Morro Bay (CA)

Along the coast of San Luis Obispo county is situated¬†the beautiful town of Morro Bay, once a center of abalone fishing that now hosts commercial and sport fishing activities. We approached it from the south along Highway 101 when we saw the town’s most famous landmark, Morro Rock, that juts up out of the water right off the coast. The town marks the southern beginning of the stretch of California Highway 1 that straddles the rugged coastline. An artificial harbor, constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers, protects the marina where fishing vessels are moored.

Geologically, Morro Rock is a granite volcanic plug, a visually striking one, the only one of Nine Sisters in San Luis Obispo county that rises above water. It is also a National Wildlife Refuge that protects many species of birds, particularly the peregrine falcon. It used to be isolated off the coast, but is now connected to the mainland by a sandy causeway, also built by the Army Corps of Engineers, which we crossed to get a closer look at The Rock, as it’s familiarly called by locals.

Lunch at La Simpatia (Guadalupe, CA)

I’ve posted before that one of the best ways to find a good restaurant is to ask the locals. After visiting the Guadalupe Dunes National Wildlife Refuge, it was time for lunch. The town of Guadalupe is largely Hispanic, so the obvious choice was to eat at a Mexican restaurant. A local said that the best place was La Simpatia, only a few blocks south on the main highway through town, in business since 1944 (a good sign). Because the storefront was rather small, we passed it by on our first try but saw it after doubling back.

La Simpatia

La Simpatia

While the menu lists no surprises, the two entreés we had were excellently prepared in the open, stainless-steel clad kitchen behind the counter.


The chile verde came with succulent cubes of pork, bathed in a chile-tomatillo sauce that begged to be scooped up with tortillas. Equally good was the chile colorado, earthy, tangy and slightly smoky.

La Simpatia's chile verde

La Simpatia’s chile verde

Chile colorado

Chile colorado

La Simpatia
827 Guadalupe St
Guadalupe, CA 93434