Tuesday, October 25, 2011

SLO Ride...Take It Easy (part 1)

I just got back from an amazing road trip to San Luis Obispo and am blown away by the beauty of the central coast. When I was younger, maybe 8 years old or so, my parents took my sister and I on a road trip up the coast all the way to San Francisco. We stopped in SLO and stayed at the Madonna Inn and visited Hearst Castle. We continued through Monterey California and went to the famous aquarium there. Then ended the trip in Marin County where we explored San Fransisco for the first time. It was an awesome trip and many flash backs and memories resurfaced for me over this past weekend. The difference is the first time around I probably didn't even look at the scenery along the way as I am sure I couldn't see out the window and kept asking my parents the famous road trip question "Are we there yet"?
Well this time I could see out the window. All the top surf spots along the coast were pointed out to me with excitement by him. The foggy coast and sunny inland mountains were breathtaking. The vineyards along the way were shinning like gold with the sun light hitting them. I don't remember any of that the first time around.Our first stop was C'est Cheese in Santa Barbara. It' s not located on the "touristy" State Street, which is what I think makes this place so great. It was slammed with locals stopping in for lunch and getting their hands on a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches and fresh tomato soup.We ordered the Signature Grilled Cheese which was filled with a blend of 3 cheeses - Appenzeller, 4-year aged cheddar, and mozzarella. Check out the the cheese melting out of the side of this grilled cheese. YUM! You can check out the full menu here.
Michael and Katheryn Graham are the young owners of C'est Cheese for 8 years now and we got to meet Katheryn who is the sweetest and was busy running around with the staff helping customers as Michael was grilling those grilled cheese sandwiches on the panini press.
C'est Cheese
825 Santa Barbara St. Santa Barbara, Ca.Our second stop for lunch was at Scarlet Begonia.
Another hot spot that is not on State Street but in Victory Court on Victoria Street. We learned Scarlet Begonia has only been open for 1 month. We found it doing some research on-line before our trip. No website, but while checking out lunch spots in Santa Barbara we noticed a picture on-line of the patio. That's all. No reviews of food. Just that. And we went. Wouldn't you?Henry Ramos is the chef who we met and his food is simple, organic, local, and delicious. Our waitress Nicole was the best we had the whole trip. We wished we could clone her at every place we went too. We wanted to share the Cauliflower Curry Soup and sandwich but Nicole was on the look out for us mentioned the sandwich is big so how about a taste of the Cauliflower Curry Soup so we can try it and share the sandwich. Oh and suggested to order half fries and half salad with the sandwich. It was the perfect lunch. The soup was so flavorful. I savored every bite. I want to go back for a large bowl of it. The sandwich we picked was simply the best thing I have had in a long time.
The Short Rib Sandwich was filled with short rib, garlic coleslaw, horseradish creme, onion rings served on fresh soft ciabatta bread. Amazing and the perfect size to share. Oh and the homemade ketchup needs to be mass produced and bottled stat! backside.Other options on the local, organic menu that stood out were:
Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with blueberry compote and maple syrup
Red Quinoa Oatmeal - toasted almonds, apricots, maple syrup and ricotta
Mascarpone Polenta - two poached eggs, fried artichoke, cipollini onions, prosciutto
Tomatillo Chicken Enchiladas - avocado, radish, cilantro, black bean, sour creme, fried egg
Pesto Chicken Sandwich - oven dried tomatoes, caramelized onions, mozzarella, focaccia
Smoked Salmon Flat bread - red onion, cucumber, dill tzatziki, radish sprouts
Chicken Pot Pie - snap peas, carrots, fingerling potatoes, puff pastry

Also Scarlett Begonia is a very dog friendly place and you even get a an organic treat for your pup. Just ask Kiki the pup from the french store next door.Also the menu's options for kids looks splendid too with variety! Must be due to the owner Crista Fooks being a mother.
Scarlet Begonia
11 W. Victoria St., #10, 770-2143, Santa Barbara, Ca.
We scored in Santa Barbara! Could our trip have gotten any better then this?
to be continued...

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