LURE FISH HOUSE of Ventura fame going into the most expensive gast station in SLO, and the most re-modeled new building lacking ANY tenants what-so-ever in the history of SLO. Can you imagine waht gas would be at that Shell right now?? haha $9.00/ fershure. I’m not angry about this addition at all. Sure it’s *kinda* a chain, and kinda the Chevy’s watering hole of seafood, but I’ve eaten there a couple times and it’s rather good. Besides, SLO needs a seafood place! SLO is considered across the PLANET as a ‘coastal town’ and there’s no seafood. Sure, every menu has halibut on it and a few salmons and shrimp-skewers but serious seafood? Besides: Lure is better with one hand tied behind its back than anything in Morro Bay. OWWWWWWW ya I just said that. Oh and right on queue here come the Sea Chest people…. just go away please. Never gonna happen.
Two new taco crowns to hand out: TACOS DE BIRRIA ONE OF A KIND at Spirit station on Spring Street IS absolutely the best taco in Paso Robles. And….. as soon as I wrote that is was a taco-truck but VERY consistent and there every day and takes credit cards…. *poof* it’s gone the next day. So anyway… THIS is why I don’t go to taco-trucks. They fuckin waste my time. But it’s really REALLY good. But it’s birria de res–not my usual al pastor or adobada–and mind you: BIRRIA TACOS. Not that american quesabirria junk. I know from social media interactions going way back a BUNCH of you have a problem telling the two apart. STOP POSTING PICTURES OF QUESABIRRIA AND SAYING HOW MUCH YOU LOVE YOUR BIRRIA TACOS, MORON.
I was shocked when I first tried the recently opened PAPI’S #1 in Atascadero a couple weeks ago at how ridiculously good it was, returning a bit later to the same taco and fairly handily crowning it the best taco in Atascadero. I have eaten at Papi’s in Paso Robles probably 5 or 6 times in the last 20 years always with terrible results. But in light of Atascadero’s near perfection I figured I had to give Paso another shot. Well I am here to sadly inform you nothing has changed–it is exactly the same taco I have been served for the past 20 years. Dyed red, overly salted cubes of tasteless meat doused with grilled onions and canned pineapple with 4 salsa options: Bland, Dull, Boring, and Blander. Go to Papi’s in Atascadero! I BEG you to. As for Paso…. well…
Something going on with most-confusing-menu-ever Cambria Cafe and best-kept-secret Cafe On Bridge Street. Read a little step-daughter’s-brother’s-mom’s-sister Trib spot the other day involving the people who own that cool Grocery downtown East Village. Read it twice, lost patience, threw it away. Sad about Bridge Street tho–easily one of the best lunch-spots in the county. And it doesn’t really make sense: I can easily see the downtown cafe–it’s literally next door–but why the Bridge St involvement?
Speaking of best lunch spots… I’ve been working around the corner and having a hard time staying off Garden Street lately. Between SLO DELICIOUS and BRASSERIE SLO it’s a tough call. Probably my two favorite restaurants in SLO right now.
Smoked Salmon Quiche at BRASSERIE SLO which I gotta say I asked before I ordered it like if he could give me some kind of idea how much salmon nuances we were talking because it didn’t sound good and I have a pretty low threshold for salmon including smoked salmon. It’s beautiful though, really amazing, crust perfect and the salmon turns out to be tiny pieces either sprinkled on top or they floated… they are residing happily in the melty roasted portion, which gives just a breath of seafood you literally have to look for.
Around the corner, THE CARRISA quietly opened the front doors for brunch without advertizement or fanfare–not even an Instagram post!–three Sundays ago to a mostly F&F reception. Last weekend they did it again, and this time a lot more people took notice. Expect that to become a growing experience for the 10-2 crowd. Saw several rough- and the final-draft of the menu: it’s all Will Torres and company and NOT your typical eggs Bennie/bottomless mimosa/croissandwich fare. Oh and they opened the back doors too: NOVO and SIDECAR have some over-the-creek deck seating competition now.
MORRO BAY: Heard a rumor about THAI ELEPHANT and PANDA PANDA both becoming Mexican restaurants. This can’t be true. There’s no way. The thai place is line-out-the-door most nights and one of my favorites: food is great and they kinda look the other way on corkage. Panda could be carpet-bombed and deep-ripped and the world would cheer, but still: neither makes sense. Down the street, BABYDUDES have established a bit more *menu* than the first couple weeks. Still, it’s kinda all over the place–and the rent must not be very high. It comes off kind desserty at first… then there’s a sandwich or two… then more pastry. And when they sell out, they close, which appears to be happening on a regular basis. Next door GRAPE LEAF DELI still hasn’t opened for inside dining, so if you want to be shouted at: go there. Skipping the still-papered HERMIT CRAB brings you to KITTY’s and more paper and the usual bare minimum of building permits for scope-of-work. The Anderson’s are doing that one, and rumors about about the menu. Southern, maybe? Across the street the BBQ joint hasn’t opened, and down on Embarcadero, Big Bubba’s Bad BBQ continues his gut of the PORT HOUSE remodel and there’s a Mexican place moving into THAI BOUNTY–Martinez or something. Oh and the China Palace or whatever next door is ALSO becoming a Mexican restaurant. Are you fucking kidding me right now? Ironically: as much as Americans hate Mexicans, white-trash can NEVER get enough bad Mexican food.
Have you noticed the house-plant thing? Off Main Street behind the new BBQ place, check out GAIA’s in the back! It has changed a LOT since I was in last and is now basically a house-plant store. GORGEOUS stuff throughout. Suddenly houseplants are popular again? For decades relegated to Miner’s for a selection, NOW look at it. BLACKWATER in SLO is basically a plant-store now. SECRET GARDEN has a lush selection in her little patio. PACIFIC PLANT CO just opened in Pismo. There’s another one on NOMO in SLO where Clever Ducks used to be? Across from CC Brew? THE ROOTED SOUL opened in Morro Bay–and of course they also have long-time ruler of the roost: THE GARDEN GALLERY. Of course Cambria has had GROW and recently CAMBRIA NURSERY DOWNTOWN took over that beautiful gift shop on Burton next to Brambles. There’s another one I’m forgetting–I KNOW it. Read something about another one–maybe in SLO–I am completely spacin on. I FULLY EMBRACE THIS TREND!!!! Feelin cute–might make this a plant gossip page…
More far-fetched rumors: A-TOWN DINER to move to the vacant Denny’s building and CHIK-FIL-A into current A-Town Diner spot??? That one makes NO sense. Chik-Fil-A doesn’t remodel cozy little 30YO strip-mall spots. They anchor parking lots with build-to-suits in huge shopping centers. I could see maybe CFA taking over Denny’s or a couple other huge stand-alones. How about Chili’s in AG? Now THAT would be a prime CFA location. I will now show you two things I will happily eat ANY DAY over that Chick-Fil-A junk:
Oops, that was four.
Those in the back rows will see the segue here to Saturday Farmer’s Market–easily the best and most important of ALL markets (if you don’t believe me, count the chefs you see there)–has suffered a bit of *relocation* and *down-sizing* affectations at the hands of SLO’s biggest and newest (and probably well-subsidized) tenant: HOBBY LOBBY. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see the mathematics at work there. People who shop at farmer’s markets are NOT Hobby Lobby’s demographic. Goddamn hippies! GET OFF MY LAWN.
Got out to POZO SALOON at the invite of NOMADA HOTEL GROUP to see what thery’re up to with that storied spot. Not too much, actually. Looks pretty much exactly like the last time I was there. The only thing changed is the demographic. Now it’s full of people you actually WANT to hang out with–not Harley douche-bags and doped-out thugs. It feels… I dunno… CLEAN. FRESH. GREEN. NATURAL. ALIVE. And it smells better. Shooting for every-weekend service early next year and perhaps a few glamping berths.
With Milanes gone, I have found the best cubano in the county: CALI GRILL Paso Robles. OK, so maybe a tad bland–next time I might get extra mustard or something–but that thing is EXACTLY what a Cubano is supposed to be. Perfect, flaky soft pillowy bread, not flattened or marked, the right amount of meat, cheese, pickles–everything. It is NOT Jorge’s Cubano or Pan Con Lechon–let’s be clear: those will always be the rulers of this segment–but it’s close. Most importantly, it is also not one of the over-stuffed, uber-fantasized, crusty, nearly inedible versions dotting the county, although fair mention here for runners-up: HIGH STREET DELI and MORRO BAY BUTCHER & DELI but neither are regular menu items.
I forgot the rest.