Gastronomy 101, a blog about food and Los Angeles restaurants


For dinner on Saturday we stopped at McPhee's Grill in Templeton. Templeton still looks like an old west town. There's a main street that's lined with wooden buildings with wooden porches, and as you drive down it, you feel like you are on some movie set. It's like the Universal Studios old west stunt show set and so you kind of hope no dudes in ten gallon has come flying out of the saloon while you're in the vicinity.

McPhee's is, like most of the good restaurants in this area, a steak house. But it offers far more than just various cuts of beef and appetizers. The menu is modern, eclectic and sophisticated and offers a wide variety of choices even for those who are not beef lovers.

We were given plates of pickled things to start out with, along with a basket filled with several varieties of bread. I don't know what it is about this pickled plate ... it only seems to be served at steak restaurants on the Central Coast. This kind of a starter always makes me feel at home.

The bread was delicious and homemade . Especially good was a cheese bread that you had to be lucky to get. It was like a hidden treasure.

J. and I shared the oak grilled California artichoke with chipotle chile lime mayonnaise. The mayo was SPICY, but this overwhelmed the lime, which I would have liked to taste a bit. The artichoke was really meaty. Very delicious.

My dad got the Mexican tortilla soup with chile lime crema. I don't know how it tasted, but it was gorgeous .

My dad also ordered a special: a 16 oz. chop. Another couple at the table ordered this to share, but not my dad. Nope. This is a pound of meat, y'all. Just sitting on your plate. All for you. I think he ate it all too, but after tasting 5500 wines during the afternoon and two glasses of Flowers pinot noir later, I actually don't recall the end of dinner.

This was my meal: goat cheese and basil stuffed chicken breast with fresh herb pan sauce and garlic mashed potatoes. The basil goat cheese wasn't so much stuffed into the chicken as sort of "in and around the chicken." You can kind of see it in the picture. It's the green blob under the red pepper. But it was good. The chicken was crisp on the outside, juicy inside and the mashed potatoes were good. I was glad they didn't give too large a serving or I just would have kept eating them. The sugar snap peas on the side were great. You can see how fresh they are and they were crispy and not drenched in anything, just tasting of themselves. I think they must have been steamed.

Our server was uber-friendly, as was the host. My only service problem was the bartender. He assumed I was under 21, which is fine ... I look young, but because he did so, he also completely ignored me while taking the order of everyone around me. I finally had to ask for water, even though everyone else was asked what they wanted. I was pretty annoyed by that, because if I'm sitting at the bar, there's a good chance I'm 21 and you're perfectly welcome to ask for my ID if you think I'm not. Also, even if I'm not 21, perhaps I still want SOMETHING to drink. It's only 100 degrees outside.

Other than that ... highly recommended.
McPhee's Grill
416 S. Main St.
Templeton, CA


Um, you're doing this...RIGHT???

said by Anyanka at 6:29 PM Delete

If I can think of something to say, I am all over it!

said by KT at 7:37 PM Delete

tortilla soup is one of God's gifts to mankind.

said by Jeremy at 10:51 PM Delete

Do it!! Perhaps to not like TOMATOES is a confession a foodie would be loath to make?

Also...someday when you're an old lady like me, you'll be flattered that they think you're under 21. Sort of. Maybe. Ah, not really.

Mmmmm, just had the delicious Los Vascos reserve. I wonder if there is more? I think that is one of my favorite wines now.

said by Anyanka at 12:37 AM Delete

Jer: I love a big bowl of spicy. Tortilla soup is one of my favorites, but wait until you see what I ate for brunch when I get there. It's amazing.

Anyanka: I was thinking about writing about all the awful food I ate as a kid as my "confession." There is no way I should even be a foodie based on my upbringing of processed foods, junk food, plain everything with everything on the side ... etc.

I love when people think I am under 21, I just do not love being ignored. It was a million degrees outside, I've been tramping around the wilderness, at least offer me a water!

PS: We have wine and cheese for Friday b4 partying if you want!

said by KT at 10:24 AM Delete

I like that confession idea. Do it! And wine and cheese sounds good...we may our friend Barry with us, though. Depending.

said by Anyanka at 2:21 PM Delete

Okay, I'll try. My head hurts today ... maybe this weekend. Bring Barry over, if he's with you. It's cool! I'm going to try to make cookies tonight. :)

said by KT at 2:25 PM Delete

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