Well, my girlfriend (Rachel) and I just came back from a weekend in Atascadero. Didn't eat around at a ton of the places like some of you guys are prone to do, but we did get a chance to sample some places which were pretty tasty.
Our first stop, somewhere before Salinas, was a Margie's Diner that was next door to an In-N-Out. People had raved about this, and maybe it was because I ordered the wrong thing, but my Chile Burger was not all that special. It was big, yes, and the fries and onion rings were big, but it was not all that special. You want a real burger go to Thai American (RIP), or Barney's.
Next stop on the food tour was Cider Creek, which was off of Highway 46 west (en route to Hearst Castle). Rachel and I aren't much into wine tasting, so the first (and only) place offering something else to taste was welcomed. They had three kinds of cider -- apple, apple cherry, and apple raspberry. Their big thing is that there are no added sugars or anything else, it's just all natural juice. And for $2.50 for 1.47 L, I thought it was quite a deal. The juices were all light and sweet -- and make for a great drink to guzzle in the summer afternoon. Definately check them out if you're in the area.
But the crown jewel of the trip was Bistro Laurent in Paso Robles, which was recommened by people on this board. We started with a complimentary spoonful of tuna salad with olives, served on a small crostini (mini toast). The tuna salad was tasty, flavorful and creamy. Appetizer was the escargot ($10.50), which was done with butter and garlic (duh), but served with sliced fresh tomato and what I think may have been spinach, but I'm not sure. Because our appetizer was late in coming, we ended up getting our dessert for free.
Rachel had the boulliabaisse, which had calamari, shrimp, and salmon in it. I had the rabbit and potatoes. The rabbit was very tasty, and came right off of the bone. The potatoes were fluffy and amazing. We washed all of this down with a split glass of Wild Horse Pinor Noir -- which as our server recommended, was light enough for the boulliabaisse, but still full enough for my rabbit dish. I wasn't too amazed with the boulliabaisse, but I had a couple bites. But, the rabbit and potatoes were definately stellar.
For dessert, we had a warm chocolate tart, which sat in a thin layer of vanilla cream. The tart, when you opened it with a fork, oozed liquid chocolate from the inside, and was, as Rachel described, a "really really good brownie."
Total damage at Bistro Laurent (1 appetizer, 2 entrées, 1 glass of wine, 1 complimentary dessert, tax, tip): $76.00