Chef Pascual Lorange is a culinary household name in New York City and some of the multi-starred dining houses of Europe. He was once the private chef for international singer Julio Iglesias.
Well, New York now has that sinking feeling and San Diego suddenly is looked up to as very attractive for must-dine restaurants, including Lorange’s new CRUDO.
I had the pleasure of interviewing this charming man who has raised the cooking bar for other restaurants in the city.
He’s brought with him a creative bond for the menu which is somewhere between Mediterranean and Japanese-inspired infusions. He is convinced it’s the perfect fit for the SoCal coastal lifestyle and so do I.
“I wanted to bring something new to San Diego but at the some time, it had to be a sophisticated dining experience, yet affordable,” he enthused. “CRUDO is a method of cooking fish and other seafood, although we have many selections on the menu like steak, chicken and lamb.”
Before I get into the inflection point of this amazing menu, I was joined by Jason Mosley, the general manager and wine director, who opened four distinctly different wines, two whites and two reds, all of which can be ordered by the glass or bottle, and which pair perfectly with menu specialties that were shaped for these wines.
“The whites cozy up to the many seafood delicacies and have great elegance to match the food,” Mosley asserted. “Chateau Ducasse is a Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc from 2012, fleshy with earth tones and minerality, and the Trefethen Napa Valley Chardonnay 2014 is natural with no butter or malolactic to alter the original flavor.”
Over on the red side, Mosley presented a Louis Jadot Pinot Noir 2013 from Burgundy and a Terrior Cabernet 2014 from Napa Valley, a blend of some magnitude. Mosely observed: “although all were young, it is now what the public wants, rather than wait for a presumed aging advantage.”
Every corner of CRUDO has a light, appealing color and design element to match the menu. “It’s who I am as a chef,” declared Lorange.
At CRUDO you must try the Papillote specialties.
They’re what are uniquely delicious about this inflection point restaurant. The food is steamed into parchment paper, and then slowly baked to perfection. They include choices like: Chicken, Lamb, Crudo Lobster and my personal favorite, the Chilean Sea Bass with marble potato confit, asparagus, leek, heirloom carrot, herbs tapenade and green olives. Unforgettable.
Visit at crudopl.com, or call for a reservation at (858) 847-2797.
Avensole is the newest winery in Temecula
Avensole Winery, a beautiful 20-acre vineyard, winery and restaurant that sits on a petite lake off Rancho California road, is the 40th winery in Temecula. Varietals include: Cabernet Sauvignon, Muscat Canelli, old and new vine Zinfandel and Gewurztraminer.
Bought by the Lytton Family in 2014, Avensole combined means “one-of-a-kind adventure” in Italian. Grapes have been grown on this property for over four decades. You might remember two of my nicest friends, Buddy and Cheri Linn, who operated the winery when it was La Cereza, a premium Spanish winery. I’m certain they are pleased with the results of Avensole. The winery has free live music on Fridays and Saturdays from 5 to 8 p.m. Visit online at avensolewinery.com or call (951) 252-2003 ext. 312.
Meritage Wine Market in Encinitas announced their Friday Tasting Events for the rest of September from 6 to 8 p.m. On Sept. 16, taste Vino Italiano with wines from a handful of Italian districts. This is a “blind tasting,” which makes it more fun. The last one Sept. 30 is a “blend-tastic” tasting from Bordeaux to the Rhone and other parts of the world. Red blends and white blends to try. Six wines for $20 per person. Details online at meritagewinemaket.com.
South Coast Winery in Temecula has its annual Blessing of the WineGrape Stomp and Harvest Festival, Sept. 18 from 4 to 7 p.m. Fun for all in the family, includes dining at an all you can eat buffet, dancing, stomp games, clowns, tractor rides; $55 for adults, $15 for kids 4 to 12. Get your tickets at wineresort.com.
Bistro West in Carlsbad presents a Tobin James Cellars Winemaker Dinner Sept. 21 from 5 to 8 p.m. Cost is $85. The signature 2012 James Gang Reserve Zinfandel will be paired with Carolina Braised Belly, Cuban Mojo Shoulder and Tetes et Orelles Chinois. RSVP at (760) 930-8008.
WineSellar & Brasserie in Sorrento Valley San Diego has a Tour de France Tasting Sept. 17 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.; $25 for wines from all the French regions. Call for more details at (858) 450-9557.
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 tasteofwinetv.com and reach him at email@example.com. Follow him on Facebook.