For better or worse, here I am—trapped in paradise. As long as I continue to live in this vital, inimitable spot on the globe,

I will continue to seek out the unique…the delicious…the innovative products, services and traditions of San Luis Obispo County.

Stay posted for a few of my favorite things.

About Me...

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A wanderlust at heart... captivated by the California Central Coast. Join me on my culinary and vino-infused adventures as I explore and discover the regional novelties of San Luis Obispo County that make living here...easy to stay...and hard to leave.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

SLO Wonderland

Gleamin’ pink. I can think of no better way to describe the Madonna Inn during the holidays.

This renowned landmark, which sits pretty and pink on 2,200 acres of land on the outskirts of San Luis Obispo City, is rife with tradition. Each year, they deck the halls with more than just a few boughs of holly.

A friend treated me to a holiday dinner at the inn’s Gold Rush Steak House, where we discovered a feast for the senses.

The everyday interior of the ornate hand-carved marble balustrade, the 28-feet gold tree fixture, and the brazen pink dining booths and chairs lay the perfect backdrop for a dazzling display of Christmas lights and festive decorations.

Kris Kringle, prancing reindeers and gold cherubs surrounded us; the hustle and bustle of this popular eatery never stopped—and we feasted.

The last few months I’ve heard more than a few people—including myself—rumble about this holiday season. Perhaps the long warm Indian Summer left some of us feeling as if this celebratory time of year hadn’t really arrived.

But as I sat amidst the glow of hundreds of lights in this pink Christmas wonderland, I couldn’t think of any place I’d rather be. In the company of a good friend, amidst holiday cheer.

My friend said it best: “When you need an intravenous dose of Christmas and a steak, there’s no better place than the Madonna Inn Steak House.”

The entrance to the steak house is adorned with rocks from the surrounding area and colorful fountains.
Some might consider the embellished interior an overload to the senses, but not me.
Who else does a house appetizer like this? Sliced carrots, celery and green onions covered with cherry peppers, peperoncini and slices of salami and cheese. Fun!

Crisp, ice-cold lettuce smothered in rich, chunky blue cheese dressing. Grape tomatoes and slivers of carrots and cabbage. Topped off with freshly-ground pepper. This classic American salad proved that less is more.

I devoured a nicely-seared, tender 11 oz. filet mignon. This meal, accompanied with sugar snap peas and a baked potato wrapped in gold foil and adorned with butter, sour cream and fresh chives was a throwback to classic Americana.

No matter how much steak you eat, it's almost impossible to leave without imbibing in one (or two) of Madonna Inn bakery's infamous cakes. Their pink champagne and black forest cakes can only be described as...euphoric. 

Photo courtesy of Terence Collins. 
In addition to the steak house, Madonna Inn offers 110 special-themed rooms, a cafe, a day spa, and banquet rooms.
The first twelve rooms were completed at the end of 1958 and construction of the main inn commenced in 1960. This relic of decades past continues to delight locals and travelers alike.
The infamous men's bathroom, complete with a waterfall urinal. Don't ask how I got this picture. 


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The last pic looks like you could be in Vienna- very ornate and festive. There is something about a good steak house meal that hits the mark!

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