Several months ago a friend told me about this funky restaurant in Winters called Preserve. One of her favorite fun wine experiences is to take the short drive over to Winters, Ca and taste wine at Turkovich Family Wines and then eat at Preserve. She raved and raved about their charcuterie boards and their food in general and urged us to head on over.

We hadn’t been to Winters in a while. I had forgotten just how cute it is. It is a picture perfect American town with quaint architecture and character. It is one of those places where you can’t quite believe it is in California, it seems very Mid-Western to me.

Walking down the street towards the restaurant, I noticed a bunch of nicely displayed veggies outside a storefront. Peeking into the window, I saw that it was also named Preserve. It is the little deli and shop where the restaurant sells its farm to fork jellies, chutneys, and other preserved and jarred items. We didn’t spend much time there as just looking at all of their wares was making us hungry. It is on our list to go back and have a proper look another time.

The restaurant itself is really pretty. Whoever decorated it did a great job. It has a rustic, yet warm feel to the place with cozy touches placed around. I loved the lighting fixtures and the huge bar. They also have a preserving room where you can see all the jams, pickles, relishes, and sauces along with hanging cuts of preserved meat. We saw something similar in London which was a “Cheese” room. Very neat.

The staff was super helpful and sweet and as it wasn’t busy we were sat quickly. We were seated on one of their sofa with lots of pillows for my back. Comfy! (I think that is a woman thing to like those.)

I wasn’t feeling too good as a cold was just starting to take hold so I skipped the alcohol and ordered a simple hot coffee. (They also offer cold brew). I was really tickled when the waitress brought it over to me with a little milk bottle and a glass jar filled with sweeteners. It was adorable and I loved that little touch of detail. The coffee was good and it didn’t taste as though it had been sitting for hours with that nasty burned flavor.

The Brit having to always be on the lookout for new wines ordered the sparkling wine because it was from New Mexico. Domaine St. Vincent brut was what he ordered. It came in a gorgeous glass and we were both impressed with its presentation. I feel sorry for whoever has to hand wash those glasses! The wine was a really nice sip. Slightly yeasty, stone fruits on the tongue and lively bubbles filled our mouths as we tasted it. It was dry and interesting. We both liked it.

The Brit comments: This sparkling wine was notable as the only wine on the by the glass list not from California. Their beer manu likewise offered a wide selection of craft drafts, all but two from the Golden state.

When it came to ordering our food, The Brit reverted to his standard of French toast. This was vanilla brulée French toast which was finished with whipped vanilla cream cheese and caramel sauce. He really seemed to enjoy what he was eating.

The Brit comments: The cream cheese was a savory balance to the sweetness of the caramel. The brulée on the bread provided a crispness to complement the softness of the toast. This was a carefully constructed dish, with texture and sweetness in thoughtful harmony.

I ordered the mushroom and brie toast and a bowl of the clam chowder. The clam chowder was outstanding. It hit all the notes for me. Creamy and rich, with nice flavors, a good amount of clams, veggies, not too many potatoes and a slight kick at the end. I was so impressed. The presentation too, as you see, was really great. I would order this again happily.

My mushroom and brie toast was good too, but it didn’t hit the outstanding mark for me. There wasn’t enough brie flavor, and the dish was a little overwhelmed by the amount of mixed leaves on the plate. I would have liked to tasted a little more garlic in the mushrooms to give them the richness they deserve. I did like what I ate, although I would choose something else from their amazing looking menu for next time.

We were both very impressed with the restaurant, the selection, the service, and the wine and bar menu. We give Preserve a huge thumbs up and urge you to take a little trip over to check it out. It is well worth the drive.

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