Down Home Cookin’ at Carla’s
By Teri Bayus
A down home welcome diner is sometimes the answer to honest hunger needs. Sometimes it is not about the gourmet as it is the comfort.
I have found that there is nothing as good for outrunning the blues like a heaping helping of biscuits and gravy, and no better place to partake in this wonderful indulgence like Carla’s Country Kitchen in Morro Bay.
When you walk in, it feels like grandma’s kitchen. You are warmly greeted and the signs on the wall told me to order biscuits and gravy. I was so impressed with them; I saw the China pattern on my plate.
I brought my husband back next and he started with chocolate chip pancakes, which were fluffy and filled with lots of chocolaty goodness. I thought he would forgo the maple syrup (he keeps a gallon in his car for pancake emergencies) because of all the chocolate, but he still smothered them in the wonder sap of syrup.
I had the pooney scramble with country potatoes. It was loaded with spinach, bacon and mushrooms and a yummy 3-cheese top. I also ordered a side, a half order of biscuits and gravy. The husband stole a bite and then stole the whole dish.
Carla’s Country Kitchen has been serving Morro Bay since 1987 and they make the baked goods, muffins and cinnamon rolls fresh each day. They make all elements from scratch using as much locally sourced ingredients as possible, their honey garlic and basil sausage was wondrous.
The staff work together, and one time the cook even brought out my food, as the waitress was busy and he didn’t want it to sit. It is a team effort of passion for providing the customer with the best meal they can. I love that about this place.
My next visit was after lunch, and I was greeted like a regular, which I loved! They even remembered that I was crazy for the biscuits and gravy.
We sat outside on the nice patio and enjoyed watching the fog burn off the bay. Thankfully, they serve breakfast all day long, so I got my now dream status meal, one biscuit for here and one to go.
I had the Belgium waffle platter, with crispy bacon, country potatoes and I swear, the best waffle I have ever had. It was light and fluffy in the middle and crisp on the outside. I filled every square with butter and then sprinkled powdered sugar all over it. I was in heaven and the attentive staff helped make me really feel like I had wandered back into my grandma’s kitchen.
My friends had the eggs Benedict and country potatoes with a side of sausage. We were told that the sausages were locally sourced from local kids’ 4-H projects. I sampled it all. The Hollandaise was delightful and the sausage near perfect. My other dining companion was a pescetarian and they had plenty for her to choose from, which made her happy and made me question why anyone would not want to eat bacon?
She settled on a seafood salad with huge clumps of perfect crab and shrimp. Then we all shared a tuna melt, as we heard the albacore had been caught that morning. It was amazing.
We toasted our gorgeous day with a round of mimosas. Everyone I have shared Carla’s Country Kitchen with is a now fan of this wonderful bistro.
Carla’s Country Kitchen is exactly what it looks to be, perfect comfort food served in a friendly environment with family style service. You walk in a stranger, but walk out a family member. Carla’s Country Kitchen is located at 213 Beach St., in Morro Bay, call them at (805) 772-9051. They are open daily from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.
‘Murder on the Orient Express’ A Star Studded Train Wreck
By Teri Bayus
I was excited for the new version of “Murder On The Orient Express,” as the novel and original movie were some of my favorite things to experience. An all-star cast beckoned me to believe it would be updated celluloid magic.
I saw the star-studded 1974 film version of Agatha Christie’s famous 1934 novel, so I knew the outcome of the equally star-studded 2017 remake. I still found it an enjoyable ride through the snow.
Heading the cast is Kenneth Branagh as the Belgian master detective, Hercule Poirot, and he is splendid in his clever deductions. It is a special pleasure to see the return to the screen of Michelle Pfeiffer who is particularly good in a cast-list that also includes male stars Johnny Depp, Willem Dafoe, and Derek Jacobi, and female talent such as Judi Dench, Daisy Ridley and Penélope Cruz. Branagh also directs and offers us a flashy production with lots of soaring camera work and plenty of color and noise.
The plot: Hercule Poirot is, by his own admission, the world’s greatest detective circa 1930. It’s true. Using his “little gray cells” he has solved some unsolvable crimes.
At the start of the film, in Israel, Poirot discovers who stole a rare, bejeweled artifact and it wasn’t a rabbi, priest, or iman, as suspected. Now, Poirot just wants to get back to London. His mode of transportation is the famous Orient Express, from Istanbul to Paris.
On board, he meets kind folks like Mary (Ridley), a governess, Dr. Arbuthnot (Leslie Odom, Jr.), the grand Mrs. Hubbard (Pfeiffer), a Princess (Dench), among others, and a man described as most unpleasant, Mr. Ratchet (Depp).
In fact, when Ratchet finds out Poirot is on the train, he asks him for a huge favor. Ratchet, a self-described art dealer, insists someone is trying to “off” him and wants Poirot to protect him.
Poirot says “No,” for he has his doubts about who Ratchet truly is. As the train passes through mountains, an avalanche stops the train in the early morning and it is soon discovered Ratchet was murdered in the night, even though he slept with a gun.
It is the classic, “Who done it?” and a feast for the eyes and ears. The scenery is breathtaking and the script witty, amid the horror. Needless to say, the costumes are wonderful as they recreate the garb of the ‘30s.
Murder On The Orient Express was supposed to be a fun ride, but instead it is bit of a train wreck. Filled with beautiful people and great actors, it should have been a whistle stop, but alas it wasn’t.
Please watch the original version to see how wonderful this movie could have been.