Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Dinner with a side of Salsa at Viva Vino

Originally, I thought it would be nice to have dinner at one of the wineries in Temecula, but while researching, I learned that the wineries usually only serve dinner on the weekends. Given that our wine tour was on a Thursday, I had to investigate other dinner plans. Those plans lead us to Old Town Temeclua, and Viva Vino. 

Viva Vino appeared to be a popular later in the evening hangout, so at 5pm on a random Thursday, we had the place to ourselves.  

Like just about everyone we encountered in California, our waiter was extremely nice and personable. 

The hardest part about Tapas, is making a decision, especially when you are hungry.  It’s hard not to say,

“We’ll take one of everything.”

The bacon wrapped chorizo and roasted beet salad arrived first.

The chorizo was good quality and was spicy without being overwhelmingly so.  The beet salad was fresh, with veggies that were chopped into little pieces, which I particularly like. The salad’s mint dressing was refreshing, and did a great job balancing out the smoky-meaty flavors of the bacon wrapped chorizo.

We almost always order patatas bravas when we see them on a menu. We like to compare. I was particularly intrigued by Viva Vino’s green chili verde sauce.  Usually patatas bravas are served with a spicy red sauce. 

The green sauce really gave the potatoes a kick, in a good way. It was more of a hit you spicy instead of the red sauce’s lingering spicy.  I also appreciated that Viva Vino serves their patatas bravas with a sprinkle of cotija cheese. They were quite good. I’m sad that they aren’t back home so I could eat them whenever I wanted.

The seared scallops that landed on our table had a citrus honey chili ginger sauce, which may sound like too many flavors going on, but it all blended very well together, and the scallops were cooked perfectly (somehow I missed taking a picture).

Of course if there are empanadas, we are eating them. Since we already had a chicken empanada on our trip, and since Shannon isn’t a big fan of crab, we chose the tri-tip beef empanada. Not only was this a serious helping of empanada, it came covered with an idazabal cheese sauce. You really can’t go wrong with cheese sauce. Empanada + Cheese sauce= yumminess.

There were only two dessert choices, and since Shannon wasn’t feeling dessert, I took the opportunity to order the rice pudding since it’s one of his least favorite desserts.
The rice pudding made a nice meal ending.  They didn’t over cinnamon it, and the rice had a great texture.  Not too mushy, but also not underdone.  There’s nothing worse than crunching on your rice pudding like grape nuts.  The dried cherries and homemade lemon infused whipped cream elevated it above your basic restaurant/diner rice pudding. 

We learned that Thursday is Salsa dancing night at Viva Vino.  We were of course a few hours too early for when the real fun began, but there were a few people getting a lesson so they could learn a couple of moves to show off later that night.   It was dinner with an unexpected show. 

I’m sure that the wineries serve some tasty vittles, but I’m glad we got the chance to eat at Viva Vino.  It ended up being a laid back, take your time and savor sort of meal, with delicious tapas, and an unexpected side of Salsa. 

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