodka, orange liqueur, lemon, cucumber, and raspberry. This one was my favorite and there was an adorable little flower on top for decoration. I love drinks with cucumber…I always feel they are quite fresh to the palate and make my mouth happy! J The second drink was called the “Flaming Buffalo” which was unique in its’ own right in that it included bourbon, Serrano Chile, egg white, and fresh lemon.
Moving on to Course 2 after the two cocktails and the selection of cured meats, domestic cheeses, and artisan breads, we made our way into the main dining room. The room was nice in size and since we were a large party, we were accommodated by a long table that seated all 20 of us. There were also booths set up in the dining room for ample space for large groups and small.
Before serving course 2, we were offered to choose between two different wines, a white and a red. The white was a Martin Ray Chardonnay from the Russian River in Sonoma and the red was a Stackhouse Cabernet from Napa Valley, California. Both of these wines were delicious, but of course I am always partial to my red. Later on in the meal the red went very nicely with my burger and the white went very nicely with my sea bass. I enjoyed both of these wines. :)
Course 2 consisted of House made pumpkin ravioli’s, crispy sage, white truffle brown butter, and pecorino and Crispy Meyer lemon and honey duck wings, chili sauce, and chives. Both of these items were quite delectable. The pumpkin ravioli had a very delicious flavor and simply melted in your mouth. The white truffle brown butter was an excellent touch that accentuated the flavor in the dish. The Duck wings were definitely a unique item as I have never seen them on any menu in any restaurants I have visited. The nice thing about the duck wings was that they were large in size and were served 4 to a plate and were only $14! For this price, this plate is a steal. I love Meyer lemon and the flavoring on this dish was superb!
Prior to course 3, we were served a beer named Hop Notch, which was an American IPA from Utah with 7.3% alcohol content. I am more of a wine person so I continued to enjoy my white wine with my fish and my red wine with my burger, but this beer was a very nice flavor. I enjoyed my sample size beer quite a bit, but of course was still in love with my wine!
For course 3 there were 3 choices to choose from on the menu which included The Vine’s famous Pork Schnitzel with wild mushrooms, butternut spaetzle, winter vegetables, grainy mustard, and cider gravy, Pan roasted Loup De Mer which featured Mediterranean sea bass, fingerling potatoes, Riesling raisins, cauliflower, baby endive, and pistachio brown butter, or the last choice was the American Kobe burger with caramelized shallots, Mahon cheese, marinated tomato, and pickled onion on a brioche bun. I chose the Sea bass and it was divine! My husband chose the burger
and we shared the two items with one another. I have to say that each of them were pleasing in flavor, but of course were two completely different dishes. The burger had very good flavor and freshness that was delicious. The fish blew me away in that the blend of the ingredients was divine. I never would think to blend raisins & potatoes with my seafood, but they paired very nicely.
For dessert, a chocolate soufflé awaited in the horizon which definitely was pleasing to my taste buds! The type of chocolate used on the soufflé was called Scharffen Berger chocolate and there was delicious vanilla bean ice cream on top. The blend of the warm soufflé paired with the cold vanilla ice cream paired together perfectly.
After dinner, we had the opportunity to check out the fresh herb garden located behind the restaurant in which the restaurant grows all of their own fresh herbs for their dishes! I thought this was pretty darn cool…See my photos!
One thing I would like to share about the Vine that I found to be quite special was that in the dining room they have a chalkboard that is updated daily with a list of wines that are running low in their cellar. The benefit of this board is so that customers can get a discount on the wines that are almost all out and the board also lets customers know which wines the restaurant has run out of on the menu so they can try something
different. This was a very unique idea I loved because I personally always seem to pick a wine on the menu that the restaurant is all out and with this board you have the opportunity to see what wine is available and you have the ability to purchase wine at a discount, which I love!
I hope you get a chance to visit The Vine Wine Country Cuisine in San Clemente soon. If you do, please let me know what you think below! They have such a great variety of food and drink and I look forward to going back and hanging out in the bar area with a glass of wine, a cheese plate and of course…my most favorite menu item there…the Duck wings!! Delish & large in portion and a great price for the money!! The Vine was one of my favorite restaurants in the local area I have visited in awhile. Enjoy!
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