With summer in full force, it’s time to indulge in the three “B’s”: Beers, Barbecues and Babes.
But for those short on cash, let me clue you in on some of the most excellent and affordable establishments to find the best that San Luis Obispo has to offer and (perhaps to bring that babe to).
Now, I’m no Rachael Ray, but I am a connoisseur of all things cheap and tasty, so to kick off the season of summertime indulgence, I proudly present to you my very own version of “$40 a day,” Cal Poly-style.
Foster’s Freeze – Old Fashioned Burger Bliss
Located on the corner of Marsh and Nipomo Streets, Foster’s Freeze has got sto be the best burger joint in town simply because it serves up some mean all-beef patty burgers coupled with large steak fries and the best shakes and ice cream, period.
For those not familiar with the place, Foster’s has the nostalgic look of a 1950s-style beachside burger shack with indoor and outdoor seating. They also feature “Twisters,” which are a blend of ice cream and your favorite candy bars.
Aside from the diverse menu, what really makes this joint so killer for burgers can be summed up in two words: “Big Boss.”
The Big Boss is the best burger on the menu at Foster’s, and for good reason. We’re talking about a quarter- pound, all-beef patty smothered in both cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, topped with two slices of bacon, two onion rings, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and thousand island or barbecue sauce, all tucked into an old-fashioned bun.
This thing is a monster, and you better make sure that you have nothing to do for the next hour after eating it, because this burger will hit the stomach like an anvil of burger bliss sending you into a coma of satisfaction.
The best part is that you can get this burger with a large Coke and steak fries for less than $7.
Other notable burgers to try at Foster’s include the Double Decker and the classic Old-Fashioned.
The Original Spike’s Bar and Grill – For the Beer Aficionado
This little joint tucked in the SLO Creamery on Higuera Street just south of Nipomo Street has been serving up some of the best-tasting, rare and obscure domestic and imported beers for over 25 years.
My folks used to tell me stories about this place when they came to San Luis Obispo in the 1980s, so I had to check this place out when I became a legal boozer. The place has since become my premiere spot for good brew and finger foods.
With anywhere from 50 to 60 beers on hand, Spike’s has something for everyone. There’s a library list of ales, lagers, wheat beers, and Belgian specials for anyone to try.
Moreover, Spike’s serves its beers in pint glasses tailored to enhance flavor and reduce foam.
Notable brews include my personal favorite, Pranqster Belgian Style Ale, or my new found love, Delirium Tremens. The sight of the DT bottle alone is reason enough to try this brew. A taupe paint-coated bottle adorned with pink elephants and dancing crocodiles with the name spelled out in some psychedelic font, DT looks like it would give you an acid trip rather than get you buzzed. Voted No. 1 by the World Cup of Beer, this tasty golden textured Belgian beer is only $6 and provides a good enough excuse for a trip to Spike’s.
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory – A Sugar Connoisseur’s Delight
After you’ve washed down a Big Boss burger with some Pranqster, it’s time to indulge the sweet tooth.
If you’re looking for any variety of chocolate, fudge, ice cream, tarts, sours, and any other sweet of your heart’s desire, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory is your No. 1 supplier.
Located at 848 Higuera St., Rocky Mountain has the feel of an old-fashioned candy shack, complete with freshly made candied apples, and fudges presented in wooden displays.
If you have $10 to spare, I recommend trying a bunch of freshly-made sweets, especially a candy cluster so good it might as well be a sin to eat: the “Avalanche.” One damn fine blend of Rice Krispies, marshmallow, peanut butter and chocolate chips, the Avalanche is sure to satisfy.