A visit to family in the area for the past week. We tried a few new places.
Early in the trip we (four of us) had a good lunch at Temecula Pizza Co. We started by sharing a chicken salad ($9): romaine lettuce, a few slices of tomato, black olives, grated white cheese (perhaps a mozzarella), thin chunks of grilled chicken, and homemade creamy Italian dressing. Plenty of salad for the four of us, with lots of meat, and with a good amount of dressing (for instance, by the time we took the last helping of salad, there were no pools of dressing sitting in the bottom of the plate).
Also shared an order of bread knots ($3): ping pong ball-sized pieces of bread with grated cheese.
Finally, also shared a Tex Mex pizza ($17.50 for 16-inch): base of cilantro-jalapeño pesto white sauce, pieces of chicken, chopped tomatoes, and served with a garnish of olvie oil-marinated jalapeño peppers. Again, plenty of food for the four of us; thin but soft crust (not a thin-crispy crust).
All of the food—and especially the pizza and the salad—were good enough to order again. Next time, however, we may not order the Tex Mex because in addition to the usual pizza toppings Temecula Pizza specializes in unusual toppings, too (they have, for example, a pizza called the Screaming Chicken which is topped with tomato, red cabbage, white corn, grilled chicken, and spicy applesauce).
The ingredients were fresh. Good value for our money: plenty, if not too much, food for the four of us. Very casual atmosphere: paper plates and cups and plastic silverware. Enclosed patio (though we sometimes caught a little whiff of the patio drain under one of the outdoor tables). Very friendly and accommodating service: they really seemed concerned with the quality of our meal and experience.
Temecula Pizza Co.
Par Crest Plaza (SR 79 South at I-15, tucked into a hard-to-see back corner)
44535 Bedford Court
Temecula, CA 92592
Many months after reading kare_raisu’s recommendation on Chowhound, we finally got to try Himawari Japanese Grill. Tried the beef yakisoba & chicken yakisoba, as well as the vegetable tempura. Fresh ingredients, cooked to order, and tasty. Unfortunately, I learned in a conversation with one of the owners that they have sold the business and will turn it over to someone else in about two weeks. We’ll have to try it again with the new owners and see how well they hold up to the high standards of the current owners.
Himawari Japanese Grill
25285 Madison Avenue # 105 (cross street Murietta Hot Springs Rd.)
Murrieta, CA 92562
A number of times we’ve had breakfast or lunch at the French Valley Cafe (at the French Valley Airport). My impression is that many airport cafes don’t have a very flattering reputation, but from what I can tell, this cafe may have a better reputation than most. The food is on the good side—good enough that we return often—though I can’t say that I’ve ever had a fantastic meal here. My wife, who has pretty high standards for the taste, smell, and texture of fish, likes the fish and chips. I’ve had the hamburgers which are good, and I’ve also had the French dip which was competent. The outdoor patio has a decent view of the north end of the runway and the transient parking ramp.
French Valley Cafe
(inside the terminal building at French Valley Airport)
37552 Winchester Rd.
Murrieta, CA 92563
We also tried a couple of Mexican places that were so-so. Jalapeños Mexican Grill (corner of Hunter & Winchester roads in Murrieta) for breakfast. Tried the breakfast burritos (machaca & egg and another called the “Jalapeño” which is bacon, ham, egg, and hash browns) and red chilaquiles. The food was generally fine, but we arrived a half hour after opening and they had no salsas out yet, and for breakfast they don’t serve any milk, juice, or coffee (the guy behind the counter was quite apologetic about it and graciously referred us to a coffee house in the same shopping center, but still…).
Also tried Carnitas Express (corner of Newport & Bradley roads in Menifee) and their affiliated place Carnitas Grill (corner of Hancock Ave. & Los Alamos Rd. in Murrieta, just west of I-215, former location of Lia’s Mexican Food). Food at both locations is competent gringo-style Mexican food—some of it’s decent, some of it’s a bit less-than-decent. Eating here is not bad, but surely there are better places to find