A Few of my Favorites 9.29

Going through my notes of the past week or so, there is nothing new to write about in terms of *gossip*.  You can literally go to LAST WEEK’S GOSSIP COLUMN and everything is still true. Hotels are plugging along, PIADINA in Hotel SLO open in 2  weeks, CARISSA fully open, Maegen Loring is the official chef of the town of Creston, LITERALLY nothing new. The chef-musical-chairs has settled down and just patiently waiting for about 10–yes, count-em TEN–new restaurants to open. And I got a new phone, so IT’S PIC-DUMP TIME because I’m not dragging all these places I’ve eaten recently over to my new phone.

 

OCEAN GRILL in Avila Beach has become nearly my GO-TO spot in this little town and I find myself at the bar with a bottle of wine and a margherita pizza at least once a week. Oh but there’s so much more. Chef Mathers is just slaying it out there. I know this restaurant has had a lot of transition and rumors, but it has been solid sailing for a couple years now, so come back out and give it a shot.

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Have you been to the newly-redone MONTEREY STREET MARKET? The kids bought it (the tinker-tin people) and freshened things up a bit, installed a wine/beer bar and pretty much made the place feel all warm and cozy. And those of you who like me still miss Muzio’s? THIS is where you buy all the things you used to there.

 

Second visit to MISTURA since they moved into the old Foremost Wine Co spot in the creamery. Loving EVERY bit of it. EVERYTHING. Sampling all OVER the crazy menu of grilled meat and raw fish and potatoes and rise and empanadas and all KINDS of stuff.

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Headed out to Avila Beach and the parking lot is full and people are parked all the way back down the road and there are swarms of slow-moving people everywhere and all hope is lost? Just keep going up around the corner to MULLIGANS BAR & GRILL at the Avila Beach Golf Resort. Plenty of free parking, no crowds, full cocktail bar + beer & wine, and a great menu of every-day fare. I promise the dining room won’t have more than 6 people in it either. Just keep in mind they close about 4:30 every day. A concert or event at the resort will of course affect this.

 

Who has been to FAY’S FUSION in Pismo Beach? I’ll bet good money you haven’t. Always forget about it??? Well, I am here to remind you AGAIN: You NEED to make room for this little jewel of a place. Just don’t order too much–like I always do. They will stuff you to the GILLS. Oh and for you boba freaks, pretty much the only place in Pismo to get it. Get the noodle soup with dumplings. Get the fresh fish.

 

Two new options for tacos in SLO: The highly anticipated EFREN’S #5 finally opening up on Laurel (left) and the sleeper who snuck in quite surprisingly: EL TIZON #3 over on Santa Rosa.  Efron’s is a big bright shiny new spot, dishing out their same sad dogfood-tasting meat and soul-less salsas to the bean & rice burrito crowd. As bad as the food is at their Oceano location, this is shockingly somehow WORSE.  Solid taco folk have been making a point to eat at El Tizon’s original location in the Poc for decades and their second in North SM equally. Now, under the historic grandeur that is THE MOST FAMOUS TACO BELL IN THE WORLD, they are carving their al pastor rotisserie every day at 9AM sharp, and laying that shit out on grilled single-wraps for you to decorate with ALL their original perfect salsas. If  you have eaten at Chili Peppers and Acapulco and Tacos de Mexico and Santa Cruz Taqueria and have given up on tacos in SLO, I DARE you to go to El Tizon. And and while we’re on the subject, I did the yearly tune-up to my 200 MILES OF TACOS (Salinas to Santa Barbara) list and re-published it fresh. >CLICK HERE<

 

Nice lunch out at THE GALLEY in Morro Bay. Anyone who has told you Morro Bay is impossible for a local to enjoy because of the tourists CLEARLY have not explored out there. There’s PLENTY of great places to go. Galley is definitely one of the classics.

 

Loyal readers know my affection for the Prime Rib at CUSTOM HOUSE in Avila Beach Saturday and Sunday nights. But don’t come too late. I did it AGAIN. “Sorry sir, the Prime Rib is all sold out.” NOOOOOOOOOO. When this happens, I have tried to teach myself to be smart and just move along or order something along the simpler sides of the menu like a HAMBURGER or something, but this time I decided to give their NY steak au poivre one more try.  Don’t do that. Just don’t do that. Stick to the Quesadillas.

 

GUISEPPE’S in Pismo Beach still has Squash blossoms. Maybe another few weeks? Here’s another one locals constantly complain is too hard to get into because of the tourists. PRO TIP: Go late, and sit at the bar. Piece of cake. End of complaints. You’re welcome. If you can’t eat dinner at 7:30 or 8, well then I can’t help you.

 

Speaking of “hard to get into” STOP complaining about EMBER. It’s not THAT painful, but to hear most locals complain, there’s a line around the block. These pix are from the tail end of the August menu–and it changes considerably on the first of every month–but no matter. If you’re going to Ember for specific menu, you’re going for the wrong reasons. It’s ALWAYS good, WHATEVER is on the menu. Quail and flatbread and desserts and risotto…. I mean how can you go wrong. Of course, there’s a great wine list too.

 

Was invited out to BRAVE & MAIDEN ESTATE in Santa Ynez Valley for a nice dinner out in the courtyard celebrating their grand opening as guests of Shelby Sim. I had been there for a media-event previously, but hadn’t really had a chance to fully absorb the grandeur of this spot. Gorgeous place. No expense spared building the winery, grounds or tasting room. Dinner was a fun-filled night of sexy wines and stunning food. And Joshua Klapper presiding for the extra point. What a great evening.

 

Have enjoyed the ramen out in Los Osos at KUMA BOWLS several times, but finally decided to venture into their sashimi.  It’s *OK*. Suffered a little from freshness and texture and not in the top-handful in the area, but enjoyable. And splash some more vinegar on those cukes, son. Ramen and Miso top-notch, of course and no complaints were heard about the rolls. But do people who eat rolls ever complain? Can you screw up a roll? Not horrible enough to not make me eat there again–and I DO love this little spot–but probably will opt for sushi next time instead of sashimi. A little rice and wasabi will go a long way to make the fish happy.

OK, my old phone’s empty. I can throw it away. Anyone want a PIXEL? Literally the best phone I have ever owned. Not a single problem in 2 years. Not to mention a 13MP camera. (Sorry, none of the pictures in THIS post have been run through any sort of filter or brightened or anything like I USUALLY do for these posts) But I got a new PIXEL 3, and it’s looking to be just as good and better.

See, if you followed me on Instagram, you’d know all this already. Thanks for enjoying the food.

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