OK, so it’s been a few weeks since I wrote a Resty Gossip and SO MUCH has happened. Some of this will be REALLY old news, but it still amazes me around here how some seemingly ancient restaurant news can be fresh to so many.

First up: a selfish note, because quite a few have been confused what *happened* to me and my pages recently. Apparently my “Soif” presence on the internet got a little too big for the comfort of a certain restaurant in Santa Cruz by the same name and I got a little love-note from their attorney. It was a fairly shallow case, and a few thousand dollars could have fixed it, but I chose not to fight it on the exact OPPOSITE grounds as theirs: That I never want anyone confusing MY brand with THEIRS. So I completely re-branded since last posting. This will only affect a small number of actual subscribers, as all the social media platforms will transfer seamlessly–it will just look odd for a while. YOU’LL GET USED TO IT!!! The new links are:
The wineblog went from Soifknows to:
The wine Instagram went from @_soif to: @wine1er
(if you are American, I’m perfectly OK with you saying “wine firster” or “wine one-er” but if you are European, I expect “Wine premier”)
Twitter became @wine1er as well.
Food Instagram remains unchanged at @eatdrinkCA
And most importantly: THIS blog went from soifeats to:
Facebook remains unchanged at eatdrinkCA as does Linkdin, tumblr, ello, Medium, Pinterest and PornHub.

Fromagerie Sophie in downtown SLO is closed. Chorro Street downtown continues to flip out. PARK (tapas and wine) not open; IKE’S SANDWICHES open (yawn); SLO TAQUERIA or something like that opening soon (double-yawn). Oh and a HUGE piece of gossip you’re NOT EVEN GONNA BELIEVE but I can’t say anything yet. Over on the side of Chorro that ISN’T HWY 1, Porto Leon–errrrrr–I mean BRANZINO opened fairly quietly two Fridays ago. Seen the menu, early results seem favorable–I haven’t eaten there yet. Tapas, Paella, a raw-bar, desserts and a fairly deep winelist. Will visit soon. Oh, TASTE or TASTE SLO or TASTE2900 or whatever is now TASTE CRAFT EATERY. Make a note of it. You’ve eaten there, right? Sliders, salads and Mac & Cheese are what they do–like, 10 different versions of each. And a great winelist. Expect a wait. This place is POPULAR at lunch. Meanwhile, NEW TIMES SLO has an ad in the paper for a food columnist to replace Hayley Cain. This should be interesting.

LE PETIT PARIS in Mission Mall on Higueria has some weird hours going on. Been closed a couple times I went by craving salade niçoise and a glass of rosé. Meanwhile next door, the on-again/off-again Mongolian BBQ is open. I don’t know what it’s called and don’t care. On a related note, last two times I have been to CIDER BAR in the new Creamery Marketplace the chef has been gone and food-service was either non-existent or limited menu prepared by barkeep. Memo to Cider Bar: This is a BAD thing. You already suffer from severe branding issues (a place called “Cider Bar” that is a straight-up French restaurant with a chef from Joel Rubochon and the best winelist in town. Makes perfect sense, right?) Just like Le Petit Paris, I want you to succeed more than anything else in town, but when I come visit during normal dining hours and you are not serving, I can’t help you.

Took my *Order the cheapest pasta and bottle of wine at a $$$ Italian restaurant* game to the original GIUSEPPE’S in Pismo the other night. It was OK. This place just NEVER has wowed me–no matter HOW many chances I’ve given it in the past 20 years. I think the leftovers are still in my fridge. THAT’S always a great litmus as to how much you liked the food. Did find a STUPID GOOD bottle of 2010 Gaglioppo on the list for 30 bucks! Been having so much fun with this little game. Done it at Flour House, Mamma’s Meatball, Giuseppe’s AND Palazzo Giuseppe’s, Rosa’s, Genarro’s, Upper Crust, and it has been very eye-opening. Still have Bueno Tavola, Roma and that thing on Garden Street to hit up. Maybe I should write an entire blog post about this experiment. I could call it “9 Pomodoros and a Straw Basket for Under 100 Bucks”

Headed South: Rosa’s has purchased Maddie’s in Pismo Beach. The Avila Valley Barn (we call it the petting zoo) had a fire upstairs from the kitchen in the side-barn where they serve deli-sandwiches and stuff. It was pretty minor and I’m not sure how their food-service was affected. Fewer pies? I buy produce there frequently, but have never purchased food. You DO know Andy–the chef at Puffer’s of Pismo who is just KILLIN it over there–came from Avila Barn? Now you do! KREUZBERG CALIFORNIA is opening another coffee spot (KRACKEN in Avila Beach is theirs too) in Pismo Beach down by the pier. There’s also a rumor of a known cookie or ice cream place opening down there.

Speaking of KREUZBERG, the chef for the next DEVOUR Pop Up Dinner Series has been announced and it is JOHNNY KENNY. Oh, you didn’t know Johnny Kenny was a chef? Well, he has cooked for me enough to know this dinner will be EPIC.

Been a bunch of great events this past month. WORLD OF PINOT NOIR down at Bacara, Rhone Rangers up at RAVA in Paso Robles, Julie Simon’s Valentine’s dinner at Kreuzberg, Santa Barbara Wine Country’s FUTURES TASTING, Monterey Winegrowers Association tasting in Carmel, jundging the San Joaquin Winegrape Growers Association wine competition, Teri Bayus’ TASTE BUDS Chef Competition judging, and one of my favorite events every year: The Women Winemaker’s Dinner at K’SYRAH in Solvang. This is an event like NO OTHER you have been to in the area. Many aspire, but the level of magic and atmosphere just can NOT be beat. Pay attention to this dinner. It gets better and better each year and SELLS OUT to near standing-room-only levels. You leave this thing feeling SO GOOD about the community–and of course the whole thing is for women’s causes. You need to follow my FACEBOOK PAGE so you get notifications of these events before I run into you in town and you go, “Man, I never even HEARD about that!” This happens WAAAAAAY too often. Next up: LA FÊTE du PINK, which signals the return of a dedicated rosé festival to the area!!! Here’s the Facebook EVENT PAGE.

Sprouts grand opening April 3. Don’t look so excited. Heard a rumor THE MARK has morphed their menu to completely Mexican. FARMHOUSE CORNER MARKET is looking at June and has hired a chef and wine-director. BRASSERIE SLO also looking at June. SLODOCO opened in Atascadero last week because we need more donuts in our life. That thing on HWY 41 between Morro Bay and Atascadero has a sign up and more movement towards opening. I know I’m forgetting a bunch of stuff whipsered to me this week.

Two Taqueria notes which will be reflected on THE TACO LIST: Romo’s in Guadalupe has gone completely to shit. Couldn’t even eat it. Just threw it away. Used to be a favorite spot. Also, the new place in Morro Bay–Viejos or something I can’t remember and they haven’t popped up on Google yet–I was so excited about–decided to serve me something decidedly NOT al pastor tacos. Guadalupe now has 5 or 6 Mexican places, so I will find one and report back; Morro Bay still has the Sinclair station which *isn’t bad* but really, if you have a brain-cell, you just go up to the Gas Station in Cayucos–it’s only a couple miles farther–and there will be NO disappointments.

OK, I should wrap this thing up, because I know your eyes are starting to glaze over. There’s just so much to talk about since I wrote the last RESTY GOSSIP 2.26 in February! I’ll probably just write another edition soon, so stay tuned. Because I ate at Sycamore (again). I had a German X2 experience: Brat-haus & Beda’s. Had another RIDICULOUS French dinner at BELL’S in Los Alamos. Went to Sidewalk Cafe in The Village of Arroyo Grande. Added *kinda* another installment to my BBQ CRAWL at the newly re-opened Brickhouse BBQ in Morro Bay. I got into Buffalo Pub downtown the other day for LITERALLY the FIRST TIME since Fandango Bistro, and ROSALINA Santa Margarita on St. Patrick’s Day. Several visits to PUFFERS OF PISMO and The Spoon Trade in Grover Beach, STAX, Mr. Pickles, Moon Over Avila, Petro’s Kafe, Viet Kitchen in Orcutt and NORMAN at the Skyview Motel in Los Alamos. Oh yeah! And a visit FINALLY to TRELIO in Fresno–which you can read quick notes about HERE. See? I’ve been a busy boy!

OK so I’m going to stop typing now because I’m tired and want to go eat.

Talk amongst yourselves.

Steve McConnell

5 Comments Add yours

  1. WHY CAN’T RESTAURANTS PICK OUT DECENT NAMES FOR THEIR RESTAURANT? (Too many examples to give here and I don’t want to shame anyone, but WHY). And yes, New Times is looking for a new Food & Drink writer, I’ll give you 3 guesses who I tipped a few months ago 😀


    1. Stephen McConnell says:

      Never happen.


      1. La says:

        Of course not! But I like your style


  2. Having read this I believed it was very informative. I appreciate you finding the time and energy to put this informative article together. I once again find myself spending way too much time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!


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