A Gluten Free Haven at Linn’s Restaurant.

During my time living up on the Central Coast of California in the Santa Ynez Valley, I always loved any chance I got to head to Cambria. Cambria is 30 miles north of San Luis Obispo, and 230 miles south from San Francisco. A humble, small town, Cambria is known for their stunning Moonstone Beach, as well as their annual Scarecrow Festival and a great Main Street drag of restaurants.

One of their dining staples is the absolute gem of a cafe, Linn’s. Linn’s Restaurant is known for their “Olallieberry”; a Youngberry crossed with a Loganberry. The primary fruit grown on their beautiful farm nearby, a Olallieberry tastes similar to the Knotts’ famous Boysenberry, or blackberry. While very tart, it did not provoke any crazy  “lip smacking” and was a great sweet treat…on the MANY dishes I recently got to experience on a visit to Linn’s!

Heading in on a rainy Sunday, we were quickly greeted by our Hostess, Kim and while the place was bustling, she assured us it would be less than a 20 minute wait. We were so engrossed with their bakery and gift shoppe that it felt more like a 5 minute wait. All decked out and ready for the holidays, Linn’s shoppe may not be ample, yet, they manage to have enough variety and beautiful adornments that you feel inside a proper department store.

Just a glimpse of their gift shoppe.

 

Gluten Free Olallieberry Muffin

We were soon escorted to our cozy corner table with a great window view of the rain coming down and the locals enjoying a stroll under their umbrellas. Mr. Linn himself, Aaron, soon came over to greet us and was an absolute delight to chat with. A Cambria native, The Linn’s have been operating their restaurant and farm since the 1980’s. If you want to know anything about Cambria and their townspeople, go have a chat with Aaron and he can fill you in on the what/where/when of the town. Great guy!

They’re also not shy to encourage you to try the entire menu. I was very excited to head to Linn’s as nearly everything is gluten-free (or they will gladly assist you if an item is not). Aaron’s Mom has Celiac, so they know first hand the excitement  you feel when you hear “Olallieberry Chocolate Brownie Cake….Gluten Free” or, my personal favorite: warm bread baskets that are gluten-free brought to your table.

We began our food journey with one of their most famous appetizers, their Ocean Rose Farm Abalone. Having not recalled experiencing Albalone, I was anxious to see why this is such a special dish. One bite, and I knew. Locally sourced Albalone from nearby Cayucos is served with two hazelnut encrusted medallions, lemon-thyme beurre blanc and a decadent jicama-jalapeño slaw. While not a gluten-free dish, simply mention if you need it to be, and they adjust the encrusted medallions for you. Perfection!

Albalone.

Moon Stone Beach Omelette.
Photo: Michael Farah.

Hearst Ranch Hamburger.
Photo: Michael Farah.

With so much already having gone down (chats with the locals, gluten-free galore, great coffee, great atmosphere), it was time for Mike and I to make our big decision: Whats for lunch?! I decided to take advantage of a late breakfast (Weekends they serve it until 2pm, other days, 12p) and try one of their favorite omelettes, The Moon Stone Beach with an abundance of Shrimp, Dungeness crab, tomato, green onion, mushrooms and Swiss cheese. While Mike decided on an old reliable: their Hearst Ranch Beef Cheese Burger with fries.

The Moon Stone omelette was to die for. The seafood so fresh, I would imagine it could have been caught that morning, while the flavor combinations of the cheese and veggies enhanced it perfectly. Mike enjoyed his burger, and the presentation was gorgeous and made it hard to want to dig in (Just a little….).

We were very stuffed by the time we had many options for dessert coming our way….check out what Aaron and staff insisted we try….

Photo: Michael Farah.

Photo: Michael Farah.

See all this, folks? Mike and I were able to get it all down…and, as some of you know, I am a Type 1 Diabetic. I am pleased to say with the proper amount of insulin injections that day, I was able to keep my sugars in a  good range! I truly thought this could be my last supper. Death of a sugar rush. And, what a great last supper it would have been! 😉

First up, was that irresistible chocolate brownie concoction, followed by their famous Pecan Chew Cookie Delight with Linn’s Pecan Chew Cookie, Brazilian Coffee ice cream, house made caramel sauce, candied walnuts and just a little real whipped cream. Bravo!

 While I could continue to share my love for Linn’s, I will end here, and trust that you will do yourself a favor and head to Linn’s next time you are in Cambria. Learn more about them HERE and make sure to tell them Along Comes Mary sent you! xo
(*Disclosure: I was a guest of Linn’s Restaurant in exchange for this feature. All opinions are my own and it was a phenomenal experience!)

 

Summer’s Final Hurrah at The LA Times TASTE LA!

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Summers in Los Angeles are definitely the best. Sunshine, music, events, beach time and FOOD are just a few of the things that come to mind as I think about my “Summers in the city”. While Labor Day is  the last hurrah of the light nights and fun, The LA Times has been ensuring that each year closes with a bang….and, maybe a food coma, with their annual The TASTE of LA.

I was thrilled to be covering The TASTE for my very first time, and, to be honest, did not really know what to expect. I knew there would be food, free-flowing wine and spirits, but I left also pleased to have been on the Paramount Pictures studio lot where some of my favorite films were created, and to have even connected with some of The Times’ royalty from the Food section.

Entering the studio lot for Saturday night’s “Dinner with a Twist”, brought to mind when Pee Wee Herman crashes the Hollywood sets in search of his lost bike in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (Yes, this is one of my favorite films). The array of countless LA restaurants representing the TASTE filled the streets and movie buildings taking me everywhere from New York to Paris.

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Citi Stage

Acura Stage

I began my night with a sake tasting courtesy of the Japan National Tourism Organization. It was a blind tasting, and, I learned I don’t know my sake as well as I thought! I got 1 out of 3 correct…but, enjoyed all 3 😉 Sake connoisseurs were even on hand from Japan to answer any questions about the libation.

With seafood dishes aplenty, I gravitated towards stepping out of my comfort zone with some of my usual faves. (Usually sushi, salmon) I found 2 vendors offering up octopus. Cafe Del Rey, a gorgeous eatery in Marina Del Rey, was sampling the often overlooked dish topped with scallops. I already cannot wait to pay a visit to Cafe Del Rey. I felt transported to the ocean, just by one delicious bite.

Somewhere I was anxious to check out was the “Coffee Talks” being held within a coffeehouse set on the lot. Dubbed Cafe LA Times, barista’s were on hand making artisan espresso drinks while you could hang out and meet LA Times Restaurant Critic, Jonathan Gold. Practically royalty to the newspaper,  Gold stopped in for photo op’s with attendee’s in the most creative, rather bizarre, setting. Bright lights and walls covered in paper scraps of the LA Times, and, before I even got in queue for my turn, I was somewhat in awe at the scenarios people were dreaming up to pose with Gold!

I was a bit dull myself….

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While all of my experiences with food and wine weekends, one thing is for sure: I end up over eating. It’s too irresistible. With The Taste,  they have taken a ‘food fair’ atmosphere a step further and along with the restaurants to sample, each event had several culinary experts and stars hosting demo’s and panels on food. In between your noshing, you could experience on stage Cooking and  Mixology Demonstrations with several of LA’s award-winning chefs, including Kris Morningstar and Ray Garcia

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Despite some frustration when I arrived from The Taste crew, I finally found my way thanks to the dedicated parking team and the guards from Paramount. The entrance line was intimidating, but, ended up being extremely fast and kept moving. All the restaurants and wineries I connected with were lovely and eager to share their stores with me!

While The Taste may be in the record books until 2017, you can keep a piece of it with you via their Spotify play list. These tracks are what the DJ was spinning throughout the weekend. Perfect for your next soiree! xo

 

New Music Discovery: Davis Fetter (& Lobster Fest Tickets Giveaway!!)

Back in June when my friend, Holly, was visiting from England, we had a fabulous night out at The Viper Room in Hollywood. It just so happened my friend, Eva, gave me the heads up a great musician was playing that night, Davis Fetter. Davis has a wide range of musical influences & it certainly shows in his music; from low-tempo, melancholy songs like his current single, Death of the Lullaby, to one of my favorites, Baby, What You Waiting For?, which brings to mind a throwback to 60’s pop sounds. I decided to nab Davis for an interview, before Rolling Stone & Spin get ahold of him!;) to ask him about some of his favorite albums, & here’s what he had to tell me:

The Smiths, The Queen is Dead: I grew up going to punk rock shows when I was 12 or so and I would always see people with Smiths shirts on, or Smiths patches. Of course it wasn’t until high school when a girl I had a crush on told me I need to just go buy The Queen is Dead. So I did and the album had the biggest impact on me ever. It got me out of punk rock and opened the door to so much music. It was a gateway to all the other Smiths records and so many other bands like Joy Division, Jesus and Mary Chain, etc. The Queen Is Dead is a perfect pop record from start to finish: the lyrics are undeniably brilliant, both hilarious and monumentally deep at the same time…Shakespearean really; and the guitar playing features the best melodies ever put to pop music. As a guitar player, hearing Johnny Marr’s style really affected my playing, and it turned me on to Buddy Holly, and Chet Atkins, and so many American guitar legends who inspired Johnny! And obviously Morrissey’s Morrissey right???!!!

The Libertines, Up The Bracket: Pure. Visceral. Brilliant. Honest. Rock N Roll. Genuine. You can’t ask for a better British rock ‘n roll record really. The lyrics remind me of Lord Byron, but written in a way that anyone can grasp. Like John Lennon. The guitar parts are genius! I love this record not only because the songs are amazing pop songs, but when you listen to it you feel like at any moment the songs could fall to pieces and if they did you would feel like you missed out on a moment in music history! It makes you want to keep listening over and over so you don’t feel left out!

The Strokes, Is This It: Hands down the best American Rock ‘n Roll full length album of all time. I will listen to this over Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors any day! Obviously Elvis and Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly wrote some of the best songs of all time, but they were at their peak before full length albums were released! Is This It contains no filler! There is not one bad song on it! There isn’t one song that sounds half-ass. The melodies are unbelievable! The lyrics are exactly what you want in Rock n Roll. The guitar players do not give a fuck in the absolute best way possible. And the drumming is simple – which ALWAYS makes Rock n Roll sound better. Julian Casablancas’ voice is so good! It’s like Iggy Pop & Lou Reed but better! This album carries the torch of Rock N Roll.


(Me, Davis & Holly after his set at The Viper Room)

I am also stoked to mention Davis recently reached the #1 spot on The World Famous KROQ’s Close to Home hour, woot! He & his band will be performing this year at the Lobster Festival in San Pedro on September 15th, along with loads of other great bands during three days from September 14th through the 16th of Music, Fun, Food & Lobster! I have FIVE pairs of 1 day admission tickets to giveaway to go to the festival (Lobster meal NOT included); to enter, leave me a comment telling me one of YOUR favorite albums;) For additional entries, here’s what else you can do, just leave a comment for each action you complete:

*LIKE facebook.com/davisfetter
*FOLLOW me on Twitter (Just click the button to your right)
*LIKE Along Comes Mary on Facebook (Link also to your right, so easy, right?!)

Enter by September 9th & I will choose five (5) winners via Random.org on September 10th, then contact you. Your tickets will be mailed to you wherever you tell me to send them. Please read my ‘Sweepstakes’ tab for additional information & void where prohibited. Good luck!!!:)

*Disclosure: I am being provided with complimentary admits from The Lobster Festival of San Pedro.