The Fourth of July holiday found Mr. & Mrs. Monster heading to Paso Robles. Traveling up the coast we managed to hit ten different spots (Los Olivos Wine Café, Cracked Crab, Bistro Laurent, Il Cortile, Farmstand 46, Deborah’s Room, Villa Creek, Artisan, Madonna Inn Coffee Shop and Moqueca) which means The Monster now weighs 456 pounds and he’ll be reporting on each over the course of the week.
First stop on Saturday was Los Olivos Wine Café. Made famous in the movie Sideways, this is both a café and wine store carrying over five hundred different wines. Since it was nine thousand degrees outside Mrs. Monster decides she wants to eat on the patio and watch The Monster sweat. Luckily, from this vantage point The Monster can see all the Mercedes drive by. By his estimation eleven cross his path over the course of lunch. One specific Mercedes drives by five times. Given Los Olivos is essentially one street The Monster is not sure if this constitutes a Fourth of July parade or if he should be worried about a drive-by.
Mrs. Monster gets the baked brie with hazelnuts, cinnamon, puff pastry, arugula and port syrup because we are on holiday and she wants to torture her husband. At this point The Monster leaves to check out the wines while Mrs. Monster scarfs down her filthy cheese dish.
Mrs. Monster says it is terrific but The Monster can’t get his head around that. He does recognize many of you might disagree. Just makes the lot of you wrong. The Mercedes drives by for the first time at this point.
The menu is precisely what you would expect. Lots of cheese, fresh produce and seasonal ingredients. Meaning the menu looks like every other menu dotting wine country. Meaning the food will ultimately be good but The Monster will be slightly bored by the offerings.
As we nibble on the soft bread and oil infused with garlic and rosemary (very nice) we decide on the chilled cucumber and avocado soup and the seared barramundi with grilled baby corn, warm potato salad and pesto. The Mercedes drives by for the second time.
The soup is, um, really, yea. Don’t order chilled cucumber and avocado soup. Bad idea. It tastes like chilled cucumber and avocado. Which is perhaps the point. That however is not a delicious combination. Gazpacho is a delicious cold soup. Los Olivos Café should be serving that. They don’t.
Given the extreme heat if The Monster’s water glass is not refilled he will shiv the person next to him with the bad taste in shoes. The man gets a reprieve, The Monster’s water glass is filled. Also, the Mercedes drives by again. Also, that man’s shoes are really ugly. The Monster tries to sneak in a picture of them but the man is a wily coot and onto The Monster’s game. Instead, The Monster will describe them. They are orange. And green. Also brown. They are dress boots. With laces. They are also made of some type of skin. That is then painted (tanned?) orange and green and brown. The man is South African. In South Africa these are also ugly shoes.
The fish proves to be very tasty and very boring at the same time. The Monster enjoys it but also thinks how wonderful some chicken wings would be. Why it is paired with warm potato salad makes little sense. Grilled baby corn should be served more often. It is fun to eat and very tasty. Here comes the Mercedes for pass number three.
We do not need dessert. But they have smores made with chocolate ice cream, grahams, honey and toasted marshmallow fluff. So we order it. When it arrives the man with the ugly shoes and his companion ask us how we like it. The Monster grunts out his appreciation and watches the Mercedes pass by yet again. This dessert is fantastic. It makes The Monster love Los Olivos Café. And ugly shoes.
The Mercedes drives by for the final time as The Monster pays the bill. No shots are fired.
Why go? You want to reenact the scene from Sideways while ordering the smores dessert.
Monster rating: 3 ½/5 Monsters
2879 Grand Ave
Los Olivos, CA 93441