January is restaurant month here in SLO county, which is essentially a month long celebration of the best restaurants SLO has to offer. Participating restaurants offer a 3 course prix-fixe meal for $30, or some sort of discount. Many restaurants also offer a rotating menu, so you can go back each week and try something new. Although $30 is still a little expensive on my budget, I’m still excited to browse all of the online menus and drool over the offerings.
Here are a few samples:
You can check out all of the participating restaurants and find more information here. The county’s Facebook page also has great up to date information!
It’s no secret–I love Sierra Nevada beer. There’s almost always a case of their Pale Ale in our house at all times, along with a few of their seasonal varieties tucked away in the fridge. Luckily for me, my brother lives in Chico, birthplace of Sierra Nevada and home to their brewery and taproom, so I try to make an excuse to visit whenever I get the chance (of course, visiting my brother is the real reason!).
Since I was in the area at Christmas, I decided to drag my family up there for a little afternoon brewery visit. Sierra Nevada’s taproom and restaurant has some of the best pub food I’ve ever had and this past visit was no exception. The menu features beer-inspired dishes with local ingredients.
Here are some photos of the meal:
Goat Cheese and Beet Salad
Mushroom, Garlic, and Pecan Pizza
Roast Beef and Potato Pizza
Grilled Cheese with Tomato Soup
Plus, they always have 15 beers or so on tap to try in tasters, half pints, or pints, many of which you can only find in the brewery. Growler, anyone?
You can check out more about Sierra Nevada on their website here.
Photo from thewilddonkeycafe.com
The Wild Donkey Cafe is another somewhat new restaurant in downtown San Luis Obispo specializing in Mexican and Greek food. Odd combination, right? On the menu, the owner explains that since the two cuisines have similar uses of ingredients and methods of cooking, they thought it would be a natural evolution to start a restaurant serving the two. And since they’re two of my favorite types of food, I was pretty excited when I heard about The Wild Donkey’s unique menu!
The restaurant opened about a year ago, but Jeff and I just had a chance to go check it out a few weeks ago to celebrate the end of our quarter and of my student teaching. Going in, I knew it was going to be a difficult decision: Mexican or Greek? It took be about 25 minutes (over a glass of wine, of course!) to decide but eventually I was tempted by their vegetarian soup special: lentil soup with a tomato broth (don’t judge!). The soup was one of the best I’ve ever had in a restaurant–not too salty and full of flavor. Sorry for the dark photos–they had their mood lighting in full effect!
I also ordered a side of pita bread with Melitzanosalata–an eggplant and tomato pureed dip. This stuff is addicting–now I really want to try to make it next time we get eggplant in our CSA box!
Jeff also ordered a special–their pastistio. Pastistio is a Greek baked pasta/lasagna dish with elbow macaroni, ground lamb, tomato, egg, cheese, and cinnamon. I don’t eat lamb, but Jeff assured me it was delicious!
For dessert, we shared the cinnamon ice cream and a side of baklava and it was seriously the best dessert I’ve had in a long time.
The restaurant itself is pretty tiny, but has a great cozy feel and friendly, quick service.
We will definitely be back soon! You can check out more about The Wild Donkey Cafe here.
On the morning of our epic baking day, Jeff and I decided to head to the SLO Donut Co to grab some donuts to fuel us up for the day. You should always start a day of cookie baking with even more sugar right?
SLO Donut Co opened about a year ago on Foothill Blvd in San Luis Obispo, and is not your usual hole-in-the-wall donut shop. They have a fairly large location, with local art on the walls and even a chalkboard where you can make your own. Plus, they offer free wi-fi and comfortable seating to lure the 24 hour Cal Poly study crowd in to have a place to eat while they work.
They have some pretty unusual donuts too: cake donuts topped with fruit loops and other kinds of cereal, bars filled with peanut butter and chocolate, and bars topped with bacon in addition to your normal standards.
At almost $1 a donut, it is a bit more expensive than other donut shops but definitely a fun place to hang out and try some interesting new varieties.
You can check out more about them on their website here!