Resty Gossip 12.27

6 TEST KITCHEN at their new Tin City digs is going into soft openings. Reservations are filling up fast for the new 12-top format with full-time somm, wine-list and pairing plans. You’ll be happy to know the originally-announced $50 corkage has been reduced to $40 (2-bottle max). So there’s that. Can’t wait to see the wine-list. How much ya wanna bet it’s all Riesling. Basically the concept has switched from *bring all the wine you want* to *don’t you dare bring wine to my restaurant*. I believe pricing is currently $150 per person plus $75 wine-pairing plus gratuity. So you and your date are $525, putting our little Paso Robles dining scene firmly in the big-time of SF and LA. Congratulations. Everyone says the place is BEAUTIFUL.

Hey, speaking of Riesling and Paso Robles: Have you been to CHINA GOURMET??? Here’s a sleeper resty if there ever was one. Check out THIS list:

One door opens–another closes: Tolosa Press has discontinued print-publishing of their SLO News, Bay News, Coast News or whatever version you get in the area you reside. I mention this because the indefatigable Teri Bayus’ column: DINNER AND A MOVIE which we have all read for literally decades is no longer conveniently in stands at the entrance of local retailers. She has 18 years of archives of this page behind her and is easily one of the bastions of local food writing. Owners have promised fully-searchable archives of Teri’s column, however as of this writing, the website is blank. I have a funny feeling they’re not just print-done but DONE-done. Teri is already scheming her next act–you KNOW it. And I’m sure it will be a good one.

Speaking of quasi-food-related topics about town, I wonder if TACO TEMPLE received approval from the city for the exterior color scheme recently applied to the old Margie’s Diner for their new placement? I mean… Stalwork’s new building in downtown was “too dark” and “sent the wrong message”… I wonder if the rasta-glare of Taco Temple would register as “too bright’?  What a nice little clown-suit at the entrance to your town.  “Welcome to SLO. Smoke a joint. Pray to Jah. Here’s a salad we call “taco”. Yeah mon.”

HAHA RAMEN is coming to the poor God-forsaken restaurant strip on Olive Street getting on the freeway off Santa Rosa in SLO. This is another confusion for me: Have they been there all along? Does Cowgirl Cafe even exist? How does Mr. Pickles stay in business? Wasn’t this HAHA SUSHI all along? All-you-can-eat sushi that never seemed open yet the light was always on? So many questions. While we’re on viability questions, HOW does this area NOT support a McDonald’s and Burger King??? Jack-In-The-Box and Taco Bell plug along, but McDonald’s up on Foothill and Burger King at this corner couldn’t survive??? In PRIME Cal Poly territory? Never could figure that out. Oh and on the same street, Mariscos had literally the shortest new owners ever after Armando’s in the old Bon Temps spot. I think they lasted about 3 weeks and it’s empty again. Hey, at least you can still buy great heroin on that street.

On the topic of *so many questions* there’s an alcohol notice up in Maddie’s windows on the corner in Pismo Beach. Those in the back rows will remember this weird spot got a full kitchen build, bar addition and renovation ONLY to announce they were leveling the building shortly to build another hotel–with a RIDICULOUS completion schedule, something not even based in reality–to re-open in the ground floor. Weirdest business plan ever. Nothing has happened, of course, and now a new permit-submittal is up.

BOTTLEST in Buellton is still empty and for sale. What a sad location. So much potential. It was always a secret spot, and I think the flashier, trendier spots closer to the main drag killed it. You KNOW the place I’m talking about, and yeah, I’ve eaten there and dealt with their over-priced boards and wine in shot-glasses and am not impressed. But I’m not a tourist. Maybe when I kill a few million more brain-cells, I will get the industrial vibe.

Speaking of Beullton, ZACA CREEK RESTAURANT has new owners and is under-going a remodel. Oh and don’t forget a little further South in the ‘vang: ROOT 246 has a polished new interior of restaurant and lounge and a new chef (remember Bacon & Brine?) who has toned down the menu into easy comfortable stuff. I highly recommend it (link)

Hey, I had a huge hole in my TACO LIST for ever in King City because I never spent the time to get off the road and go exploring but this past weekend I DID and oh man. I KNEW there were 5 or 10 places up there in the old downtown and finally cruised the whole thing slowly (twice) (OK, three times) and popped in to RESTAURANTE EL SINALOENSE and added it to my TACO LIST at 2 stars–which is a fairly esteem-able score. The tacos are these really substantial things–I ordered 3 and was actually happy to see something happened in translation and I got only 2–and they have re-fried beans in them under the meat–kinda like some Oaxacan places do. Very VERY good.

I stopped in King City on my way up the coast. Got bored on Christmas eve eve and headed north with a minimum of reservations. Ended up in Santa Cruz through Christmas day, and my entire eating, drinking and lodgings are roughly chronicled HERE, including my new favorite place to stay and several eateries I was forced to try because all my Santa Cruz favorites were closed over the holiday.

THE BISQUIT BITCH (no I am not making this up) has rented and started improvements at the coffee-shop next door to CHARLIE PUFFER’S. We were kinda all hoping Charlie would expand his Pismo Beach empire yet again, swelling to three spots, but it was not to be. There’s no stopping Puffer’s though. A year ago 90% of the readers of these inches were, like, who? and now I PROMISE easily 80% of you are going “OMG CHARLIE’S IS AWESOME.” If you haven’t been to Puffer’s… I just… well, I don’t know what to think of you. I feel sorry for you, mostly.

MARGARITA’S PIZZA on Grand Avenue in Grover Beach closed suddenly last week (none of the neighbors I talked to even knew) and minor interior renovations are visible as it becomes an Iranian restaurant. OK, so as much as I loved Margarita’s pizza, I’m fairly excited about this ethnic arrival. I don’t want to get my hopes up to high, but OMG Persian food SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY.

That’s it. I’m done. See you next week. If you don’t eat your meat you can’t have any pudding.

Follow me on Instagram @eatdrinkCA

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