hoo-boy, a chef eats out.
I'd rec Bon Temps Creole Cafe on Garden St for a good breakfast. Youcan get chickory coffee, and some great egg dishes, grits, etc. Nice laid back vibe. Go across the freeway on Santa Rosa St. to Garden, it's to your left facing northwest. Near the end of the street.
Jaffa Cafe and Petra Cafe both serve good Mediterannean foods. Tasty, well-prepared and good service. On Higuera St jsut a block or two uptown (east) from Santa Rosa.
Koberl on Blue is a nice restaurant right downtown near the courthouse at Osos and Monterey. It usually gets very good revues here.
Cafe Roma is an old standby up at the train station at the top of Santa Rosa for Italian.
Giant Grinders on Broad St just a few blocks south of Marsh St serves good fresh sandwiches. Nice folks too.
Novo Cafe downtown on Higuera near Garden has an inventive world cuisine influenced menu and delicious desserts made by the French Corner Bakery in Cambria. Outstanding Tres Leches cake.
There is a nice new chocolates shop up on Monterey St, a few blocks east toward the hills, near Splash Cafe. Organic and Fair Trade. Across the street from Outspoken coffee house.
Good cinnamon rolls (made with Danish dough, not bread dough) at The Apple Farm at the top of Monterey. All of chef Willie's breakfast pastries are quite good. The cookies? too sweet, and underbaked. Boysenberry pie is very good but the crust is too rich for me. The apple dumpling is huge and tasty, best ala mode.
Best Mexican in town (not much--most is in the beach towns to the south near Santa Maria) is Taco De Mexico on Santa Rosa, just around the corner from Bon Temps. They do great tacos, burros, combo plates, and they have lengua (after much badgering by me) now. Cheap and tasty.
There is an olive oil and tomato tasting at Tiber Canyon Ranch this weekend. google them for a map.
re: toodie jane
Thanks, ToodieJ. I will file this away for the next time my husband has an urge to run north. We were in SLO just two meals worth. We hit Big Sky for a very early dinner, and the next morning had nicely pulled lattes at Black Horse uptown. Both were what we needed, as was the early turn-in. But we saw all the places you mentioned, and know just where we'd go on next trip. (Arroyo Grande was closed for a parade, so we missed the ice cream!) It was my first visit to SLO. What a beautiful town. . . made coming back to San Diego very hard.
To be more explicit: very short trip, traveling with burnt-out chef husband who needs a getaway, even though it means long drive from San Diego. So we probably won't be toodling the area around SLO as much as walking the streets of the town, sleeping, eating in town. Don't need lots of recs, just SLO's best. (and where for great coffee?)
If you'll be there for two days, what will you be doing? There are many places to eat in town, but surely you'll be hitting wine country and the coast?
Search the names of any likely destination towns in the search field above, and you'll get lots of suggestions covering everything from pancakes to ice cream, smoked fish or fine dining.
some random favorites:
For the coast, I like Bayside Cafe at the state park Marina in Morro Bay, or Lil Hut on the Embarcadero down by the docks, for Fish & Chips.
For ice cream, you can't beat Doc Berstein's (super-premium) in the village of Arroyo Grande. Full old-time soda fountain menu. Ice cream made on premises.
For baked goods/snacks: Carlock's Bakery in Los Osos (closed Son-Mon) for cookies, brownies, Danish, etc. For classic Euro-style baked goods: Utopia on Broad St in San Luis Obispo (near Orcutt Rd).
Coffee House: Linnea's downtown SLO on Garden St just off Higuera, or Outspoken on upper Monterey St, near California Blvd.
Italian Ice: on Morro St just off HIguera.
Japanese/Sushi: Atari Ya in the Stowell Center on Broadway in Santa Maria. The. Best. Try the Baked Scallops or the Katsu Don. Everything is good, service attentive.