By now, everyone from the Los Angeles Times food editor to your grandma has heard of The Range. If you live in SLO County, you've probably come to respect the tradition of dining at this beloved Santa Margarita dinning destination: the long horns perched above the door, the high lonesome wails of classic country, the satisfaction of a cold Lone Star beer or a fancy Paso wine. The unassuming country joint with the truly upscale "honky-tonk French fusion" menu has been around for more than 10 years now serving up top-notch steaks, lamb, and that addictive Dragon's Breath appetizer (Google it; recipes are out there). But did you know owners Jeff and Lindsay Jackson have taken on a new Santa Margarita venture? It's all been pretty low key up till now, because—well—the Jacksons don't have much need for formal advertising. Thanks to word of mouth, you might already know that the couple bought the tavern across the street. But did you know that the new space, dubbed Rosalina, has been open for beer and wine since last summer? Named after Jeff's momma and inspired by the chef's childhood spent on a SoCal farm, this place is just as casual feeling as The Range, but with an equally casually priced menu. Mexican food (more aptly, "barrio soul food") is in the works, as the kitchen is still currently under construction. That said, you can totally stop by for a cold one and some hot small town gossip most nights of the week. Expect a Latin twist on this drink menu: Wine imported from Spanish speaking countries, Mexican beers, fruity sangria, and spicy micheladas, too. Chew the fat with the locals and watch the sleepy Santa Margarita sun sink behind those mesmerizing mountains. Just remember, these are "the good old days," before the inevitable hype comes rolling in. Won't it be nice to tell your grandkids about Rosalina, back when it was "just a bar and a dream"?
22302 El Camino Real, Santa Margarita; hours are Sunday from 3 p.m. to close, Thursday from 3 to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 3 p.m. to midnight. Call (805) 365-7118 for more information. Δ
It took 30 years, but Hayley Thomas Cain just discovered her love for micheladas, which is totally embarrassing. Send your favorite DIY recipe to [email protected].