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What's on the Menu? A Food Tour Around Indian Country Featuring the Great Oak Steakhouse

ICTMN is taking a food tour. Yes, that's right, a food tour, to highlight some of the most exquisite foods on the menus out there across Indian country.
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ICTMN is taking a food tour. Yes, that's right, a food tour, to highlight some of the most exquisite foods on the menus out there across Indian country.

The first stop is at the Great Oak Steakhouse in the Pechanga Resort Casino in Temecula, Calif., where head chef Martin Venegas told ICTMN that his philosophy on food is simply excellent quality. "The execution must be done correctly," he added.

Before coming to the Great Oak Steakhouse, Venegas, a 20 year veteran in the culinary industry, served as executive chef of Donovan’s, a steakhouse in Southern Calif. He also worked at JC Resorts in San Diego. To date, the Great Oak Steakhouse has received the AAA Four Diamond Award each year since 2012, according to its website.

Great Oak Steakhouse/Pechanga Resort Casino

Head Chef Martin Venegas

Venegas said that he ended up as a chef by accident, and didn't realize how tasty his food had become until he cooked for the first time on his own. "I was cooking a meal for an executive chef by myself, and the order comes in for this dish, a special for the day, and I was the only one there [to prepare it]," he said over the phone. After the chef tasted it, he asked around the kitchen 'Who cooked that meal?' When Venegas finally owned up to it, the executive chef told him that it was the best meal he had had in a long time.

So, what's on the menu at Great Oak?

Sweet Corn

"The corn we added as a side dish came out of Peru, but it was not that great, so we tried a local white sweet corn," Venegas said. To prepare it, he says he slow cooks it with butter, salt, pepper and adds chicken stock.

Great Oak Steakhouse/Pechanga Resort Casino

Sweet corn, a side dish

Bone Marrow

"Bone Marrow is rather simple [to cook]," Chef Venegas says. "We do it straight forward, defrost it...roast it, season it...You can slow cook it [or] roast it at a higher tempature. Just pop it in the oven."

Great Oak Steakhouse/Pechanga Resort Casino

Roasted Bone Marrow with Sea Salt

8oz Filet

Venegas says that he follows a five-step process to cook the steaks: searing, cooking, pulling it out to let it rest, hold it, and finish.

Great Oak Steakhouse/Pechanga Resort Casino

8 oz Filet