It’s a very long drive from L.A. near the Orange County border to Paso Robles. Well worth the 4 hour drive to find excellent wineries with some of the best wines.
After my second trip which included stopping at a restaurant in downtown Paso Robles, my thoughts are a long drive for great food – worth it? Well, if you include wine tasting and enjoying a fabulous meal the answer is YES!
At one of the wineries someone mention Thomas Hill Organics Market Bistro and Wine Bar. The menu changes weekly and all food are from the area around Paso Robles. The beef is from grass fed livestock and free range poultry.
Thomas Hill Organics has a great wine list, however, I’d reach my limit. I decided to just have an ice tea with my meal. The selection of salads were amazing, it was hard to choose. Except I love beets. I’ve made a beet salad a couple of times at home. Very messy and just don’t bother to make the effort. I gave their beet salad a try that turned into a wonderful start of a fabulous meal. The salad had red and yellow beets; with citrus, strawberries and field greens. A nice Miso Vinaigrette with Sesame Brittle. The brittle was interesting, gave the salad a nice crunch.
For the main course I almost went with the Duck; it sounded glorious. I was fascinated by the Tamarind Glazed Halibut Cheeks, never had them. When I asked the server, she recommended them. But what really sold on the Halibut Cheeks was another guest overheard and said they were marvelous. Plus I love Bok Choy, Yum! And with Coconut Bok Choy and smoked Shitake Mushrooms how could I go wrong.
The meal arrived in a white bowl, with the Halibut Cheeks floating on top the Bok Choy and Shitake Mushrooms. Now I know why Halibut Cheeks are the favorite of fishermen. These were lovely, tender morsels of fish on the palate. When you have good food, it’s like tasting good wine – this time instead of wine nirvana I was in food nirvana.
I don’t know if it was the mushrooms or just in the dish, every once in a while I’d get a little spicy taste. It was perfect, I love spicy food. However, for those that don’t, this was just perfect, just a hint of spicy.
OK, on budget so wasn’t going to have dessert. But really you have to tempt me with Crème Brulee. Not just Crème Brulee; but what? Jalapeno Crème Brulee, are you kidding me? I was a little nervous about this one, but the whole meal turned into an adventure. Oh, just go for it. My dessert arrived at the table, such a faint hint of jalapeno, not to overwhelm. My favorite part cracking open the Crème Brulee, to reveal a lovely silky custard. A nice finish to a incredible meal.
I loved the ambience of the restaurant, with your choice of inside or outside in a closed patio. I’m not a big fan of patio seating right on a street or where people walk by. I thought I saw someone cook a pizza in the stone fireplace on the patio. There were some interesting pizzas, like Grilled Meyer Lemon Pizza.
The chef is Julie Simon who was born in France. I think her unusual flavor combinations are intriguing that make for an excellent adventure that comes to life in the palate.
My only issue with the restaurant is the service was a bit slow for my taste. But I was alone, so it was probably more noticeable to me. The servers were friendly and very attentive to your needs, even the hostess would drop by to see how things were.