Ah, a lovely afternoon at the beach in sunny Cayucos, California, midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. After a couple of hours riding the waves, I walk up the warm sand, strip off my wetsuit and tussle my bleached hair. Time for some waterside grub.
Who am I kidding? I just step out of my car and wander a hundred feet down the street to Ruddell’s Smokehouse after a few hours of freeway driving.
At least, Ruddell’s has earned its beach cred honestly. It’s been serving up smoked-meat tacos and salads to real surfers from a little shack near the town pier since 1980.
The smoked choices include salmon, chicken and pork loin. But I go for the signature albacore tuna taco, topped with a mini salad of lettuce, celery and apple and a nice splash or three of their hotter, house-made sauce. At $6, it’s not cheap for a taco but big enough I mistake the rolled-in-foil bundle for a little burrito.
As I tuck in, I close my eyes, listen to the pounding waves and smell the sea salt air. I can almost feel myself catching that wave. Can’t I at least pretend?
101 D Street, Cayucos, California
Daily 11 am-6 pm