La Bodega Tapas; Well-Prepared, Family Food

Dinner and a Movie

By Teri Bayus

There’s a new girl in town, and she is pretty and tasty!

Something that Pismo Beach has needed for a long time is a proper tapas and wine bar. We have that gift with the new offering of “La Bodega Tapas” on Price Street and although tapas are known as “Little Plates” in Spanish, La Bodega Tapas is not.

The name means “the cellar,” and I was impressed with the wine and its price points from the beginning. The food is labeled as “California cuisine” and from the open kitchen to its stylish decor and friendly staff, I agree, it is 100% California.

We ordered a bottle of Tempranillo and the owner, John, came over to say hello. He told us that La Bodega Tapas proudly supports native farms to stimulate the local economy, while bringing some of the freshest food around the their guests.

They’ve partnered with farms, creameries, and meat purveyors to provide guests with the highest quality meats, cheeses, and vegetable.

I ordered “Devils on Horseback” one of my favorite dishes, which are bacon wrapped dates stuffed with a local goat cheese, drizzled with a balsamic reduction and basil oil. It was perfection in a sweet, savory, and salty way. I remembered why this is my favorite tapa.

Gary started with sponge cake, with a raspberry compote and goat cheese Chantilly cream. He graciously left me one bite for after my meal, and we moved on to the empanadas de chorizo. This flaky dough stuffed with spicy chorizo, diced potatoes, and a Manchego cheese, they were scored and baked perfectly. Dipping them in a delectable chipotle aioli brought all the flavors to the forefront.

We then met the other owner, Teresa Cordeiro, who said this was her first restaurant but she’s run a successful business before. She grew up in a family that valued the time spent around the table and enjoyed well-prepared food.

She wanted to recreate that using the finest ingredients and produce sourced locally. Through the use of tapas, meals are a shared experience, not just a time to eat. With the inviting décor and wonderful wait staff, her family dream is realized.

We returned to share our experience with a chef and his wife, and all were impressed with each dish and the quality and price of the wine. Gary started with the toasted coconut almond crème brulé that was a new twist on a tried and true Italian delicacy. He only shared because we had company.

Chef ordered the smoked pork belly with pea shoot polenta cakes, sprinkled with micro greens, and sitting on a creative and yummy root beer barbecue reduction. We shared the beef shoulder tenderloin, with a truffle Parmesan papas fritas (French fries), with my favorite sauce, an Argentinian chimichurri and the beer brat sliders with caramelized onions, and a Marzen mustard served on a pretzel roll.

But the table favorite was a Dungeness crab cocktail, with fresh crab plucked from the shell and served with heirloom tomatoes, diced Persian cucumber, avocado, and grapefruit. Served with crispy tostadas, we finished one and ordered another.

For dessert, I had the roasted Brussel sprouts (I have a Brussel sprout problem), and these were my favorite, pan severed with Meyer lemon vinaigrette, with crispy Pancetta and Cajun fried leeks.

The rest of the group shared the skillet brownie with a cinnamon chocolate sauce and a vanilla bean ice cream. We all agreed that the service was impeccable, friendly and attentive while not rushing us.

I returned alone after a long, tough day and sat at the bar. I love places that are safe and comfortable to do this. I inhaled the Charcuterie with locally cured pancetta tessa, sopressa salami, spicy capicola, Di Parma prosciutto, Calabreses Salami, pickled vegetables, Greek olives, a variety of nuts, with a Marzen mustard, crostini, and flatbread. With a glass of wine, it was a perfect meal for me, and I will be there often.

They have Flatbreads that I haven’t tried yet but plan on it. The giant antique bull welcomes you, and the owners have been there every time I have (which I feel is the secret to a restaurants success, especially in the beginning). I am in love with La Bodega Tapas and wish them a long and prosperous time in Pismo.

La Bodega Tapas is located at 790 Price St., (in the old Caldwell Banker Building). Call them at (805) 295-5400. Open every day from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

‘I Feel Pretty’ Delivers Deep Belly Laughs

A movie should deliver what it promises and “I Feel Pretty” does that in spades.

Along with the deep, belly laughs, there is a poignant message that we should all accept who we are and love ourselves.

It’s a chick flick; so only drag your husband along if you want to hear huffing and complaining during the movie. I’d say you are safe taking your GBF or a gaggle of girl friends and then go eat at La Bodega (see above) to discuss and giggle some more.

The plot: A woman struggling with insecurity wakes from a fall believing she is the most beautiful and capable woman on the planet. Her new confidence empowers her to live fearlessly, but what happens when she realizes her appearance never changed?

I Feel Pretty is a mostly-straightforward romantic comedy from the writers of “Never Been Kissed,” “He’s Just Not That Into You” and “How To Be Single,” so you know what to expect. There’s also a nice twist on the tried-and-tested body-switch plot where Renee (Amy Schumer) hits her head and believes she has achieved her dream of becoming beautiful.

Renee believing that she’s the hottest woman alive is where most of the giggles germinate. Her two best friends, Jane (Busy Phillips) and Vivian (Aidy Bryant) brings the sincere moments and the message, it’s not all about what you look like, but the confidence you have in yourself.

Schumer is not too over-the-top and is easy to cheer for as a women questioning her beauty and then so sure of it.

While not focusing solely on “girl-meets-boy, they fall in love, separate, then get-back-together again” story, it still manages to fit that all in, with Ethan (Rory Scovel) a decent foil to Schumer.

My only complaint is that the backdrop to a film (that’s actually about not worrying about looks) is centered around a make-up company, run by Avery (Michelle Williams) and Grant (Tom Hopper).

If you’re an Amy Schumer fan, chances are you either like it or love it! It’s a cute movie with a simple message — that with confidence, anything is possible.

It’s nice to see a comedy film that isn’t littered with foul language, sex and slapstick violence.

The entire audience laughed out loud. Plus the movie has a great message — be happy with who you are.

Teri Bayus is the Host of Taste Buds, shown on KSBY and the CW, Charter 2 and on You Tube on the Taste Buds Channel. Teri’s Culinary Erotic Book, Consumed is available on Amazon and IBOOKS. Dinner and a Movie is a regular feature of Simply Clear Marketing & Media.

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