Monday, June 27, 2016

Ballast Point Temecula

Nancy, Barbara and I had lunch Thursday at the newly opened Ballast Point in Temecula. They're located at 28551 Rancho California Rd. in Temecula off the 15 freeway, just a bit separate from Old Town. The huge parking lot is a plus that stands out among Old Town establishments where dedicated lots are almost non-existent. The site used to be occupied by a seafood restaurant, Captain something but it has been empty for a few years. It's easy to get in and easy to exit back out onto the freeway.

The space is light and attractive. The noise wasn't too bad, but the place was only about 1/3 full. I can imagine it would be too noisy (for me) on a weekend night, but on a Thursday, for lunch, it wasn't bad. There is music, but they kept it at a tolerable decibel level. Choose a booth where the backs and the upholstering buffer the sound a little.

We were a bit confused by the service arrangement. Apparently you have to order at the bar, but
because they weren't busy, they gave us a waiter, a very good one. We were very well treated!
I personally don't like ordering my food at a counter, particularly at these prices. It confuses me
especially when the person that takes the food orders is also serving beer. Who do you tip? 

The beer list was a bit befuddling to us, because we're not up to speed with craft beers however, they wisely offer a $2.00 sample of any of their products. We asked him to bring us one of their craziest beers to taste. He presented us with the Indra Kunindra Export Stout, described as a burst of curry, cumin, cayenne, coconut and Kaffir lime leaf. Nancy didn't like it. I enjoyed the flavor experience but it was nothing like you'd expect in a beverage. The aroma was great - fermentation notes and an alcohol tickle and a hint of vanillin. The heat from cayenne started on the sides of the tongue and ran down the throat warmly. I couldn't pick out the coconut or the cumin from the blend, but we drank it all up before there was time for close inspection. It's a fun beer to drink if you are out for a single drink. I can't imagine you'd have two of these. Here's a review by someone (lost the reference), which I thought was accurate.

"A complex foreign stout that would taste great chilled, but once warmed became almost like a soup."

He also brought us a sample of Habanero sculpin which was too, too hot for all of us. The flavors of the beers were interesting enough to make us put the place on the return list for lunches. Most of their beers are called sculpins - the name adopted from a fish with a stinger. From their website:

Our Sculpin IPA is a great example of what got us into brewing in the first place. After years of experimenting, we knew hopping an ale at five separate stages would produce something special. The result ended up being this gold-medal winning IPA, whose inspired use of hops creates hints of apricot, peach, mango and lemon flavors, but still packs a bit of a sting, just like a Sculpin fish.

The food: My charcuterie plate was by far the best-looking choice and I enjoyed it. It was a large enough plate for two to share for lunch or better as a beer accompaniment for three or four. Barbara had the Ballast Point burger and gave it a thumbs up, but she only ate about half of it. The fries were excellent - I think dusted in corn starch or perhaps dipped in a thin batter before frying. Nancy had the grilled fish sandwich. She enjoyed it and ate it all. Both the hamburger and the fish sandwich were served on quarter sheet pans with a paper underliner. Hmmmm...I've looked at those sheets for too many years in kitchens and bakeries. They belong in the back of the house for my preference.
Barbara's burger on quarter sheet pan.

If it works for their customers, they are certainly practical - no breakage, no chipping.
Fish Sandwich
Charcuterie plate
The menu insists on being downloaded as a pdf file unmanageable on the blog, but it
can be viewed here.

On Thursday, when we were there the daily specials were a Duck Confit Poutine for $14;
Corn Chowder for $6; Pear Bread Pudding for $6.

Today's specials are below: 

  • Burger Monday! Ballast Point Burger and a pint 10 Cheddar, lettuce, tomato, red onion, brioche bun. Choice of mixed greens or fries. Choice of main production pint. 
  • Soup of The Day: Loaded Potato Soup 6 Creamy potato soup topped with bacon, green onion, cheddar cheese, and sour cream

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:35 AM

    A wonderful time was had by all. As usual, the conversation was the highlight! I really enjoyed the restaurant and would love to go back again. Next time I'd have what Helen had. I'm not a beer drinker, so that part was confusing to me but interesting.