Ranch & Coast Magazine

November 2023

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T EMECULA CREEK INN IS POPULAR with wedding planners and golf aficionados. e general public, myself included, may be better acquainted with nearby Pechanga Resort Casino. In 2018, the mega casino purchased the quaint, rustic, 123-room inn. Resultantly, aided by short-hop shuttle-bus service, a stay at Temecula Creek Inn offers the best of both these worlds. I've stayed in the 1,090-room Pechanga Tower several times. at's enabled me to frolic in the resort's 7,500-square-foot pool complex called e Cove, and provided access to the property's 13 restaurants. And of course, I've tried my luck on the casino's 200,000 square feet of gaming space. It's all there, six shuttle minutes away from TCI. And yes, my wife and I did take advantage of proximity to Pechanga to taste the house special seafood soup from Umi Sushi & Oyster Bar's Chef Kiyokuni Ikeda. We also spent sun time in a Cove cabana, had a Mexican-inspired breakfast at 1882 Cantina (say "aye" to the Coctel de Camarones), and popped into a Microbrew & Chili Cookoff festival in the Summit Events Center. Pechanga is nonstop fun. And after a toe-dip into casino revelry, we were ready to wind down with nature. Temecula Creek Inn is tucked into the rolling hills near Temecula Wine Country. Oak trees are stoically omnipresent on the property's 300 acres of natural scenery. Rooms and suites are situated so that every patio or balcony has some sort of view of the property's three 9-hole golf courses. e main building is central to the guestrooms and home hub to TCI's restaurant, bar, outdoor dining deck, and golf pro shop. My wife and I had the special opportunity to chat with a pair of staffers with inside perspectives on the natural beauty here. First, Executive Chef Matthew Steffen walked us through the verdant Chef 's Garden. "Beets and carrots are our most predominant vegetables here," Steffen says, standing in the garden just 20 yards from TCI's main wood-framed building. "We grow these year- round and they are on three or four, sometimes five of our dishes. ey go with our salmon and our duck. And we have one vegan dish specifically with our beets and carrots." Indeed, Steffen's menu at Cork | Fire Kitchen includes Heirloom Carrots and Roasted Beets. And my Center Cut Prime Ribeye Filet came with a side of brown butter carrots. In the garden, Steffen shows off cherries that can be muddled for whiskey cocktails. "We also have a lot of citruses that can go with vodka — kumquats, oranges," he says. "I have a finger PHOTOGRAPHY BY RON DONOHO AND COURTESY OF TEMECULA CREEK INN Best of Both Worlds Experience the serene natural beauty of Temecula Creek Inn near the go-go casino vibe at Pechanga BY RON DONOHO detour destinations ranchandcoast.com 72 NOVEMBER 2023 RANCH & COAST MAGAZINE

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