Southern California’s suburban vegan oasis: Falkner Winery in the Temecula Valley! »
Swept up in a turn of events I didn’t fully anticipate, I have found myself living in Southern California’s Temecula Valley for the last two and half months. Soon I will be relocating to Los Angeles, but Temecula will always hold a special place in my life. For one, my sister, bro-in-law and niece live here; and two, there’s vegan fun to be had! It hasn’t been a breeze, navigating menus around here, as cheese is SPRINKLED ON EVERYTHING, WHY WHY WHY?! The Yardhouse was not as vegan-friendly as I had hoped, though their cocktails are pretty spectacular. PF Changs was a sweet relief in terms of ordering, but I carried around a salt-bloat for days. Suburban vegans, I have never given you the credit you deserve when it comes to eating out (all the phone calls and questions!), so this is me giving you mad props!
Temecula, however, does have a few local spots that cater to vegans. One of those places is Falkner Winery. Falkner Winery not only has a delectable vegan and gluten-free menu at their restaurant, all of their wines are vegan too! This is fantastic news, as Temecula is known for it’s bountiful vineyards and wine-tasting excursions.
My mom is all about the logo glass, more so than the wine itself!
I emailed Falkner Winery to be sure they did not use animal products in the processing of their wine, and was thrilled by their friendly and rapid response. Ray Falkner addressed my inquiry by stating, “we do not use any animal products in either the fining or filtering process. We also never add any animal products along the way in the winemaking process.” Let the tasting begin!
Even though I usually go for white, I loved this peppery Syrah. Of course if you can, you should check out the vineyard. But if you aren’t in the area, you can buy a bottle through the magic of the internet!
Of course I also had a meal at Falkner Winery’s Pinnacle restaurant, because a girl can’t live on wine alone (though she may try!). I had the sweet and sour vegetables (picture below). They were scrumptious! This feast includes shaved Brussels sprouts, kale, and a lemon risotto cake, which I was assured, by our charming waiter, was vegan. Brussels sprouts are sure having their day, aren’t they? [Ed. note: Jenny, you’re so seven years ago.]
Pinnacle Restaurant’s Sweet and Sour vegetable dish.
Should you find yourself in Temecula, as I know a couple of you have, check out Falkner Winery and their Pinnacle restaurant. Not only is the food and wine excellent, but the vineyard is beautiful, with expansive and lovely views!
Recipe: Lettuce wraps for your mouth »
Any of y’all ever go to P.F. Chang’s? It was my favorite restaurant when I was but a wee teenager in Indianapolis, and one of the yummiest menu items was the vegetarian lettuce wraps. I found myself craving these this weekend, but the nearest Chang’s is on the other side of the bay, so I decided to try to make some instead. Even though I used the “wrong” kind of lettuce because that’s what I had so GIVE ME A FUCKING BREAK, they were still really yummy: Goes well with Blue Moon, 2-Buck Chuck, Absolut straight from the bottle, +c.
Accidentally Low-Carb Lettuce Wraps Ingredients
1 head of lettuce (iceberg probably works better than the red-leaf I used)
3 Tbsp. peanut oil
1 pound of tofu, pressed and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup celery, minced
5 smallish carrots, minced
1 8-oz. can of water chestnuts, minced
2 bulbs shallots, minced (PROTIP: save time by mincing all this shit together, in a food processor if you’ve got one)
1 Tbsp. minced ginger (did you know you can buy that madness in jars now?)
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 cup cilantro
Hot chili paste or sriracha, to taste
1. Heat your skillet on medium-high, and pour 2 Tbsp. of the oil in there. Once it’s hot, throw your tofu in there. Stir frequently until it’s pretty brown; this will take maybe 10 minutes. Add your ginger, coriander, thyme, and pepper. Stir for about a minute, and then add your minced mix. Take a moment to appreciate the shallot: It’s like if garlic and onion had the most beautiful, delicious baby ever in existence, not that babies are generally delicious, I mean, I wouldn’t know about the taste of babies, OKAY GOD ANYWAY.
2. Stir and cook for a while (10 minutes-ish?) until your veggies are soft. Add the vinegar, soy sauce, and as much chili paste or sriracha as you can handle. Cook for a while longer until some of the liquid evaporates. Once it’s acceptable to you, remove from heat. You might want to let it cool for a while so its sheer heat doesn’t rip holes in your lettuce.
3. Take a leaf of lettuce, put some of this mixture on it, roll it up to the best of your ability, and nom. Make sure you have a fork nearby.
Warning: These are low-carb, so if that’s bad for you, add some rice or toast or something. I would marry carbs if they were a person, so I had some popcorn later in the evening. #popcorn4lyfe