There are no better experts on the best things to do in a town than the people who live there. When we travel, I make a point of asking the locals about their favorite places to eat, and in Paso Robles the overwhelming response was Thomas Hill Organics.
The hubby and I arrived for a late lunch. The big back patio was the perfect place to relax and refuel after a morning of touring and tasting at the local wineries.
I always consider it a good sign when a menu calls out items that are gluten free or states that gluten-free bread is available, because at least these people know there is such a thing.
I’m most nervous at restaurants where I explain I’m allergic to gluten and the server looks at me and says one of the following:
“So you don’t eat meat.”
“So you don’t eat rice.”
“Is that a kind of sugar?”
“Uh, what’s that?”
At Thomas Hill Organics once I mentioned I needed to be gluten free, the server jumped right in confidently describing my many options in detail.
We wanted something hardy since we had more wine tasting to do after lunch, so we both ended up ordering the PC Cattle beef burger. Mine on gluten-free bread, of course.
I’ve never had a better burger in my life. I know that’s a big statement, but it’s the truth. Like many dishes at this restaurant, the burger had a lot of components, each making a huge taste contribution to the experience without overwhelming it.
They start out with a large grass-fed beef patty with a thick slice of melted Cambozola cheese. Cambozola is a combination of French soft-ripened triple cream cheese and Italian gorgonzola (think Brie-styled cheese with a blue vein running through it). Add to that crisp applewood smoked bacon, sriracha aioli for a little kick, and caramelized onions for a touch of sweetness. All of this gooey goodness between toasted slices of bread.
It was accompanied by a field green salad with quinoa and basil vinaigrette. A perfect pairing with the rich burger, because there is no way I would’ve finished had fries been involved. And finish I did, even though I was more than full, because it was the ultimate foodie experience.
We ended up going back for lunch the next day. This time we decided to share a few things on the lighter side.
It was served on a bed of organic spinach and caramelized onions with sliced Valencia and Blood oranges and cumin almonds. The toasted gluten-free bread added the perfect crunch factor to go with the creaminess of the burrata.
Then we tried the warm Brussels sprout salad.
They used shaved Brusseles sprouts, Bloomsdale spinach, house smoked grouper, Wakame (seaweed), red quinoa, almonds, and a sesame-nori vinaigrette. This was so delicious, I was bummed out that I split it with the hubby. I wanted to order another one, but held back.
If you’re open to new flavor experiences, you should give this place a try. For instance, I’m not a fan of oranges or cumin, so I wouldn’t have picked the burrata, but the hubby really wanted to try it. In the interest of partnership I caved and it turned out to have an amazing combination of flavors that only enhanced the fresh cheese.
It’s been six weeks since our trip to Paso Robles and I’m still thinking about all that wonderful food. I was delighted with the quality and uniqueness of every dish.