A Global Adventure
By Ashley Bennett
If you find yourself watching the Food Network hoping that something made by Rachel Ray or even on 30 Minute Meals will be both easy to make and delicious, then you need to snap out of your dream world, get out and treat yourself. Among the many foodie treasures that the IE has to offer, Ra Pour is the newest addition to our list of good eats. No longer shall you sit and stare at the TV hoping to be magically satisfied (don’t deny it). Have a few pros cook dishes you may never have had before. Ra Pour’s Executive Chef came from The French Laundry and a few others from Temecula’s own Ponte Winery, which is also a staple of IE fine dining. These renowned chefs will satisfy your desire for great tasting food presented wonderfully, just for you. No cooking required on your part.
Face it. At home you don’t have all the ingredients, the neat plates, or the atmosphere to create a culinary dish that pleases the eyes but at Ra Pour they pride themselves in making every dish look great. I give an A-plus for most unique presentation of what I witnessed with the Lamb Pops appetizers. They look exactly how they sound: each pop offers a meaty piece of lamb wrapped in warm and soft fried batter. They don’t just sit on a plate either; the pops are placed standing upward like candy on a lollipop rack beckoning any meat lover to swallow them whole. A side of salsa verde served with these six of these little beauties makes them nothing short of an absolutely tasty introduction to the flavors and uniqueness of dishes you’ll experience later on.
The rest of the menu offers a variety of different meals; no single country can define the type of food that Ra Pour offers, but certain items on menu might seem daunting to those who are unwilling to jump into a new food adventure. I was actually following those same trite choices until our waitress Jenna (a well-versed professional who is extremely helpful in explaining every single dish and providing excellent recommendations) gave me some good advice: Try something new. With that (and with a bit of encouraging persuasion) I skipped down the road less traveled and chose the Planked Loch-Duart Salmon. Cooked pink to perfection, the salmon sat atop a mass of roasted root vegetables. Atop were some attractive garnish, crunchy bits of bacon, and remnants of Buddha’s Hand Marmalade which gave the dish a surprisingly sweet taste countering the saltier bacon. The salmon itself was so tender that even the slightest maneuver of fork cutting was enough to tear the salmon to pieces with ease.
Ra Pour is a global adventure of food. You’ll find dishes and types from everywhere. From cold fish and oysters to various styles of wood fired pizza, duck . . . even a popular chicken and waffles appetizer. But if you’re feeling like staying on the safe side, pizza is the best way to go. Ra Pour has a large gourmet pizza menu, all of which are cooked in a classic wood fire. My dining partner felt so inclined to try this route instead with the Rock Shrimp and Pesto and showed no sign of regret. Plentiful toppings of onion, oregano, sun-dried tomatoes and juicy shrimp glittered over a cheesy mess of fontina surrounded by crust made the best way: crunchy.
Each meal is aimed to please your senses of sight and taste without overflowing your stomach, leaving you to enjoy the pleasures of dessert (You have to. You must!). For a refreshing after-dinner palate cleanser, try the seasonal sorbets. Currently it’s a sweet Mango Sorbet topped with pineapple sauce; refreshing and light. For a more indulgent treat, try the Sticky Toffee Pudding complete with neatly placed caramelized apples and a scoop of subtle apple ice cream.
Ra Pour offers a varied selection of dishes including a few that are newly added to the menu so don’t forget to ask about what new and cool items they’ve come up with. Weekdays are the perfect time to enjoy the food in a quiet atmosphere, but if weekend lounges are your cup of tea then there are plenty of unique drinks, live music and a large amount of other people to enjoy it with. Personally I’m in it for the food and I will gladly stop by again when my next adventurous mood strikes.
Ra Pour Restaurant, 7900 Kew Ave., Rancho Cucamonga, (909) 899-7999; www.rapourrestaurant.com. Mon-Thurs, 11AM-12AM. Fri-Sat, 11AM-2AM. Sun, 11AM-12AM. AE, D, M, V.