I had seen the classic vehicle on the streets of Temecula for the past six months, usually in Old Town or parked at a winery on Rancho California or De Portola.  I thought it was a cute rental vehicle for private parties and put it on my “maybe someday” list.  That was until I met Amy Brewen, the vehicle’s owner and event planning mastermind behind Brewen’s Empire Trolley.

Amy is a woman on a mission to fill up the valley’s social calendar with exceptionally fun events and take the stress out of attending them.  Mr. WINEormous and I caught up with her this past week and hopped aboard for the premiere “underground night on the trolley.”  Passengers gathered at the first destination which on this tour was Lorimar winery’s tasting room in Old Town Temecula. About 20 adventurous souls began with wine tasting and introductions.  The group was split between trolley regulars and first-timers, wine aficionados and novices, yet the conversation quickly became lively and animated.


Don Campini

Soon the trolley pulled up and we were introduced to our driver, Leonard, and navigator, Jim who is also a writer and wine expert.  All climbed aboard the classic Boyertown trolley with cushioned wood seats, the traditional brass bell and even a sound system .  The back of the trolley is open  (roll down windows are attached) which let in a welcoming breeze and allowed us to wave at pedestrians.  There is nothing inconspicuous about us.

We then pulled up to Wine On A Dime, another “underground” find where owners, Don and Michelle Campini came out to greet us with wines of exceptional taste and value.  A beer tasting was also in progress and patrons were also purchasing wines to take home.  I especially enjoyed their extensive array of jewelry items for sale.  Mr. W and I both agreed that the beer and wine inventory was extensive with very good buys.  We’ll be back.


Chef Martin Corso

The piece de resistance was dinner at the M Group – always a delight.   More details about Chef Martin’s skills will be savored in future “Wines-Dines” posts.  Suffice it to say this was Amy’s night and she had a big hand in the menu selection. This cooking class/show began with” Marty’s Italian Fried Squash Flowers,”  then  “Smoked Chicken and Bleu on Blue Salad,” an amazing combination of fresh home-smoked chicken, bleu cheese and blueberries with fresh lemon vinaigrette over field greens.  I would have been satisfied with this dinner.

But wait, there’s more.  Amy had requested her M Group favorite – “Lobster Mac ‘n Triple Cheese.” Did I mention my heartstrings?  Amy and I are in total agreement on this one.  Now I was pushing to the edge of excess.

But wait, there’s more.  On to the main course of “Roasted Pork Loin with Guinness Stout Glaze,” which requires a 12 oz bottle of beer.  Chef Marty says that beer should never be bought in odd numbers and recommends employing the phone-a-friend option for remaining beers.  I’m now begging  Mr. W to cue the crane to get me out of my seat.

Why stop now? It’s time for Amy’s requested dessert – ‘Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote,” (sounds innocent enough). But wait, Amy requested chocolate and liquor with her fruit.  So the compote was poured over a brownie topped with ice cream, amaretto and whipped cream!  I may have passed out for a moment, overcome by gluttony.

I do recall waddling back onto the trolley after giving Chef Marty and Amy  a standing O and making a commitment to return next month, as Amy is planning to make Underground Night a monthly event,  We returned to Old Town amid singing and laughter and parted company chanting Amy Brewen’s motto, “Life is short – enjoy the ride!”

Wine On A Dime