As always, the year served up some fun and tasty culinary adventures. Here’s a look at a just a few of the highlights of 2015.
More and more North County wineries are offering food well beyond the usual cheese plates. On the Westside of Paso Robles, AronHill Vineyards serves up several gourmet sandwiches and salads, as does Jeffry’s Catering at Barton’s Kitchen Window, including specials such as rigatoni alla Bolognese. On the Eastside on Linne Road, go for the crab cakes at Cass Winery, or opt for the equally popular Benny’s Burger.
You’ll also find great burgers at California Grill in Nipomo and House of JuJu in Morro Bay, which offers a slider combo if you can’t make up your mind about which of the six styles to have. The Tsunami burger at Graze Kitchen in Pismo Beach is definitely worth a try, though that spot is also known for vegetarian and vegan fare.
For straightforward comfort food, it’s hard to go wrong with the omelets and housemade bread at Country Touch in Atascadero or the American and Mexican breakfasts, lunches and dinners at Golden Oak Grill in Paso Robles. When Comfort Market in the Village of Arroyo Grande takes on comfort food, you end up with dishes such mac and cheese with pancetta and meatloaf served with a Marsala mushroom sauce.
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When you’re looking for a special occasion location, enjoy the inventive dishes from Chef Julie Simon at Foremost Wine Company in San Luis Obispo or from Chef Brian Collins and his team at Ember in Arroyo Grande. Both restaurants celebrate seasonal, local and from-scratch food and have gotten significant kudos from out-of-the-area media.
You can also get a taste of comfort food, plus Asian, Californian, South American, vegan, gluten-free and even Portuguese, at Kunfusion, Lori Nunes’ brick-and-mortar incarnation of her popular food truck. To further stamp your culinary passport, enjoy the authentic German fare at Beda’s Biergarten in San Luis Obispo, spot-on Peruvian dishes at Mistura off Highway 46 East in Paso Robles, or sip a hand-crafted margarita and nosh on some street tacos at Fish Gaucho in downtown Paso Robles.
If you’d rather step into your own kitchen, take advantage of the bounty of the county by checking out a farmers market or even a farm stand, such as Rutiz Farms in Halcyon or Templeton Valley Farms in Templeton. At the markets, you can pretty much check everything off your grocery list — get fresh produce from Pepper Creek Farms, artisan goat cheese from Stepladder Creamery, produce and free-range chicken from Bee Wench Farm and even locally caught seafood from South Bay Wild.
The coming year promises to bring even more culinary adventures, including all the menus featured during San Luis Obispo County’s Restaurant Month in January. Most restaurants will be offering a three-course menu for $30 — a great way to try out a new spot or revisit an old favorite. Here’s to 2016!
Katy Budge is a freelance writer from Atascadero. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find out more
3230 Broad St., San Luis Obispo
Bee Wench Farm
Cass Winery Tasting Room
7350 Linne Road, Paso Robles
116 W. Branch St., Village of Arroyo Grande
8135 El Camino Real, Atascadero
1200 E. Grand Ave., Arroyo Grande
1244 Park St., Paso Robles
Foremost Wine Company
570 Higuera St. (in The Creamery), San Luis Obispo
Golden Oak Grill
1487 Creston Road (Food 4 Less shopping center), Paso Robles
841 Dolliver St., Pismo Beach
House of JuJu
945 Embarcadero, Morro Bay
Jeffry’s Catering at Barton’s Kitchen Window
2174 Highway 46 West (at Barton Family Wines/Grey Wolf Cellars), Paso Robles
760-709-1519, see Facebook page for specials
561 Five Cities Drive (Pismo Coast Shopping Center, next to California Fresh Market), Pismo Beach
700 Clubhouse Drive at River Oaks Golf Course, Paso Robles
Pepper Creek Family Farms
Rutiz Family Farms
1075 The Pike, Arroyo Grande
Templeton Valley Farms
880 Climbing Tree Lane, Templeton