Traveling our first afternoon throughout the bay area, we had treated ourselves to lunch at The Dead Fish directly across the bay from California Maritime Academy (the wife and my personal favorite for school selection). Again, The Dead Fish’s cuisine and service was very good. Watch out for the burger . . . it’s quite a large bite. That evening, after retrieving our trailer from Travln Trailer, we stayed at the Elks in Walnut Creek. Yeah, we just came from that direction. Walnut Creek Elks was a little slim on the camping sites but they did have 2 spots precariously placed with full hook-ups, and another along side of the building with just a 30 amp electrical outlet. Good enough for us since we are already self-contained. The next morning upon our departure from Walnut Creek we happened upon Sunrise Bistro and Catering. Sunrise had a very complete menu and served very substantial plates. All of the food was very good but the Florentine Benedict had avocado on it. I think the avocados must have been cheap up in that region because there was a lot seemingly everywhere we visited. Dunno on that one. Like the benedict seemed to have almost an entire avocado ( it was just half, but plated eloquently). I had the Joe’s Scramble and my son had the French Toast. The food at Sunrise was highlighted by the best breakfast potatoes we have ever had. They were a red-skinned potato but perfectly balanced with a very crunchy burnt crust. Awesome! Sunrise also had a very good cup of coffee . . . even highlighted by the biscotti along the cup’s edge. That’s the kind of touch that people remember; but you better not stop . . . they’ll expect that patron touch-point every time. After our trip to Cal Maritime we headed again south on the 101 to see how far we can get toward San Luis Obispo before we frankly run out of steam. That was about a 4-5 hour trek, but we again ended up at an Elks. My cousin had gladly arranged an RV spot for us that night so we had a focus in mind. Luckily the Elks bar was still open and so was my spot. We were told they had filled up that day with the visitor’s anticipation of attending the Mid-State Fair which is some distance up the road. We had passed it about an hour before getting to San Luis. A bit far if you ask me. Once in San Luis Obispo, we luckily got an end spot for the trailer and plenty of room to hide from the other campers. This Elks had about 20 spots with water and 30 amps to run the A/C, but a very convenient dump station as you exit. You ask, “why all the talk and review about the Elks?” I recently got hooked up with the Elks nearby me by another chef; Niko’s Express Italian in Vista, CA. I had previously written about them upon their initial opening a while back. Anyway, we decided that this trip was open for anything including staying at Elks facilities if that’s what the day holds. I figure if we use the Elks benefits, then perhaps we’ll continue . . .
We stayed at the Elks for two nights. While in San Luis Obispo, we toured the Madonna Inn; an interesting place to swing through, drive around and check out. Quite a history there. You can’t view the rooms as they are always packed. I did speak with the GM (I’ll call him) or Director of dining or something like that. I noticed his menu and spoke with him about the native Oak grill. A bit pricey on the value point, but I bet that’s going to be one of those places I’ll just have to check out on my next stay in San Luis. Smelled like heaven or home . . . one of the two.
We also tried a Mexican/Irish place I guess. It was called Spencer Makenzsie’s. Not sure but that just seemed kinda wrong. A Friday lunch and the place was minimally busy. It looked fresh from the outside, it had a couple of tap handles, some pretty flavorful fish taco’s (these were really just kinda ordinary though) and some French fries. I can’t knock the joint, it seemed to attempt to hit the “healthier eating” target market. Perhaps they’ll do fine.
Another Friday night was upon us and we hadn’t had pizza the entire trip, so pizza it was. Who are we top change up our lives . . . and we’re somewhere else that probably boast a pretty good pie. So we ask . . . maybe the wrong thing to do. While sitting at this bar inside of Tahoe Joes, a steakhouse, while my son got a haircut. Asking the servers was the wrong thing because they all said in unison “Fatty’s”. I said a really good pizza, unique . . . it stumped the kid-bartenders.
While finishing our drink, the wife and I noticed this small little port behind the bar/kitchen area that seemed to be a pass-through. It’s a small hole back there along the wall . . . wait for it . . . wait for it . . . we joked about watching it . . . and waiting for it, but nothing ever passed through that stupid hole. While watching that stupid hole we finally reverted to reviews on the internet and found nothing other than stupid Yelp. So we had to start with something ’cause there were no other independent reviews such as what I do. Continuing on Yelp we found Petra, a Mediterranean Pizza and Grill to have the highest marks and the most reviews. It was 4-stars on Yelp so I said, “it’s a least slightly above average” . . . let’s give ‘er a try.
We ordered by phone on the way and they said it would be twenty minutes. We got there in 5 minutes and so I ordered a beer from their well handled bar area and paid for my pizza, The cashier/server/greeter/whatever said, “Ok, your pizza will be done in two minutes. I looked in the back and the belt drive pizza oven was cranking them out. I already don’t like belt drive pizza; and other than some original toppings, their pizza was really just slightly above average. Belt drive none the less.
While swiftly drinking my beer out front, I did stumble upon some folks that found Petra the exact same way we found it . . .through Yelp. Sheesh! Passed them a couple business cards and I was back off to claim my pizza.
We took that pizza back to the Elks hurriedly to meet up with my already had-a-couple cousin at the Elks bar. My cousin’s beau happens to also be the day chef at the Elks in San Luis. He too is an artist . . . he kept calling me “Chef” . . . what an honor . . .