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May 2, 2007 07:37 PM

SLO County/Paso/Cayucos

It has been about 8 months since I have been to Chowhound, longer since I've been to the Central Coast.

We're going to Cayucos next week and will go to Taco Temple in Morro Bay at least twice (unless it's gone downhill). We generally like to go out for lunch and cook dinner at the place we stay in Cayucos. I am looking for some breakfasts and good to great lunches; price and type of cuisine are not too important as long as the food is good. We will go anywhere in SLO county and consider northern Santa Barbara county.

Good winery recommendations also appreciated. Thanks.

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  1. If you venture down to northern SB Co., Chef Rick's in Orcutt, just 10 min south of Santa Maria, serves many of their excellent dinner entres at lunch for lower prices. It's a friendly place; has been discussed many times here when hounds are looking for quality and delilciousness. Rick is a master of sauces.

    Also in Santa Maria are many, many taquerias and carnicerias which serve traditionally prepared Mexican meats and seafoods. Eat in or takeaway. El Toro at W Main and Blosser Rd.s is a favorite. Katty-corner is Carniceria Su Mesa with a great butcher counter--meats and seafood are very reasonable.

    And of course on Saturdays, the Santa Maria Style BBQ tri-tip stands along Broadway for cooked tri-tip, whole roasts or sandwiches.

    In Morro Bay at the marina in the state park, I like Bayside Cafe for lunch. Open for dinner on thurs-sun.

    In Los Osos, on the south side of Morro Bay, is Lotus Thai, a tiny takeout or dine-in. Well-priced and tasty Thai food.

    In Morro Bay, on Front St, just around the corner from Giovanni's fish mkt, is the Coffee Pot Cafe, a good place to get a servicable brekfast. I've had good pancakes and waffles there. Crowded after 8:30 on weekends with locals and tourists. Nothing extaordinary but good.

    Bon Temps Creole Cafe in SLO on Olive St has good breakfasts. Service can be spotty. Relax and forget about being on a tight schedule. Grits, creamed spinach, creole meat sauce, chickory coffee, etc. Flavorful and fresh.

    2 Replies
    1. re: toodie jane

      You are a central coast icon. I can hardly believe that one person can have such extensive knowledge about this area as I well remember your posts from before my Chowhound hiatus. Many thanks.

      1. re: Tom Hall

        My job takes me all over the county; and I've lived in almost every Slo Co. community since moving here 40 years ago.

        I just trying to provide a guide to lesser known places, which are what I frequent on my county-wide sales route. I figure everybody needs "cheap eats" besides the finer dining.. I relish finding hole-in-the-wall spots; they are what make my day when traveling out of our region. They also give a glimpse into the community beyond the posh places. Lately I've been trying all the taquerias and taco trucks in the Santa Maria area. The quest continues.

    2. There are more wineries than you can shake a stick at in SLO. The paso area wineries have been well covered in other posts, however I would suggest you try some of the arroyo grande valley wineries. You will miss their roll out the barrels festival which is this weekend (May 4-6) but the crowds will be a lot less next weekend. Talley is probably my favorite right now. Good wines top to bottom and a lovely tasting room. Tolosa is another one my s.o. really enjoys. kinda of a Napa feel to the winery maybe a little commerical but still good. Per Bacco sp? is off the 101 and Los Osos Valley road and it is really old school, and they have some very nice wines. Finally Clayborne and Churchill should not be missed for their Reisling and Gwertz.

      4 Replies
      1. re: littlestevie

        Thanks for the suggestions as we have never visited the Arroyo Grande valley wineries.

        1. re: littlestevie

          although their tasting room is in the Edna Valley on Biddle Ranch Rd., Saucelito Cyn Winery grows way-the-heck-out-there in the Lopez Valley region. Their Zins are consistantly rich and fruity.

          I agree on the C&C whites, C&C is on Hiway 227 or Edna Rd, just "around the corner" from Saucelito's tasting room.

          1. re: toodie jane

            Yes, Claiborne and Churchill make lovely wines. Their Gewurz is quite dry but still floral and fruity. And they are the nicest people.

            1. re: Snackish

              I loved their previous release of the Dry Riesling, but is it just me that the current one seems more on the sweet side?

        2. I go to Cayucos semi-regularly and it's such a great area for exploring. Try Hoppe's in Cayucos (it's not far from the saloon). The food is good and usually very innovative. It's pricey, but if that's not an issue, then it's worth stopping by.

          If you head up to Cambria, Robin's is usually pretty dependable for a good meal. California-fusion, reasonably priced, lovely location.

          As for wineries, I went wine tasting up there a couple of weeks ago and our group loved Turley. If you like red wine, it's worth considering a visit.

          In Pismo Beach, there's Splash Cafe. It has long lines and is a tad touristy, but I liked the food. Chowders, fried seafood, etc.

          I totally second the nod to Bayside Cafe. Great place for both the food and the view. If you're looking for sweets, stop by Carlock's Bakery in Los Osos. Their maple thumbprints are out of this world.

          1 Reply
          1. re: geekyfoodie

            I'll second Robin's in Cambria


            Splash Cafe in Pismo

          2. What we did (sorry I'm late- new job is keeping me way busy):

            We dined at Taco Temple 3 times. My favorite dish would be the fresh fish "taco" with a chocolate bread pudding to put the whole thing into orbit.

            Went to the Bayside Cafe which will become a regular addition to the rotation.

            The real keeper was breakfast at Bon Temps Creole Cafe in SLO. Had a breakfast "pan" of spicy beans, poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce. Talk about a "stick to your ribs" kind of breakfast. These are a different kind of breakfast and WELL WORTH a try. Another addition to the rotation and a wonderful find. The owner is a real nice laid back guy- we talked him about his recent trip to the NO Jazz Fest.

            Also made a couple stops in Cayucos at Schooner's Wharf for reliable fish or calamari with chips. Upstairs in the bar or adjacent to it outside. There website is not worth trying to use but here is the link:

            Also went out to the Edna Valley for a wine country trip from the past kind of thing.

            All in all the kind of trip that keeps me returning to Cayucos and SLO County and as alwys, thanks to the 'hounds for the help.