By Katy Budge Special to the Tribune
2020 has been a challenging year for everyone — especially local restaurateurs and food producers.
They’ve have had to adapt quickly to the economic and health challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, closing and reopening amid constantly shifting safety guidelines. They’ve transitioned from indoor dining to outdoor parklets, from tablecloths to takeout.
Through it all, the Central Coast food industry gave local palates some noteworthy tastes.
Here’s a look at just some of the best grub I sampled in San Luis Obispo County this year.
RAMEN, MOMOTARO RAMEN
Momotaro Ramen owners Matthew Rogers and Brittany Yracheta have been slinging slurp-worthy noodles at their space in the new Paso Market Walk food court since Aug. 1.
The basis of the ramen is a luxuriously rich pork and chicken broth that simmers for about 15 hours before being topped with classic ramen add-ons such as braised pork belly, bok choy, garlic, green onions and soft-cooked eggs marinated in soy, sake and mirin.
Also worth a taste are the gyozas — chicken/pork dumplings — and steamed hirata buns made daily with different fillings such as shiitake mushrooms.
SOURDOUGH DEEP DISH PIZZA, THE SPOON TRADE
The 12-inch-wide, 2-inch-thick pies, which weigh a whopping 6.5 pounds each, started out as a weekend special. Now a limited number can be ordered Wednesday through Sunday.
Toppings range from duck confit, braised bacon and housemade meatloaf to roasted market vegetables and smoked albacore
Be sure to order ahead for a whole pie, which easily feeds six people, allowing at least 90 minutes notice. Single slices are often available as well.
Details: The Spoon Trade, 295 West Grand Ave., Grover Beach. 805-904-6773. thespoontrade.com
PIE, A-TOWN HUMBLE PIES
What began as just a retirement project has become much more than that for A-Town Humble Pies owners Ian and Alicia Denchasy.
The couple starting selling slices of their delicious pies at the Atascadero farmers market in June 2019. Now, joined by son Kealii Denchasy, they serve sweet and savorty creations at several local markets.
All of their products are handcrafted with quality ingredients, many seasonally sourced from other vendors.
Pie slices and bars are available at farmers markets in Baywood Park, Paso Robles, Atascadero, Morro Bay and Templeton. Customers can also pre-order whole pies, with space limited for holiday orders.