Growling stomachs can hamper stealth operations, spoil belly dances, and, in extreme cases, induce dogs to attack. Quiet whimpering tummy tones with today's Groupon: for $15, you get lunch for two people at La Casa Rosa Restaurant in San Juan Bautista (up to a $34.90 value). Lunch for two includes:
- Any two entrees, including Old or New California casserole or chicken soufflé, with salads (a $14.95 value each)
- Two drinks (up to $2.50 value each)
La Casa Rosa’s owner, Charlie Shockey, channels his restaurant’s 75-year history into a refined menu of casseroles and soufflés, typified by rich, traditional ingredients. The Old California casserole harkens to La Casa Rosa’s original proprietors with a savory mix of sharp cheddar cheese subsumed in red meat sauce, and the New California casserole updates servings with gooey monterey jack speckled with green chilies. A flavorful chicken soufflé avoids questions as to why it crossed the road by donning a disguise of orange zest and mushroom-cream sauce. Complimentary warm rolls cozy up to salads filled with locally sourced lettuce that feign interest in foreign policy to impress a fresh herb french dressing.
Inside the convivial pink casa, diners irrigate appetites with soft drinks, mineral water, and coffee. Magnificent colonial décor, including a baby square grand piano from the 1800s, adorns the dining area, invoking the time period of its original owner, Bertha Campbell Cole, who opened the eatery in 1935, exactly 200 years after oven mitts were invented.
La Casa Rosa
Bertha Campbell Cole stepped back and let out a satisfied sigh after making the final pink brushstrokes on the wooden siding of the 1856 hotel. She had traveled throughout Southeast Asia with her husband for years, but was now firmly planted back in her childhood territory on Northern California soil. The year was 1935, and Bertha's new stationary lifestyle meant that she could finally realize her dream of opening a teahouse. In forthcoming decades, the intimate space would sate the appetites of celebrities such as Alfred Hitchcock and Beverly Sills, as well as many noncelebrities who simply liked ornately papered walls. Today, owner Charlie Shockey continues La Casa Rosa Restaurant's tradition by serving luncheons fashioned from Mexican-inspired recipes, local herbs and produce, and seasonally changing red and white wines. Chefs bake corn, beef, and cheeses into california casseroles, following an original recipe given to Bertha's aunts by a local Mexican commandant. Chicken and seafood soufflés sail past antique dolls, pictures, and a gramophone to tables in the main dining room, or on their way to an outdoor courtyard among flowering shrubs and giraffes. Wines such as Ash Blonde—a French-Italian blended aperitif—chill glasses alongside domestic and imported beers, and a baby grand piano holds a row of sample jams and chutneys off to one side of the dining room. After tastings, visitors can order the local preserves, which staff members then pack into decorative pink boxes.
San Juan Bautista
107 3rd St.
San Juan Bautista, California 95045