My late Italian papa-in-law, who lived in Stockton, used to insist on visiting the seafood restaurants for buckets of mussels and clams every single weekend he visited the seashore. For me, when I take a staycation in Pismo, it's all about the salt water taffy. Tomasko's Salt Water Taffy is a family-owned Pismo Beach pier pillar since 1988. Past the tourist souvenirs and T-shirts are a couple of soda-shop tables, and under the fudge and chocolates are bins and bins of taffy flavors. The Tomaskos make the taffy from an old-fashioned method, and your hardy sailor teeth will soften to the feel of the subtle flavors in the little piña colada and peppermint kisses. I like to buy the assorted bag for my pockets and walk along the pier next to the beautiful sounds of the ocean, unwrapping each mystery flavor, trying to guess what joy will be next. The good news is that the crowds have lessened, making now the perfect time to visit the beach area.
Flavor writer Beth Giuffre loves a good mystery flavor. Send your sweet treat tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.