Sophisticated Living Indianapolis

MAR-APR 2019

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With servers attired in riding-inspired uniforms, e Pony Room pays homage to the area's rich equestrian heritage (Del Mar racetrack is only 10 minutes away). While the vaulted ceiling calls to mind the airiness of a barn, the reclaimed wood floors are more literal: barn wood from a Tennessee farm. Serving lunch and dinner, there are 150 varieties of tequila behind the bar (I preferred to enjoy mine in a spicy margarita). Across the cour tyard is Veladora, which has similar ceiling architecture as its neighbor, but in a darker hue that adds gravitas apropos for this finer dining destination. A largely monochromatic color palette enables the room's two focal points—a large artwork by Damien Hirst comprised of thousands of butterflies, and a fireplace surround executed in Venetian plaster tinted a vibrant royal blue—to take center stage. The Mediterranean-inspired dishes are tantalizingly plated, allowing you to discern the freshness of the ingredients even before the first bite crosses your lips. A private dinner in the Wine Cave is a delight for both foodies and oenophiles. Substantial wood doors open to reveal a long, barrel-vaulted room clad in brick from floor-to-ceiling. Displayed behind a wall of glass is a collection of 250 of the resort's most prized vintages (from micro-producers in California all the way to Tasmania), along with five full-sized oak barrels filled with the resort's own private blends. Dan Chapman, an advanced sommelier and champion of boutique producers, said that Rancho Valencia goes to great lengths to get their hands on outstanding and hard-to-find wines, some of which are offered by the glass. If you happen to be on property during the weekend, join Chapman for sabrage demonstration and chat about all things bubbly. While there is certainly enough to keep one sufficiently busy on property, complimentary use of a Porsche Cayenne or Boxster convertible makes it easy to hit local highlights, including Torrey Pines State Reserve, the Flower Fields of Carlsbad and LEGOLAND California. Just be sure to make it back by sunset, as Rancho Valencia has some of the best views around. sl Rates at Rancho Valencia start at $650, per night. For more information or reservations, RanchoValencia.com or call (800) 548-3664. e Wine Cave slmag.net 37

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