I have sort of a short bucket list and yesterday I checked off one of my wishes. I’ve been following the exploits of the Outstanding in the Field team for some time now, all the while dreaming about taking part one of their events. Last night I attended their dinner at the ranch of the Temecula Olive Oil Company located in Aguanga CA located about twenty miles east of the town of Temecula.
The ranch is the perfect combination of rusticity and elegance. Yes it’s a working farm, but it’s also a great spot for an event. The owners give tours on the second and fourth Saturdays so be sure to take a look at their website (linked above).
The evening started with drinks provided by a local winery and a brewery offering two different beers (San Diego has a well earned title as the craft beer capitol of the country). Hors d’ouevres were passed with a focus on seafood-the chef for this dinner was from The Fishery located in San Diego. My favorite starter was the grilled horseradish marinated shrimp with a tomato shooter. J’s pick was the deviled eggs topped with spicy crab and sea beans.
I have to say that I’ve read a lot about the Outstanding in the Field events and have heard from various people and read on line that many thought that there’s not enough food. I will say that the starters were passed for well over an hour and you certainly could have filled up on the four options that were offered.
Next up was a mini tour of the ranch led by the owners who gave a good overview of how the company and this ranch came to be along with the lowdown on how their exceptional oil is produced. The oil maker is on the California Olive Council and his passion for the product and knowledge of the industry was evident in his talk.
By this point we were all wondering “where is the dining table?”. We were led down a path and finally ended up in the midst of trees where you had to pick up your plate. Diners are encouraged to bring their own plates (which we did) but they have plenty available if you don’t. Finally we discovered the one long table that was set for our dinner.
Once at the table you got to choose your own seat where the menu for the dinner was tucked into your napkin. Baguettes were strewn around the able along with bottles of Temecula Olive Oil and dipping was encouraged. The waiters were busy pouring wine and answering questions from the diners.
We started with an arugula salad with cured salmon, peaches and soy gelee. Next up was my favorite dish of the evening-swordfish meatballs served atop a squash and cherry tomato medley. Hopefully you will be seeing this dish on the blog soon because I am going into the kitchen to attempt a recreation!
The last entree was seared ahi with a perfect summer salad of roasted corn, avocado and cherry tomato. One of the highlights of my evening was when J. said “this food all tastes like you made it”…
I am never one to pass up dessert and this one was the perfect ending to the evening. The sun had set, candles were brought to the table and I couldn’t wait to dig into this summery berry delight. The cake was light with a crunchy streusel topping and we were all thrilled to find that there were extra slices on the platter.
Between the wine, the incredible food and the new friends made at the table I have to say that this was an evening to remember. Thank you to Temecula Olive Oil Company for being the host, to the Fishery for the food and to the Outstanding crew for your hard work.