local eats… Succulent Cafe

succulent cafeSucculent Cafe

1555 Mission Drive

Solvang, CA

Okay, okay, this restaurant isn’t in San Luis Obispo County but it’s just a hop skip and a jump away in Northern Santa Barbara County (which we get lumped in with anyway). When you’re visiting the quaint dutch town of Solvang, you’ll want to enjoy lunch at the Succulent Cafe! This was on our “To Try” list and we’re glad we did. Unfortunately, they aren’t equipped for an influx of customers so we waited about an hour for our food. A wait that long would have really made me pissed and I would have cancelled the order and asked for our money back. However, our day in Solvang was planned to be leisurely and I took the wait in stride. Don’t get me wrong, this was quite difficult for me but I was spending much needed quality time with the husband so I survived.

I ordered the buttermilk fried chicken salad and the portion was quite large. This salad could easily have been shared and I did share, a couple bites. Each time I took a bit, a special little goodie surprised me; cranberries, pine nuts, corn fritters, and great fried chicken breast. I crave this salad a lot! The husband ordered the meatloaf on cornbread and it wasn’t as exciting. The girl we ordered with at the register said it was the best meatloaf she ever had and other employees agreed. Well, they haven’t ever had my meatloaf or the meatloaf sandwich at wichcraft! After waiting an hour, the meatloaf was finished but the husband preferred my salad.

We would both suggest eating here for lunch to save on the dinner prices. This place isn’t cheap, by any means, but if you’re not looking for mediocre swedish meatballs or pancakes, this is the place for you!

 

 

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local eats… Bon Temps Creole Cafe

bon temps

Batch

1000 Olive Street

San Luis Obispo, CA

I was craving some Creole/Cajun food and Bon Temps was the only place that came up on a search. So, I grabbed my favorite person to go out to eat with and we were on our way. The restaurant is in the front of a Ramada Hotel and parking is available at the hotel during certain hours (forgive me for not remembering the times!).  We arrived an hour before they close before dinner service and the place was packed! The hostess allowed us to sit wherever we wanted and we chose to sit out front on the patio. It was a really hot day out and the sunken patio looked like a nice place to enjoy shade. Probably a poor choice because of all the car traffic that came by.

The food did not live up to yelp reviews. Their “over-easy” egg was hard-boiled, basically, and there was a single server for the entire place. Needless to say, we only saw our server when the check came. The only thing we enjoyed was the pain perdu, which was significantly better than the lot. I’m not sure if they were having an off day or if the cook isn’t the best they have but our visit was disappointing. This is one place we won’t be going back to. Our family is kind of over having to give second chances because a majority of SLO restaurants just don’t deliver when you try them out. It’s too bad, we really love treating ourselves to a good meal.

local eats… Batch

batch

Batch

1108 Broad Street

San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

I am addicted to ice cream, to my hips’ chagrin, and can’t pass up an ice cream sandwich. My husband and I are from L.A. and were religious followers of the ice cream sandwich truck (that are now national trucks and have a landlocked location) COOLHAUS. So, we were excited to stumble upon Batch during a Downtown SLO Thursday Night Farmers Market outing. We were pretty impressed with the cookie and ice cream choice the first time around, although we’re not huge fans of Doc Burnstein’s ice cream. Unfortunately, in South SLO County, you don’t have a choice but to eat Doc’s if you want anything on the good side other than a half gallon from the grocery store.

On our recent visit I even asked if they were still using Doc’s and the employee said YES quite enthusiastically. I hope that they’ll make their own ice cream one day, that would make this place the cat’s meow. This time around I had a rocky road cookie with strawberry ice cream. I didn’t quite like the thinness of the cookie doubled with the chewy, stick behind your teeth texture.  I was a sticky mess by the end. A mess. My husband had chocolate chip cookies and birthday cake ice cream. He liked his cookies but wasn’t a fan of the ice cream. We just don’t enjoy Doc’s as much as everyone else, I guess. Good thing that Doc’s is going into the old Coldstone location Downtown, eh?! Insert sad face here. Back to the awesomeness of BATCH-  They always have about 5 choices of cookie, 5 of ice cream and sorbets, and they even have “toppings” that they can roll the sides in. I haven’t tried mine rolled yet, but I have my heart set on some potato chips with my ice cream next time…mmmmmmmm!

Summer and Batch seem to go hand in hand, so we’ll be seeing a lot of them. If you check in with Yelp, they have a good check in deal of about 75 cents off of your ice cream sandwich. Make sure to let them know in time, I forgot and didn’t get the deal. Oh wells. What combination would you try?

 

Pros

  • Quality of cookies
  • Good price for a treat
  • Service is always friendly
  • Fun choices, it’s hard to pick!

Cons

  • Parking downtown…bring quarters!
  • Small indoor seating and one bench outside

local eats…Redwood Cafe

redwood cafe

Redwood Cafe

2094 Main St, Cambria, CA 93428
(805) 927-4830

In April we went to Cambria to celebrate my birthday and enjoyed a full day of Moonstone Beach, Downtown Cambria, and a lovely night. We were really excited to have a wonderful and local breakfast before heading back home. Well, we made the choice to hit up Redwood Cafe and we were so surprised. The place was definitely an old-school and local loved joint. Our server was fantastic and she knew her customers. Both she and another man were so welcoming. When we placed our order 7 whole minutes must have passed before we were served with lumberjack sized platters.

I enjoyed the vegetarian benedict (I can’t remember the actual name) more than I did anywhere else. I really love all vegetable benedicts because they make me feel less guilty for indulging in hollandaise sauce, another obsession. What pushed their benedict over the top? The garlic sauteed tomatoes. Oh. My. Geez. You have NO idea. The side potatoes weren’t that great but the hollaindaise was so creamy that I didn’t even care about the potatoes. Okay, I just cared a little less but I was still bummed. My husband had the pancakes, eggs, and bacon dish. The pancakes were superbly balanced between sweet and savory and hit the mark on density and fluffiness.

Really? Stop reading this and JUST GO. Honest, you won’t be disappointed.

Pros

  • Quality of food
  • Affordable prices
  • Ample free parking
  • Outdoor patio seating
  • Service is fast and friendly

Cons

  • A little hard to find- parking is sunken and the cafe is in the middle of a strip that’s hard to see from the street

local eats… The Rib Line

ribline

Rib Line

228 West Grand Ave

Grover Beach CA 93433

(805) 474-0123

Wow. Really, wow! We were told by a couple locals, that say that they like bbq, to not go here because “It’s too expensive and isn’t that great.” So, we were hesitant to try it but after a few of their suggestions were flops, we thought we’d give it a shot. Boy, were they wrong. The first time we tried them out, we didn’t have a menu and when we called we had to ask for, basically, an oral run through of their offerings. The girl that helped us was really nice but they laughed at us when we asked if we could have it delivered. We figured that they closed in 30 minutes and they are about a quarter mile from our house so they should be able to accommodate a delivery. Not that time, I guess.

Our craving was getting ridiculous and we had to get back. This time, we opted to dine in. The crowd was a mish mash of locals, bros, fresnoids, and bakos. The meal was incredible. I had the tri tip sandwich and baked beans. The tri tip was cooked perfectly, as tender as can be with flavor to spare. I like it SLO style and that means bbq sauce not salsa. The bbq sauce was well balanced and I, easily, could have spread that sauce on a box and would be happy. Now, the beans. Holy bananas. I mean, c’mon. The baked beans are “slap yo mama” good; sweet, smoky, and the beans aren’t overcooked and mushy. My husband had the beef ribs and the fact that his eyes rolled so far back in his head, I knew they were good and he said they were out of this world. He had pasta salad and potato salad, both of which were just okay.

We asked the server what the specials were, before the meal, and he told us about the mac n cheese of the day. It was something with bleu cheese, which I love, and I asked if I could get some as a side. He told me that the cooks could make it happen. I asked him how much the side would be and he said their sides are $4.95. Well, after he dropped off our entrees he came back with a plate full of the mac n cheese. When I asked if that was a “side” he said yes and told me it was $9.95. What?! I told him that I wouldn’t pay 10 bucks for a side and asked him to take it away. He then asked me “So, you want me to take it off your bill?” Ummmm, yup. I do. Our server proved to be, well, the dullest tool in the tool shed. He was a nice kid and you could tell he wanted to provide quality service and he thought that he was but he, obviously, fell short. When we were checking out we asked him how far and how late they delivered. He said that it just depended on what everyone felt like that day. Seems about right.

All in all, this place is immensely delicious. Like, drool-the-whole-way-there delicious. Our friends from out of state ate here when they came for our wedding and they crave it all the time. Lucky for us, we can feed the craving whenever we want. By the way- they are totally not as expensive as other famous SLO bbq joints. They have affordable meals for 2 or families and offer salads as well.

Pros

  • Bang for your buck proportions
  • FOOD QUALITY
  • Options for food

Cons

  • Parking can be hard to find when they’re busy because they’re in a plaza and share the parking with residents
  • Delivery isn’t always available
  • Service can leave you wanting more

local eats…Jocko’s

jockosJocko’s

125 North Thompson Avenue

Nipomo CA 93444

(805) 929-3565

 

This place hasn’t changed since the 70s and it hasn’t had to. Cowboys and ranch hands still grab a pint after work (and at lunch!) and the locals dine on the barbecue they will, happily, defend. Don’t expect any frills or terribly great service as Jocko’s is all about great SLO bbq. They offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner to quench your Jocko’s craving. No joke, you mention this place to a local and they’ll tell you it’s the bees knees. You have your choice between SLO bbq (bbq sauce) or Santa Maria bbq (salsa on the side) and it’s all served with a breadstick/cracker basket and salsa (to dip the crunchies, of course).

The last time we were there we enjoyed their sandwiches for lunch and the meat was cooked perfectly and on a grill you can see through the large windows. Steak that is tender and flavorful between garlic bread? YES, PLEASE! This is quintessential SLO eatin’ and it always hits the spot. At dinner you can order a “small” steak that covers the entire plate. Our favorite part of watching our dinner being cooked? Seeing the outdoor grill covered in meat with ribs, a la the Flintstones,  hanging off the sides. Your server may be a bit salty but that could be due to the awesome Jocko’s Mix steak seasoning they sell, perhaps it has worked it’s way into their veins or because she’s worked there for 30 years. Either way, she’ll deliver the best steak for you to enjoy after you fill up on the breadsticks, crackers, salsa, and salad that comes with your meal! Thinking of coming for dinner Thursday through Sunday? MAKE A RESERVATION!!! It isn’t uncommon to wait 2 hours for a seat at dinner.

Pros

  • Bang for your buck proportions
  • Interesting ambiance
  • Options of meat cuts and sizes
  • Cowboy sightings

Cons

  • Long wait for dinner without a reservation
  • Service may leave you wanting more (but you’ll forget it once you bite into your steak, promise!)
  • Parking in the dirt lot when there aren’t any more spots in the paved lot

 

local eats…Branch Street Deli

branch street deli

Branch Street Deli

203 E. Branch St.

Arroyo Grande, CA 93420

(805) 489-9099

We are repeat customers at this great restaurant. It is the most consistent place to eat in the Arroyo Grande Village and is affordable to boot. They have a great outdoor dining area that you can rent out for parties and they also have live music every now and then. Inside the restaurant are a lot of tables and a couple TVs to watch sports. The burgers and sandwiches are huge. You can, easily, share an entree with someone but you don’t have to! I don’t! The burgers are super juicy and not greasy. The sandwiches are loaded up on fresh bread. I’m not too into the fries and onion rings as they aren’t anything special. They do have great potato salad and offer entree salads that I haven’t tried yet.

The service is quick and friendly. My favorite part of sitting outside would be the Hawaiian music they pump out, it makes for such a serene setting. Be aware that between 2-4 the middle schoolers and high schoolers come to hang out. Yup…a lot of tween and teen convo and rowdiness. Oh no…I knew this would happen…now I’m in a deep craving for Branch Street Deli…

Pros

  • Quality of food
  • Affordable prices
  • Ample free parking in the public lots throughout the Village
  • Outdoor patio seating
  • Service is fast and friendly

Cons

  • Kids on the patio when school lets out

 

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