Happy 4th of July weekend! Hope everyone enjoys it and gets to do something fun! Speaking of fun, Michael and I attended a Wine and Beer Tasting at the Welk Resorts up in Escondido last week. While we aren’t huge drinkers as you may know, that never stops us from enjoying a carefully planned menu and appreciating the pairings.
This event was unique in that we were invited to spend the night at the resort. It was the first time I had ever stepped foot on the property while Michael had come here years ago. He said it looked completely different than when he visited. Now it looks like a place the kids would love. We checked into our room and had time to relax a bit before our tour of the property with the other dinner guests. Our room was one of the Lawrence Welk Resort Villas built when they first opened the property. That’s our patio and the view from it looking onto the property.
We stayed in a two bedroom villa, each with it’s own bathroom and bedroom. The kitchen and living room were spacious. The couch even had a pullout bed.
And so our tour began of the resort. We got around in golf carts and stopped at various parts of the resort. One thing I learned is that they have a plethora of things to do there, and that list is growing as they expand their offerings to include things like a basketball court, sand volleyball, horseshoe pits, and a rock climbing wall amongst many other things. We even saw a group of people fishing at a pond next to one of the golf course holes.
There’s an area of the resort called the Welk Downtown Plaza where there’s shops and quick service restaurants. I found out they have a farmers market that runs there from 3-7 pm on Mondays.
And here are more fun attractions for the family. Cabanas, large swimming pools, water slides, a green screen for fun photo shoots, pool, foosball, ping pong, the list goes on.
The main attraction for us was the vineyard where we’d be dining for the evening.
We were greeted as we got carted along the way to our eating destination. As we walked up the steps we realized what a beautiful spread it was.
Look at those cute little grapes! Al fresco dining doesn’t get much better than this.
The two beers served for the appetizer portion of the meal came from Iron Fist Brewing Company out of Vista. After collaborating with Welk Resorts they came up with the Welk Blond Beer and Welk Stout Beer. The blond was incredibly smooth and mild. I was surprised just how tasty it was. The stout? Well I guess there’s a classic yin and yang going on here. There was a very distinct earthy tone with hints of roasted coffee. I think it had around 9% alcohol and although it was no joke, there have been other stouts with a much heavier feel.
The Lawrence Welk Almond Sparkling Wine was paired with the Ahi Tuna, with California Field Greens and Mango Puree. Welk Resorts also teamed up with Belle Marie Winery right down the road to create special blends exclusive to Welk Resorts. This particular wine was sweet and crisp. One aspect of our meal which was apparent from the start was Executive Chef Thomas Trevethan’s use of fresh ingredients. Everything seemed so light and refreshing.
Perhaps my favorite of the night came in the form of a non-alcoholic liquid poured into a bowl in front of my very own eyes. Yes folks, this lobster bisque was rich but not heavy. It managed to capture the essence of lobster without having to throw chunks of lobster on top(although I would not have complained if they went that route). The Chilean Sea Bass was moist, flaky, and very delicate.
Our Lemon Sorbet Intermezzo was a welcomed interlude before our monster of a plate to follow: Filet Mignon, Garlic Poached Maine Lobster Tail, and Roasted Potatoes. The dish was paired with The Vineyard at Welk Resorts Field Blend 2013, a red wine in which they use their local grapes from the vineyard to make. It certainly was bolder than the previous wines and complimented the meat. The lobster lead to reminiscing thoughts about a recent East coast trip with my family where we had more than our fair share of Maine lobster. My cut of filet was a little overcooked, but luckily it was still tender.
Somehow I didn’t manage to snap decent pictures of the Lawrence Welk Sparkling Wine Brut or The Vineyard Field Blend. I grabbed these from the professional photographer at the event.
How anyone had space for the dessert, I don’t know. Yet we all manage to carve out enough in the end, don’t we? A little research on Chef Thomas Trevethan gave me more insight on his culinary past. He seems to be quite an accomplished pastry chef. I have a theory about dessert trio’s such as these. To me there’s two strategies going on here. The first one being that there isn’t a ton of confidence in any of them, so restaurants hope at least one of them is a winner. The second being that they have the utmost confidence in all of their desserts, but they can’t possibly narrow down the choices, so why not serve them all? I believe chef comes from the ladder group and wanted to flex his pastry muscle on the very last plate of the evening. His classic cheesecake probably was my favorite, but each had its own highlights. Subtle, decadent, and everything in between, we were pleased to attend a wonderful meal in an equally impressive setting.
So there you have it. Welk Resorts has food, wine, beer, and enough activities to keep an entire family busy. Staycation anyone?