Restaurant Gossip 9.25

SAIGON CUISINE in Orcutt is open. Probably will hit that up SOON. Heard another rumor of another Viet place up in Santa Maria proper, maybe even Town Center West.

Finally got into LA ESQUINA TAQUERIA on San Luis Obispo. This is, of course, from the CIOPINOT people. Calling it a taqueria is kinda stretching it, but I get the appeal. CRAZY tequila collection. You can go seriously nuts with this list. Like, two pages of tequila–in fine print. And I am too picky about my margaritas and usually have to order custom, but the second one on the list is (almost) exactly like I make them at home. Wine list is curt. Branches out interestingly in a couple directions, otherwise quite safe. Corkage is $20, which I believe puts them in a small group of most $$$$ corkage in town. I know LA and SF think nothing of $20 corkage, but that’s a pretty big deal here in SLO. Food’s really good. Quite a bit of seafood and most everything comes in a verde sauce. Or mole. The “rotisserie al pastor” tacos are OK, about what you’d expect for a sit-down lux spot downtown. And you can get them in a crispy fried shell, so don’t get crazy you wild thang you.

SLO PUBLIC MARKET (corner of Tank Farm and So. Hig) has gone about announcing various tenants under lease for the new area on social media. Jesus Christ the list is boring so far. Bunch of CRAP. Have you ever been to Santa Barbara Public Market?!?! Have you ever been to Oxbow Public Market?!? I mean: Tea shops, Spice shops, Butchers, Charcuteries, Fromageries, Wine shops, bakeries, oyster bars, breweries and real restaurants. Places you can spend hours and hours and hours just LOOKING at all the wonderfulness. What does SLO get? A sandwich shop. An ice cream shop. Kraken Coffee. Acai bowls. THE CREAMERY is more interesting than this. Hell, the PISMO OUTLETS are more interesting than this. I know there are several they are not announcing–and it is a long way from being finished–but so far it’s pretty embarrassing.

The world’s most mediocre taqueria in the area–CHACHO’S in Oceano–is closed. It’s a temporary thing. Family stuff. It’ll be open again, you can bet. People who love bad tacos and burritos the size of Vermont would riot if it didn’t.

Speaking of bad tacos, there’s a newish place in Los Osos called SAN MIGUEL MARKET with a taqueria in the back. Literally some of the most horrid tacos I have ever had. Nearly inedible. And horchata like bathwater.

Continuing the taco beat: there’s a new Oaxaquena place opening in Guadalupe. LA PLACENTA? I may have that name wrong. Kinda hoping I do. But Oaxacan food is the best food on the planet. I’m just kidding! But pissed ya off there for a minute, didn’t I. Mexicans be like…

There’s a liquor license in the window across the street from BLACK SHEEP in the old Pluto’s. Some Spanish-sounding thing.

FINALLY–after much prodding from friends and family–got out to KUMA in Los Osos for TOP NOTCH ramen.  Great broth, great noodles, great topping choices and WONDERFUL sake list–served in traditional masu, something I had not experienced outside larger cities in California.  Completely different from that place at Monterey and Johnson so popular with the co-eds.  This isn’t as pretty. Just the way I like it.

Being fairly involved in the wine industry, I have a lot of friends and associates in Napa and Sonoma and every time I talk about FARMSTEAD KITCHEN in Paso Robles, they wonder if I am talking about a VERY popular restaurant up in those parts. This started some time back and YUP! Somebody at LONG MEADOW RANCH finally noticed and BOOM. Farmstead is changing its name to PARK PLACE under penalty of lawr.

Speaking of name changes, the BISTRO LAURENT -to–> BL BRASSERIE is complete. Not much has changed, from glancing at the menu.

Did you know LIDO in Shell Beach has champagne brunch EVERY DAY?!?

Did you know STAX WINE BISTRO in Morro Bay has $1 Grassy Bay Oysters?!?!

Had ice cream at NITE CREAMERY in the newly re-done Creamery downtown SLO. Totally an Instagram trap, with the liquid nitrogen blasting clouds all over and the brace of whirring mixers. It’s good. I’m not going to say anything bad about it. Purposely ignored the price. Don’t wanna know. But you can’t be too hard on ice cream, now can ya? I just have my favorite place for ice cream around here and no, it’s not any of the big names, and I go there over and over and everything else tastes watery.

That’s about it for the week. Work continues on (former) Artisan and Thomas Hill Organics locations in Paso and San Luis Obispo, respectively. Can’t wait for those two (sarcasm).

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