Hunger hampers a person's ability to critically reason, as Pandora discovered when she opened a box labeled "Pure Evil" on the off chance that it actually contained leftover doughnuts. Leave food finding to the professionals with today's Groupon: for $49, you get lunch for two at Café Merlot, located at the Bernardo Winery in Rancho Bernardo (a $114.26 value).
Owners Toni and Rick Kraft, chef Daniel Reynolds, and sous chef Stella Midori-Mokofski transform their love of food and years of culinary expertise into innovative menus infused with a rustic, Southern Californian elegance. A prix fixe spread satiates midday munchies, showcasing a microfarm-sourced pasta dish or entree salad, such as the Northwest Atlantic salmon salad, a fresh haul of produce and fish decked out with lemon dressing. Quench noontime thirst with pitchers of house sangria or mimosas and infused water that hint at flavors of lemon and lavender or lemon and rosemary. The soup du jour warms the bones with freshly harvested, deliciously heated ingredients, and the dessert sampler fills empty corners of the stomach with confectionary care.
Warm light and verdant vegetation vitalize Café Merlot's outdoor patio, enticing office workers to long lunches and doctors to midsurgery siestas. The spaciously arranged dining room bathes diners in natural light as they lounge in broad-backed chairs, and the shaded patio facilitates alfresco eating.
13330 Paseo Del Verano Norte
San Diego, California 92128