Taste of Wine: Picking up good vibrations at the new Chandler’s at Cape Rey

Taste of Wine: Picking up good vibrations at the new Chandler’s at Cape Rey
The new mantra at Chandler’s is “local, coastal and unexpected,” words to live by with the new cuisine team led by Culinary Director Teri Mcillwain. Photos by Frank Mangio

Hospitality and world class cuisine have found a new home in the beautifully refreshed Chandler’s in the Cape Rey Resort along the Carlsbad beachfront. The new mantra at Chandler’s is “local, coastal and unexpected,” words to live by with the new cuisine team led by Culinary Director Teri Mcillwain.  This breath of freshness began a year or so ago.

Now it’s in the eyes of all who welcome you to Cape Rey and Chandler’s.

Mcillwain is fun to be around.  She embraces the local Carlsbad community.

“I love Carlsbad,” she enthusiastically declared.  “It’s our hometown and we want to serve it.  My great mission is to have our diners feel that they are coming to my home for a meal.  Over time we have lightened and freshened up the menu and expanded the wine and craft beer list.

“We placed an Alaskan King Salmon and a Whiskey Brined Jidori chicken on our seasonal coastal menu.  The chicken is premium and flavorful, with peach, mustard, fresh-shelled beans and local greens.  I love it when the daily farm truck pulls up and I can do some tasting and personally approve the garnishes and sides for the day.”

Chandler’s of Carlsbad has its Whiskey brined Jidori chicken as its signature menu feature, with cherizo beans, white peach, local greens and carmelized cippolini onion.  Fresh fruit opened the meal. Photo by Frank Mangio

Chandler’s of Carlsbad has its Whiskey brined Jidori chicken as its signature menu feature, with cherizo beans, white peach, local greens and carmelized cippolini onion. Fresh fruit opened the meal. Photo by Frank Mangio

The spirit of discovery courses through the wines, both by the glass and by the bottle. The knowledgeable staff takes a favored varietal and comes up with a best-of-breed brand that’ll soon become a permanent favorite.

My wine “wow” list has the opener, a Barth Riesling from the Reingau district of Germany, 2014.   Next up was a familiar Chardonnay from the Frank Family of Napa Valley, 2013.  Finally with my Jidori chicken, I chose the Davis Bynum Russian River Sonoma Pinot Noir 2014.

Now here’s the eye-opener.  All these wines were by the glass, lovely on the palate and worthy of a premium bottle.

Cape Rey, poolside, has its Sunset Terrace, a light-hearted venue with live entertainment on select evenings, a 3 to 6 p.m. happy hour with themed events and specials you will love — some delightful surprises in small bites, wines by the glass, cocktails and craft beers.

On Mondays, it expands to all evening.

The Sunset Music Series is top shelf with free pop music concerts the last Thursday of the month from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.  See the OttoPilot Band July 28, Funk Shui Planet Aug. 25 and Aquile Sept. 29.  Live music also makes for fun every weekend.

The best complimentary perk at Cape Rey is the magnificent ocean view, especially at sunset.  Soak it in without getting wet, by the pool or in Chandler’s farm-driven restaurant.

There, enjoy the glow and spirit of Mcillwain who is focused on fresh and flavorful food.  Visit CapeRey.com for more.

Wine Bytes

The University of San Diego has its Wine Classic July 16 starting at 6 p.m. Vintners dinner is featured with a four-course meal and wine pairings, Zinfandel blending seminar and live music.  Cost is $95.  For an RSVP call (619) 260-4819.

Solterra Winery and Kitchen in Leucadia presents a Summer Wine Blending Class, July 19 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Cost is $45 for the class.  Call (760) 230-2970 for your place.

The SoCal Food & Wine Festival is planned for July 19 from 6 to 10 p.m. at Ramona Mainstage in downtown Ramona.  Ten local top chefs cook a variety of cuisine accompanied by wine pairings from 10 premium wineries.  Live entertainment.  This event is to benefit the Center for Community Service.  Cost is $89. Tickets at ramonamainstage.com or call (760) 789-7005.

Il Fornaio in Del Mar and Coronado has its latest Festa Regionale menu, this time celebrating the cuisine from Puglia, Italy, until July 24.  Enjoy dishes such as Petto di Pollo a Carciofi, plus Puglia wines.

Frank Mangio is a renowned wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator.  He is one of the leading wine commentators on the web.  View his columns at www.tasteofwinetv.com and reach him at mangiompc@aol.com.  Follow him on Facebook.

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