The whimsical blue pig welcoming diners to Cork Fire Kitchen was our first clue that our stay at Temecula Creek Inn was going to be anything but ordinary.
We ditched the kids are snuck off for a quick staycation last week and Temecula Creek Inn did not disappoint. The moment we turned off Rainbow Canyon Road onto the rose-lined driveway, we felt transported to a quieter, calmer place. The resort is tucked against a hillside. The grounds are fragrant and lush, with oaks and eucalyptus towering overhead.
The hotel rooms are in a series of low-profile buildings that nicely complement the natural beauty of the surroundings. We checked in and discovered our room to be a calming, peaceful retreat with doors opening onto a patio overlooking the ninth hole of the Oaks golf course.
Robert Renzoni Vineyards was a perfect example of today's Temecula wines: the "big reds" so many of us red wine lovers are enjoying now.
The hotel design seems to allow for views from all of the rooms, whether it's golf course, hillside, roses, oak trees, eucalyptus, or the mountains. Even the city lights twinkling in the distance after the sun went down were really pretty. Our room was simple but restful, with muted tones and decor touches reflecting the area's native heritage. It's so unusual now to find windows that actually open in hotel rooms that it was blissful to be able to open up an entire sliding glass door out onto our own private patio to enjoy the evening (Temecula may get hot during the day, but the temperature drops a lot the moment the sun goes down. We pretty much invented "wear layers" here.)
One of the highlights of our trip was dinner at Cork Fire Kitchen. I really enjoyed the Temecula Creek Inn's restaurant in its previous incarnation, but Cork Fire takes local, fresh, modern dining to a very high level. The dishes are simple and prepared with fresh ingredients, and it all comes together wonderfully.
The restaurant has a great indoor-outdoor design with a central bar where guests can watch the unique craft cocktails being made. The food and drink offerings change regularly with the seasons, and since this is Southern California, there's not a "bad" season, just different tastes for each time of year.
Cork Fire Kitchen serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts (AMAZING desserts!), and drinks of all kinds. We ate there for dinner, and as we walked in we noticed an unusual looking appetizer on another table so we had to try it: Crispy Green Tea Soba Noodle Nest. The menu description was: "shitake mushroom salad, fried leeks, mirin glaze" and it's a "don't miss" that would be perfect to share for the table.
We also had the Hummus Trio, which was beautifully served on a rustic cutting board, Hearts of Romaine Salad, which had terrific flavor and texture contrast with sweet, salty, and tangy tastes, and Summer Vegetable Minestrone, which was light, fresh, and flavorful.
The drinks menu is very Temecula-centric, with wines and beers from local Black Market Brewing Co., Garage Brewing Co., Refuge Brewing Co., Robert Renzoni Vineyards, Leoness, and Wiens. Additional California wines and beers round out the menu but this blog is called DailyTemecula:-)
Desserts are fresh and original, including Vanilla Creme Brulee (with pistachio crumble), Lemon Cheesecake (with seasonal jam; ours had blueberry); the decadent Flourless Chocolate Ganache Cake (the name says it all!), and Pineapple Fritters (with house-made toasted coconut ice cream, lemon pop rocks, and mango coulis.)
[See that pig at the top of this post? He's a sign that you can find a whimsical yet delicious dessert like those pineapple fritters with pop rocks on the menu at Cork Fire Kitchen.]
There's a lot to do in Temecula, and serious or not-so-serious golfers will want to definitely take the time to play some golf while at Temecula Creek Inn. The entire course (run by JC Golf) is comprised of three 9-hole courses, with players choosing two of the three to play 18 holes. Each 9-hole course has its own character and challenges. Oaks is the easiest (but still very challenging) and looks most like a traditional country club golf course. Creek has a lot of raw natural beauty with towering trees and mountain views. Stonehouse is the most dramatic, with some steep hills, great views, and a peek at the namesake Stone House (which can be booked for weddings and other events.)
We started our morning at the driving range with a lesson from one of their PGA golf instructors, then we were off!
The best part of a staycation at Temecula Creek Inn was the feeling of being a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, yet only having to drive five minutes to a magical gem tucked right into our very own city.
Temecula Creek Inn
44501 Rainbow Canyon Road
Temecula, CA 92592
Temecula Creek Inn provided a complimentary hotel room and golf . The opinions stated in this review are my own.