Been here almost 3 weeks and have yet to eat at the same place twice. That may not sound like much but I eat almost all my meals out, since I only have a short period of time to soak in this city’s culinary treasures. But I keep dying to go back to the places that just know how to do something really well. Here are some of my favorites:
- Best Tea and Scones: Amsterdam
- Best Arugula Salad: Roberts
- Best Soups and Salads: Odyssey World Café
- Best Tapas and Kale Chips: Fe nom e nal
- Best Wild Boar Pappardelle: Il Cortile
- Best Al Pastor Taco: Los Robles (also order the avocado salsa)
- Best Short Ribs: Villa Creek (actually, Villa Creek pretty much has the best everything including cocktails and friendly happy staff)
If nobody’s told you yet, let me be the first. Pilates is dead in Paso. My legs are returning to their normal unflattering shape. So, I’ve taken up hiking. I’m staying on the West Side of town, which backs up against a pretty huge canyon. Peachy Canyon I believe it’s called.
On my hikes through the neighborhood, I pass the cutest little cottages. Each one uniquely different in it’s style and form. I don’t know if they are craftsman style, bungalows, some may even be Victorian. But I’ll call them cottages because they probably represent many different eras. Here’s a few of the ones I like to pretend I could own.
Another interesting observation that is characteristic of this area is what people buy to cover their cars. I don’t know if this canopy is protecting the care from the sun or the messy tree above it. But car hoodies like this are all over town. I wonder if it gets so hot people can’t even open their car doors.
By the name, one might assume they only do port wines; but they also have delicious wines that are ideal for before dessert. Since they grow the unique varietals from Portugal and Spain, they also make unique wines out of these varietals like Albarino and Tempranillo.
Their pale yellow crisp Albarino is perfect for hearty foods like pasta, chicken or seafood even in rich sauces. The ripe flavor in this wine hangs with you and the body lingers. The nice acidity clears your palate of any food that’s too rich. But, let’s face it, is there such a thing as too rich?
Their Tempranillo blend is perfect for smoky rich red meats in any succulent sauce. Then all the different styles of port are fun to try. They’ve got everything from a liquid cotton candy to a smoldering smoky dark chocolate bomb.
If you find yourself on Paso’s east side of the 101, check out Graveyard Vineyards. They start the tasting with a Grenache Blanc, which is known for its sweetness, but theirs has more tart crisp acidity than sugar. A nice minerality makes this white wine a lovely sipper for just about any food. Next, they serve two rose wines with very different personalities. One rose has tight acidity and the other has plenty of minerality and a slight smokey flavor. Their red blend has a balance of bright cherry and dark berry flavors with a vanilla fragrance. A Tempranillo is also worth trying with a brilliant nose of fresh plum.
But the reason to venture this direction is to try their chocolate port. It starts with a hint of raspberry chocolate that is dark and not overly sweet. They are also one of the few wineries in the area with a cream sherry, which is also worth a taste. Its label is what draws you in but its flavor is what you remember. From far away, this label resembles a skull but get up close and you’ll see it is a woman gazing in a mirror.
Don’t know what it was like in the summer. I probably picked the best time of year to be in Paso. It’s been lovely. Bright and sunny every morning but not too hot for a hike before noon. Midday gets warm. But I just stay in and love to go for a stroll to dinner at night. It’s perfectly temperate from about 5:00 on into the evening.
Last night, I was walking home from dinner and thought I saw my first dog about a half block ahead on the sidewalk but it turned out to be a deer. Yes, a deer was right there on the sidewalk in the middle of a block of residential cottages. I hear they are in search of roses to eat.