Pin It
Favorite

My favorite brunches! 

Try these delightful destinations for relaxing gourmet meals that would satisfy the pickiest chef or most persnickety critic

PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER

- FIND BRUNCH HERE:  With Easter on April 4 and Mother’s Day on May 9 coming up it’s not too soon to make your brunch reservations at these busy restaurants. Early reservations are a must if you want to request an alfresco table. You can make reservations through their websites. - Artisan - 1401 Park St., Paso Robles - 237-8084 - Brunch is served every Sunday, 10 – 2:30 p.m., prices vary from $6 to $14 per dish. On Easter Sunday and Mother’s Day they will feature brunch buffet, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at $29 per person (not including beverages or bubbly). - Lido at Dolphin Bay Resort - 2727 Shell Beach Rd. - Shell Beach - 773-8900 - Brunch is served Saturdays and Sundays, prix fixe with bottomless mimosas, 8 – 2 p.m., $29 per adult, $12.95 per child 12 and under. Easter Sunday and Mother’s Day, it will be served from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at $39 per adult with more selections in each course, $12.95 per child 12 years old and under. The Easter Bunny will pose for photos with the children and help with the Easter egg hunt. There’ll be a cookie decorating contest and arts and crafts projects: thedolphinbay.com  - McPhee’s Avila Beach - 6440 Ana Bay Dr., Avila Beach - 595-4001 - McPhee’s Templeton - 416 S. Main St., Templeton - 434-3204 - In Avila Beach, brunch is served every Sunday, 10 -2 p.m., $25 per person including Easter Sunday and Mother’s Day; in Templeton brunch served only on Easter Sunday and Mother’s Day, 10 - 1:30 p.m., $27 per person, mcphees.com -
  • FIND BRUNCH HERE: With Easter on April 4 and Mother’s Day on May 9 coming up it’s not too soon to make your brunch reservations at these busy restaurants. Early reservations are a must if you want to request an alfresco table. You can make reservations through their websites.


    Artisan
    1401 Park St., Paso Robles
    237-8084

    Brunch is served every Sunday, 10 – 2:30 p.m., prices vary from $6 to $14 per dish. On Easter Sunday and Mother’s Day they will feature brunch buffet, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at $29 per person (not including beverages or bubbly).

    Lido at Dolphin Bay Resort
    2727 Shell Beach Rd.
    Shell Beach
    773-8900

    Brunch is served Saturdays and Sundays, prix fixe with bottomless mimosas, 8 – 2 p.m., $29 per adult, $12.95 per child 12 and under. Easter Sunday and Mother’s Day, it will be served from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at $39 per adult with more selections in each course, $12.95 per child 12 years old and under. The Easter Bunny will pose for photos with the children and help with the Easter egg hunt. There’ll be a cookie decorating contest and arts and crafts projects: thedolphinbay.com

    McPhee’s Avila Beach
    6440 Ana Bay Dr., Avila Beach
    595-4001

    McPhee’s Templeton
    416 S. Main St., Templeton
    434-3204

    In Avila Beach, brunch is served every Sunday, 10 -2 p.m., $25 per person including Easter Sunday and Mother’s Day; in Templeton brunch served only on Easter Sunday and Mother’s Day, 10 - 1:30 p.m., $27 per person, mcphees.com

With the ideal weather we enjoy here nearly year round, a beautiful Sunday morning always makes me crave a great brunch. My husband Dan and I both hail from the Bay Area, where we regularly enjoyed Champagne brunch on Sunday mornings. In the ‘90s we had several favorites in San Francisco: Postrio, Grand Café, Perry’s, Kuleto’s, and Town’s End. Our favorite brunch specialist was the city’s top vegetarian restaurant, Green’s at Fort Mason. I’ve always said: their food is so good you don’t miss the bacon, and it’s still true. While we don’t have quite the number of brunch places to choose from here, I love brunch at our upscale restaurants. My choice is always based upon a restaurant’s outstanding menu. That said few gourmet restaurants offer a brunch buffet. I’ve watched people consume far too much at such a spread, which is a hardship for any kitchen to prepare and not a big money maker for them. I’m not a fan of cheap house “Champagne” (bubblies that are never French and always made in the cheap bulk process), in mimosas that requires the addition of orange juice to make the wine palatable, so I’ll choose from the wine list. 

My favorite brunch spots around the county prepare a gourmet meal that would satisfy the pickiest chef or a persnickety critic. It’s usually a prix fixe meal, with two or three choices in each of three courses, and they never disappoint me. I love the classic dishes by chef Evan Treadwell at Lido in Dolphin Bay Resort in Shell Beach: delicious eggs Benedict with perfectly-poached eggs, grilled ham and brioche dressed with hand-whisked hollandaise and a side of rustic fried potatoes; the wonderful Dungeness crab and asparagus omelet also with those potatoes; and delicate brioche French toast with caramelized bananas and genuine Vermont maple syrup. If your party has mixed tastes, there are plenty of non-breakfast options, including the Lido chipotle burger and the chef’s Rueben on rye melt. Pastry chef Benji Puga provides decadent desserts: crème brulee, blueberry ricotta bread pudding and chocolate hazelnut torte.

Chef Chris Kobayashi of Artisan in Paso Robles offers an addictive appetizer of fluffy, fresh beignets with powdered sugar and jam, N’awlins style. I also love the crispy Dungeness crab cake Benedict over puff pastry with housemade hollandaise, served with fresh seasonal fruit. Another favorite is the fat omelet stuffed with smoky chunks of bacon, a good, nutty gruyere cheese, Bloomsdale spinach and green onion hash. I love his take on chilaquiles: pork short ribs with Spanish chorizo, ancho chile sofrito, and ranchero eggs. The usual lunch dishes include: chopped salad of Diestel turkey, pecans, Point Reyes blue cheese, bacon, avocado and greens; and the Charter Oak Style beef burger with white cheddar and shoestring fries; Kobayashi’s desserts are always top-notch, from the housemade sorbets and ice creams to the tangerine cheesecake with kumquat confit.

PICTURE PERFECT :  Artisan in Paso Robles makes pancakes so light they practically hover. - PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • PICTURE PERFECT : Artisan in Paso Robles makes pancakes so light they practically hover.
I recently visited chef Ian McPhee at McPhee’s Avila Beach for brunch on Valentine’s Day, thanks to hometown radio host Dave Congalton on KVEC 920AM. Every time I’m on his show to discuss the local restaurant scene, Congalton raves about this brunch. He told me that he and his wife frequently enjoy brunch there with friends. “Charlotte and I have been fans of the McPhee’s Sunday brunch for years and we were thrilled when Ian brought it to Avila last fall,” Congalton said of McPhee’s new restaurant in South County. “We go once a month, always with friends. It’s the perfect blend of location, personal service, great food, and a reasonable price of $25. Some brunches overload the food options—I think McPhee’s has just the right amount. Sandy is our favorite server. Max (McPhee) is following in his dad’s footsteps as genial host. Wish I could afford to go there more often. I would.”

I discovered McPhee’s provides an excellent brunch that’s one of the best values around if you’re looking for the buffet where you can eat your fill and enjoy the house bubbly or mimosas; it’s value-priced at $25 per person. Guests start at the bar that’s covered with appetizers, salads, seafood plates and desserts. I enjoyed the seared, peppered ahi on crispy tortilla chips and the mozzarella spirals twisted around a layer of prosciutto. McPhee said they make the mozzarella fresh in-house. There was a cheese platter, Caesar salad, broccoli-almond salad, and iced shrimp with cocktail sauce. Another favorite of mine was the housemade blueberry scone: It’s irresistible.

At the window to the kitchen two very accommodating cooks dish up anything you want from the good list of choices: macadamia crusted salmon; oak grilled tri-tip; roast leg of lamb; roast pork loin; perfectly cooked eggs Benedict; the Mexican scramble; blueberry blintzes; thick-cut Applewood smoked bacon; Yukon Gold mashed potatoes; and asparagus. You can ask for a big slice of lamb or salmon, or just a little taste of several dishes as I did, and you can go back for more of the decadent bacon (I did). Desserts include cheesecake, chocolate cake, and chocolate-covered strawberries. Despite the tasty treats offered, I would have found another blueberry scone the perfect ending to that brunch. No matter which of them you choose, you’ll enjoy a great meal.

You can reach New Times’ Cuisine columnist at khardesty@newtimesslo.com

Tags:

Pin It
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Search, Find, Enjoy

Trending Now

© 2017 New Times San Luis Obispo
Powered by Foundation