Restaurant Gossip 11.18.18

FOSSIL WINE BAR in the crazy new EXPLODING downtown section of Atascadero has opened. Wine list is AMAZING. Best in the area. Very well curated and all OVER the place.

Speaking of wine bars: Popped into BODEGA LOS ALAMOS in (you’re not going to believe this) Los Alamos yesterday and what an interesting place. It’s like The Station SLO but an outdoor venue. A wall of “natural wine”, and outdoor bar, bocce ball, lots of well-stuffed loungy-stuff, fire pits, etc etc. Looks like a fun place to have a glass of wine.

While we’re in Los Alamos: Oh man, was there at *barely* the dinner hour (I call it Republican dinner hour) and used it as an excuse to slip into PICO. Any excuse is a good one for eating dinner at PICO. I’ve said it a million times and will continue to as long as people ask: The 3 best restaurants in our section of the Central Coast are: PICO, EMBER, and CASS HOUSE. Go eat at Pico. Holy wow is it lovely. Wine list to DIE for, AMAZING service, food mind-bogglingly good AND have you seen the *short people’s area* under the stairs?!! YES! A secret room was discovered during their last remodel under the mezzanine and rather than hide it, Pico put in a door and chalk-board walls and brightly-colored paint and toys and it is the PRIVATE KIDS SECTION: NO GROWN-UPS ALLOWED. So bring your kids to Pico. I promise they will have more fun that you.

I talk-to-text little snippets to myself during the week to remind me of news items to include on this blog. Last sunday I dictated; “Cornetto Trilogy hot fudge” to myself–acting on a tip, no doubt–so if anyone can decipher this piece of information into anything useful regarding restaurant gossip, I would be forever grateful. I have no clue.

Everybody knows I am a taco-freak and live and breathe by my Taqueria List, and I don’t often mention tacos here on the gossip-column, but I just want to throw out my current favorite taqueria in the area: ANGELES de PUEBLA in Orcutt. Real rotisserie al pastor and it is STUPID-GOOD. Hit it up.

Recently “Cal Poly Dining” came up on my radar and has me curious. All the college towns I have lived in had a decent restaurant on campus where the food-service students showed their stuff. There’s that SAGE place which has been closed forever… Always kinda bothered me Cal Poly didn’t have anything good. Apparently, there’s MYRON’S, a bistro and it appears they have beer and wine and Prime Rib on Fridays for 17 bucks? There’s also something else called CANYON CAFE. Anyone ever been? Do you need a dining card?

There’s something new and fairly exciting coming to Lompoc but I can’t tell you about it yet.

OASIS MEDITERRANEAN is opening in Pismo Beach at the north end of town.

TIN CANTEEN appears to be open in Tin City Paso Robles. Need to visit soon. Haven’t heard any gossip about the menu. Seen the winelist, and it is pretty beautiful for us geeks, but I promise Castoro Club-member is going to hate it.

Speaking of Tin City, SIX TEST KITCHEN has to be close. November is almost over. All you AG-folks who worship 6 Test, you ready to drive to Paso for it?

The ALEX BBQ thing drags on. Of COURSE you knew they were going to say it was rotten and unsalvageable. Their entire permit for the remodel has been revoked–which sounds like a big deal, but it really isn’t, as it will actually make it cleaner and more streamlined for future plans.

Got into CHOP STREET for the first time in probably at LEAST a year. Used to love this place. The LAST time I went, the service was horrible and the food was good. This time the service was perfect and the food left much to be desired. The Brooks Oregon Pinot was wonderful and the deep-fried shrimp were awesome morsels. I opted for a vegetarian burger (I’m not a vegetarian, just love tasting various takes on veggie-patties) which is a black bean affair. Dry and flavorless, on a brioche equally dry and flavorless. Pass the mustard, the salt, the pepper–SOMETHING to pump some life into this poor thing. Fries are some of the worst in the county: natural cut, peeling intact, not par-cooked or rested, nearly transparent from their greasy sogginess. Poor Chop Street. I love this restaurant, but its heyday was a couple years ago.

Went to OLD SAN LUIS BBQ. Why? Because I’ve been visiting various BBQ-joints the past year on assignment to write a compilation of *best bbq* in the area. I was basically done with my research and everyone said “Oh no! You HAVE to go to SLO BBQ!” Oh dear god I’m so sorry I did. No, I’m thankful I did. It makes everything else look SOOOOOO awesome. Who eats this bullshit? Seriously: WHO has allowed their dining standards to stoop SO low as to accept this absolute SHIT as “food”? Whoever you are, please don’t follow me. Just click off right now. I don’t want you here. I don’t want to know you or eat anywhere you do. Yeah, that blog-post will come soon–as soon as I put together all my notes. I already now who is my favorite, and no one else even comes close. And it will surprise you. But it’s the real dealio.

Brian (EMBER) Collins’ brother has purchased Alphy’s Broiler in The Village of Arraoyo Grande. Going to keep it the same theme for now–why not? It’s PACKED every day!–but some minor tweaks here and there.

OK, so I’m gonna rant on KUMA BOWLS in Los Osos again. OMG I love this place. The sake list is off the charts and the ramen needs no introduction. This visit, I dabbled in the sushi menu, ordering the maguro just to see. Like carpaccio at an Italian restaurant, maguro is the litmus by which all sushi-joints are judged. It passed with flying colors.

Follow me on Instagram for the daily food-porn: @eatdrinkCA

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