WINEormous at Heart of the HouseTemecula’s Heart of the House Restaurant has reached its six month milestone, no small feat in the daunting restaurant business. Chef Richard Bustos takes the helm in the kitchen while wife Monica takes charge of the front of the house. I never mentioned to Monica how crazy I am about duck, but somehow she knew because recently she invited me to taste chef’s new special – Duck a L’Orange.

I enjoyed a glass of Benziger Chardonnay while I waited for the duck. I had a nice visit with Monica and learned that business has been brisk, even through some cold and rainy weather spells. Guests made their way in for dinner. Heart of the House is a spacious, split level room, and beautifully laid out for groups of any size. They feature live music Saturdays from 7 – 10 and will be launching Sabor Sundays this summer.

The duck arrived and it was gorgeous; almost too pretty to eat. Almost. It was seasoned and cooked to perfection. Chef told me he had been searching for a special and decided to modernize Duck a L’Orange. It was after he made that decision he saw a trends for 2017 article in Saveur magazine naming the dish as a trend.

WINEormous at Heart of the House

Duck a L’Orange

He starts with orange zest and Valencia orange juice, adds some Wiens Amour de L’Orange sparkling wine and balsamic vinegar and makes a reduction. He salts and peppers the duck, gives it a hard sear before he finishes it in the oven and plates it with roasted fennel on a bed of arugula tossed in blood orange olive oil. He adds pear slices and geranium petals before he presents this work of art.

I savored each bite. Check out Heart of the House, open Tuesday through Sunday at 27525 Ynez Road in the Tower Plaza. Call (951) 506-5000 for hours.

Tom Plant launched WINEormous in 2009 and is a member of the International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association. Based in Temecula, California, he offers intimate winery tours for no more than seven people. Tour details and pricing are available at Call now to book your Temecula Winery Tour at (951) 907-9701. Ask about special discounts.