Since the earliest civilization’s roamed the earth, a hardy glug of wine has been a dependable precursor to some history’s most brilliant food and conversation. Benjamin Franklin said, “Wine makes daily living
easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance.” With that in mind, Charlie Puffer has arrived in Pismo Beach and opened a wine bar and eatery called Puffers of Pismo. It resides in the space of Vino Versato used to host musical soirées, and Puffer’s is offering the same- yet more. A wine and beer bar that has a full time executive chef, live music and a neighbor distinction, that is most welcome to our sandy shores.
Our first night we sat outside on the joyful and reverent pews to enjoy a summer solstice. We shared a bottle of Obsidian Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon the yields from high above in the mountain area of Napa. This Estate Cabernet sings the beauty of a near perfect vintage after two warm years. Tightly wound and dark on the nose, it balanced our first and most exciting course, Liver Pâté. Having my soul still residing in Paris where I ate pâté for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I was excited to finally find a chef creating this joy in a jar. Referred to as a Terrine in France, this was chicken liver, with rendered pork and herbs, placed in a jar and finished in the sous vide. Plain and simple, pâté is a mixture of ground meat and fat that is cooked in a vessel called a terrine. Chef
Alex Yoka served this with house made pickled carrots, cornichons, local honey and torta bread grilled and mashed in Cuban press. It was outstanding and whisked my mind wistfully away to a French Café.
Next we had a bit of their appetizer popcorn sprinkled with with agave and sea salt, it was the unflawed balance of sweet and salty. We moved on to share a Cuban sandwich, signified on the island as “Middle of the night”. This was Caribbean flawlessness with sous vide pork shoulder, aioli mustard, dill pickle slices and Conte Swiss cheese. Held together by torta bread and grilled on a Cuban panini press, this was a delight to my senses, and a fond memory to my taste buds. The intermezzo was a mixture of nuts seasoned with Turkish spices carried back from Turkey by Chef Alex. We shared stories of culinary tourism and the creative palette of this remarkable chef as we devoured each bite.
I returned with my girl posse for a Thursday night unwind and Charlie greeted us with a smile, a story and
a perfect wine for each of us. Penny had a chardonnay from Treana and Suellen had a Rose of Pinot Noir from Naughty Boy Vineyards. I swirled and sipped the Lone Madrone Roja a blend of cinsault and counoise grapes, it was delectable. We shared a Mushroom and Pistachio Pâté – a first for each of my friends, who deemed it delightful. Charlie, (Formally Chucky for Chicago) used to own a bar and restaurant with his brother, Puffers of Chicago. He has a big personality and is a celebrated wine aficionado. He knows service and has a desire to welcome all in the area to come try his different approach to the wine bar venue. He has live music every Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, attracting an impressive array of musicians.
I returned for an afternoon snack with Mr. Bayus who was happy to try the Sunny Daze beer. We shared a cheese tray that was impressive and enchanting to nibble. Hand picked cheeses including Ewephoria Gouda from Holland, Pt Reyes Thoma and a cone of Swiss cheese from Comte were accessorized with salami, house made pickles, carrots, spiced nuts and sliced apples. The delicious crusty bread was a new complement to the otherwise cracker offering.
I loved the atmosphere, the gathering of neighbors, food, wine and beer at Puffers. This is an impeccable addition to Pismo and you will find me there often. Puffers is open 3:00pm to 10:00pm every day but Monday and on weekends they are open late. The offer live music Tuesday, Friday and Saturday from 7:00pm to 10:00pm and Sunday from 5:00 to 8:00pm. You can reach them at (805) 773-6563. They are located at 781 Price Street in Pismo Beach, next to the Cracked Crab.