Best Of The Best Of Food In The Ranch
by Terryl Gavre photography by Vincent Knakal
Looking for some incredible edibles? Would
you like to find some fabulous cheese or a special bottle of
wine? Look no further than the Ranch; there’s plenty
to nosh, nibble on, or down-right over-do it with right here
in Rancho Santa Fe.
To Put Together A Picnic
16950 Via De Santa Fe
Sure, this is the only grocery store for the locals, but unlike your run-of-the-mill
Von’s or Ralph’s, Village Market carries some pretty outrageous
delicacies, even for those with persnickety palates. In the wine and spirits
department, there are your everyday wines of course, but if you happen to
be entertaining and need a big gun there’s always the Louis XIII Champagne
Cognac for a mere $1,499.99. Otherwise, for your picnic there are many chilled
bottles of wine and champagne available, as well as a wonderful red wine
At Village Market you can fill your basket
with a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers, artisan cheeses
like a mellow St.
Pat from Cowgirl Creamery, or an imported creamy Saint Andre,
along with some gourmet crackers. The deli department has
lovely ready-to-eat salads and entrees — or why not a tin of
duck foie gras from Petrossian? The Village Market offers two
sizes of Petrossian Caviar for those of you with a hankering
for one of the finest flavors there is; a 4 3/8-ounce jar of
Osetra sells for $39.99 and for a 1 1/6-ounce jar of Sevruga,
the asking price is $89.99. Finish off your moveable feast
with a baked item like a real Julian Apple Pie or an item from
the Village Market bakery.
Inn at Rancho Santa Fe
5951 Linea Del Cielo
Gone is the dark, clubby, law library-like
atmosphere of yesterday. The new lighter, brighter colors and
open spaces of the dining
room at Inn at Rancho Santa Fe perfectly suit the lighter,
brighter, cleaner style of fare offered by new executive
chef A. J. Voytko. The chef shops locally for fruits and veggies
(nearby Chino Farm is a regular haunt), so look for menu
that celebrate Southern California products like the Duck
Breast with Dried Cherry Risotto Cake, Chino Farms Parsnips,
cabbage, or Be Wise Ranch Organic Tomato Salad with Grapes,
Jicama, and Balsamic Vinaigrette.
Cheese Steak Sandwich
16236 San Dieguito Road
The best Philly cheese steak sandwich in all of San Diego is at Ranch Deli.
No, really. Although the menu is huge, offering everything from spaghetti, pizza,
and chicken Parmesan to Rueben and pastrami sandwiches, the big winner here is
the Philly cheese steak. Thin sliced, perfectly seasoned roast beef is loaded
into a soft-on-the-outside, crunchy-on-the-inside French roll and slathered with
grilled onions and peppers and melted provolone cheese. This thing is authentic
East Coast good.
Brad and Lori Auerbach took over the deli
in 1999 and have made it a big success. Brad spent 16 years
as a fishmonger
in Boston and also cooked at Ristorante Toscano before moving
back to the Ranch. The lines start getting long near noon
so go early. Ranch Deli is open Monday through Saturday night
until 8pm; closed on Sunday.
For A Casual Lunch Or Fresh Baked Sweets
Thyme in the Ranch
16905 Avenida De Acacias
The baked goods and ready-made entrees at this much-talked-about eatery would
make even Martha Stewart’s jaw drop. Opened nine years ago by Dawn and
Shane Purcell (he’s the chef and baker), the former Los Angelinos operated
cafes at Fred Segal on Melrose and Santa Monica for years before moving to the
Ranch and opening Thyme in the Ranch. This recently expanded little gem now offers
plenty (well, at least more) inside seating as well as seating on a front porch-style
deck that looks out onto the lawned front elevation of the Inn at Rancho Fe.
nice breakfast menu is rounded out by a selection of scrambleds, lighter fare
to accompany cereals, and a stellar selection
of baked goods. Homemade muffins, Bundt cakes, sweet breads,
and crisps are baked daily and, for those of you apple pie
aficionados (and I know you’re out there), the best
darn pies and tarts around. Another big favorite in the sweets
is the Monte Carlo Cake, three layers of light sponge cake
ensconced in a creamy vanilla frosting with a cushion of
strawberries and peaches between the layers.
or take out dining, the deli cases are loaded
with huge Idaho halves of twice baked potatoes, ready-to-eat
turkey meatloaf, flatbread pizzas, and platters of scrumptious
salads, including variations of tuna, potato, and pasta.
lunch menu is composed of well-designed sandwiches, salads,
small plates, and some very popular soups. Oh, and if you’re
like me and forget to save much room for dessert, just have
one of Shane’s wicked little oatmeal, chocolate chip,
or coconut butter cookies.
For Lunch On The Patio
6009 Paseo Delicias
This shady hideaway offers one of the best patios in the Ranch. Terracotta tile,
bountiful flowers, and a bubbling European-style fountain make this a favorite
for long, romantic lunches. Start with a glass of champagne and Peconic Bay Littleneck
clams on the half shell with fresh horseradish. Move on to a nice Sancerre from
the Loire Valley and the tomato and eggplant salad with Manchego, sweet onions,
and olive oil dressing. Finish with the pan-roasted troll King salmon served
over a coulis of white corn and yellow bell peppers and a glass of Pinot Noir.
may even run into the glamorous host Bertrand, as he’s
known to spend lunch hour there.
For Specialty Wines
Caveau De Vins
6009 Paseo Delicias # B
This tiny specialty shop run by Kelise Ward offers some of the finest, rarest,
most collectable, and to be quite frank, expensive wines available anywhere.
Specializing in anniversary and birth-year wines, Jeroboams, Methuselahs, and
extraordinarily impressive bottles, this “cave of wines” is a fun
place to browse even if you’re not in the market to splurge.
Quite the contradiction,
don’t be surprised if Ward
is wearing beachwear when you stop in, since she is also a
partner in a surfing school in Del Mar. Ward is available for
private wine tastings, parties, and special events — and
if you’re looking for a special bottle for your New Year’s
party this year, she has a Methuselah of 1990 Cristal for a