I always look forward to a lunch at Pala Mesa Resort’s Aquaterra restaurant. Nestled between craggy hills and overlooking the verdant golf course, it is a pleasant place to spend time. In fact, it’s my opinion that you don’t need to get out of town to “get out of town.” A visit to Aquaterra will make you feel like you are on vacation.
Recently Aquaterra introduced a menu filled with light summery culinary creations by Chef Sean Sullivan, who is a 1998 graduate of The School of Culinary Arts in Denver, Colorado.
Summer saw the debut of Blackened Salmon Tacos, a Chef Sean creation, available for lunch; and later in the day on the bar menu. The salmon portions are generous – a total of four ounces – two ounces per taco – and two tacos comprise one order.
A corn tortilla with bed of shredded green cabbage and Cajun-spiced grilled corn provides the base for salmon; and other ingredients blend in harmony. An inventive salsa adds natural sweetness with a mix of mango, avocado, tomato and onion. Chef Sean’s “Orange Jalapeno Sour Cream” intensifies the flavor; and creamy, mild cotija cheese from Mexico is light and unobtrusive. The Blackened Salmon Taco has a bit of a bite, a lot of character, and is a bold creation – way beyond a typical fish taco.
Bananas Foster is a delicious summer treat prepared by Chef Sean. The dessert recipe itself was created in New Orleans by Chef Paul Blangé at Brennan’s restaurant. There is an art to preparing this dessert – a lot of fuss with making sure the sugar, butter, cinnamon and bananas are cooked just right – especially the bananas because they are temperamental. Add banana liqueur and Myer’s Rum to the mix and it is even more of a fuss because the liquor flames. The cooked concoction is then topped with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with caramel sauce. Chef Sean has this process perfected. He even tweaks the recipe deliciously by adding orange zest. (To “zest” an orange is to finely grate the rind.)
Enjoy your meal on the patio with breezes blowing down the fairway. Or, step into the dining room, where a wall of windows affords a sweeping view of the craggy hills and golf course. But, it doesn’t matter where you sit – the dining experience at Aqua Terra will, no doubt, still your mind and fool you into thinking you are on vacation.
Pala Mesa Resort is located at 2001 Old Highway 395 in Fallbrook. Call toll free (800) 722-4700, or local (760) 728-5881. The web address is www.palamesa.com/dine/aquaterra. (During the summer enjoy music every Friday night on the patio.)