By P.K. Greenfield
Surrounded by the rare Torrey pine trees, plummeting cliffs, Southern California terrain and flora, The Lodge at Torrey Pines towers over the La Jolla shores with the infamous Torrey Pines Golf Course adjacent to the resort. The AAA 5 Diamond property hovers above the Pacific Ocean offering impressive views, manicured grounds and elegantly appointed rooms and common areas.
Modeled after the Craftsman era architecture, The Gamble House in Pasadena for example, guests are greeted by a Scottish kilted doorman and three Tiffany-style stained glass doors and light fixtures, rich wood posts and rustic light fixtures; sleek lines ala Frank Lloyd Wright and a large stone fireplace surrounded by comfortable Stickley-style seating, rocking chairs — the architecture and ambiance imbue an old-world charm while the professional staff and amenities perfectly reflect today’s comforts and lifestyle.
Guest rooms are appointed with hand-painted and Tiffany-style lamps as well as artwork created by local artists. I recommend the Palisade Rooms with working fireplaces and balconies overlooking the greens and ocean.
Aside from the natural beauty of The Lodge and sprawling nature preserve, what really sets this resort apart is A.R. Valentien Restaurant. A painter and designer, Valentien moved to San Diego in 1908, he was commissioned by Ellen Browning Scripps — he created watercolors of the California flora and landscapes for over a decade. Several of his works are on display in the dining room.
Executive Chef, Jeff Jackson, elevates the dining experience with a creative and eclectic menu that will satisfy every taste. The service, selections, presentation and flavors are exceptional. A.R. Valentien has been awarded one of the top 10 farm-to-table restaurants in the U.S. It’s a gastronomical celebration.
Expect to indulge on the chef’s inspired dishes like House Made Papperdelle with slow roasted Niman Ranch brisket, mushroom cream and sherry; New York Strip with green peppercorn sauce or Pacific Seafood Brodo made with shrimp, fish, mussels, potato, fennel, savory seafood broth.
My dinner began with the chef’s daily amuse bouche: Cauliflower soup with caviar. Delectable. After my first taste, I knew the rest of the meal was going to be extraordinary. I began with a fresh salad including roasted walnuts, pear, assorted greens and aged cheese — the ingredients change according to seasons and what’s available at the nearby farmer’s market.
Note: A.R. Valentien offers an Artisan Table, family-style dinner every Thursday at 6:30 pm. Join the local purveyors, professional chefs, their families and friends for a dinner with gusto and comradery.
Make a reservation, grab your golf clubs, and head to the coast.
The Lodge at Torrey Pines
11480 North Torrey Pines Road
La Jolla, CA
Tel: (858) 453-4420