— ON THE MENU:
After a day of making the rounds on the golf course, patrons of the Rancho Bernardo Inn can spend their evenings casually making the rounds of the restaurants. Several eateries await, ranging from upscale dining to a sports bar setting.
“We cater to a different crowd here (compared with the coastal and downtown restaurants),” said Trevor Woods, manager of Veranda Fireside Lounge and Restaurant, and The Bar. “We’re not next to the freeway; we’re in a little town, tucked away between houses. The locals bring their friends and families here.”
• Veranda Fireside Lounge & Restaurant
One way to start the evening is to watch the sun setting over the greens from Veranda. While perusing the menu, patrons can wet their whistles with specialty cocktails, wines and beers. One guilty pleasure is the Original Lava Flow, a blend of rum, strawberry and piña colada ingredients.
Those who make Veranda the first stop on their restaurant tour can begin with appetizers such as the Seared Togarishi Spiced Yellow Fin Tuna on a bed of wakame salad, enhanced with wasabi and yuzu ponzu sauce; and the warm Pretzel Bites, which are lightly salted and buttered, and perfect for dipping in spicy mustard and chipotle aioli.
Guests who stay for dinner can select from a list that encompasses salads, steaks, burgers and sandwiches. Server recommendations include the Caprese Salad and the Pan Roasted Salmon Filet.
Upstairs from Veranda is AVANT, a ranch-style restaurant with a rustic bar, patio, private dining rooms and wood-burning fireplaces. Patrons may start their dinners with a glass of wine, such as the fruity pinot noir from Flowers Vineyard & Winery, then there are charcuterie, cheese and starter plates such as the Sea Urchin Tartine.
Seafood and meat dishes are at the heart of the entrees. A new one is the Roasted Pork Loin, to usher in the fall. The pork medallions are complemented with yams, braised endive and several forms of apple, with hints of cinnamon. There are also classics like the Latin-flavored Mary’s Free Range Chicken. A trail composed of tender meat, corn, Swiss chard stems and summer squash lead to a center of melt-in-your-mouth spoonbread.
Meals can be finished off with confections that range from the White Chocolate Panna Cotta surrounded by hazelnut and chocolate dehydrated mousse and raspberry sorbet; and the Pistachio Macaron Trifle, composed of pistachio macaroons filled with orange blossom mascarpone, pistachio ice cream, crumbled pistachios and cherries in cherry liqueur.
• The Bar
When it’s time to cap off the night, visit The Bar. Guests can kick back with a glass of medium-bodied Trapiche malbec, a B52 Coffee (Bailey’s, Kahlua, Grand Marnier and java, topped with whipped cream) or a local craft beer while watching televised sports or playing shuffleboard.
The Bar shares the same menu as Veranda, and if someone skipped out on dessert at AVANT, they can find satisfaction in “The Rancho Bernardo Inn” Bread Pudding, featuring raisin bread covered with crème anglaise.
• Café Granada
To experience the fourth restaurant at the Rancho Bernardo Inn, people can order breakfast or lunch at Café Granada. It’s ideal for a quick yogurt parfait, house-made pastries, fruit and nut bars, and sandwiches. The café also has Starbucks coffee.
RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Rancho Bernardo Inn’s Roasted Pork Loin
Recipe yields 4
• 3 shallots
• 3 garlic cloves
• 2 Tablespoons extra virgin oil
• 2 pinches saffron
• 1 cup vegetable stock
• 1 cup white wine
• 8 each Belgium endives
Sautee shallots and garlic in extra virgin oil with saffron. Add endives and continue cooking, making sure there is no color. Deglaze with wine. Cook until alcohol has been evaporated, add vegetable stock, and bring to a boil. Season with salt.
Half endives and simmer in poaching liquid for 15 minutes or until fully cooked.
Poaching liquid ingredients
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1/2 cup champagne vinegar
• 1/2 cup water
• 1/2 cup white wine
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 2 Star anise
• 1 clove
• 10 coriander seed
• 10 juniper berries
3 apples peeled, cored and cut in eighths
Bring all ingredients for the poaching liquid to a boil, add apples, and simmer for 10 minutes or until apples are fully cooked.
• 2 Okinawa purple yams
• 1/2 cup Kosher salt
• 1 sprig rosemary
Place a bed of salt and chopped rosemary on a sheet tray. Place yams on top and roast at 350ºF for 35 minutes.
Peel and cut into 1-inch wheels.
• 2 pounds boneless pork loin
• Olive oil
Method: Heat up a pan on the stove. Season pork with salt and pepper and sear it with olive oil in the hot pan. Transfer pan to the oven and cook the pork until it reaches an internal temperature of 140ºF. Let rest for 8 minutes before carving.
While the pork rests, place on an oven tray the yams, apples and endive, and heat up in the oven. Serve a slice of the pork with poached apple, roasted yam and braised endive.
— Rancho Bernardo Inn restaurants
• Open Since: 1963
• The Vibe: Café Granada-Casual, Fast; Veranda-Casual, Relaxed; AVANT-Intimate, Upscale; The Bar-Sporty, Laid-Back
• Address: 17550 Bernardo Oaks Drive, Rancho Bernardo
• Phone: AVANT-(858) 675-8550; Veranda-(858) 675-8555
• Signature Dish: Veranda-Build Your Own Burger (Monday special), Market Salad, Herb Marinated Australian Lamb Rack; AVANT-Roasted Pork Loin, Mary’s Free Range Chicken; The Bar-Red and White Sangrias, “The Rancho Bernardo Inn” Bread Pudding; Café Granada-Pastries
• Hours: Veranda-6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily; AVANT-4 to 11 p.m. daily; The Bar-11 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily; Café Granada-6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily
• Reservations: Recommended at AVANT and Veranda; Veranda does not take reservations 9-11 a.m. and 6-8 p.m. Saturday, Sunday
• Patio Seating: Yes (Veranda and AVANT)
• Takeout: Yes
• Happy Hour: 4-6 p.m. daily at AVANT