There used to be a time when a quality American sit-down restaurant meal was, at minimum, a large piece of meat in the center of the plate, a well-cooked vegetable, and an endless supply of bread rolls and butter. Afterward you would waddle home.
But here in California during the 1970s that began to change. Alice Waters helped to shift our definition of a truly great restaurant dish toward fresh organic ingredients from locally sourced farmers, fishermen and ranchers. Maybe you've had the privilege of an evening at her world famous Chez Panisse in Berkeley.
Today in San Luis Obispo County including Cambria we are in a foodie's paradise. There is fresh healthy fare wherever you look. And January is a great time to look. Happening now is the 7th Annual Restaurant Month in SLO and many wonderful restaurants are participating by serving 3-course dinners for only $30. I checked that price and found it hasn't changed since at least 2008. What a deal! You still have the rest of the month to check out most of the participating restaurants.
A few of my old favorites are Thomas Hill Organics in Paso Robles, Big Sky Cafe in SLO, and Robin's Restaurant in Cambria. Shanny Covey who owns and runs Robin's feels it's her duty to serve to her guests fresh healthy foods which she gets from local markets. "Food has the most nutrients and most flavor when picked at it's prime," she told me. "Eating this way makes sense, who wouldn't want to eat the freshest produce available?"
Shanny points out it's not a fad, it's a lifestyle. I agree and it's here to stay. She added, "In just the past three years I've noticed many more restaurants in SLO embracing this philosophy and it's refreshing. People have more healthy choices from fast foods to fine dining. As a consumer we can eat out and know that we are feeding our bodies well."
If you're like me, there is probably a restaurant on the list you've been meaning to try. Mine is the Black Cat Bistro in Cambria which reopens this week from its holiday break. I'm looking forward to it! Yum. I love that they list the farmers who supply the ingredients for their menus.
Click on these links: Robin's and Black Cat Bistro for menus being served as part of Restaurant Month.