There couldn’t be a more fitting title.

Over a year ago, The Husband and I purchased 2 acres up in Paso Robles (where the billboard reads “Darn Near Paradise”– How cute is that?). It’s been a long road of house plans and city planning meetings, and we’ve still got a long way to go before our dream house is finished.

Monday morning at 9 a.m. the Caterpillar finally arrived. By noon, the site had been dug.

groundbreaking

(image sent to me from Tay’s cellphone)

After work that evening, Tay and I drove up to the site to check it out and toast our new(ish) endeavor. We sat at the top of the property, on what will be our back porch, and I mapped out where I’ll put my new vegetable garden, where we’ll plant olive and lemon trees, we met one of our neighbors, who’s already complaining about the noise (oh brother), and Kula chased the deer, peacocks, and other birds who once lived in idyllic peace on Hilltop Drive.

After we’d had enough daydreaming, and Kula was good and tired, we headed downtown for a celebratory dinner at Villa Creek.  I’ve heard a lot about this place, as I used to wait tables up the street at Buona Tavola Paso, but as I walked into the dining room, all I could think, even before I tried the food, was “I love this place.”

The main dining room is gorgeous and warm, with a mission feel, vaulted ceilings, and mexican tapestries hanging from the brick red walls. There’s an open-air front patio that opens up onto the Paso Robles downtown square, and the back garden patio features a lovely fountain and stretched canvas sails overhead offer shade.

The restaurant sources as locally and sustainably as possible, featuring Niman Ranch, Kanaloa, Windrose Farm,  Veritable Vegetables, and TD Wiley Farms, among others. The menu offers mostly southwestern dishes. After browsing, ooooing and aaaaing, we sprung for the BLT Panzanella to share for our appetizer. It arrived as a tower of greens, tomato, and bacon on top of a crisp large piece of grilled bread. There was a bit too much dressing for my tastes, but I hadn’t had bacon in almost a year, so each salty smoky bite was savored.

For my entree I chose the Butternut Squash enchiladas with Vegetable Succotash and Black Beans. It was excellent. Taylor had the Mahi Mahi, and I had to hold myself back from pointing behind him (“Look Over There!”) and stealing his Plantain Tostones. Mmmm…. crisp, warm, salty sweet plantains. Yum.

They offer an interesting wine list, lots of central coast wines, and some very nice imported options, but their own label, Villa Creek Cellars, is outstanding. They source their fruit from some of the most highly regarded vineyards in the Paso Robles. I had a crisp, tasty glass of the Pink, a dry rose of Grenache, Mourvedre, Tempranillo, and Syrah. I followed this with the wine buyers suggestion: a very nice, light French white reeking of fresh cut grass and hinting at undertones of grapefruit and green apple. Perfect for my enchiladas. But I forgot to ask to see the label, so I have no idea what I drank. Pooey. Hate that. Perhaps today I’ll call to investigate further.

At the end of the night, we thought we’d burst, so no room for dessert. As he paid the bill, Tay remarked, “Don’t get too used to this place because for the first few years of homeownership, we won’t be able to afford it.”

Oh yeah. Mortgage. gulp.

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