Dining Out Paleo: Big Sky Cafe

Welcome to my Thursday series: Dining Out Paleo 
Thursdays I post a recent dining out experience and how I chose the best possible options to stay true to a whole foods diet, opting for the freshest and most nutrient dense foods while avoiding grains, sugars, dairy, and soy to the best of my ability.  Unless informed otherwise, I always assume that the restaurant uses vegetable/canola oils for cooking.

There are some days when I hit my limit of being surrounded by sand, sage, and sky and will jump in my car and drive a few hours just to see a large body of water, usually the Pacific Ocean.  My last trip involved a four hour trek through blooming spring flowers, mountains, and windy snake-trail roads just to scope out the adorable little coastal town of Cayucos, California.

With a summer calendar full of an array of markets and festivals and live music, Cayucos offers a quaint beach getaway like no other I have seen in California.  The greatest thing I discovered was a dog-friendly beach full of large dogs, small dogs, and everything in between tussling around in the sand and chasing everything from toys to sticks of driftwood.  Next time I'll know to pack the pups.

The only thing that could tear me away from this picture postcard scene was a rumbly tummy and a hankering for a hearty healthy lunch.  I turned to my trusty Yelp app and attempted yet another search for "locavore" in my current location.  A few options popped up, speckling the Central Coast and required no more than a 20 minute drive.
I was off to Big Sky Cafe in San Luis Obispo.  Big Sky locally sources some of their proteins, vegetables, wines, and even the art on the walls.  Now THIS is locavore at its best!  I read and reread the menu, talking myself out of ordering lunch, dinner, and meals for the next three days.  There were so many tantalizing options, including local artisan salami and local sheep's milk cheese. Wow!

I decided to order the most local and organic sounding thing on the menu... the Organic, Local & Sustainable Fresh Market Vegetable Plate.  Seriously, that is what it is called.  The online menu describes it as "a selection of seasonal local or organic vegetables prepared in a variety of ways, primarily from local farms & the farmers market."  In addition to the healthy veggie mountain, I requested a grilled chicken breast accompaniment.  You know, I could probably be a vegetarian, but only the kind that eats meat from time to time.  (I know they're out there!)

My plate arrived and my eyes almost popped out of my face at how amazing everything looked. 

So of course there was the chicken, which was moist and tender and delicious.  The rest of the plate was thickly layered with wilted chard, roasted beets, roasted broccolini, roasted heirloom carrots (purple ones, too!) seasoned with cinnamon and other tasty flavors, green beans that I am sure were seasoned with cumin, and onions cooked in balsamic vinegar.  Everything was seasoned perfectly.  Cooked perfectly.  I was in vegetable heaven!  There was even a helping of mashed potatoes.  They were tasty, but I didn't waste precious room in my stomach ensuring that I consumed every last vegetable on my plate first.  

The whole dining experience was enchanting and a perfect culmination to a very relaxing, very enjoyable day outdoors.  With music that could easily be purchased from the World genre on iTunes filling the air, I nibbled away my last beet.  It was difficult leaving knowing the day had to end, but Big Sky Cafe has officially been bookmarked on my Yelp profile and I will soon be trekking my way back out for another beach day with Matt and my furry babies in tow.

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