Six months old and still growing! Tonight will be the inaugural cooking class at Comfort Market — soon to be a regular event as this evening’s first run sold out days before. Tonight owner/chef Kari Ziegler, previously of the much-missed Gather Wine Bar, will share her insider secrets from behind the kitchen door in creating soups and salad dressings — and maybe even a coconut macaroon thrown in for something sweet.
When Gather was forced to close due to failed landlord negotiations the Village lost a favorite. What we got in return was a better, bolder, bigger version with many new features. Armed with many researched ideas Ziegler wanted a bistro with a gourmet market and wine bar as compliments to one another — and the concept is fantastic in my opinion. Just this week I stopped in for some Del Verde Buccatini pasta to go with my own homemade sauce. It’s a fantastic noodle that is hollow in the center so the sauce can make it’s way within the pasta! And don’t forget the Jack’s Crisps in Manchego — if I am not careful I can eat an entire box. There are yummy local wines to buy and take-out — cold and off the shelf. Non-alcoholic beverages, cheeses, charcuterie, snacks like “Funky Fusion” gourmet potato chips (they have ’em, you just have to find where the staff hides them because they like them so much).
116 W Branch Street
Arroyo Grande, CA 93420
The dine-in experience is equal parts fun and yum. Friendly staff seat you — pretty much allowing you to choose what table you want. Situated at almost the mouth of the Village, the open-front of the restaurant features enormous sliding glass doors that open to provide an indoor/outdoor feel, completely covered and out of the wind and complete with people-watching opportunities. With 4-6 local wines open at any given time and constantly changing it is always fun to try some new tastes. My husband struggles to choose between those and the 6 taps that always have at least his one of his favorites — Deschutes Porter — available. Usually he has both.
Carrying over from Gather, one of Comfort Market’s staple dishes is Ziegler’s Mac and Cheese. Made with her special Bechamel sauce as a base, it is finished to order and dangerously delicious. Also an old wine bar favorite, the bacon wrapped dates are at the top of the menu. What’s new are the unique and constantly updated gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and soups. But hands-down my favorite is the Chicken Salad. It simply makes me happy. Mary’s Farm Organic Chicken with just enough — not too much — mayo and other fantastic ingredients. I can have it on a salad, in a wrap, on a sandwich. It’s all good.
There are plenty more menu items than I’ve listed here … homemade pickles with sweet and zing combined, olives, cheese plates, charcuterie plates, combos… but I don’t want to give it all away. Stop in, say hello to Kari and get some Comfort.