Sunday, January 2, 2011

California's Central Coast: Farmstand 46, Brown Butter Cookie Company, Cracked Crab

Posted by Katie

My parents have a retirement home in Nipomo, CA, a little town about 20 minutes south of Pismo Beach, and Nick and I drove down to spend a few nights there with them while I'm home for the holidays.

We took a nice little day trip along the coast starting with lunch at Farmstand 46 in Templeton followed by wine tasting at one of the many wineries along Highway 46. From there, we headed to the Brown Butter Cookie Company in Cayucos followed by a delicious dinner at the Cracked Crab in Pismo Beach.

Here's the breakdown:

What: Farmstand 46
Where: 3750 Hwy 46 W, Templeton, CA
Honeys Heart: The Cruiser

Farmstand 46 is a little roadside deli that serves sandwiches, salads and the like, all made with fresh, organic ingredients.

We started off our lunch with an arugula, cranberry and pear salad. Yum!

My mom and dad split The Cruiser ($10), a panini made with tellegio, fontina, fresh mozzarella and cambazola with fresh tomato and herb pesto on Italian bread.

For awhile there, my mom was making mozzarella, tomato and pesto paninis at least once a week, and while they are tasty, I wasn't sure I wanted to order the same sandwich while eating out. I'm glad my parents chose this panini though because it was delicious. Very cheesy with a great little kick from the herb pesto.

Nick and I went for the Il Profesore ($10), a sandwich made with salami, cappicola, mortadella and aged provolone with roasted red peppers and arugula on a french roll.

I was a little disappointed to find that the Il Profesore is served cold since it was chilly out and a hot sandwich sounded good. Nonetheless, it was still pretty tasty. I did wish there was a bit more salami though...

What: Brown Butter Cookie Company
Where: 250 N Ocean Ave, Cayucas, CA
Honeys Heart: Brown butter sea salt cookie 

The Brown Butter Cookie Company is a small cookie "factory" owned by sisters Traci and Christa.

Their signature cookie is their original brown butter sea salt cookie ($1 each) and, let me tell you, it is heavenly.

Traci and Christa use browned butter to make these shortbread-like cookies and then they top them off with a pinch of sea salt. The browned butter gives the cookies a rich, slightly nutty taste and that combined with a little saltiness makes these cookies my second favorite sweet right now. (First place goes to the raspberry crumb bars Nick's mom made using Joanne Chang's recipe. They are amazing.)

Anyway, you should probably drive to Cayucas right now and try these cookies. Or order them online. They're worth it.

What: Cracked Crab
Where: 751 Price St, Pismo Beach, CA
Honeys Heart: The Bucket

The Cracked Crab is one of my parents' favorite places to eat when they're down in Nipomo. My mom has been talking about wanting to try their "bucket" for awhile but usually it's only the two of them and since the bucket comes with three types of seafood, sausage, potatoes, and corn, they've been waiting for a larger group to order it. Nick and I were glad to tag along this time to help out.

We started off dinner with the Blue Crab Cakes ($16). 


I wasn't overly impressed with these though the sauce was good and there was a decent amount of crab in them. I think I'd rather just begin with the delicious sourdough rolls that are complimentary!

For our main dish, we shared the Big Bucket For Two ($68). It might say it's for two, but there was more than enough for all four of us. 

Our bucket experience started off with the delivery of these tools to our table:

Intense, right?

And then came the bucket, which they just dump out on the table. 

For our seafood, we ordered the wild shrimp, Opilio (snow) crab, and Alaskan Bairdi crab. 

We all agreed that the sweet snow crab was our favorite, followed closely by the shrimp and then the Bairdi crab. The corn and potatoes gave the bucket a nice variety, but we could have done without the sausage.

In the end, I think our table post-meal shows how much we enjoyed our bucket: 

It really was a delicious meal, made all the more fun by the experience of digging the crab out of its shell using the various tools provided. (The scissors were my go-to. Cheating, I know.) 

Of course, no meal is complete without dessert, and the Cracked Crab just so happens to offer my mom's dessert of choice, key lime pie.

My mom says that this is the best key lime pie she's ever had, and I believe it. The custard filling was very tart, just like we like it, and it was perfectly balanced by the sweet graham cracker crust. Delish!