Romantic Dining Under The Stars

Butternut Squash and Coconut Soup with Lobster at A.R. Valentien at The Lodge Torrey Pines
Butternut Squash and Coconut Soup with Lobster

Romantic dining under the stars on a terrace boasting views of the legendary Torrey Pines golf course, with the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean, is what you’ll find at A.R. Valentien.

Tempura Quail Salad at A.R. Valentien at The Lodge Torrey Pines
Tempura Quail Salad

The food is a direct representative of the people behind each dish, and you won’t see ingredients lost or buried under a complex sauce, with an over abundance of indecipherable ingredients. “On any single plate, the dedicated work of multiple farmers and local producers is allowed to shine.” says Chef de Cuisine Kelli Crosson. “My philosophy has always been to prepare the best possible ingredients in the simplest ways.”

Red Wine Braised Veal Cheeks at A.R. Valentien at The Lodge Torrey Pines
Red Wine Braised Veal Cheeks

Crosson’s menu stems from conversations with other cooks from different backgrounds, reading interesting cookbooks, and her travel experiences dining at various restaurants. “We like to experiment with ingredients across a multitude of cultures and styles, which at present is some influence of Middle Eastern spices and preparations,” Crosson explains. “Being open to my own curiosities and inspirations, as well as recently having a line cook from Israel on my team, all filter into the menu in natural way that stays true to the vision of our cooking.”

Liberty Duck Breast at A.R. Valentien at The Lodge Torrey Pines
Liberty Duck Breast

Once a year Crosson says her kitchen team puts on a huge family style dinner for all the farmer’s and producers that have participated in Celebrate the Craft. “We couldn’t cook the way we do without them and it literally brings a tear to my eye to see them all brought together in one place, where our appreciation can be returned in such a special evening,” she says.

Apple Crumble at A.R. Valentien at The Lodge Torrey Pines
Apple Crumble

When asked what her favorite item is on the menu, Crosson says any dish could easily be highlighted as a favorite, because they simply wouldn’t make it on the menu if that weren’t the case. That being said, the duck leg confit is a crowd favorite, causing upset if it is ever temporarily removed from the menu. But don’t worry, it will be back on there soon!

©Written by Maria Desiderata Montana