I was not standing in that long line again.
It was about 1 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon in Pismo Beach, and the number of customers waiting to taste Splash Cafe’s award-winning clam chowder was quickly increasing. I already did the 40-minute wait for the popular restaurant’s creamy, rich chowder nestled in a warm sourdough bread bowl the night before.
The traffic on the sidewalks and streets was getting heavier as more beach-goers were coming into the popular coastal town, so I decided to head back to Silicon Valley sooner than I wanted in order to make good time.
As I was walking to my car, I came across Graze Kitchen, a “farm and sea to table” restaurant that has a menu boasting several vegetarian and vegan entrees. Since I pigged out on delicious, high-calorie chowder the night before, I figured my belly deserved something a little healthier. And it was already grumbling.
Dish of Choice
The gentleman who took my order, who I assumed was the owner, was very descriptive about the food and was clearly passionate about the craft of cooking.
I was convinced to try one of the day’s specials, a hand-rolled lasagna made with chicken sausage. It was filled with mozzarella, tomato sauce, spinach and onion. The lasagna roll was accompanied with a side salad dressed in vinaigrette. My bill came out to about $12, including tax.
This dish was enjoyable because it felt like nothing but good, wholesome ingredients were going into my body. It was comfort food without the guilt.
The chicken sausage had a smoky, spicy kick, and the noodle was tender. There was a good portion of fresh spinach and onions, which were not mushy or overcooked, and the tomatoes were hearty and fresh.
It was just enough food without leaving me feeling stuffed, which I appreciated with the three-hour drive ahead of me.
The restaurant seemed to have a good sense of humor about itself, as evidenced by some of the signs on the walls: “I love tourist, taste like chicken!” and “No working during drinking hours.”
It was a relaxing, comforting atmosphere, and there was an open kitchen in front so customers could see the staff preparing their food. That kind of transparency was welcoming.
Graze Kitchen is located at 841 Dolliver St. in Pismo Beach. The restaurant prides itself on using local, organic and sustainable ingredients and offers tastings of California-made wines and beers.
Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, and the restaurant is available for private parties on Mondays and Tuesdays. For more information, call (805) 773-4024 or visit www.grazekitchen.com.