October 11, 2003

online chow

I just spent too much time last night and today researching for our upcoming trip to the Central Coast. We've been there plenty of times, but I wanted to find out if there are any new restaurants I should know about. Used to be I'd dip into Zagat's and take a look but more often than not we've been disappointed by their recommendations, and besides, the books only come out once a year and they're far from comprehensive.

Enter Chowhound. Man, I love this site. I went to their general California forum and, in a relatively short time (well, okay, maybe it took a little longer, but that was because I kept reading irrrelevant posts because they were fun), I discovered that:

Cambria has a new top restaurant called Black Cat Bistro, but it's small and you'll need reservations.

McPhee's Grill in Templeton has gone way downhill, forget about it.

There's a classy French restaurant in Paso Robles, called Bistro Laurent. It may not be appropriate for this trip, but I'll sure keep it in mind for the future.

The Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo (crazy place, I've always wanted to visit) has great eclairs in their little restaurant.

Buono Tavola, an outstanding Italian place in San Luis Obispo, (we ate there four years ago and I still remember the silky pasta), now has another outpost in Paso Robles.

The Albertson's supermarket in Morro Bay has a good selection of local wines, cheap.

In addition to dozens of wineries in the area with assorted tasting rooms, there's also a local brewery with a tap room.

There's a little Mexican deli in a gas station (!) in Morro Bay that has great tamales.

I mean, really. How else can you stumble across this information except with a combination of blind luck and lots of free time? And Chowhound covers the entire US plus some.

I'm really really hungry after writing all that down. Must. Go. Eat.

Ciao. (Or should that be chow?) (ow)

Posted by Tamar at October 11, 2003 05:37 PM

This is a good overview, but left out perhaps the best restaurant on the Central Coast -- Hoppe's in Cayucos. Its more casual than it used to be, but the food is truly excellent with a very good selection of local wines.

Posted by: David Suden at December 27, 2003 11:26 AM

Hoppe's and Black Cat Bistro. Definitely my two favorite restaurants on the Central Coast. If you have only two nights, don't miss either one of them!

Posted by: Debbie at August 16, 2004 09:48 AM