In order to beat the Valley heat, we are once again driving over to Pismo Beach on the central coast of California. So, not only do we love the cooler weather, our little Labradoodle, Lexi loves it too. And we get to eat at some of our favorite places, like Ember in Arroyo Grande, since they have an outdoor patio dining area where Lexi is welcome!!!
The mostly boring drive of about three hours is tolerable. But summer lodging rates on the beach are somewhat inflated, though not as bad as the Monterey Peninsula or further south in Santa Barbara. I guess we should not complain! And most all of them charge extra for having even a small dog in the room.
But once we get here, we enjoy ourselves immensely. While the cooler weather draws us, we end up doing the same things: dining, walking, taking Lexi to the beach, maybe some wine tasting, and light shopping.
Something funny about Pismo was chronicled in the old TV show, Dragnet. Joe Friday’s partner at the time, Harry Morgan (aka Colonel Sherman Potter in MASH), plays Bill Gannon. He takes a disability retirement in Pismo Beach. After eating clam chowder for about 8 months, Bill’s health returns, and his teeth stop falling out! He is reinstated to the LAPD, and tells Joe Friday the reason for his return to health, “The clams, Joe, the clams.”
One of my favorite stops these days is the Firestone Walker Brewery in Paso Robles, just off Highway 101. Again, they have a shaded outdoor patio for us to eat, enjoy some 805 (my favorite beer, a blond ale, now), and allow Lexi to join us while we eat. So, not only are the craft beers (usually a dozen or more) excellent, the food is also equally good and interesting.
If you get over to the coast, I highly recommend dining at Ember. The food and ambience is unmatched, not only for this area, but stands up to most places in the Bay Area as well. Their website touts, “Ember is all about authentic hand-crafted food cooked by a wood fire. We aim to create the ideal environment to experience Central Coast food and wine.” We have enjoyed many memorable meals there. Just remember, they open at 4pm, do not take reservations, and are closed Monday and Tuesday. Wine Enthusiast Magazine awarded them one of the top 100 wine restaurants in America.