Since there's a new pup in Georgeeatsvania, we've been spending a lot of time tracking down places with patios that allow dogs so our four-legged friend can come with and we don't have to be worried that he's home figuring out which parts of the house taste best mouthful by pointy little puppy teeth mouthful (he's even tried to chew on cast iron lawn furniture, so you just never know). Turns out more and more places are being nice about doggie diners, so here's a quick round up of three recently stopped at spots.
Cafe Nouveau, 1497 E. Thompson Blvd, Ventura
It was a quiet Wednesday night and my wonderful companion (MWC) and the boy and I were the only customers on the patio, which is actually pretty much walled in from the street-corner. That's a plus, and I have to hope it's not the usual, as the place was really really nice to us--even brought a water bowl for junior. The menu is a bit all over in that California way ("we appropriate all your foods, fools!"), sort of natural, sort of cafe, sort of Mexican. Things come out a bit of a mish-mash, but tasty; I liked a seafood stuffed relleno, but they seemed a bit hopeful to make the seafood feel still at home, as it was asea in the voluminous amount of sauce. Not delicate food, this. Still, filling, pleasing if far from gourmet, and they sell Green Flash IPA in bottles for $5 per. And, again, the waiter was a total sweetie about our pup. No doubt we'll be back. (And they don't have a website, although Yelp does list a URL--sloppiness, or a sign of bad things?)
Churchill's Pub & Grill, 887 West San Marcos Blvd., San Marcos
This spot now has a 48-tap beer engine pouring all sorts of hoppy goodness, so discovering they had a tiny bit of bricked in, concrete floored garden where we could sit with the dog was great. Unfortunately, being dog friendly also means they turns their back on patio-smokers, as if one gets cancer from second-hand-dog, but a canine-companion life often leaves one in a second-class world. That said, again the help was great, and our waitress even chatted about what he was and the dogs she had (who weren't well-behaved enough for going to pubs). Of course MWC and I had Plinys, how could we not. And we asked about the Craftsman Aurora Borealis, supposedly featuring mint and persimmon, which we figured could either be a delicious summer refresher or a pound cake in a glass. Our fine waitress warned us they can't give the stuff away and brought us tasters, and we learned why. Beer shouldn't taste like it's brushing your teeth for you. Oh, and as for the food, we split fish and chips for a late lunch. Some of the best, crispest chips we've had, and the fish was solid--great coating, but the fish itself ok, nothing to get worked up about either way. I'm sure we would have liked it more if we had more time to have more beer. Go check out the website and the beerlist here.
Pizza Port Carlsbad, 571 Carlsbad Village Dr., Carlsbad
I've been here many a time, most frequently because its the site of some amazing beer fests, like this Belgian one I extolled the glories of long ago. All the Pizza Port's make great beers--all on site and in what seems to me a friendly competition--and serve up puffy-crusted pizzas that do a fine job soaking up the usually high alcohol suds you can get to drink. This time the patio was abuzz (it was Father's Day) with families and silly people with human babies and not doggie ones, but our boy was well-behaved and met people of all ages (the youngest ones' hands taste best, you know)(or so he tells me--I don't lick the young kids' hands myself). Guest beers included some rarities like a Green Flash Le Freak aged in grenache barrels (and you certainly could taste that wine), but then their own Wipe Out IPA, which isn't an Imperial and is still over 9%, so take that, hopheads! Get the full scoop at their website.
Oh, and if you don't know the song the title of this entry comes from, Perry Como's going to croon for you.