Sometimes, the greatest treasures can be found in the most unexpected places.
Jeremy’s on the Hill is such a treasure, and the ever changing five star farm-to-table and local wine menu has been on my “constant craving” list since first taste. The family owned and operated California-Bistro style restaurant is literally “on the hill” just next to Julian, and the flavors here simply cannot be duplicated.
So, who goes to Julian for five star cuisine? After all, Julian is a historic Gold Mining Mountain Town, mostly famous for everything apples: Apple Wine, Apple Cider, Apple Pies, Apple Pastries, and “U-Pick” Apple Farms. But a culinary mastermind has emerged, and quickly has placed Julian on the map as a local food and wine enthusiasts dream destination.
Chef Jeremy Manly is the youngest graduate of the famous Le Cordon Bleu and the rock star chef behind the dynamite food creations here. The menu changes seasonally and highlights local, organic produce and meats from reputable, sustainable Southern California farms and ranches as well as local wine. Chef Jeremy believes in staying true to his local roots, utilizing local farms, and highlighting the seasonal flavors of the region. This man literally lives and breathes into creation intense, flavorful 5 star cuisine unlike anything anywhere else. Regular favorites like Crispy Brussels Sprouts in Ponzu Sauce, Julian Apple Salad, Lobster Bisque, and the Bison Burger with garlic fries will have you hooked for life.
I was fortunate enough to sample a few of Chef Jeremy’s out-of-this-world delicious food and wine pairing specialties during a Wine Council meeting and Press Trip with a group of fellow writers, photographers, and Big Blend Radio/Magazine. He wowed us all with his level of expertise and with his perfect medley of local flavors. We ranked the dishes based on how well they paired with the said local wines. Listed in order of service:
- Turtle Rock Ridge Grenache Blanc from Ramona starts out with candied lemon on the nose and palate followed with yellow apple, juicy pear and a beautifully smooth mouth feel on the finish. Blistered Jalapeno stuffed with house made Hunters Sausage from Julian Cook Pigs Ranch, served on top of Local Festival of Radishes Salad is a very well thought out pair. The slightly sweet citrus notes in the wine add an unexpected layer of brightness to the dish and accent the cool yet spicy radishes while mellowing the heat of the sausage and jalapeno.
- 2010 Syrah from Hawk Watch Radar Ridge Vineyard in Warner Springs is everything I enjoy in a good Syrah. The notes of smoke, luscious dark berries, and damp earth are meant to be with Chef Jeremy’s Local Heirloom Tomato Salad with Blue Cheese, Grilled Eggplant, Red Onion, Sea Salt and Sage Balsamic reduction. This pairing earned the #1 spot with the group. It is absolute perfection in every way. The bold Syrah played on each key element of every bite, creating a true love pairing scenario: the smokiness of the grilled eggplant, the deeply ripe and sweet tomatoes, the savory blue cheese, the bold red onion, right down to the earthy sweetness of the Sage Balsamic reduction. Every single layer of this pairing was spot on. I could eat this all day.
- 2008 Cabernet Franc from La Serenissima in Warner Springs is complex and fruit forward with a touch of smoke on the finish. It is paired with House made Sage Pasta beneath Local Summer Vegetable Ratatouille and House Cured Pancetta from Julian Cook Pigs Ranch. This could quite possibly the best pasta plate of my life mostly because of the comforting flavor resulting from the bits of Sage in the pasta dough. This is a smart move on Chef Jeremy’s part as it sets the stage for each bite and sip combination to maintain a uniquely enjoyable undertone of butter and herbs. This is the 2nd Place group pick.
- 2012 Julian Gold Muscat Canelli from Julian’s Menghini Winery is a magnificent semi-sweet wine with orange blossoms and honey on the nose and palate. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought you could out-perfect any version of a classic Strawberry Shortcake. But yet here it is: Strawberry Shortcake with fresh peach preserves, oregano, mint and shaved chocolate. Well done Chef!
Jeremy’s on the Hill is located at 4354 Hwy 78, Winola CA., just 3 miles west of Julian. For more information on the stellar local events here, to view the current menu and wine list, for outstanding recipes and cooking tips, or for more information on this wonderful family owned and operated restaurant, please visit www.jeremysonthehill.com.