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Taste of Wine

Taste of Wine : Poseidon by the Sea — a Del Mar Legend

In this day and age of fast-moving locations and formats in the restaurant business, legends are hard to come by. Almost 50 years have gone by since Poseidon and the next-door Del Mar Motel were purchased by the Ranglas family, hardworking, entrepreneurial and of the Greek tradition. Poseidon was the Greek God of the Sea, and the Pacific is just a few steps from the patio pavilion. It is the perfect intimate setting for relaxing beach dining, part of the lore and culture of Southern California and what tourists flock here to enjoy.

At Poseidon you can reach out and touch the beach scene, take a deep breath and feel alive again.

The food menu is very much Mediterranean, with freshly prepared choices. Scenic sweeping views are sensational, but it’s the food and wine menus that get diners out of their kitchens and coming back for more. Poseidon’s real treasures are the professionals who create brilliance in the kitchen, like Executive Chef Mourad Jamal. He was raised with Moroccan cooking and has flavored his specialties with a classic French style. On the night I was there, Chef Jamal had a well-earned night off, so I got to know Poseidon’s Chef de Cuisine Travis Lawson, who has been with the restaurant for many years. We talked and sipped on a favorite starter wine and one that is a must with most of the fish dishes, the Ferrari-Carano Chardonnay from the Alexander Valley in Sonoma.

Lawson suggested I pair it with Smoked Bacon Wrapped Medjol Dates, with Gorgonzola blue cheese, stuffed almonds and Pomegranate Gastrique. It was an astonishing Mediterranean masterpiece.

Poseidon’s appetizers are a meal in themselves.  Here are the TASTE OF WINE choices: left to right, Jumbo Lump Crab and Lobster, Coconut Shrimp and the Smoked Bacon Wrapped Medjol Dates.
Poseidon’s appetizers are a meal in themselves.  Here are the TASTE OF
WINE choices: left to right, Jumbo Lump Crab and Lobster, Coconut Shrimp
and the Smoked Bacon Wrapped Medjol Dates.

Lawson went even further with his culinary surprises by offering the house “special,” Seared Encrusted Fresh Halibut that melted in my mouth. On the wine list, I discovered a name that I have been writing about lately, the 2014 Napa Valley Conundrum Red, a mysterious, creative blend that changes with the vintage, but always has a healthy amount of Zinfandel and Petite Sirah in it to assure its character. It worked wonders with the halibut.

Other wines on the “wines by the glass” menu are favorites: Acacia Carneros Pinot Noir, King Estate Oregon Pinot Gris and Simi Valley Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon.

Visit the Poseidon website at RSVP at 858-755-9345.

The 14th Annual Encinitas Rotary Wine & Food Festival is June 3rd
This festival is a favorite in North San Diego County because it directly benefits a selection of local charities with the ticketholder making the selection of their choice. The festival goes from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Encinitas Ranch Golf Course at Quail Gardens Drive. Fine wines and beverages, live music and the best dishes and desserts from local restaurants and caterers are on the menu of attractions. Ticket options start at $90 with a portion of each ticket going to the charity of choice. Go to for the full story and ticket purchases. Or call (760) 753-1977.

Wine Bytes
▪ Il Fornaio, in Del Mar and Coronado, is featuring the cuisine of Liguria in Italy during their Festa Regionale, now to May 21. This food is featured along the northern Italian coastline and is mostly delicious seafood. Contact Il Fornaio for details.
▪ It’s Napa vs. Sonoma, a showdown of Cabernet and Sauvignon Blanc, at Meritage Wine Market in Encinitas, Tuesday May 16 from 6 to 8 p.m. A great lineup of 10 wines and a variety of appetizers, education and handouts included in the price of $79. Call (858) 442-2749 for an RSVP.
▪ Seasalt the Seafood Bistro in Del Mar presents a Beringer wine dinner, Thursday May 18 at 6 p.m. Beringer Vineyard is one of Napa Valley’s best and it matches up beautifully with Chef Hilario’s creations. Cost is $55. Call (858) 755-7100 for more on this popular event.
▪ The Barrel Room in Rancho Bernardo is bringing in DAOU Vineyards of Paso Robles, a premier Cabernet producer, for a lovely five-course dinner, Tuesday May 23 at 6 p.m. Daniel Brunner will be the special DAOU guest who will teach guests why DAOU has made a big impact on the California wine scene. Cost is $80 per guest. Make your RSVP by visiting

Frank Mangio is a renowned wine connoisseur certified by Wine Spectator.  He is one of the leading commentators on the web.  View his columns at  And reach him at

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