LE PETIT PARIS CAFE in the back of Mission Mall downtown San Luis Obispo grand opening is this coming Friday Jan. 19. They’re open now–and have been for several weeks and I am happy to report all of the bugs are worked out–menu looks great, some nice wines, and the food doesn’t suck.
Had a nice dinner at BLUE HERON–first since the industry soft opening. Different chef. Has there only been two? Or are we on chef 3? Can’t remember. No matter… Food’s decent-to-well-above average. I wasn’t ridiculously impressed with the food the first time–some hits, some misses. I can tell you this: the wine list has been GUTTED.
Speaking of Los Osos, the Central Coast’s most-hated-waitress is quitting business after about 3 decades too many: THE SCULPTURED EGG is becoming SLO-stoner’s favorite deli. It is still open though, and probably will remain so through the month or more, so if you just HAVE to have a little bit more abuse from this dear woman, get out there! Just don’t ask for ketchup. Oh and you know me: I HATE yelp–don’t use it, don’t have it on my phone, despise it–but if you want several hours of pure fun, go read the comments on their yelp.
New favorite thing to do: Go to one of our fairly hi-end local Italian joints and order the lowliest pasta on the menu and the cheapest bottle of red wine. This is so fun! I’m talkin: pomodoro, marinara, or spaghetti & meatballs with a 25$ Montepulciano d’Abruzzo or Chianti. It’s really really interesting social science, and walking out with a bill well under a hundred bucks is nice too. (pictured is Giuseppe’s pomodoro downtown)
Speaking of cheap wine, as of two hours ago there were 2 VIP tickets left and 18 General Admission tickets left to next Saturday’s ESPRIT DU VIN in Paso Robles at the brand new Riboli Family Vineyards center. So this will probably sell out in, like, the next four hours. This is the 18th Esprit Du Vin! 19 wineries, lots of food, all under one roof, for 35 bucks. You can probably just about forget about those VIP tickets by now, but here’s the link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/18th-annual-esprit-du-vin-tickets-52416771976
In my on-going BBQ research, went to G BROTHERS SMOKEHOUSE in the horrid Foothill bro-strip. Really good brisket. First thing that caught my eye was you actually kinda had to search for tri-tip on the menu. They make it, of course–not serving tri-tip around here would be restaurant suicide, I suppose–but the brisket, ribs and chicken are at the forefront. I WILL write my 5 fav BBQ in the area blog-post, I PROMISE. I know I’ve been promising it for a long time, but in fairness, there’s a couple places I still have to go. Brickhouse in Morro bay is closed while they move to a larger spot (Giancarlo’s) and I keep hearing things about Scotty’s in Atascadero. I suppose I should check the menu first and see if they even have brisket or even smoke. See people: “BBQ” is smoking, not grilling. And tri-tip is inedible. And is it even POSSIBLE to fuck up chicken or ribs?
Apparently, the latest re-branding of Villa Creek/OnBar in Paso Robles is revealed as PIAZZA DEL PANE ITALIAN CAFE and um… it’s an interesting menu. I *guess* that’s Italian. Waldorf Salad?? When was the last time you saw THAT on a menu. BBQ Chicken Pizza. Quite a bit of seafood and pasta.
Along the lines of re-tooling… the KREUZBERG LOUNGE downtown closed for a bit and is re-opening Thursday night with a FULL COCKTAIL MENU. It’s all vaguely un-announced in typical Poor But Sexy fashion. Wonder who’s liquor license that is. Wonder who the bartender is. Yet another entry into the SLO craft cocktail sweepstakes.
Wine Service Demerits:
515 KITCHEN Santa Cruz: B- No one on floor had key to wine-closet, did not present wine, opened behind bar and started pouring (this was the most expensive bottle on their list, BTW)
CHOCOLATE Santa Cruz: B Opened screw-top while walking across dining room, immediately plonked down two glasses and sloshed them full.
GIUSEPPE’S SLO: F Opened screw-top improperly table-side without presentation; vintage TWO YEARS OFF from list; picked up my glass by bowl, tilted and poured it table-side and HANDED IT TO ME for a taste. I made no move to take it and said, “You can set down my glass,” which he did, I smelled it, said, “That’s lovely, yes,” whereupon he picked up my glass by the bowl AGAIN and filled it table-side until I frantically stopped his pouring and he set it down, where he proceeded to re-install the screw-top firmly on the bottle. Seriously, people?!!? Wine-service is NOT difficult. It’s really really really REALLY easy. Bring me the list. Bring the bottle I ask for. Open it uneventfully. Don’t touch my glass. Go away. That’s IT! That’s all ya gotta do to get an A! It’s not even his fault! I don’t necessarily hold it against him. Restaurant owners: THIS IS ON YOU.
BLUE HERON: B+ Bottle one year off from list; Waiter awkward.
Need a refresher? Here you go: WINE SERVICE FOR DUMMIES
BRASSERIE SLO took delivery of their pizza oven this week.
The Daou’s have purchased CENTRALLY GROWN AT OFF THE GRID in Cambria–the artist formerly known as Centrally Grown, which was the artist formerly known as The Hamlet at Moonstone Gardens–out of foreclosure yet AGAIN, rumored for only a couple million. It is currently closed, AGAIN. The LAST incarnation was rumored to be cartel money, but the guy who told me didn’t speak very good English, was here illegally and carried a gun, so I doubt he can be trusted. Who knows WHAT will be there in 12 months. What a trainwreck that place is. I’m assuming that house, compound and vineyard behind it is still for sale? Wasn’t it recently reduced to 50 million? You know: that gate, there–with the Crown Vic parked permanently at it.
Oh and while we’re on the subject, can we stop with the protracted restaurant names? There’s been a rash of it. Blue. Moon. Over. Avila. I’m lookin at you. Blue. Heron. Baywood. What’s with the blue thing. Centrally Grown at Off The Grid. How about: BLUE MOON. How about: HERON. How about: I dunno… that’s a tough one.. THE RESTAURANT. THE CAMBRIAN. CAMBRIA HOUSE. MOONSTONE. THE RESTAURANT AT MOONSTONE. BLUE MOONSTONE. Oh wait.
Further up the coast on The Peninsula, my beloved Fifi’s in Pacific Grove is now BISTRO ROUX. Used to be one of my favorite wine-shops up there too. Need to check that out. With 1822 closed, my dining options outside of Carmel significantly dwindled. MONTRIO is awesome, but it’s good to have other options.
DARWISH (Iranian) opened Thursday in Grover City. Looks nice. They did some quick work there, morphing the cacophony of the previous establishment into an elegant, white-table-cloth setting. Can’t wait to try. No web site, no instagram, nothing yet. There’s actually a FB page I created at the link, so give it a like and hopefully they will claim it. As you can expect from Persian food, vegetarian options are off the CHAIN.
LA CASITA Grover City makes proper mid-western tacos. Literally the worst thing I have ever forced myself to eat in recent memory. I thought I was at Old Juan’s Cantina for a minute. Or Don Pedro’s in Atascadero! Oh GOD. If you eat this kind of food, there’s really no point in following me. If you’ve ever wondered how a restaurant gets a ◊◊ score on THE TAQUERIA REPORT, this pic right here is how you do it. Oh and if the main list is too daunting, I have recently boiled it down into 1 or 2 of the absolute best in your town: 200 Miles of Tacos
I guess the statue of limitations ran out on PARK, because we’re getting another one: this time on Highway 1. And no, it’s not Maegen Loring. Yes, that block of Chorro IS California State Route One, commonly known as PCH South of here and HWY 1 north of here. Again, no website or FB or anything yet, just posters in the windows. This little block experiences the highest turnover of eating and drinking establishments known in town, dating back to that place on the creek anchoring the block. How long has LUNA RED been there now? 5 years? Is that a record? Hey: I still miss NATIVE. Sue me. SLO wasn’t ready for that. Possibly never will be.
As of the Trib article Wednesday and considering the number of mutual friends on IG, apparently I am the LAST PERSON ON EARTH to know about JIMMY WONG. Electric coil burners, really?!! Just like cooking at my mother’s house.
Adding to the *cough* Who-can-follow-the-Spencer & Julie Show *cough* conversation, Chef Michael Reyes’ DEVOUR Kreuzberg dinner has been postponed from two nights ago to March 11 or something. Although as of this morning it has been changed to “end of march” and to me that is as good as “indefinitely”. File under: “Who’s Town is it Anyway?” It goes without saying: Tickets are still available.
Have you ever been to INN PARADISO Paso Robles? What does this have to do with food? Nothing. Just looks cool, and this is my blog.
File under: “I Love Jamie Gluck, but…” After a couple lunches at BELL’S in Los Alamos, finally got in for full-on din-din. Holy fuck. This place makes any French place around here look like a Woolworth’s lunch counter. Rillettes? Souffle (3 different ones–OFF-MENU) Snails, Sardines & Saltines!!! Steak Frites, Moules Frites, Coq au vin, Pellier, Tartare, Oysters with Mignonette #areyoukiddingmerightmeow
Another SOLD OUT WineSpeakPaso was a blast. This little wine-festival-that-could which is actually held in its entirety in Atascadero cranked through its second year with even more poise and aplomb than last. Listen, all I hear is regret about these events from people AFTER the fact so do what you have to do to get on a list for ducketts next year. Follow their blog, follow their FB, follow their IG, whatever you need to do. If you’re industry, you already know about this, but if you’re public, the BYOB DINNER and GRAND TASTING are events NOT to be missed.
While we’re talking about after-the-fact remorse, WINESNEAK’s second industry-style tasting and sale is coming up again. Last time, a bunch of you opted out, thinking it was just another boring tasting and mediocre sale. If you are part of the general-wine-tasting public, this will be like NO OTHER tasting you have ever been to. It’s not a bunch of wineries lined up around the room like you’re used to. It’s a bunch of DISTRIBUTOR’S REPS lined up around the room–each with a dozen wines in their portfolio from all over the world and from different wineries. And the prices are unbelievable. Like, cost+10. Literally 30-40% off retail. So I don’t wanna hear any regret this time: Feb 10, 35 bucks: http://store.winesneak.com/anniversary-grand-tasting-at-th…/
Juanita’s Homemade Mexican Food in Grover City appears to have closed. Never ate there. How is that possible? First of all, it was cash-only, and I never carry cash. I went there TWICE in the past 15 years with cash SPECIFICALLY to try it and the timing gods interjected. Also: reputation. Someone whose opinion I respect said it is not good, and the crowd I see eating there every day doesn’t help. Think: Chacho’s, but more Fresno.
Been on a fresh pasta kick lately and searching it out. Kinda over the dry stuff. ETTO of course gets all the pub–and rightly so–but GIUSEPPE’S CUCINA RUSTICA downtown deals it over the counter too, and PIEMONTE DELI has it frozen. Does Giuseppe’s Express in Pismo sell it? I don’t think Flour House does. Speaking of Piemonte, I’m pretty sure it’s my favorite deli in the area now. They make me sandwiches the way I want them without a fight.
I flashed my Central Coast Foodie card at Olive Garden and got 1/3 off.
(yes, I know it’s statute. Go back to your seat, Poindexter)