It's Raining Dogs
IN MY OPINION
Books Read in 2008
MY LUNCH WITH OPRAH
11 April 2008
Anybody who has paid any attention to Oprah in the past three or four years probably knows the (famous?) story about the restaurant in San Luis Obispo which was on the verge of closing until one of Oprah's minions happened to pick up one of their sandwiches for Oprah, who promptly fell in love with it and ended up wresting the place from the jaws of bankruptcy, investing in it, and making it world-famous by raving about the food on her show.
I haven't watched Oprah much for a couple of years, but my mouth has been watering for that chicken curry sandwich ever since I first heard the story.
San Luis Obispo is situated just at the wrong distance. We pass through it on the way to Santa Barbara, but it's 5 hrs from Davis and 3 hrs from Santa Barbara, so unless you leave Davis at the crack of dawn, it's too long a distance to stop for lunch on the way down, and unless you loll around in Santa Barbara, you get there too soon for lunch on the return trip.
I did try to go there once, and called to see if they would be opened, but we arrived in town an hour after they closed. Another time Walt and I happened to be in San Luis Obispo right at lunch time and I couldn't find it. We ate at another very lovely place, but Oprah's place eluded us.
As we planned this trip to see Brianna, I toyed once again with the possibility of having lunch at "Oprah's restaurant" (the real name is the Art Cafe and Bakery and it is at 570 Higuera, if you're looking for it!).
"Could we possibly," I asked Walt, "leave by 8 so we could stop for lunch in SLO?"
8 a.m. is almost unheard of for us, but we agreed to try. I knew there was NO chance whatever when I woke up this morning with Lizzie landing flat on my chest demanding breakfast, glanced at the clock and realized it was after 7.
However, in spite of the late hour, we actually did get out of the house by 9, brought crackers with us to stave off hunger, and we headed for San Luis.
The first part of the trip was a fun lesson in high tech travel. Remember when you got in the car, turned on the radio (if you had one) and tried to pick up the signals of local stations? Well, I had my iPod, on which I was listening to the end of Ed McMahon's "Here's Johnny," which I started on my last trip down here. I was sending text messages to Jeri, Ned, and my friend Mary in Seattle.
Then Ned sent a text message asking if we could still get his radio station (93.7, Jack-FM in Sacramento) or were we out of range. I told him we could get it, so he told me to tune in and listen. He said that when the current song finished there would be six minutes of commercials and then I should listen to the jingle at the end.
The jingle started with Dorothy saying "Toto, I've feeling we're not in Kansas any more" followed by the sounds of the witch's soldiers chanting "Jack-FM,eee-ooo", and ending with the Witch saying "I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog too." I texted an "LOL" to Ned. who creates the promo spots for Jack-FM in Sacramento and he returned "You can't take the Oz out of the boy."
That's my boy!
We continued our way out of Jack-FM range and I turned Ed McMahon back on the iPod (he's a terrible reader!) and then we listened to the latest "Says You" podcast and finally I put the music on "shuffle," which gave us an incredibly eclectic selection which mixed Orf's Carmina Burana with Johnny Cash, with Avenue Q, with Lawsuit, with Shania Twain, John Denver and Tony Bennett. Definitely not your normal playlist!
We only needed 3-4 crackers apiece to get us to SLO and we arrived, amazingly, at 2 p.m., a decent hour for lunch. The address was in a courtyard so there were lots of little shops and eateries to check out. While we were trying not to be obvious about it (I wasn't going to admit that I was one of "those" people looking for Oprah's cafe, even if I was one of "those" people looking for Oprah's cafe!), I saw another husband and wife looking around as lost as we were. The husband went off into a store and pretty soon came out and started pointing. They disappeared around the corner. Again, I didn't want to be obvious about being one of "them" but we followed them and there was the Art Cafe & Bakery.
Definitely not the high-falutin' place you'd associate with someone of Ms. Winfrey's financial status, but we went in, trying not to look like one of "those" people. There were only a handful of tables. The only one open, actually, was the booth directly under a portrait of Oprah, so we sat there.
Walt ordered the signature "O"riginal chicken curry sandwich, but since I'd read a restaurant review which preferred a different chicken sandwich (which came with carmelized onions, and you just can't go wrong with carmelized onions!), I opted for that, figuring I could have a taste of Walt's curried chicken sandwich.
The sandwiches were short on presentation
but very definitely long on taste. Both sandwiches were piled so thick that you really needed to eat them with a knife and fork and it was worth every mouthful.
So finally my curiosity has finally been satisfied. Would I go back again? Sure, but I don't think I would rush the way I did today to get there in time.
I drove the rest of the way and was delighted to note that the hills are still a deep green. I wished I could take pictures but that's not a good idea when you are driving! Some spots were breathtaking, especially with carpets of mustard and/or lupin on top of the green grass.
We rolled in here around 5 p.m. and talked with Tom. We have a date with Brianna tomorrow around noon. I can't wait!
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Me and Oprah
MILES TO NOWHERE:
22 miles <-- No miles recorded till we get home
This is entry #2937