Sister's Kitchen

My wedding anniversary meal is always a tricky one, as I have the pressure of finding the right place that with augment our love, and satisfy our two very different palettes. Having just returned from Thailand, I was missing the flavors of the land and my husband was missing his mango sticky rice (a food that he ate three times a day while we were there). We settled happily on Sister’s Kitchen in Grover Beach.

Ladda and Michael Pelypec started selling their wonderful Thai food at the farmers market a few years ago. People lined up, gobbled it up, and told them to open a restaurant. Their dream became reality with a fantastic restaurant, built like a food critics dream. The layout is open and airy so the diner can watch the dance of the chefs and see the fresh food being chopped and prepared as their mouths salivate from the aromas wafting over the glass partition.

We started with for Gai Moo Satay, a grilled chicken breast marinated in Thai sauces and served with a chunky peanut sauce and a Goong Tod, a huge shrimp deep fried in a wonton wrapper and served with that famous sweet and sour sauce. We sat at the counter and were mesmerized at the cooks, their woks, sauces, chopping, and plating. Ladda checks every dish before it goes out and adds a touch of her magic spices. Gary ordered his beloved mango sticky rice, which Ladda laid out to look like a heart with an arrow for our anniversary.  The sticky jasmine rice is soaked with sweet coconut milk, and the Thai mango cut into slices. The whole dish is sprinkled with chopped minute peanuts and is so wholesome; I could eat it every day.

Our main courses were Pad Prig Geang, which is one of my favorite dishes. Every Thai restaurant does it different, but it is basically green beans and meat sautéed with a red curry paste. Sister Kitchen added kaffir lime leaves and a hint of red pepper to make this dish a tribute. You can order your food any level of fire you want here, which I like. I ordered this hot and was happy as the sweat poured down my forehead as I devoured it. We also shared a Khao Pad Poo, a stir fried rice with crabmeat, onion, carrot, garlic all topped with a fried egg. I find that when an egg is done correctly, it brings out the flavor of the seafood to its pinnacle.

Our next course of Pra Tod Gratiem, a catfish filet deep-fried in the wok, then covered in a caramelized garlic roast that is also created right before your eyes. We shared the sticky rice (the proper way to eat this is to roll it up in balls with your hands and eat it like a roll). Gary had the Gang Sapparod Goong, which was a red curry with huge shrimp, pineapple, coconut milk, basil leaves, and red bell peppers. It was sweet and hot and he licked his bowl clean.  We chatted about Thailand, certain fruits I now crave (mangosteen and durian) and if she will be able to get them for me or I have to fly back to Phuket. I think I have to fly back, which suits me just fine.

Video from Thailand 2012

The World is a book and those who don't travel, have only read a page.

New Social Media Marketing Class Offered!

New Class Offered:

Social Media Marketing for Business

Tuesday, June 26, 2012
4:30 pm to 6:30 pm
The Cliff’s Resort
Shell Beach, CA 93449
Instructor: Teri Bayus to sign up or pay at the door.
Email for more information:

This award winning class will teach you how to enhance your business and bottom line using social media. We will cover every Social Media site with tips and tricks to get the maximum exposure for your business.

Taught by a 30 year veteran of advertising and public relations, this fun and informative class will show you how with just 10 minutes a day, your Business will receive more profits and customers.

Cost $50 each

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Jaffa Cafe

I am crazy for Mediterranean style cuisine, and it is hard to find in a smaller community like ours. This bravura of food comes from the 21 countries that surround the Mediterranean Sea such as Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Turkey, and Lebanon. The food is characterized by flexibility, a wide range of ingredients and regional variations, it’s success is in the passion. I was delighted when my food spies discovered a gastronomy treasure appearing like an oasis in the Village. I have long been a fan of Jaffa Café in San Luis as the do this variety of nutriment dead-on using the freshest of ingredients that are prepared with attention to detail.
I started with Kifta (spiced ground beef) Kabobs, which is two skewers of marinated, charbroiled meat served over a bed of freshly grilled tomatoes, onion, bell pepper and topped with tahineh sauce. Served perfectly with a side of hummus and a warm, homemade thick pita, I was instantly transported to Greece. The condiments were whimsical with a crisp homemade pickle and sauces to delight your taste buds.
Gary was so excited to see the large spits, for this is something we loved when we were in Greece. He instantly ordered a Hot Shawarma Pita Wrap. The Gyros were filled with marinated meat (lamb and beef) made with special seasonings and slow cooked over an open flame rotisserie. They are topped with tahineh sauce lettuce and tomatoes. This my favorite Greek treat and after I begged for a bite, I stole and ate his whole sandwich. We went back to the menu and shared a plate of Stuffed Grape Leaves and some Baba Ganoush, a tasty dip of roasted eggplant seasoned with fresh garlic, tahineh, lemon juice, olive oil, and cumin. However, the highlight was the baklava. This delicate and multi-layered treat stuffed with walnuts, honey and rose water were so fresh and honorable, and he ordered four to go and devoured them at home.
This Jaffa Café is managed by Ali and Wendy Saleh, who welcomed all the guests and took the time to explain the menu and how to order for those who where visiting or tasting this style of food for the first time. I believe kindness makes food taste better and the proof was in the hummus (and falafels), which were prepared impeccably.

I ordered a marinated grilled fresh veggie salad to go; it is a blend of marinated and seasoned eggplant, zucchini, roasted red pepper, and yellow squash topped with feta cheese. A perfect light dinner for later. If you want to ease into this delightful food, start with the baked pita pizzas with three cheeses or covered in grilled vegetables, they are all fabulous.

CASS House

Okay- so one of my professions is writing about restaurants. I have been doing this for six years. That translates to over 300 restaurants. Finding new adjectives’ for delicious, wonderful, and fresh is my weekly blight. Some times, I have to eat at three shitty restaurants to get one good one to recommend to my readers. However, some restaurants are SO FUCKING GOOD- that in my spare time I cannot NOT write about the meal. Moreover, in my papers, I can’t say FUCK and it feels good just to type it. This week, I took time out to write about the Cass House in Cayucos, just for the memory or reliving a fantastic meal.

I have eaten at the Cass House many times; reviewed them at least twice, I've blogged about them, talk about them on the radio, did a video of their anniversary, it is no secret I worship them, but they out did even my expectations. It is hard to describe the food (except for this is what heaven must taste like), as it is complicated, yet simple. In season and yet taste of influences from all over the world. You can discriminate every element of the dishes, even if it is a two-pronged sprig of mustard greens.

The ornament of a house is the friend who frequent it, said Ralph Waldo Emerson. I say that if a house consists of miraculous food it will always have friends. Such is the case of the Cass House Restaurant. This is a beautifully restored Bed and Breakfast with the élite chef, Jensen Lorenzen, manning the helm of the kitchen and hearth. We took our friends who have wanted to join us in this culinary adventure since we started waxing poetically about this restaurant. The waiter suggested we should try everything on the menu as they offer meals in three or four course options. I must say, this is the most creative, brave menu around made by a Chef that posses colossal talents. He artfully brings together flavors that dazzle and delight the senses. Even the names of the dishes were inventive and promised culinary delights. We tried everything except the soup and one salad--- and all with wine parings. We rolled out chockfull of pleasure.

We started with a bubble treat of a Spanish Cuvee, with an amuse bush (for those not foodies, it means a first “one bite treat”, loaded with flavor it opens up your tastes buds). A puff pastry filled with Spanish blue cheese, smoked duck breast, and a sprig of micro greens. This was an explosion of flavor and would open up even a smoker’s palette. Next, we had six Humboldt Bay Kamamoto Oysters, freshly plucked from the sea and oozing with flavor. These babies were so noble that I cut my lip sucking them out of the shell. We covered them with a ponzo granita and a satsuma mignonette .The sauce was so virtuous the boys kept it for bread dip.

Next dish was Veal Marrow and Toast- Yeah--just the big leg bone from a cow with the marrow inside cooked down to a consistence of gravy, spread on a hard toast with three different kinds of salt. A black salt from Maui, a red salt from Kona, and a Polynesian white sea salt. The sprinkling of the salt did make a difference in the flavor and it was so good the Boys were sucking the marrow out of the bones to get every morsel. Next was a dish of braised pig trotters. Succulent and superior, it tasted like the best pulled pork, only richer. We had a platter of four different cheeses, all mouth plummeting worthy with the wine.

Next, Baranof Island troll caught King Salmon

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Portuguese Fisherman’s stew with chorizo, clams, mussels, and lingcod

Colorado Lamb Loin (done with a West Indian flavor)

Kobe Beef tamarind glazed shoulder

Seared prime strip loins with pomme puree (fancy mashed potatoes) with wild truffles

And Foie Gras and Sonoma Moulard duck- a shrewd combination of seared Sonoma foie gras, brioche toast, red onion jam, peanuts all sitting in a bourbon maple syrup.

We ate every bite, drank every pairing, and reveled in the gluttony of it all. We were the happiest diners on the planet. Then he brought desert.

Apple bourbon cake

Butterscotch toffee

Chocolate stout milk shake

Mocha pot de crème

Angel food ginger bread pudding with Clementine ice cream

And…… angel food cake with strawberry sorbet, and crème fraiche.

We ate for over 4 hours. The setting was serene, the staff fantastic, the food, none better in the world, I would take any bet on that. It was heaven; I don’t want to ever eat again for fear of cheating on this amazing chef. Nothing was made anywhere else. Everything that came out of the kitchen was prepared there. All the sauces, dishes, even desserts were done on premise. He must not sleep and prep 24/7.

If you live on the Central Coast, you owe it yourself to try the Cass House. We walked down the pier to stave off undulating home. Here is the thing; the price point is not that high. One of the local specials was $35 for three amazing dishes on Monday nights. You can afford it.

The Cass House is still my go-to place if you want a memorable meal that will never disappoint. I would try anything that Chef Jensen creates, I literally idolize this man, and he is my Brad Pitt of the culinary world (that makes his wife Grace, my Angelina). The Cass House Restaurant is in Cayucos at 222 North Ocean and is open everyday but Tuesday and Wednesday. More information can be found at or by calling (805) 995-3669.

Rant done. Bottom line, it was so FUCKING good, my fingers would not write about anything else today.

Cow Girl Cafe

My daughter is pregnant, again. This is cause for celebration because now I get a grandbaby girl to spoil, but it is cause for serious side of dining as this girl eats like a linebacker when pregnant. There is no “nouveau cuisine” in her wheelhouse when she is ready to eat. Adjectives like big, hearty, cowgirl size are what she looks for when picking a restaurant. I was please to find not one, but four restaurants that could tame the beast she calls an appetite called the Cowgirl Café.

For over twelve years, Cowgirl Café has been serving up the best cooking this side of the Mississippi. The portions are large and the quality is unmatched. She started with the biscuits and gravy to wet her appetite. It was a huge serving of savory gravy and homemade biscuits that originated from Grandma’s “covered wagon” style cooking. She was pleased and moved on the Giddy-Up breakfast that included three eggs, two pieces of Canadian bacon, two sausage links, two strips of bacon, home fries (the red potato kind) and toast. Big, tasty and perfect for a pregnant girl appetite (or a ranch hand). She loved every bite and told me how this is her husbands favorite breakfast spot.

Many of the recipes at Cowgirl Café are from owners Pat Addy’s great Grandmother’s trail cooking in Texas. I tried the Chicken Fried Steak with its robust gravy. For the uninitiated, this is a dish consisting of a piece of steak (tenderized cube steak) coated with seasoned flour and pan-fried. In Texas, this is the reigning queen of comfort food or down-home cooking, or as Texans affectionately call it CFS. After living in Texas for a six-month stretch, I can report this was delightful.

My next visit, I tried the Potato Skins and Eggs, an interesting combination of sliced baked potatoes with a huge heaping of scrambled eggs on top, then a dollop of sour cream and crumbles of bacon. The informality and simplicity pleased me to no end. My friend, who I saved from a boring bowl of oatmeal at home, had the Breakfast Burrito. This large tortilla filled with egg, bacon, hash browns, and salsa was as big as her head and delighted her senses.

Addy sites that his food being connected with an unpretentious way of life is a major part of Cowgirls success. He told me “Customer service, attention to detail in the restaurant and family fun is a big part of what they are about. They are dedicated to providing you with the best tasting down home cooking”. I agree as I have never seen restaurants so clean, friendly, and reminiscent of Southern rural life.

Cowgirl café has locations in Nipomo (501 Orchard Road), San Luis Obispo (1055 Olive Street), Paso Robles (1316 Pine Street) and Atascadero (8300 El Camino Real Suite A) or check them out on line at They are open for breakfast and lunch only.

Rumble on the Rocks

Pickle Me Ginger Bloody Heirloom Chocolate Kiss

I do not see myself as a celebrity. I have never been hounded by paparazzi or given elaborate gift bags. Every now and then, I get the honor of being asked to be a judge for a food or drink contest. This one came from my friend, David Klein asking me to be one of the celebrity judges for this years "Rumble on The Rocks" Mixology Contest held at The Cliffs Resort in The Marisol Restaurant. I was flattered to be in the midst of such celebrities as Randol White of Eat, Drink, Explore, Gary Johnson of Southern Wine and Spirits and Patti Piburn of KCOY, (by default of an anticipated tie, my husband Gary Bayus of Prestige Business Sales, Mergers & Acquisitions). It was a lively group and we sacrificed our livers for this worthy cause. They asked us if we knew vodka, as Ketel One was sponsoring this event and much was on the line with the areas best bartenders competing and the profits going to SLO Special Olympics.

After sampling the amazing spread of food by the master chef’s of Marisol at The Cliffs the judges were swept away. Sequestered and unaware of which mixologist’s were presenting us with their unique libations, we began to taste each signature drink. Amazing ingredients followed including herbs, spices, fresh fruits, and vegetables all used to create one of a kind drinks. Think basil, cinnamon, jalapenos, and mangos and that is just for the presentation.

Our first drink was called Pickle Me Ginger and was a spicy combination of grapefruit and vodka with a spicy tail of ginger that lingered on your tongue. I was instantly a fan. The second was a Mexican Mojito with cilantro and jalapenos floating in the Ketel One haze. Our third was a white chocolate kiss with Godiva Chocolate, Crème de Cocoa, and Ketel One garnished with a candied orange striped with white and dark chocolate (this was Gary’s favorite).

Next, we tried the Rumble Punch, which was a fruity mix of Cointreau and then the Banana Strawberry delight with its frothy mist and bobbing fruits. Then came the Sweet Heirloom; a bloody Mary inspired drink using the pulp of garden-fresh tomatoes, jalapeno juice and garnished with a plethora of rockery bounties. It was spicy and delectable. The mango 1051 with a mixture of sweet mango and cracked pepper rocked my taste buds and delighted my pleasure centers.

We were to judge on taste, creativity, and presentation. This job was taken seriously, as we disregarded our livers and tried more of each drink as the deliberations for the winner became lively and passionate.

Later we learned that competing for the title Mixology Master were from Ciopinot Seafood Grill (Rob Horton), from The Cliffs Resort (Dylan Lammers and Egin Davis), from Rosa's Ristorante Italiano (Stacey Giordanengo and Theo Sabatini), and from The Sea Venture Resort and Restaurant (Erin Harper and Brian O'Shea). These bartenders are the best in their field and they all created some amazing and memorable drinks.

The judges made the hard choice of first place that went to the Heirloom Blood Mary made by Dylan Lammers and Egin Davis. Peoples Choice went to Stacy Giordanengo of Rosa’s for her Pickle Me Ginger. Big adult fun time was had by all and The Cliff’s Resort renewed its license for coolest place to party for a long time.