Sunday, November 18, 2012

Where to eat in Paso Robles, California

Last week, we went to a road trip to the Central Coast of California. We visited Paso Robles, a great wine and food destination. Try these restaurants and let me know what is your opinion.

1. Thomas Hill Organics : What to order --- This is a nice place for a lunch, but it is very informal, not elegant at all. I ordered a salad of Grilled Shrimp Skewers, served with Zucchini Noodles, Basil, Mint, Cilantro, Avocado, Strawberries, Watermelon, and a Green Onion Relish. It had an Asian flavor and I have to be honest, I didn't like it a lot. The herbs were too overpowering and the sesame oil was too strong. Also, I was very disappointed with the bread. You know me, I am a home baker. I make my own bread at home: always soft, fresh, and delicious. At Thomas Hill, I ordered a roll to eat with my salad and the waitress gave me an old roll, so dense, dry, and hard.

My husband ordered the BLTA with Bacon, Spring Greens, Heirloom Tomatoes, and Avocado with Garlic Aioli. It came on a Ciabatta bread with a side of field green and quinoa salad with Basil Vinaigrette. I think he liked it, but it was huge. If you are a petite lady, avoid the sandwiches there. They are made for men.

We drank a whole bottle of Tempranillo and ordered the classical Chocolate Fondant for dessert. It was not the perfect execution, though. The inside was not liquid. It was more like a moist muffin, served with whipped cream, caramel sauce, and pomegranate seeds. The caramel sauce was super sweet, but the pomegranate seeds were tart and they balanced the whole treat. In conclusion, if you go there, expect fresh, organic ingredients from the farm, but not an extraordinary meal!

Thomas Hill Bistro on Urbanspoon

Grilled Shrimp Salad with Zucchini Noodles, Basil, Strawberries, and Watermelon

BLTA with Bacon, Spring Greens, Heirloom Tomatoes, and Avocado

Chocolate Fondant with caramel sauce and pomegranate seeds
2. Il Cortile : What to order --- We went to Il Cortile on a Friday night. We had a reservation and I am glad we did. It was full and there were people waiting at the front. We started with a Insalata caprese - seasonal heirloom tomatoes with fresh burrata, basil, and balsamic vinaigrette. The burrata cheese was so creamy, fresh, and decadent. The heirlooms were sweet and juicy. A perfect beginning to a great night. 

We opened a bottle of Velvet Burgundy and continued with our main courses. I got the Filetto di salmone - grilled salmon with fresh olive oil, lemon and herbs, served with white sweet potato puree and julienne cut sauteed vegetables. The puree was too buttery for my taste buds, but thanks God it was a very small serving, so I was able to finish it. The salmon was too overcooked. I think the chef forgot that salmon should be cooked to medium (pink inside).

My husband ordered the pasta verdi al frutti di mare: it was a tarragon infused pasta with shrimps, scallops, clams, and mussels in a white wine sauce. It was not a spectacular dish, but it was a reasonable size and it looked great.

The Tiramisu al Vin Santo was probably the best part of this whole meal. It was like a traditional serving of tiramisu, but it was so light and fluffy. Sweet, but with bold flavors from the coffee! Overall, the service was great. Our waitress was very polite and willing to help with the selections. Salute!

Il Cortile on Urbanspoon

Insalata caprese with seasonal heirloom tomatoes and fresh burrata cheese

Grilled Salmon with white sweet potato puree

Pasta verdi al frutti di mare (tarragon infused pasta)

Tiramisu al Vin Santo: fluffy deliciousness

3. Artisan : What to order --- Hands down, this is the best restaurant in Paso Robles. For lunch on a beautiful Saturday morning (after going to the Farmer's Market at the City Park Downtown), I ordered the Roasted Salmon (this time prepared medium) with sesame sauteed green beans, red quinoa, and garden heirloom yellow tomatoes. IT WAS SUPER DELICIOUS! Oh, and the local wine (Tolosa, Chardonnay "no oak", was the perfect match, crispy, refreshing with peach notes).

My husband got the lamb leg french dip sandwich, served with pimiento cheese and lamb neck jus for dipping. It was big, but delicious. A little bit messy to eat, but worthy! He tried a Chinese beer (Tsingtao): malty flavor, with a nutty sweet taste.

For dessert, a great autumn classic: Pumpkin Cheesecake, served with dulce de leche ice-cream and toasted pepitas. WONDERFUL, so tasty. The texture was between Mexican flan and creme brulee. And yes, the top was nicely bruleed. Such a great experience!
Artisan on Urbanspoon
Roasted Salmon with sesame green beans and yellow heirlooms

Lamb leg Sandwich with pimiento cheese and lamb neck jus

Pumpkin Cheesecake with dulce de lech ice-cream and pepitas!

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