Thursday, June 10, 2010

Do All Towns Starting With "T" Look Alike?

The Temecula Rite Aid (in the Stater Bros shopping center on 79S/Temecula Parkway) appears to be a great place to stock up on all of your Temecula merchandise:

Including tees:

Maybe they stored them alphabetically in the warehouse and this one got thrown on the Temecula truck by mistake:

Turlock is a Central Valley town which is home to the world's dwindling Assyrian (not Syrian, ASSYRIAN) population. It is also some 400 miles from Temecula.

We used to know folks from Turlock. And coincidentally I just picked up this Turlockian pita bread when we were in Glendale the other day, before I spotted the shirt at Rite Aid:

Now if only they'd import the pita bread to Temecula...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Off the Beaten Path: Temecula's Rose Haven Heritage Garden

Tucked away just off busy Temecula Parkway (formerly highway 79 South) is a beautiful rose garden tended by the experts of the Temecula Valley Rose Society.

Sprawling ranch-style houses dominate here, and larger McMansions dot the hills just above this horsey neighborhood. These immediate neighbors to the rose garden have playful horses who greeted us when we arrived.

These neighbors across Ynez/De Portola have llamas:

One of the things I miss about living in Riverside is UCR's terrific botanic garden. It was one of my favorite relaxation spots and Eva, who came home from the hospital to our Canyon Crest apartment and lived there until she was 15 months old, toddled around on the grass there on many lazy afternoons.

Rose Haven's focus is definitely on roses, but they do have other natives which make good rose companions, so I can get a taste of my botanic garden fix just five minutes from home.

I have a spot at home where I want to grow sprawly ground cover roses like these:

"Look, Mom! Frogpoles!" Jane couldn't linger too long because she was art director for my Salada Tea spokesperson contest 30 second video entry. (Our rose garden attempt had too much wind noise in the background, unfortunately. We're still working on it.)

The Temecula Valley Rose Society's Rose Haven Heritage Garden is located at 30592 Jedediah Smith (near the intersection of Jedediah Smith and Ynez/De Portola.) Open daily.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Gluten Free Bakery & Cafe in Temecula

(plus vegetarian, vegan...and a bunch of other good stuff)

Tucked into an unassuming corner space in the Armstrong/Michaels shopping center on the corner of Ynez and Rancho California Roads in Temecula is All of the Above Incorporated Bakery & Cafe.

Mother-daughter owners Lorilyn and Caitlin Teasdale rolled out their bakery, the first of its kind in Temecula, a few weeks ago, and word is quickly spreading.

All of the Above is a little hard to find, but it's well worth the search for locals from Temecula and Murrieta (and even gluten-free folks in Fallbrook, North County San Diego, Menifee, and other Southwest Riverside cities within easy driving distance of the bakery.)

And as Lorilyn Teasdale points out, "We may be hard to find, but once you know where we are, we're really easy to get to. We're right off the freeway and right here in the middle of town."

Lorilyn Teasdale is well known in the local autism community and has been baking gluten-free for her own family for years. You could say she is "gluten free OG."

Today more and more people are switching to gluten-free diets, whether by diagnosis of celiac or suspected celiac, as a treatment or adjunct to therapies for autism spectrum or other conditions in kids and adults, or for a dietary intolerance to gluten.

Many people interested in gluten-free products like to eat healthy, but the Teasdale team point out that they are a bakery, not a health food store. Their goodies are more gourmet than crunchy-granola, which is good news for gluten-free folks searching for special goodies like muffins, cupcakes, and cookies.

The display cases clearly label each product, with All of the Above's signature checkmarks informing patrons whether products are gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, or contain nuts.

This bakery will undoubtedly become a lifeline for families who follow special diets, whether for everyday or weekly goodie shopping, or for occasions like birthday parties. It would also be a great way to be extra inviting to guests with special dietary needs when entertaining at home; rather than labor through a new and untested recipe, present your guest with her own safe to eat warm pumpkin muffins, iced cupcakes, or "yellowies" (yellow cake.)

The interior of the space is clean, airy, and inviting, so this also is a welcome addition as a neighborhood hangout/cafe. In fact, whether or not you have special "kneads", an afternoon spent with a cup of tea and one of All of the Above's cookies or pastries would be simply heavenly.

Please visit Lorilyn & Caitlin Teasdale at their All of the Above Incorporated Bakery & Cafe in the Allstate Building in Tower Plaza (near Armstrong/Michaels), 27423 Ynez Road, Temecula, (951)693-4000. Hours: 9-5 daily except Sundays, when they are open 12-5; closed Tuesdays. You can follow them on Twitter, and while you're at it, follow me too!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

New at the Promenade Mall in Temecula: The Lazy Dog Cafe

Welcome to the 'hood, Lazy Dog Cafe!

Regulars at the Promenade Mall in Temecula have been anxiously awaiting the opening of this small local chain (seven locations throughout Southern California) ever since the big mall expansion a year ago.

The Daily Temecula crew got a sneak peek this week before they open to the public tomorrow.

Rachel was there. Bethany and Loren from Taste of Temecula were there. Diane was there (though we couldn't find her! She tweeted about her apple cobbler. "Who did you serve apple cobbler to?" "Everyone! It's our most popular dessert.")

Here's a picture of our dessert, a luscious brownie decadently topped with both whipped cream and ice cream.

I want to support small local businesses like California Tea & Coffee Company and Public House, but there is a stereotype about the Temecula Valley that says that only chain restaurants do well here.

So if we have chains -- since they are the ones with the bucks and wherewithal to get the prime locations -- we should at least have good chains. Luckily Temecula has moved past TGIFriday's and Applebee's and we now rate our own Yard House, PF Chang's, and Shogun.

The Lazy Dog Cafe is the brainchild of Chris Simms, son of Tom Simms, founder of mega-successful chain Mimi's.

Chris Simms, CEO & Founder of Lazy Dog Cafe

They are going for a fun, casual, comfortable atmosphere that they describe as "Frank Lloyd Wright meets Ralph Lauren." (Our waitress told us that during the last few weeks before they opened, the very pregnant wife of the founder was in the store daily, taking measurements and making finishing touches on the decor.)

This week's media preview day was also a Spirit of Philanthropy recognition lunch for local volunteers. The 14 year old honoree volunteers locally at Sterling Senior Communities. Here she is being recognized by CEO Simms:

Director of Operations Roshan Mendis (who also got his start at Mimi's) was also on hand here in Temecula:

So was chef Gabriel Caliendo:

Their menu is very eclectic and there are a lot of choices. This would be the perfect place for larger parties with different tastes to share the same table. I can absolutely visualize our family (vegetarian with little kids) eating here with my New Yorker inlaws who eat according to Atkins, my meat-and-potatoes loving Dad, and my adventurous diner mom.

Maggie's Salad:

Our table shared the hummus trio appetizer:

Any of their burgers can be made with a Gardenburger patty. The Lazy Dog Cafe bleu cheese burger:

My vegetarian kids would enjoy Gardenburgers and fries, salads, Margherita pizza, and the hummus trio, and they have an ample kids' menu too, with choices for the littlest diners and a separate bigger kids' menu with larger portions and more options.

The Lazy Dog Cafe also offers a happy hour menu. The buzz is that PF Chang's had to add a happy hour menu to compete with its neighbor, Yard House. Lazy Dog will be a new contender for the after-work drink crowd. Word is they are employing 200 local residents (many part time) so that's a good thing too.

Lazy Dog Cafe - NEW Temecula location
The Promenade in Temecula
(outside the mall directly across the street from PF Chang's
Follow them on Twitter
11 a.m. to midnight daily (offering brunch on Sundays)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Where is @dailytemecula today?

Daily Temecula is in transition. On hiatus. Going from something small and independent to something larger, more interdependent, and collaborative. And it is FUN. When I created Daily Temecula in the spring of 2009, my #1 rule was: if it gets to a point of not being fun (for me) anymore, I was outta there.

It has always been fun, but it got to be a bit unmanageable. I'm pretty dynamic frenetic, but I'm only one woman.

So I'm learning from the past and asking for help, teaming up, buddying up, and sharing the experience with friends.

We will be back SOON!

For now, follow me on Twitter and keep up with me on my other blog (and here too!).

Where is @dailytemecula now?

* #temeculatweets tweetup at California Tea & Coffee Brewery
* Temecula Duck Pond
* Old Town Temecula farmer's market
* Stellar Cellar
* Walmart, Target, KMart, and Costco
* Temecula Little History Museum
* Lazy Dog Cafe
* Go See Christy's Pink It Up pink carpet grand opening
* Junior League of Riverside annual meeting (where I'm presenting the Spirit of Volunteerism Award in memory of Bonnie Polis)

Whew! Now go do something fun in Temecula today. Don't forget to follow me on twitter and mark your posts to me with #dailytemecula.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Temecula Mommy & Me Day by Johanna Lack

by Johanna Lack

Saturday February 6th, 2010

My husband and son were out of town on a camping trip, so I figured I would have a special mommy-daughter day with my six year old. Unfortunately, we woke up to pouring rain, and even though I had all kinds of activities planned around Temecula, the idea of slogging it out in an ark-worthy downpour wasn’t my idea of fun.

It was tempting to let Marissa just marinate in front of the TV while I did some much needed cleaning but then I figured that really wouldn’t win me the mom-of-the-year-award (and I’ve given up on ever coming close to winning housekeeper-of-the-year). Plus, I had promised Marissa a mommy and me day and that’s what we were going to do.

We made a framed picture with pressed flowers. We had a tea party that went on and on and on… then – thank you! – the sun came out. We quickly changed out of our pajamas and jumped in the car.

First stop was Target so that the little girl could spend the gift card she got for her birthday. With that out of the way, I promised her a surprise destination and made my way over to Old Town Sweet Shop’s grand opening.

We stepped into this candy land and Marissa’s eyes popped open wide. There was bulk candy and jelly bellies and old fashioned packaged candy and fudge and… it was enough to make any six-year-old’s head explode.

We made our way to the back where they were offering ice cream. The friendly lady behind the counter told us they were selling it for the first time and as a kick off were giving out free tastes all day long. Marissa had a scoop of the Cotton Candy flavor and I tasted a scoop of a delicious concoction called Espresso Explosion. The nice lady went on to explain that it was the Cascade brand ice cream made in the Pacific Northwest, and they selected it out of a zillion others because it was so especially good.

We then moved over to the fudge counter where they were also offering free tastes. So, why not? We each tried a bit and yes it was to die for. Then it was time to go to town filling up sacks of bulk candy. We grabbed a couple of extra large lollipops for good measure.

With my diet out the window, it was time to move on. Since we were right next to Granny’s Attic Antique Mall, I thought we’d go into my kind of calorie-free candy land.

I love this place. You never know what you’ll find and though I had absolutely no intention of buying anything, I saw the perfect jewelry armoire. I’ve wanted one since forever and the price was right. Marissa was a good sport during my sojourn here but after a while her patience wore thin. I could have easily browsed another hour but it would have been too much for any kid to take. I juggled the little armoire and held the little girl’s hand as we darted across Front Street to our car.

(Question to The City of Temecula: Would it be so hard to have a few more pedestrian cross walks in Old Town? Hmmm?)

After a stop at Michaels we headed over to Painted Earth. I can’t believe it’s been so long since I’ve been there. It was heaven for my arty child who’ll happily spend hours drawing and painting.

After her masterpiece was done, it was time for dinner. It had started raining again, so we dashed to the car and my mind started spinning. Where to go? Where to go? Then I remembered that my brother-in-law Leo had recommended El Taco Nazo. Leo knows his Mexican food and I figured he wouldn’t steer me wrong. He told me it was in the K-Mart shopping center but I didn’t know where exactly. We drove around in circles until I found it next to Bella Cappelli hair salon.

Now here are some things about El Taco Nazo:

1. Its name has been changed to Senor Baja but the sign outside still says El Taco Nazo. Curious.

2. It’s a no-frills place when it comes to interior decorating. We got our food to go.

3. The fish tacos are absolutely fantastic and very affordable (and on certain days they’re only 99 cents!)

4. Last but not least: marinated onions at the salsa bar. Need I say more?

We wrapped up our excursion with a stop at Hollywood Video to pick up Ella Enchanted. Back home again, we settled in to inhale our tacos and watch the beautiful Ann Hathaway struggle with fairy spells and true love. My heart was full when Marissa agreed; it was one of the best, girliest mommy and me days ever.