Amy Brewen epitomizes why local matters. She had a vision and acted on it, buying a trolley car and launching Brewen’s Empire Trolley. It wasn’t long before she had her second trolley. If you’ve spent any time in the Temecula area, chances are excellent you’ve seen her trolleys in action. Whether you want to go wine tasting, take in a show, go out for dinner or attend a sporting event, chances are good Amy has a trolley headed there. The other night a group of us joined Amy as we took the trolley to the city of Orange to a restaurant that also embraces all things local: The Hobbit.
A trolley ride with Amy is an event all by itself. Amy wants to make sure her guests are enjoying themselves and I’ve never seen her fail in that regard. A single mom of two daughters, she works as hard as anyone I know, but always has a smile on her face and an upbeat attitude. We went to opening night of the Lake Elsinore Storm this spring. It was pouring rain, but Amy wasn’t about to let that dampen any of her guests’ spirits.
We shared wine and enjoyed conversation on the ride from The Wine Company in Temecula to The Hobbit in Orange. The Hobbit looks very unassuming from the front, but boasts a beautiful stained glass front door. We were welcomed in and invited upstairs to the bar where we met The Hobbit’s sommelier Tiffany Cox. After a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres, we went downstairs to The Hobbit’s impressive wine cellar, (more than 1,000 wines) enjoyed sparkling wine and more appetizers and chose our wines for dinner. Owners Michael and Debra Philippi welcomed all of the evening’s guests. We took a quick tour of the kitchen and were then led to a private dining room for our group.
We were seated in a lovely room at a beautiful candlelit table. The wines we had selected were on a nearby table. The culinary adventure began. Owner/Chef Michael started us off with fresh salmon served atop chive pesto potatoes with a bordelaise sauce. Grilled quail followed, with a roasted Gala apple salad, prime aged filet mignon and a chocolate lava cake rounding things off.
If you’re looking for a special evening, keep The Hobbit in mind. You will not be disappointed. If you want to have fun, take a ride on Brewen’s Empire Trolley. As Amy says, “life is short, enjoy the ride.”
The Hobbit – 2932 E. Chapman Ave. – Orange, CA (714) 997-1972
Brewen’s Empire Trolley (951) 235-2938