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glbtrtr | Jul 1, 201805:59 PM

In the same corner former bank building location as the original Bell Farms Restaurant, that started the trend for destination dining in Los Alamos. It is now simply called Bell. We arrived after 3pm when the menu was now half off - what a nice surprise. We fashioned a wonderful midday meal hitting thress courses: tinned sardines with home made soda crackers for me - and escargot for DH as appetizers.

The tinned sardines were bluntly as advertised - an opened tin of Spanish sardines with both butter and a mild sirracha sauce to put on the very lovely home made soda crackers before piling on the very sweet and light, very mild tasting sardines. Simple prep obviously, but very nice and unlikely taste treat - plus being solid nutrition providing enough calcium as a glass of milk. Sardines like this are under-appreciated - not "fishy" at all. Escargots were hot and garlicky with a side of Bob's bread. DH loved them.

DH had the roast beef, Emmentaler ,carmelized onion, french dip and pronounced it excellent, again on Bob's bread. I had the very succulent cucumber, pepper jam and boursin sandwich and found it to be hauntingly good. As the waiter said, the sweet tartness of the pepper jam gave it a "nice finish". Also included a small dish of pickled vegeables.

Nice sized portions for these items - no over-kill, so there was still room for the showcase dessert - a nicely stacked "strawberry short cake" four layer cake - very fine crumb yelloe cake, perfect butter cream, fresh strawberries with strawberry jam and a dense lemon curd middle layer. Shared one piece between the two of us. I had an undistinguished local rose by the glass and DH had very nice Pinot Noir. With the bonus of half price on the main menu items, this was an exceptional exposure to tastes slightly off the beaten path, all wonderfully prepared and presented.

Well worth the drive from Santa Barbara or a Central California Highway 101 stopover. Check hours of operation as most of Los Alamos does open only on the weekends. Stopped by Bob's WellBred to see what was left in their retail counter at this late hour on Sunday, and did manage to pick up some English muffins and a ciabatta loaf - for more good memories tomorrow.

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