Have you ever been to Claremont, California? Nestled in the foothills of The San Gabriel Mountains, just east of Downtown LA & whistling distance from Pasadena, Claremont has become a best kept secret to Southern California with world-class cuisine, entertainment & FUN to be had. To introduce you to all the food to check out within in this college town (Claremont alone has 5 world renowned campuses), they are offering their famous Restaurant Week, which kicks off TODAY & will continue to keep you wine & dined no matter what your budget, for its 3rd year in a row, through July 19th.
I had the pleasure of attending a media preview of some of these wonderful restaurants with fellow members of The International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) & am honored to introduce you to my favorites that I highly recommend you check out this week!
Combining European/Chinese/Mexican fare, The Junction is all about bringing together the Chefs diverse backgrounds to bring you some of the most fabulous, unique food you will find in Claremont. My recommendations? Begin your dining adventure with their Stuffed Dates & Figs, loaded with French Roquefort cheese and walnut & move onto the Ginger Butter Escargot. I know Escargot is not everyone’s cup of tea, but trust me, if you are ever going to try it, have it be here. The ginger butter is decadent, rich & full of flavor. For your second dish, consider either the prawns or wild cod, while I did not have either of those dishes this trip, I am positive it will be my go-to next time!
The Junction also has the great “Off The Truck” option which brings many food truck favorites right to your table like a soft shell crab taco & Super Nachos.
The Orchard is one of Claremont’s most loved fine dining experiences. Located in The DoubleTree by Hilton on Foothill Boulevard, it is ideal whether or not you’re lodging at the beautiful hotel. I was thrilled to hear that I would be trying their scallops; from presentation to taste, theirs could easily be the most outstanding I have ever had. Topped with a tarragon hollandaise sauce, these scallops melt in your mouth & will leave you ordering more. If this appetizer is that excellent, imagine what their entrees are like!
Known for their “California Contemporary Cuisine”, you also cannot deny the French influence with Bardot’s name & their background. Serving such intriguing dishes as The Portobello Sandwich, Quinoa Pasta and…wait for it…Goat Cheese Lollipops! I had the opportunity to try their salmon & red quinoa salad, which were perfect, light dishes for a warm Claremont evening.
Saca’s is dangerous! I admit, I visited their sampling table more than once. But how could one not when they have Vegetarian Dolmas, Kalamata Hummus & Baba Ghanouj. Wanna know a secret? I do not even like Hummus! With fresh Kalamata olives in the famous dip, it became the best of both worlds in their Kalamata Hummus. Would pair great with a nice white wine.
If you are a Wino, you are in for a real treat at Packing House. I had the chance to do a flight courtesy of owner, Sal Medina & learn more about Sal & his incredible background. Sal easily tries thousands of wines a year to ensure the best of the best are coming into his wine shop then to your home. With the recent expansion of the restaurant, they have so many great options in store for Restaurant Week all created by the restaurant’s Chef Noah. Do yourself a favor & don’t leave before having a glass of their ’13 Turley Juvenile Zinfandel. Plump, full-bodied & notes of black currant & raspberry made it my favorite.
These are just a few of the restaurants participating in Claremont Restaurant Week. Visit their web-site HERE & you will be able to see what dishes each eatery has created for this exciting week for you to try! xo
(*Disclosure: A huge thank you to Claremont & IFWTWA for making this post possible. All opinions are my own.)