Hello Dear Hounds. The past couple months have made several amazingly beautiful road trips between Los Angeles and California's Central Coast via PCH/101. Here's a short summary of our experiences
Ca'Dario is amazing for Italian food. We've gone twice in the past month and want to make a third trip! The first hint of a great meal was the outstanding bread they serve from a local bakery. Salads are also very tasty and fresh, in particular the nicely garlicy insalata romana. The pappardelle a la Bascoiala is my favorite pasta and so delicious. The sauce of porcini, pancetta, onions, creams is truly dreamy. My companion thoroughly enjoyed a very comforting bread/tomato soup and fresh clams in spciy white wine/garlic sauce over linguine. Ca' Dario does some truly outstanding pastas and would love to try their meat dishes next, as the next table had a beautiful roasted chicken.
For New Years Eve, we celebrated with a prix fixe dinner at Brothers in bucolic Los Olivos wine country. Menu was potato appetizer with caviar & creme fraiche, prime filet with sour cream/chive mashed potatoes, and a truly overwhelming dessert platter with 3 sorbets, creme brulee, fresh cookies, etc. My previous visit I loved the filet with port/stilton and onion potato gratin. Brother's does steak like no one else . . . until we tried Chef Rick's in Orcutt last night.
Chef Rick's truly deserves all the positive recommendations I've read from Chowhound. Our server was very sweet and helpful and asked us where we heard about the restaurant. Next thing we know the chef sends out a little complimentary appetizer of artichoke and goat cheese "poppers" fried perfectly and accompanied by a spicy tomato dip. Our real appetizer came next, the exemplary coconut battered shrimp with spicy orange! What a perfect combination, almost Thai tasting. Next up was a bowl of the wonderful roasted garlic soup with croutons and their enormous house salad. By this point we were almost full from these plates and the oustanding freshly baked muffins well-stocked at our table. For main entree, I had the black angus with crispy onions. Amazing! The filet cooked medium was pillow soft, almost fluffy and perched on top was a tall stack of addictive onion crisps and shiitake mushrooms. The steak was sitting in an awesome smokey corn and cream sauce that was a great companion with the perfectly cooked filet. I wish I had a second stomach because the food was so good I wanted to finish every last bite despite almost bursting at the seams!