With LTJG Hubs underway last week and heading out again soon, we wanted to squeeze a date night in this week and were dying to do something different. I found The Orchid Bar online and their summer tapas nights on Wednesdays sounded like the perfect way to mix things up, so we decided to check it out.
The Orchid Bar is located at the Grand Tradition off a winding road in Fallbrook. It’s an easy 30 minute drive from Camp Pendleton. I’d heard of the Grand Tradition as a venue for weddings, but I’ve never had any reason to check it out until I read about the Orchid Bar being open on Wednesday nights during the summer for tapas, drinks, music, fire pits, and lit up gardens, which sounded right up our alley.
When we arrived it was absolutely packed and everyone seemed to be having a really good time. Since we had about 12 parties ahead of us on the wait list, the hostess encouraged us to grab a drink at the bar and wander through the gardens on the property. All the drinks on the bar’s specialty cocktail menu sounded really delicious and creative, but I’m not a fan of sweet cocktails so I stuck with a local wine. Jake did try their “Avo Maria”- the one that comes with an avocado garnish- later with dinner and although he liked it, it was a little sweet for him.
The property is gorgeous. The gardens felt cool and tropical and we had a great time walking through them and enjoying our drinks. I was really grateful the hostess suggested we explore beforehand, because I’m not sure I would have been able to see as much after dinner even if the gardens were lit.
At the end of the garden path was a huge pond and some varied seating choices. We spent the rest of our wait time catching up and watching the sun start to set. The architecture of the other buildings on the property made Jake say he felt like he was “on a plantation.” For a few hours, it really did feel like we had traveled somewhere else.
At dinner we were seated between the bar and the fire pits with a view of the waterfall. Things had slowed down a bit by the time we got our table but I loved the whole vibe of the place with all the fire pits going.
We ordered the charcuterie board (which was so generously and variably portioned that it could definitely be a meal on its own), the ceviche (which came in four small martini cups lined up on a plate with flowers and chips- so cute), and the duck quesadillas. I didn’t get any pictures because the lighting was way too dark, but everything was arranged so beautifully with real flowers on every plate. More importantly, everything was so delicious. The ceviche was one of the best I’ve had in a while, and I’m pretty picky about my ceviche. Everything on the board was perfect, and although the duck quesadillas weren’t anything fancy, they were really good as well.
The only thing that bummed us out about the Orchid Bar was that we didn’t find it sooner! Next Wednesday will be their last night open of the summer (which we won’t be able to make), but we will definitely be back when they re-open next summer. For any of you stationed at Camp Pendleton or San Diego, I definitely recommend that you try them out next week before they close for the season!
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