Monday, October 5, 2009

From the Trip: Cayucos

My husband is pretty sure Cayucos is his favorite town on the central coast, and after spending an afternoon there, I think I might agree with him.

Cayucos is right on the water, so it has that relaxed, beach town feel. It reminds us a lot of one of our favorite southern California beach towns, Leucadia. Except, when you look across Highway 1 in Cayucos, you see rolling hills and grazing cows instead of endless, suburban sprawl.
Cayucos also has some great food. Good food is essential, don't you think? I was so happy to find this place, Ruddell's Smokehouse, at 101 D st.

I read about it in Sunset magazine, but in the rush of packing up, I couldn't find the particular issue it was in, or even remember enough about it to look it up on line. That is another reason small town Cayucos is great. You don't have to walk very far to stumble upon the thing you were looking for.
"Smoked fish," I cried to my husband, "This is it!"

The smoked ahi taco was amazing. The best fish taco I have ever had. Fresh and light, but one was big enough to fill me up. I could have eaten 2, but not because I was still hungry. I always take Sunset's advice and, once again, they didn't steer me wrong.

Cayucos also has its share of fine dining. Many people told us how good this restaurant, Hoppe's Bistro is. Since we have a 5, 3 and 1 year old, eating at a plastic table on the sidewalk is more our speed, but we looked in the windows and at the menu. It looked good. Really good. Maybe someday we'll graduate to fine dining.

A walk on Ocean Ave, the main drag, will take you past some antique stores with great deals, a coffee shop, and some ocean view dining options. At the north end of Ocean Ave, on the ocean side is the pier, where you might spot an otter or some seals. On the inland side is the Cass House. It is a lovely inn and restaurant. But next door to Cass House? Well, that is what really made me fall in love with Cayucos.

Brown butter cookies with a touch of sea salt. Hand rolled right there in the shop. These are the best cookies I have ever had. I mean it.
Maybe it's the way these cookies are made. These ladies just sitting here, chatting and rolling out cookies for the day. It speaks to the laid back feeling in Cayucos. It was just perfect.
Their label says, "Take three, honey."
Um, actually, could I take six? Or twelve? Or two dozen.
They are that good.
I chose the cocoa ones. Simple, buttery, chocolaty, salty, sweet and melt in your mouth good. I saved some for Aaron and told him, "this cookie will blow your mind." I don't think he believed me. But with the first bite he mumbled out a, "oh my gosh." Yeah. Told you.
Do what you've got to do to get your hands on some of these cookies. They ship. And you'd better get some for me too. (Here is the link)

There are lots of reasons to visit Cayucos. The Brown Butter Cookie one big one, but there are so many more. Walk Morro Strand State beach to the south of town. (see pictures here) Rent a home right on the sand. Watch the sunset on the pier. Get a taco. Just be sure to get some cookies.

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