Sweet Tastes of Temecula
by Pamela Thorsch
The Temecula Valley was initially developed to provide affordable housing for San Diego and Orange County residents who were priced out of the market. This led to big box stores supporting the developers in providing services to the growing area. With retail rental space at a premium at the malls, there was very little room for independently owned stores to set up shop; however there is a change going on, with more and more small “ma and pa” neighborhood storefronts popping up – particularly food purveyors who are offering our community something yummy to savor.
Let me share with you a few of my favorites:
Tucked away in the corner of the newly revitalized Vail Headquarters living historic park, lies one of the best kept secrets in Temecula, Cheflavor. The Culinary Institute of America-trained owner/chef, Matt Green, and his wife, Tahne, have created a gourmet specialty shop of herbs, spices, vinegars, olive oils, and a great selection of beer and wines. This all surrounds their relaxed indoor/outdoor dining restaurant serving a delectable menu of salads, sandwiches, and Chef Matt’s daily inspired specials. You can’t go wrong by ordering any of their salads, including a fresh spinach and mushroom salad served with shaved parmesan cheese and a balsamic vinaigrette to their ahi salad served with cucumber, pickled onion, and greens with a miso ginger dressing. Their succulent crab cakes with red pepper remoulade and a green apple slaw is a winner! Or you could let your palate persuade you into trying their lobster mac n’cheese, an angus beef burger served with cheese, grilled onion and a sriracha aioli, or an Italian Muffaletta stacked with five kinds of meat and served with a smoked potato salad. The other great thing about Cheflavor is that it is both human and dog friendly. If you take your furry friend out to dine with you, be sure to order “the Mukee” special, which is a sliced side of chicken breast. Cheflavor is open daily, 11 am to 9 pm, and closed on Mondays. 951-972-4935 32119 Temecula Parkway, Temecula, CA 92592
Sugar Divaz is the dream of Tiffany Veloz who started out baking cakes for friends and family while working as a court reporter. In 2013, her hobby started taking off and soon she found herself with a home-based business featuring the creation of custom wedding cakes using only the freshest ingredients, including real cream and butter. Opportunity called and she took the leap of faith in creating a store front earlier this year when she found a space on the first floor of the Truax Building in Old Town. With wedding cakes and wedding dessert bars the main stay of her boutique bakery, Tiffany and her bakery chef/manager, Autumn, offer baked goods made fresh daily, featuring a uniquely flavored cupcake of the day, which keeps you coming back to try the many varieties they offer. You can call ahead to find out what the featured daily special is in order to satisfy your sweet tooth craving. The glass window into the kitchen allows you to see them baking the favored treat which could be a chocolate lovers delight, a Boston cream, tiramisu or a Syrah cupcake. Not in the mood for a cupcake? You can always indulge in the daily selection of French macarons, gooey cookies or cookie sandwiches, brownies, red velvet and banana bars, individual-sized cheese cakes and shot glasses of mousses. Just one bite, and you’ll be hooked. Sugar Divaz is open Tuesday - Saturday, 11 am to 5 pm. 951-414-6044 41923 Second St., Ste. 104, Temecula, CA 92590
Cake and ice cream go together like a hand and glove, which is why Churned Creamery has added another sweet treat option to the Temecula Valley. Just opened in the Trader Joes shopping center, this small-franchise out of Orange County is just getting underway. With Italian-made gelato machines imported especially for Churned (see photo at beginning of article), you’ll delight in seeing how the slow rate of the churning creates less air in the product, resulting in less ice crystals and a really creamy product using base ingredients of milk, sugar and cream. Local store owner, Paul Ahn, became so passionate about this gelato concept that he and his family took a chance to open up the shop and his excitement is contagious. He greets you with a big smile, and happily offers tastes prior to your ordering. You can choose from a number of flavors all made with fresh, natural ingredients. Whisky n cream, Espresso, Strawberry and Nutella were some of my favorites. They also offer non-dairy based flavors too. If the ice cream isn’t enough, you are tempted to pair your gelato with a buttery, glazed croissant which is stuffed with a scoop or two, or a churro donut or a Ghirardelli chocolate brownie all made fresh in house. Another fun feature offered is Butter-fly tea, which is made from pea flowers which are naturally blue. When mixed with the tea, lemon juice and flavored syrup, there is a chemical reaction and the blue turns to purple, creating a refreshing and colorful drink. Churned is open daily, Noon to 10 pm. 951-296-9150 40695 Winchester Rd. #C2, Temecula, CA 92591
Enjoy eating at your local businesses.