Who’s had MONIKA’S MACARONS??? Along with LA PARISIENNE in Morro Bay, this is easily the best-kept dessert secret in the area. OK–and maybe DE PALO & SONS. Seriously, though: I just can’t get enough of those pistachio things (YES THE GREEN ONE) Salted caramel too. Oh and mocha! Of all the things Garden Street has to offer–now that’s it’s all remodeled and one-way and pedestrian-friendly–Monika’s is my favorite. Keep trying to get into BRASSERIE SLO again–ate there a couple times pre-corvid–but they have the strangest hours. Every time I go they are either closed or closing or not open for another hour. Although we DID get seated–without a reservation–for dinner a few weeks back and were promptly read a list of items the kitchen was OUT of. It was literally everything on the menu. I dashed over to LA LOCANDA and secured a table and we gracefully exited the hotel. I HATE doing that, but sheesh…. Not gonna spend 2-300 hundred bucks on food I really don’t want. Brasserie SLO still remains your best bet downtown for margherita pizza and a bottle of decent rosé. Last time I was at PIADINA margherita was off the menu and the last one I ordered at GIUSEPPE’S CUCINA was quite sub-par.
Three FIRSTS for me–and NOT brand new restaurants–no, this is a lot more embarrassing, as these are long-established spots I just somehow never drifted in to. I went to FRANK’S HOT DOGS. I know… I know… HOW long have I lived here??? 20 years coming up fast. I had recently been to the little kiosk in Santa Maria for their Chicago Dog (STEFANO’S also has a spot in Nipomo) and decided to give Frank’s a try… Also went to SURFSIDE DELI for the first time. This is of course the Grover Beach sandwich shop owned by the current chef at NOVO. Had their Cubano–an interesting take… Of all the touristy fish & chips stops along the Embarcadero drag, ROSE’S LANDING has somehow always been skipped. Oldest resty in Morro Bay? I believe I might have heard that. Either that or Kitty’s (which just CLOSED) I know Siren wins for “continuously-operating bar”–possibly the whole COUNTY for that one–but feel like Rose’s ranks up there. If nothing else, Rose’s HAS to have the best bar-view in the county–and the best bartender. I ordered the nachos–something I order frequently (because it sounds good) and rarely finish–losing interest mid-way through odd combinations of melted cheese, clunky beans or odd vegetables. Rose’s nachos are PERFECT. First nachos I have finished in a LONG time. And the cocktails are perfect and professional.
Spotted a strange little going-on at the classic location of Nipomo Saloon (then PIE-HOLE PIZZA, then a bunch of other things) OLD PORT FISH COMPANY opening an oyster bar in old-town, kitty-corner from JOCKO’S–which is closing Jan 1st. So yeah… all you people who like to have *Best Steak* arguments–but have never been to Jocko’s–y’all better get on that. Get the Spencer. Just PLAN on a half-hour-or-more wait FROM your reservation time… The Morro Bay *BOWL* thin-ga-ma-bopper takes the place of the old sushi closet… Opening this week in Grover Beach: The *other* half of the DEL’S PIZZERIA fambly: Jim Delmore opens a JIMMY D’S SPAGHETTI JOINT in the old Paisano’s spot! What a classic location. hopefully this one will stick and carry on the proud Paisano’s tradition–as nothing else since they left has been able to fill the void. For those paying attention, Jim sold the classic red-checkered-table-cloth spot in Los Osos: JUMMY BUMP’S during corvid (it is now HAZARDS) and I figured he might be done for good, then BAM!!! Can’t wait! Oh and speaking of pizza… GDB has a brick & mortar and has eased the ordering ritual considerably and branding the new spot a “Social Club” and while not technically a restaurant (“You are welcome to eat your to-go pizza here.”) he’s pushin the full bar and hang-out options pretty heavily. If you don’t know what I’m talking about let’s just keep it that way.
Speaking of Los Osos, the try-to-keep-up baywood/tavern/alehouse/saloon/beerwood saga is going STRONG at the new location in town and frankly I love this place. Yes, I know you’re goin: But Steve! You hate beer and patios and outdoor-dining and dogs and live music and everything, so…? Sorry, can’t explain it, but Sunday’s are just MADE for THE OLD ALEHOUSE. And the main event??? That pretzel. See, they take the BEST PRETZEL MADE IN THE COUNTY, heat it up toasty warm, slather it in butter and just the perfect amount of salt, and serve it with German mustard that will give you scalp-runs. They actually have a fairly serviceable winelist, but I’ve been having beer lately, OMG! Along the *brewpub* lines, renovations continue in earnest at the “Saddest Aquarium in America” to become THREE STACKS AND A ROCK. Low-key kinda looking forward to that. Lord knows no one with actual standards can eat at LIBERTINE.
Also in Morro Bay: dueling cheese-plates at the two wine-bars. While STAX continues to be the de-facto DESTINATION for food & wine & company in town, the women who re-envisioned THE SAVORY PALETTE into more of a food/hangout space than a wine-shop have definitely worked out *some* of the initial bugs. They don’t open til 2, though–and don’t go in a hurry.
BACK BAY CAFE has re-opened–there’s somebody you know running it now–though the website is authored by a Lee–and strangely enough the heading is BLUE HERON MARKET. Not confused–just interesting… Way up north, I guess San Simeon favorite SEBASTIANS is closed–I mean unless they have opened in a trailer or something–as the historic building has been moved for foundation re-construction at the original site. Also up in that part of town: usually start seeing smatterings of *classic Thanksgiving dinner* posts and queries this time of year… My favorite? THE CAVALIER… Oh and our little rain-storm last week caused an expected HWY 1 closure–Ragged Point to Gorda–for at least a week so plan your Big Sur travels accordingly.
Heard a rumor there was someone shopping around SLO for an Ethiopian Resty. Boy THAT would blow our lily-white dining scene away! Wouldn’t it be ironic if it turned out to be the long-for-sale STYNBERG location???
I think that’s enough rumors for one day. Go outside and play or something.
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Thanks for the triage. I think the food culture has actually gotten better these last 18 months. Great new bread, crazy good shrooms, the first Michelin star ( a little faded these days), the good restaurants all servived. The food culture is coming back stronger here. Thanks for keeping us informed.
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