Show 270, April 21, 2018: Executive Chef Duane Owen, Pechanga Resort & Casino

Duane Owen of Pechanga Casino and ResortOver the past two years we’ve been reporting on the progress of the ambitious, on-going expansion plans for the Pechanga Resort & Casino in beautiful Temecula Wine Country. $300 million dollars later all phases are now complete and welcoming the curious guests.

Two new restaurants, Lobby Bar & Grill and Coveside Grill, are part of the enhancements. Pechanga’s long-time Executive Chef Duane Owen joins us to highlight the tasty new menus.

We’ll also get a progress report on Pechanga’s all you can enjoy Thursday evening Lobster & Seafood Extravaganza launched back in January. The star is one-and-one-quarter pound whole Maine lobster! On a typical Thursday night they serve some 2,000 appreciative guests!

The lobster is done in an East Coast lobster bake style with roasted potatoes and corn on the cob. From 4 p.m. to close at 10 p.m. on Thursday, diners receive a piping hot lobster bake bag containing the just-cooked lobster (flown in from Maine the night before) and fixings. Guests can also pile high the enhanced buffet seafood selections from the upgraded sushi station, a whole-salmon carving station, fresh and baked oyster station, snow crab, fish tacos, ceviche, calamari, Dungeness crab, clam chowder, steamed shrimp and much more.

Show 270, April 21, 2018: Chef Ronnel Capacia, The Coveside Grill at The Cove & Journey’s End at Pechanga

Ronnel Capacia at the Chili CookoffChef Ronnel Capacia is no stranger to the “SoCal Restaurant Show.” We first met him when he assumed the culinary reins of Kelsey’s. When we last chatted with him he had just been promoted to oversee Journey’s End at Pechanga.

Now he’s also taken on the added responsibilities as menu-maker for the Coveside Grill at The Cove. That includes a table service restaurant with an eye-catching golf course or Cove view as well as a fast-casual spot.

Think Potato Chip Nachos. Also Kalua Pulled Pork Sliders with pineapple mango slaw, fried onions, BBQ sauce and served with house potato chips. At Kelsey’s Chef Ronnel added popular BBQ specialties to his menu.

Pizzas from a gas-fired oven were also specialties of Chef Ronnel at Kelsey’s. A selection of appealing Flatbread Pizzas (using Naan) are on the menu at Coveside Grill. We enjoyed the Margherita. Rounding out the pizza menu are Meat Lovers, BBQ Chicken and The Hawaiian.

Plus creative Coveside Cocktails including The Coveside (Blended.) It’s Tito’s Vodka, Blue Chair Bay Coconut Rum, Island Oasis Watermelon and Ice Cream Blend. Also, Temecula craft beers on tap and local wines by the glass and bottle.

Show 270, April 21, 2018: Nicole Burgess, Assistant Pastry Chef, Pechanga Resort & Casino

Nicole BurgessAll of the lavish desserts, breakfast pastries and breads are prepared in-house at Pechanga. They also create magnificent custom and wedding cakes. The bake shop additionally crafts artisan chocolates. All of the ice creams and sorbets served are also house-made.

The sweets repertoire ranges from the popular Vanilla Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich with Raspberry Drizzle served at the Coveside Grill to the Crunchy & Buttery Walnut Cake with Oreo Cookie Ice Cream drizzled with caramel sauce and served with Amaretto Sabayon on the dessert menu at the Lobby Bar & Grill.

The cover of the April issue of Inland Empire Magazine showcases “Best Desserts in the I.E.” Pechanga’s Giant Raspberry Macaron (served in The Lobby Bar & Grill) is on the cover as well as inside in a full page food porn worthy color photo on Page 97.

Pechanga’s assistant pastry chef Nicole Burgess (working with Executive Pastry Chef Jean-Jacques Granet) has an artful hand in all of this. She joins us.