Pride in Place
I donít eat out a lot. But something I notice I think is more and more apparent and Iím not sure I can figure out why.
I recently had lunch at Giuseppeís in Pismo Beach. The wine list was amazing and it was comprised mostly local wines from San Luis Obispo County. Last October when I had lunch at Buono Tavola in Paso Robles, I noticed the same thing-a terrific selection of San Luis Obispo County wines plus a pretty good selection of wines from Santa Barbara County.
Even at Jockoís in Nipomo-a restaurant known for its steak and not its wine list-is off to a good start with a nice selection of Talley wines from the Arroyo Grande Valley.
It strikes me thereís a sense of pride among many restaurants in San Luis Obispo County that you donít find here in Santa Barbara County.
I get the same feeling about the community of San Luis Obispo too. People who live there have a sense of pride in where they live. I respect it because I believe both the county, with its diverse wine regions-going from the cooler Edna Valley in south county to the hot spots near Shandon and east of Paso Robles in north county-to the communities from Pismo Beach and Arroyo Grande in the south to Templeton and Paso Robles in the north, and of course, San Luis Obispo itself, is a treasure trove and one of the great spots to live on the west coast.
Here in Santa Barbara County, there are a number of restaurants that do our wines justice, but the percentages are low compared to San Luis Obispo County I think.
In Los Alamos, both Cafe Quackenbush and American Flatbread especially do a good job spotlighting local wines. And both the Casmalia Hitching Post and Buellton Hitching Post along with Chef Rickís in Orcutt have remarkable wine lists. The Far Western Tavern in Guadalupe has a pretty respectable wine list too, and itís getting better all the time. In Santa Barbara two restaurants, which have traditionally done a splendid job showcasing county wines, have been the Paradise Cafe and Chuckís of Hawaii.
And always forever on the lookout for a great margarita, I would highly recommend Casa Manana in Santa Maria and the Buellton Hitching Post. Casa Manana makes a tasty Cadillac margarita, and Brent at the Buellton Hitching Post makes a world-class fresh squeezed margarita-always the best way to make a margarita anyway, in my humble opinion.
Times wine columnist, Bob Senn, lives in the Los Alamos Valley and owns the Los Olivos Wine & Spirits Emporium.
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